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Smiling soldier reunited with his son after coming back from war.

As of June 25, 2018, we’ve made some changes to the way our mortgage approvals work. You can read more about our Power Buyer ProcessTM.

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 COE does not expire. However, you will need to obtain a new COE every time you use your VA Home Loan Benefit to purchase or refinance because COEs are only good for one loan transaction.

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.

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. I used my VA loan for my first home when I was married, I was divorced in 2006 and my ex spouse was awarded the home and eventually refinanced in 2009. I am not a party to her deed. How do I get a new COE without this former home on my COE.

    1. Hi Jose:

      Assuming she refinanced into something that wasn’t a VA loan, you should be able to get your entitlement reinstated. I recommend speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. We can work with you and the VA to help you with this. Thanks for reaching out!

  2. I had a foreclosure in 2011. I got a new COE and it shows that I have an entitlement of 6500 and the VA loss was 11,000. Would it make more sense to pay back the 11,000 or to use it as a down payment?

    1. Hi Brian:

      Thank you for your service! In your situation, I think the best thing to do would be to speak with one of our Home Loan Experts and they can go over the various options you might have. You can get in touch with them at (888) 980-6716. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Sam:

      You can use your certificate of eligibility again, but only after your wife refinances into a different type of loan (FHA, conventional, etc.). I recommend speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 about your options. Thank you for your service!

  3. Hi. I have questions… I have access to my COE but it on shows what amount I applied for back in 2011 to purchase the home I am in. My credit score was not near as high as it is now, I make probably 4-5 times the amount I did back then, and I am much better off nowadays. My family has grown by 2 more since we bought this house. We are a family of 5. We have really outgrown it. I have seen you have to sell to use again, but I have also seen you can use it (remaining entitlement) while currently using. I do not plan to keep the house we are living in, I would love to list it. I just need to know how to or if I can buy using VA now vs waiting for the sell of my current home? Is there a way to see if I have more entitlement than I did back in 2011? Can I purchase a new home for my family and I using VA loan, while this one is still under VA loan but on the market?

    1. Hi Phil:

      VA entitlement isn’t something you gain more of because it’s not tied to a moving property value. That’s not to say you don’t have entitlement left over, but this gets a little bit complicated and very dependent on your personal situation so I recommend talking the whole thing through with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716.

  4. I had a VA loan and 2015 I had to do a deed in lieu because of losing my job. Did this cause me to lose my eligibility for a VA loan?

    1. Hi David:

      Thank you for your service! Unfortunately, it’s likely that you’ve lost your VA entitlement due to the deed in lieu unless you were able to pay back the VA. That said, you may have other options. I recommend speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. They’ll be able to go over your situation in detail.

  5. For active duty members who are already pre-approved. Do you have to provide orders or an end of enlistment date to close on the loan?

    1. Hi Tim:

      I can tell you that if you’re on active duty, we would just need your Certificate of Eligibility. If occupancy was a concern, you should know that if you are on active duty, you’re considered to be occupying the property regardless of whether you’re there or not. If you’d like, one of our Home Loan Experts can go over your situation and give you more information at (888) 980-6716. If you happen to be currently outside the country, please call (888) 855-1822.

  6. I would like a Cash Out Loan on my residence in POintblank Texas. I breought this house for 61000 and owe 44000.
    I need the cash to pay off high credit cards of 10000 and make improvement to my house like update attic insulation, add on and build or buy a garage.

    1. Hi Roger:

      Thank you for your service! We can certainly help you look into options for a cash-out refinance. If you want to get started online, you can apply through Rocket Mortgage. One of our Home Loan Experts would also be able to assist you if you give us a call at (888) 980-6716. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and happy Veterans Day.

  7. My brother is trying to get a VA loan through another lender. He had a short sale on his last home which was a VA Loan. His certificate of eligibility states as follows: Loan Amount: 413,400, Date of Loan 8/17/07, Entitlement Charged $103,350, status, Compromise.

    The lender we are trying to go through indicates they cannot do the loan based on this. Does this indicate that he still has $300,00 allowable entitlement available to use?

    Would Quicken Loans still be able to give a VA loan based on this eligibility. We are trying to get a loan in the amount of $215,000 to purchase a home. Any assistance would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Kelley:

      I think the problem your brother is running into is the short sale itself. Since VA loans are backed by the U.S. government, the policies across lenders are probably very similar if not exactly the same. We cannot do a VA loan if a short sale has shown up on the person’s credit report within the last two years. If it hasn’t been at least that long, he’ll have to wait. If it has been long enough, he can call one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 to go over his situation in greater detail. Thanks!

    1. Hi Evelyn:

      In order to qualify for a VA loan as a surviving spouse, your husband has to have died from a service related disability. What I can tell you is that if you believe his cancer was caused by something he was exposed to in Vietnam, you can fill out this VA form and if they determine you’re eligible, we could help you. Either way, if you give us a call at (888) 980-6716, we can go over options.

    1. Hi Becky:

      Where did you see this? In nearly all cases, a veteran has to occupy the home as their primary residence. The one exception is if they’re a surviving spouse of someone who has passed in service or as a result of a service-connected disability. Now, your dad could theoretically buy the home, stay in it for a while, and have you assume the loan with the permission of the lender and/or servicer of the mortgage as well as the VA. That’s a bit of a complex process. Your father would also lose his ability to get a VA home loan in the future. Here are the VA eligibility requirements.

  8. Can I take out a VA loan to purchase a lot to build a home? Can VA loans cover modular, manufactured, or mobile homes? If so are the stipulations such as the foundation or removing the wheels and/or axle?

    1. Hi Sheena:

      You can take out a VA loan to purchase a lot and build a home. I do want to let you know that of the home types you mentioned, Quicken Loans only finances modular homes. If that’s something you’re interested in, one of our Home Loan Experts would be happy to work with you at (888) 980-6716. If you do decide a manufactured or mobile home is the better route, there are lenders that specialize in those transactions that would be able to help you go over any conditions the lender or the VA might place on the state of the property. I hope this helps a little!

  9. Quicken Loans Team will pull your COE for you if you are in process with them. Thank you! I went through the process with another lender and it was a headache.

    1. Hi Jackie:

      Our minimum credit score to qualify for a VA loan is a 620 median FICO. If you would like to go over your options, you can do so through Rocket Mortgage or by speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. Thank you very much for your service!


    1. Hi Corey! We do not have access to certificates of eligibility, you’ll have to contact the Veteran’s Association for that. Hope that helps! Have a great day!

      1. Hi Ed:

        While you do have to get it through the VA, we can assist clients that are having difficulty with the process.

        Kevin Graham

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