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Everything You Need to Know About VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility
5 minute read
May 29, 2024

The VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is essential for veterans and active-duty service members seeking a VA loan.

The COE proves your eligibility for the VA loan benefit, which can significantly help you secure favorable loan terms.

Understanding how to obtain and utilize your COE is the first step toward leveraging your military benefits to achieve homeownership.

This guide will walk you through the process, ensuring you have all the information to complete the VA loan application successfully.

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Understanding VA loans

VA loans are mortgage loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) designed to help veterans, active-duty service members, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners.

Benefits of VA Loans

VA loans offer several advantages, including no down payment, competitive interest rates, and no private mortgage insurance (PMI).

These benefits make homeownership more accessible and affordable for veterans and active-duty service members.

Additionally, VA loans often have more lenient credit requirements than conventional ones, allowing those with less-than-perfect credit to qualify.

Borrowers can also enjoy lower closing costs, as the VA limits the amount lenders can charge for specific fees.

Types of VA Loans

There are various types of VA loans, such as purchase loans, interest rate reduction refinance loans (IRRRL), and cash-out refinance loans.

  • Purchase loans: These are designed to help veterans and service members buy homes at competitive interest rates, often without requiring a down payment or private mortgage insurance.
  • IRRRL: Also known as a streamline refinance, these allow borrowers to refinance their existing VA loan to secure a lower interest rate or more favorable loan terms with minimal paperwork and faster processing.
  • Cash-out refinance loans: Enable homeowners to access their home equity by refinancing their mortgage for more than they owe and taking the difference in cash.

The difference can be used for various purposes, such as home improvements, debt consolidation, or other financial needs.

Additionally, the VA offers Adapted Housing Grants for veterans with service-connected disabilities, which can be used to purchase, build, or modify a home to suit their needs better.

What is a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility?

The VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a document that verifies to lenders that you meet the necessary service requirements to obtain a VA loan.

The COE is crucial in the VA loan process, confirming eligibility and ensuring access to VA loan benefits.

Lenders use the COE to determine a borrower's eligibility for VA loan benefits, which include no down payment and lower interest rates.

The COE also helps streamline the loan approval process, giving lenders confidence in the borrower's qualification for the benefits associated with VA loans.

Eligibility Criteria for VA Loan COE

Veterans, active-duty service members, and National Guard and Reserves members must meet specific service requirements to qualify for a COE.

This typically includes a minimum period of active service, which varies depending on the era of service and duty status.

Surviving spouses

Surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-related disabilities may also be eligible for a COE, provided they have not remarried or remarried after a certain age.

National Guard and Reserves members

Members of the National Guard and Reserves must have completed six years of service or have been called to active duty to qualify.

Active duty service members

Active duty members become eligible after 90 continuous days of service during wartime or 181 days during peacetime.

Additionally, those discharged due to a service-connected disability may also be eligible.

How to Apply for a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility

  • Online application: Applicants can apply online through the VA's eBenefits portal.
  • Applying by mail: The application can be submitted by mail using VA Form 26-1880.
  • Applying through a lender: Many lenders have access to the VA's Web LGY system and can obtain the COE on behalf of the applicant.

Documents Needed for VA Loan COE Application

  • Veterans: Veterans typically must provide a copy of their discharge or separation papers (DD214).
  • Active duty members: Active duty members need a current statement of service signed by their commander or personnel officer.
  • National Guard and Reserve members: They must provide a statement of service or a copy of their retirement points statement.

Steps to Obtain VA Loan COE

Obtaining a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) involves a straightforward process that ensures veterans and service members can access their well-deserved benefits efficiently.

Step-by-Step Process

  • Determine eligibility
  • Gather necessary documents
  • Choose the application method (online, mail, lender)
  • Submit the application
  • Await confirmation and receive the COE

Common application mistakes

Avoid errors such as incorrect information, missing documents, or incomplete forms to prevent delays.

Tips for a smooth application process

Double-check all information, ensure all documents are current, and use the online application for faster processing.

Using the VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility

Once you have obtained your VA Loan COE, it’s essential to understand how to use it effectively in the home-buying process.

Present the COE to your lender when applying for a VA loan to verify your eligibility and access the benefits associated with the VA loan program.

This document proves that you meet the necessary service requirements and allows your lender to proceed with the loan application process.

The COE also indicates the maximum amount you are eligible for based on VA loan limits.

This information helps you and your lender understand the financing options and lets you plan your home purchase accordingly.

What to do if your COE is denied

If your COE application is denied, review the reasons provided, correct any issues, and reapply.

Common reasons for denial include incomplete applications, missing documentation, or discrepancies in service records.

Seek assistance from the VA or a qualified lender if necessary, as they can provide guidance and support to help you resolve any issues and successfully obtain your COE.


How long does it take to get a COE?

The processing time varies, but online applications are typically faster.

Can I use the COE more than once?

Take the next step with My Perfect Mortgage

Ready to secure your VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility and start your journey toward homeownership?

Contact My Perfect Mortgage today to maximize your VA loan benefits and achieve your dream of owning a home.

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