A VA loan is a flexible, $0-down payment mortgage loan option, partially backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. People utilize VA loans to purchase a primary property or refinance an already existing mortgage. One of the first steps to getting a VA loan is receiving a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility. Here is how you request and receive this certificate of eligibility. With any additional questions or assistance, contact a team member today!

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Eligibility

Before requesting a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility, ensure that you are truly eligible for this type of loan product. There are a few circumstances that qualify you for a VA loans:

  1. Served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime.

  1. Served 181 consecutive days of active service (not during wartime).

  1. Have 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves.

  1. A spouse of a service member who passed away during duty or a service-related disability.

There are also additional factors that could qualify you for VA loans:

  1. Served from November 1, 1955 (Vietnam War Era).

  1. A service member or Veterans mobilized to perform full-time National Guard duty for not less than 90 cumulative days, including at least 30 days consecutive.

  1. A veteran, service member, or certain surviving spouse with VA-guaranteed home loans in areas that the President declares are major disasters and your residence has substantial damage. With this, you are now eligible to a first time use funding fee charge on a new VA-guaranteed loan rather than a subsequent use funding fee. The new VA-guaranteed loan must be for the repair or construction of the dwelling and closed within three years of the presidential declaration of the disaster.

If any of the above applies to you, you are eligible for a VA loan. See if you meet the requirements now.

Requesting a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibly

First things first, you will need to come prepared. It is important to gather the information you will need to receive this certificate depending on your status. Here is a breakdown of what you need for each qualifying status:

Veteran:

  • Copy of your discharge or separation papers (DD214).

Active-Duty Service Member:

Statement of service—signed by your commander, adjutant, or personnel officer—showing this information:

  • Full name
  • Social Security number.
  • Date of birth.
  • The date you entered duty.
  • The duration of any lost time.
  • The name of the command providing the information.

Current or Former Activated National Guard Member:

  • Copy of your DD214 or other discharge documents.

Current or Former Activated National Guard Member with 90+ Days of Active-Duty Service Including 30+ Consecutive Days: Copy of one of these documents that shows your activation date:

  • Your DD214 that shows 32 USC sections 316, 502, 503, 504, or 505 activation.
  • An annual point statement.
  • Your DD220 with accompanying orders.

Current or Former Activated Reserve Member:

  • Copy of your DD214 or other discharge documents.

Current Member of the National Guard or Reserve Who Was Never Active: Statement of service—signed by your commander, adjutant, or personnel officer—showing this information:

  • Full name.
  • Social Security number.
  • Date of birth.
  • The date you entered duty.
  • Your total number of creditable years of service.
  • The duration of any lost time.
  • The name of the command providing the information.

Discharged Member of the National Guard Who Was Never Activated:

  • Your Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22) for each period of National Guard service, and
  • Your Retirement Points Statement (NGB Form 23) and proof of the character of service

Discharged Member of the Reserve Who Was Never Activated:

  • A copy of your latest annual retirement points, and
  • Proof of your honorable service

Surviving Spouse of a Veteran Who Died on Active Duty or Who Has a Service Related Disability:

  • Veteran’s discharge documents (DD214)
  • If you’re receiving Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC)- a Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility—Unmarried Surviving Spouses (VA Form 26-1817)
  • If you’re not receiving DIC benefits-
  • A completed Application for DIC, Death Pension and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21P-534EZ), and
  • A copy of your marriage license, and
  • The Veteran’s death certificate

How To Request COE

Once you are prepared, you will have to request the Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You can request this:

  • Online HERE OR,
  • By filling out Request for a Certificate of Eligibility (VA Form 26-1880) and mailing it to the address on the form

How VA Loans Work

After you assure you are eligible and have the certificate, you will have to get pre-qualified. For this, you need to find a VA lender and receive an estimate on how much of a house you can afford.

Following, you will have to get pre-approved. This is a very significant step in the loan process. Your lender will verify your information to give a final decision on your purchasing capabilities. As a result of verification, you will be issued a preapproval letter which puts you in a more advantageous position when buying a home.

Once you are ready to submit an offer, you will work with your agent to put in a competitive offer on the home.

Here is where the process deviates from a conventional loan as you’ll need to go through the VA appraisal and underwriting processes. The VA appraisal will assure that the home meets the VA’s minimum property requirements. In accordance, if the underwriters determine everything is favorable, you will be clear to close your loan.

As a result, you will close on your home loan. From there your lender will guide you through the paperwork and documents needed to complete.

VA loans are great options for those who qualify. To learn more about financing a home with a VA loan, check out the VA Home Buyer Guide. Contact a team member when you are ready to get the process started!

Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in March 2022 and has been revamped entirely for updated accuracy and comprehensiveness.

VA Home Buyer Guide