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How to Get Your Emotional Support Animal Certification
in Illinois

How To Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter in Illinois

The Value of Using Emotional Support Animals

Emotional Support Animals are approved therapeutic animals, typically dogs, that help humans maneuver through the rough terrain of mental disorders. The state protects the owners’ rights to have these animals live with them in a rental property because of the many health benefits they provide, including:

People coping with health issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and chronic illnesses use Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) to help them through the difficult parts of their life. These animals are integral to many Americans, and the government has offered support by enacting laws that protect them in certain situations. 

Landlords and other authorities do not always agree with the state and federal laws governing these animals. Tenants are subject to eviction and all the applicable fines and court costs without proper documentation for their Emotional Support Animals. 

American Service Pets helps tenants get the approval they need for an Emotional Support Animal. Don’t pay pet deposits or extraneous fees ever again. Qualify for your animal with an Illinois ESA letter now. 

Naturopathic Therapy

Sharing your life with a pet has unique rewards that are similar to the effects of depression medication. Many people are turning to holistic tactics for managing ailments to avoid risks associated with drugs. Qualified ESAs are a natural treatment for symptoms of many mental disorders. Animals also impact your physical health because they encourage vigorous outdoor activity.

Genuine Comfort

Emotional trauma causes panic and anxiety attacks when you least expect it. The effects of such trauma can last a lifetime. Add in regular everyday life stressors, and you can suddenly find you’re having trouble getting through the day. Cuddling with an animal you love induces a sense of calm and lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and stress.

Happiness Booster

Levels of natural mood enhancers, serotonin and dopamine, get a boost when you interact with an animal you love. Cherished pets make you feel adored and appreciated. They never fail to make you laugh or give you a moment or two of joy when you need it most.

There are aspects of life that are challenging for people with emotional disorders to navigate without their animals. American Service Pets provides a fast and easy way for pet owners to get approved in just a few minutes.

Take the test to see if you qualify for an Illinois ESA letter now.

Illinois Emotional Support Animal Laws

Illinois law recognizes the mental health contributions of these special animals, although they’re not specially trained. Support animals provide comfort and companionship, unlike official Psychiatric Service Animals (PSAs), which are specially trained to perform life saving duties and specialized tasks to assist the disabled. PSAs and Emotional Support Animals serve different purposes and are provided different privileges by law.

Only comfort animals with an authentic ESA letter enjoy legal privileges in Illinois. Official letters are accepted across the country, but rules differ among states. Do your research before traveling or relocating to avoid nasty surprises. Here is a summary of some key points in Illinois:

Housing Laws

A rental tenant in Illinois cannot be evicted, charged a pet deposit, or turned down for housing because they own a support animal. Landlords have the right to view any tenant’s ESA letter but cannot demand any further proof. An ESA can still be turned down for housing if it poses a safety or health risk.

Illinois ESA Housing Laws
Public Access Laws ESA Illinois

Public Access

Public access is not granted to ESAs by Illinois state or federal law. Grocery stores, clothiers, restaurants, libraries, and other public places are under no legal duty to allow them entry to their establishment. These laws are different for Psychiatric Service Animals, however. 

Workplace Laws

The Americans with Disabilities Act defends the rights of disabled people to use a PSA at work, but Illinois does not support the use of Emotional Support Animals under this act. Getting an ESA letter could be the defining factor needed to sway a lenient employer, however. 

Workplace Laws for Illinois ESAs
Travel Laws for ESAs in Illinois

Travel Laws

The Air Carrier Access Act protected Emotional Support Animals, but as of 2020, that’s no longer true. Psychiatric Service Animals are the only animals permitted to ride in the cabin with their owners free of charge. ESAs are not assured access to public transportation in Illinois, either. This includes buses, trains, subways, taxis, and ride-share services, such as Uber and Lyft. 

American Service Pets is honored to offer an easy three-step process to provide an ESA letter to Illinois residents.

The Basics

Does the state have its own laws in addition to federal legislature?

Illinois not only follows the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but it also has its own set of state laws, including the Service Animal Access Act, White Cane Law, and Illinois Human Rights Act.

Definition of a "Service Animal"

According to the Illinois Service Animal Access Act, a service animal is defined as “a dog or miniature horse trained or being trained as a hearing animal, a guide animal, an assistance animal, a seizure alert animal, a mobility animal, a psychiatric service animal, an autism service animal, or an animal trained for any other physical, mental, or intellectual disability.”

What is considered a disability in the state of Illinois?

Illinois law says that people with a disability are considered to be those who are visually or hearing impaired, those who epilepsy or seizure disorders, and those who have any other physical disorders. Mental disorders are not specifically mentioned, but provisions for psychiatric service animals are mentioned in other parts of state law.

What animals qualify as a service animal?

Both the ADA and Illinois state laws consider both a dog and a miniature horse as possible options for service animals.

Are there penalties for falsly claiming or implying (such as with a service animal harness), that one's animal is a service animal?

It does not appear that there are currently any official state laws on the books regarding service animal falsification or misrepresentation. However, there have been multiple proposed laws at the state level that would result in anything from a petty offense to a misdemeanor to a felony charge for individuals guilty of service animal fraud.

Do state laws provide coverage for service animals in training?

The Illinois White Cane Law says that trainers of a “support dog, guide dog, seizure-alert dog, seizure-response dog, or hearing dog” is permitted to access public accommodations with the dog-in-training.

Do state laws provide coverage for Emotional Support Animals?

No, because emotional support animals are not specifically task-trained, they are not included in public accommodations provisions from Illinois or the ADA.

Public Accommodations & Travel with a Service Animal

What counts as a "public accommodation" in the state? Ie. Where are service dogs allowed?

