What Is a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility?

Robin Kocherhans Robin Kocherhans / Published Oct 24, 2018, 2:05 PM

Flying American flag

In order to finish getting a VA home loan, you'll need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA, even if you qualify for a VA loan in every other way.

That's because the COE is the official document that proves that your military service entitles you to a VA loan, as well as any conditions of your qualification for a VA loan.

In addition, your COE lists the actual dollar amount of your entitlement. Lenders need to know what your entitlement is in order to determine how much the funding fee should be.

How to Apply for Your Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan

Though there are a few ways to get your COE, the easiest and fastest is to let your lender apply for it on your behalf. Lenders have a connection to a VA electronic system and can get a response in seconds.

If you'd like, you can instead mail in an application for a VA loan Certificate of Eligibility yourself. Simply print out VA Form 26-1880 and mail it to the address corresponding to your state, which you'll find on page 3 of the form.

Most veterans, however, ask lenders to apply for the VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility for them. You can even allow several different lenders to do this while you're shopping around for different rates and terms.

Using the eBenefits Portal

Another way to apply for a VA loan Certificate of Eligibility yourself is through the VA's online eBenefits portal. If you've never used it, click the blue "Register" button at the top of the page and follow the directions to create your own credentials.

Otherwise, click on "Login" and use your login information. Then, click on "Apply." Under "Housing," click on Certificate of Eligibility for Home Loan and follow the instructions.

Special Instructions for Surviving Spouses

Unmarried surviving spouses need to fill out a different form in order to get a VA home loan: VA Form 26-1817. When you complete it, mail it to the address listed for your state on page 2 of the form.

If your spouse was a veteran who died after his or her service, the VA may take 2–3 months to verify that the death was caused by a service-related disability. However, if the VA has already decided on the cause of death, the eligibility approval could come much faster.

Let Us Help You Request Your Certificate of Eligibility

Remember, getting your Certificate of Eligibility is one of the first steps toward getting a VA loan. Luckily, the process for getting yours is usually very simple. If you'd like Low VA Rates to request one on your behalf, simply give us a call today.