In order to qualify for a VA loan, you must prove that you are eligible based on your time of service. The only way to officially prove this is with a Certificate of Eligibility, which you receive directly from the VA. There are several ways for you to obtain this necessary piece of paper in order to qualify for your VA loan.
Gather your Paperwork
Before you can apply for your COE, you must have the necessary paperwork to obtain the certificate. Depending on the branch of military that you served and your current status, you will have various requirements to prove your eligibility.
- If you are retired from the military, you will have need DD Form 214. This form verifies the branch of military that you served as well as your reason for separation.
- If you are active in the military currently, you can provide a current statement of your service signed by an official that shows your personal identifying information as well as the time you have served, as well as any off time.
- If you are currently serving in the Reserves or National Guard and do not have any active duty, you can provide a current statement of your service with the same information as an active military personnel would provide with the addition of the number of years of service.
- If you are discharged from the National Guard, you will need to provide NGB Form 22 which reports your separation from the service as well as the reason and time served.
- If you are discharged from the Reserves you will need your statement of Retirement Points and a statement regarding your state of service to ensure that it was an honorable separation.
- If you are surviving spouse, you can provide VA Form 26-1817 along with your veteran’s DD Form 214 if you have it.
Obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility
Once you have the required paperwork, you can apply for your actual COE, which you need in hand in order to qualify for a VA loan. There are several ways to apply for the COE.
- The most common way to apply for the COE is to let the lender handle it. Lenders that have access to the Web LGY portal can obtain your COE within a few seconds. The caveat to this ability, however, is the need to have all of the required data with the VA. If the VA does not have enough information to process the request, you may have to do it on your own.
- You can apply for the COE on your own online as well. This is done in the eBenefits portal, where you can gain access to all of your VA benefits. You simply login and click on Certificate of Eligibility. You can receive your COE quickly with this method.
- You also have the option to secure your COE via the mail. This is obviously the slowest method, but if you fill out VA Form 26-1880 you can request your certificate by mail.
- If you are a surviving spouse, you should fill out VA Form 26-1817 to receive approval for the VA loan.
Starting the process of obtaining your Certificate of Eligibility is one of the most important things you can do to get your VA loan process started. Without the certificate, the lender cannot send the loan package to the VA for final approval, which can slow down the process of closing on your loan. The use of the internet certainly helps to speed the process along, but if you have any snags along the way, you will want to get this taken care of ahead of time.