Your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is the first step in confirming whether or not you can qualify for a VA loan. It verifies that you meet the VA's minimum service requirement, and it also indicates how much entitlement you have.
There are a few ways to get your COE, but the easiest and fastest is to have your lender get it for you. Though you can request it yourself online or via mail, it only takes minutes for your lender to do it. And don't worry—you won't be obligated to work with them just cause they've helped you get it.
Basically, if you served in the military, there's a pretty good chance your service qualifies, as long as you served enough time during an approved time period. The three most common eligibility categories that apply to most veterans are:
However, there are some additional service length requirements for specific periods of time. You can view the whole list on the VA's website.
Some former servicemembers may still qualify for a VA loan, even if they don't meet any of the above requirements. These exemptions are only granted if you were discharged because of:
From the VA:
*While the VA doesn't have a minimum credit score requirement, a lot of lenders set their own. This is called a lender overlay. While Low VA Rates doesn't normally use overlays, the coronavirus pandemic has affected the market in such a way that we currently do require a 550 minimum FICO score for IRRRLs.
A veteran's or servicemember's spouse may receive VA loan benefits if they do not remarry before 57 and if the veteran:
Those who have served in other organizations may also qualify. These include: