Candidate Program


Not-for-profit assistance dog programs interested in joining ADI may do so as a Candidate program. Candidate programs are established not-for-profits and charitable programs that are working towards achieving Accredited Member status.

All Candidates MUST adhere to all ADI Standards and pursue accreditation to achieve Accredited Member status in ADI within five years.  Candidate programs pay annual dues, must submit the required annual census and information documents, and the accreditation fees when they are ready for the accreditation process.  Candidates may apply for the accreditation process after two years as a Candidate in good standing. 

Candidate Program Privileges:

  • Networking and education with international assistance dog programs from around the world.
  • Support of our staff and accredited members to assist with further developing their operations to meet ADI Standards and complete the accreditation process.
  • Access to the Candidate Area on the ADI website containing educational resources.
  • Attend ADI Conferences, seminars and business meetings as observers. Candidate programs are also invited to attend the ADI Regional Chapter events and meetings.
  • Receive the ADI ENewsletter.
  • Participate in ADI’s closed Facebook Group Pages (ADI Client Services, ADI Communications/Marketing, ADI Directors, ADI Training Group, ADI Puppy Raiser Managers, ADI Prison Based Groups, etc.)
  • Program listing and link to their website from ADI’s website.

Candidate Program Limitations:

  • Do not have voting rights within ADI.
  • May not use the ADI logo, claim that they are a member of ADI or that they meet ADI Standards.
  • Are not allowed to nominate any individual, nor have a representative stand for elected positions or committee membership with ADI.
  • May not state their graduates teams are "ADI Certified."  

Becoming a Candidate Program

The Candidate program must:

  • Have placed a minimum of five assistance dog teams (guide, hearing, service dogs) that have worked successfully for a minimum of one year under their current operating program.  Facility dogs and companion dogs do not count towards this total.
  • Have a website that is updated and current with all information including contact information.
  • Have a name that meets ADI Board approval and cannot contain any terms that could mislead the public, such as certified, accredited, approved, qualified, etc.

A yellow Labrador Retriever is sitting next to a young girl in a wheelchair. The dog is sniffing the girl's hand. The dog is wearing a blue assistance dog vest.

The following items are required to submit with your Candidate Application Packet:

  1.   A completed Candidate Application Information form

Download the ADI Candidate Application Packet
(Effective January 1, 2019, the candidate non-refundable application fee is $500 USD or 455 euros payable via credit card or bank transfer)

  1.   Proof of not-for-profit status (varies by country), registered charitable status (required for programs in applicable countries) and/or IRS 501(c)(3) designation (required for US programs)
  2.   Mission Statement 
  3.   Business Plan
  4.   Previous Year Financial Statement  
  5.   Current Annual Budget including current year projected revenue and line item expenses
  6.   Organization's Complaint Policy (see below for description)
  7.   Letter from Board President in support of the nomination
  8.   List of board members and current occupations
  9.   Completed Letter of Recommendation Form from a current ADI Accredited Member*  Download the Letter of Recommendation Form
  10.   Reference Letters from three (3) assistance dog clients who have worked with their assistance dog successfully for a minimum of one (1) year** (Client letters may be sent directly from them  via email to [email protected] or uploaded to the dropbox.)  
  11.   Candidate Application Processing Fee (Non-refundable)

*Optional – if your program is having difficulty in obtaining a letter of recommendation from an ADI Accredited member, you may elect to invite a member of the Candidate Review Committee for a site visit and in-person interview. The site visit and interview would be at the applicant program's cost for all travel expenses including an overnight stay in a hotel, if needed. All attempts will be done to keep the costs as low as possible.   The request for a site visit from the director must accompany the application acknowledging the responsibility for the cost of travel for the site visit.

**The Letter of Recommendation from an ADI Accredited Member and All Reference Letters from clients must be dated within the past three months and submitted with your Candidate Application 

Complaint Policy - Candidate applicants must have a clear written policy that outlines to clients, volunteers and staff the organization's policy and procedure in the event that they have a complaint. There must be a clear and fair process for resolving problems and complaints. The complaint process must include the option to have the matter reviewed by the board of directors if the matter cannot be resolved at a lower level in the program. ADI has a model complaint resolution available on request.

When complaints are received or problems arise concerning a potential candidate program prior to or during the application process, these issues must be addressed and explained by the program before a decision can be made.

If a program's candidate application has been denied, they may re-apply after one year.  Details on the improvements made must be included in the new candidate application.

The Candidate Application Packet, ALL required documentation, and non-refundable application fee (credit card) must be completed and returned electronically toA young boy is holding a handle attached to a blue assistance dog vest on a yellow Labrador Retriever. An adult woman is walking behind the boy and dog holding the dog's leash. The team is on a baseball field and the people are wearing uniform shirts.  Chris Diefenthaler, Executive Director. 

Please send an email requesting a dropbox folder to be opened to submit your documents to [email protected]


In North America, the Candidate Application fee (check) and reference letters can be mailed to:

Assistance Dogs International
PO Box 276
Maumee, OH 43537-0276
United States

In Europe, please contact Step Atkin, ADEu Development Coordinator at [email protected] for dropbox and bank transfer information.

Download check list