The definition of “public accommodation” is very broad in Illinois due to both state and federal law. It includes lodging, public transportation, restaurants, sales, rental, or service establishments, entertainment venues (such as stadiums or convention centers, recreational facilities, educational institutions, and social service centers. Illinois law also has a special provision for public swimming pools, stating that service animals are permitted to work in the water, unless doing so would pose a specific risk to the health and safety of other patrons or the facility.

Can a public establishment question a service animal?

Public establishments can ask whether the animal is a service animal and what task(s) it has been trained to perform. Questions may not be asked about identifying documents or specific disabilities.

What are the rules regarding service animals on public transportation?

Public transportation falls under the category of public accommodations in Illinois. Therefore individuals with service dogs must be allowed equal access to public transportation under the law.

Are there laws about service animals in the workplace?

There are no additional regulations regarding service animals in the workplace under Illinois law, but many places of work would fall under the public accommodations category and therefore must allow individuals with service dogs equal access.

Are service animals allowed access to healthcare facilities?

Under the ADA, service animals are allowed to be in authorized areas of the hospital with their handlers. The only potential exceptions under Illinois law are if there are concerns about the animal’s physical condition/health (ie. if the animal has fleas, sores, or other signs of infection), behavior, or containment. State law does note that service animals are never permitted in restricted areas, which include but are not limited to food preparation areas, medication preparation areas, clean or sterile supply areas, preoperative holding areas, operating rooms, post-anesthesia care rooms, and procedure rooms.

Are there penalties for public places that refuse service animals?

Yes. Violation of Illinois’ White Cane Law is considered a Class A misdemeanor, and violation of Illinois’ Service Animal Access Act is considered a Class C misdemeanor. Businesses and other public accommodations can face penalties related to these misdemeanors if they refuse a person with a disability access.

Illinois follows the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which defines a service animal as a dog (regardless of breed or size) trained to do work or perform tasks to assist a qualified individual with a diability, and may include psychiatric service dogs. Minature horses are excluded in this definition.

How do airlines determine what qualifies as a service animal?

Airlines can require a passenger to provide a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) form attesting to the animal’s health, behavior, and training and a U.S. DOT form attesting that the animal can either not relieve itself or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner (if the animal will be on a flight that is 8 or more hours).

Are service animals in-training covered by this law?

The ACAA does not address service animals in-training, so airlines are not required to carry them as they do not meet the requirements of an ACAA-defined service animal. However, airlines can make their own individual policies.

Housing Law

What are the state's laws regarding housing and service animals?

Assistance animals are not pets under state and federal law in Illinois, and therefore handlers of these animals cannot be charged any kind of extra pet fees, security deposits, or animal-related charges. A housing provider also cannot require a person with a disability to obtain additional liability insurance and must instead work with their insurance to provide coverage for the reasonable accommodation. It is important to note that while assistance animals are most often dogs, state law does not require them to be dogs.

Am I liable for damage caused by my service animal?

Yes, if an assistance animal causes damage to property beyond normal wear and tear, the handler may be charged for these damages by their housing provider.

Do housing laws extend to ESAs?

While the Illinois Human Rights Law only applies to individuals with physical disabilities that have service animals, the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) extends housing protections to both service and emotional support animals. A housing provider may ask for paperwork from a doctor as evidence of the need for accommodation, but there is no required “Illinois emotional support animal registration” needed to have housing rights under the law.

Discrimination Complaints

How can I file a complaint for not being allowed in a public accommodation with my service dog?

According to the Illinois Attorney General’s website, “Complaints can be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice, or by contacting the Disability Rights Bureau at the Office of the Attorney General. A complaint alleging a violation of the White Cane Law or the Service Animal Access Act should be filed with your county state’s attorney.”

How to Obtain an Emotional Support Animal Certification Letter in Illinois

American Service Pets offers a quick and easy process to get your pet approved as an Emotional Support Animal. It involves only three simple steps:

Fill Out the Questionnaire

It takes approximately three to five minutes to answer the American Service Pets questionnaire to determine your eligibility for approval. 

Get a Doctor’s Approval

American Service Pets allows you to submit your file to a licensed Illinois state-approved doctor for authorization. Doctors are always available, and most requests are approved within three to five minutes. Official letters are delivered immediately via email.

Add Your Pet to the International Directory

Add your pet to the national directory to get a convenient online pet profile that shows your pet’s status and ESA letter for public viewing anytime it’s needed.

Get approved for your Emotional Support Animal today. American Service Pets accepts approximately 95% of applicants within half an hour.

The American Service Pets Advantage

American Service Pets has assisted more than 45,000 owners in validating the status of their emotional support animals. Here’s what makes us the right choice for you:

Get Your Official Emotional Support Animal Certification in Illinois

Answer the easy yes-or-no questions to get your pet approved as an Emotional Support Animal today with American Service Pets. We are committed to helping people suffering from emotional issues get the therapeutic benefits of an ESA.

Experts in Nationwide Support Animal Approval

Approval as an Illinois support animal is the answer to rental housing issues and sometimes other places when you’re denied access to your comforting companion. American Service Pets aids pet owners in getting the help they need for their Psychiatric or Emotional Support Animal in Illinois. Take our test today for approval in less than half an hour. 

Disclaimer: We would like to emphasize that while the terms “certification” or “registration” may be used in relation to Emotional Support Animals, there is no official certification process for ESAs or any form of ESA registry as of this date. As such, the use of these terms should not be interpreted as legally recognized designations by government or regulatory authorities. Remember, ESAs can provide a valuable source of comfort and support, but their recognition relies on proper documentation from a healthcare professional and adherence to relevant laws and guidelines.

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