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A VA loan is an incredible benefit offered to men and women of the armed forces who meet certain eligibility criteria. Not only are the benefits exclusive to veterans, they provide opportunities that you can’t get with other loans, like the ability to refinance your home up to 100% of its worth, no down payments on a home purchase, and more!
But to take advantage of the benefits offered by a VA loan, you have to prove you’re eligible. In order to do that, you need to have a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). We’ll go over how to get your certificate, but let’s get back to basics first.
What Is a COE from the VA? How Does It Work?
The Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs is a document that gives you the right to purchase a home with a VA loan. To qualify for a VA loan, you must have one of the following requirements:
- Served 181 days during peacetime (active duty)
- Served 90 days during war time (active duty)
- Served six years in the Reserves or National Guard
- Are the surviving spouse of a service member who was killed in the line of duty
The COE, or Form 26-1880, proves to your lender that you, on behalf of the government, are qualified to receive the loan.
Where Do I Get a VA Certificate of Eligibility?
This form will ask you for information about your current living situation and your dates of military service. It is recommended that you provide your proof of service form along with the COE. This is the DD Form 214 (which you can obtain online if you don’t have a copy). For veterans who entered the service after September 7, 1980, and were discharged after serving fewer than two years, proof of service is required.
You can apply online or print out a request for your Certificate of Eligibility online and submit it to the VA for approval. Alternatively, a VA-approved lender like Quicken Loans can request this certificate for you.
How Long Does It Take to Get a COE?
Depending on your method of application, going through the VA to get your Certificate of Eligibility could take up to six weeks.
If you go through a VA-approved lender like Quicken Loans, we have automated systems that could help us pull your Certificate of Eligibility in the majority of cases.
When Does a COE Expire?
A Certificate of Eligibility usually doesn’t expire. The one time you need to get a new one is if you got yours while you were on active duty. If this was the case, you’ll need to get a new one upon your discharge.
Right now, 30-year fixed rates on VA loans are still pretty low. It simply makes sense to apply for your VA loan today. To have a Quicken Loans VA loan specialist request a COE for you, contact us today! You can also give us a call at (800) 785-4788. If you have any questions, you can leave them for us in the comments.
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