Getting A VA Certificate Of Eligibility: Everything You Need To Know

6 Min Read
Updated Dec. 7, 2023
Written By
Kara Porter
family running into father's arms who is returning home

Are you looking into getting a VA loan that provides you with opportunities that other loans don’t? In order to take advantage of these benefits, you first need to prove that you’re eligible with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). A VA COE is a document that confirms your eligibility for a VA loan and shows that you meet the requirements set by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about a VA COE, including what it is, how to get it and how it works.

Why Do You Need A VA Certificate Of Eligibility?

As a veteran or active duty service member, your COE plays a crucial role in helping you qualify for a VA loan and receive the benefits you’re entitled to. The COE serves as proof of your military service. Lenders use your COE to determine the amount of your VA entitlement and if you’re required to pay the VA funding fee. The funding fee is a percentage of the loan amount that goes directly to the VA and is used to support its loan program. Without your COE, lenders cannot process your loan application, and you won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits that come with this loan. Therefore, it’s essential to obtain your COE as soon as possible to ensure a smooth and hassle-free application process.

See What You Qualify For

Requirements For Obtaining A Certificate Of Eligibility

To apply for a VA loan, you need a COE form issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify for a VA loan, you must also meet a minimum active duty service requirement depending on if you’re a veteran or current service member and when you served.

A surviving spouse of a service member who dies in the line of duty or passed due to complications of service-related disability may also be eligible for this loan.

Find out if a VA loan is right for you.

See rates, requirements and beneifts.

How To Get A VA Home Loan Certificate Of Eligibility

Getting a COE can be done in various ways. Here’s where and how you can request to obtain the VA COE, as well as who you can reach out to for assistance in obtaining it.

Through The VA

In order to get a COE, you have to request it online through the VA’s COE request page. If you’re going to request one online, you’ll select whether you served in the military or if you’re the spouse of a service member. Then you will fill out the requested information, with your name, contact information and social security number. Afterward you will upload the necessary supporting documents, such as your military discharge paperwork or marriage certificate. Remember it’s also possible to print out a certificate of eligibility request form and submit it to your local VA office.

Through Your Mortgage Lender

Another way to obtain your COE is by asking your lender to obtain it on your behalf. Your lender will guide you through the application process and assist you in gathering all the necessary documentation. Doing so can help you save time and ensure that all the essential papers are in order for you to get a VA COE.

The process of obtaining a COE can be complicated, and having all the necessary documents in place is vital. Your lender can help you navigate the process and ensure that you have everything you need. Keep in mind, though, not all lenders are able to obtain COEs due to VA guidelines.

How Long Does It Take To Get A VA Loan Certificate Of Eligibility?

Obtaining a COE for a home loan through the VA can be a time-consuming process. The VA has set a goal of an average of 5 business days to process COE applications. However, in some cases, it can take longer. To help streamline the process, it’s recommended to have your proof of service documentation ready ahead of time and respond promptly to any requests from either the VA or your lender for additional information. Depending on how the certificate is requested, allowing your lender to request the COE may be the most efficient way to obtain it. Once you receive your COE, you can begin house hunting with confidence, knowing that you have met the eligibility requirements for a VA home loan.

VA Loan Certificate Of Eligibility FAQs

Now that we know the requirements for getting your COE and requesting one, let’s look at some frequently asked questions about VA Loan COE.

Does the VA certificate of eligibility expire?

A VA COE doesn’t expire, once you’re eligible, you have it. However, if you get the loan while you’re on active duty, you will later have to update or obtain a new COE once you become a veteran.

What documentation is required to request a VA COE?

To request a VA COE the borrowers need to provide proof of service, which includes:

  • Copy of form DD-214 (discharge or separation proof for veteran and current or former National Guard and Reserve members)
  • Statement of service signed by your commander, adjutant, or personnel officer (for active duty service members and current or former National Guard and Reserve members)
  • Report of Separation and record of Service for each period of service (for discharged national guard)
  • Retirement Points Statement and proof of the character of service (for discharged National Guard members)
  • Copy of your last annual retirement points (for discharged Reserve members)
  • Proof of honorable service (for discharged Reserve members)

Can I use my VA COE with any lender?

You can use your VA COE with any local lenders. These consist of private banks, credit unions and mortgage companies.

What happens if I lose my VA COE?

If you lose your VA COE, there are three ways you can apply for a new one. You can ask your lender to obtain a COE, apply online or apply by mail.

Can I still get a VA COE if I’ve had a VA loan before?

You may qualify for a VA COE if you’ve had a VA loan before. Having a VA loan in the past doesn’t mean that you’re automatically guaranteed eligibility for a future loan; you have to meet the specific requirements and eligibility criteria to apply.

The Bottom Line: Your Lender Can Help You Get A VA COE

As you can see, you can get a VA COE in multiple ways. One of the quickest methods is to have your lender request COEs on your behalf or ask them for assistance. They can guide you through the process and handle the paperwork, making the experience seamless for you. If you’re prepared to proceed, you can today.

Find A Mortgage Today and Lock In Your Rate!

Get matched with a lender that will work for your financial situation.


Recommended For You