Studying Abroad with an Emotional Support Animal


Person sitting with laptop and dog next to them. By Alexander Grey on Unsplash

All accommodations, including emotional support animals are determined on a case-by-case basis. There are some locations and programs that may not be able to support your and your animal. In some situations, it might mean you may need to secure your own independent housing that allows you to have an animal.

Students are responsible for researching the rules and regulations around transporting service animals abroad and are also responsible for contacting and making arrangements with the host institution and/or program provider. The EdAbroad office can assist students with finding appropriate contact information at the host institution or organization.

Service Animals and Support Animals

Service Animals: Any breed and size of dog can be a service animal if they are trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability.

Learn more from the ADA.

Support Animals: Any domesticated animal can potentially qualify as an emotional support animal. Emotional support dogs (ESA dogs) are among the most common. No matter the species, a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist must provide an official letter recommending the use of an emotional support animal.

Learn more from the WWU Student Health Center.


  • What are the requirements for transporting the support animal into the country? This includes reviewing airline policies and requirements as well as those imposed by the host country.
    • Review U.S. Embassy destination information and "pet passport" information.
  • Is there housing at the host site that allows for support animals?  
    • Will you have a roommate and will they be open to living with your animal?
    • Are any other students on your program or in your housing allergic to your animal?
    • How will you manage animal care during long days in class or time on excursions?
  • Consult your veterinarian to ensure your animal is fit to travel abroad and gain tips on how to monitor your animal's health and safety.
    • ​​​​​​​Develop a plan of care for your animal while abroad and what to do if they need medical attention. 
  • Research the requirements to re-enter the U.S. with your animal.