You can enroll in the Veterans Affairs’ many benefit programs for honorably-discharged service members, including the VA Home Loan. It is the most affordable and flexible home loan option on the market period, whether your active-duty or a veteran.

But you can’t just walk into a home loan lender's office and claim to be military: you have to prove it. Wearing your uniform or flashing your military ID will not be sufficient for the VA to provide a loan. You need a document called a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), along with fulfilling certain service requirements.

This document will serve as the proof of service you need to help you start your journey towards homeownership with a VA Home Loan. Read more to learn about a Certificate of Eligibility and how to get one.

What is a COE?

The Certificate of Eligibility is a Department of Veterans Affairs document that proves qualified military service. This document also explains your VA Loan Entitlement code and other standards, such as whether you must pay the VA funding fee or not.

Many choose to have this document in hand before shopping for a home or meeting with a lender. But they will not require it upfront and they can help you obtain it by guiding you through the process.

You may begin the home search and loan journey before obtaining your COE if you are confident of your eligibility. But the lender must have the document before closing on your new home.

Who qualifies for a COE?

Qualified service members are eligible to obtain a COE. Qualified service members are Veterans, Active Duty Military members, members of the Reserves and National Guard, and surviving spouses of military members killed due to a service-related injury.

However, the VA will only support honorably-discharged military and your family cannot receive the VA Home Loan if you left on bad terms.

How do I obtain a COE?

There are three options for obtaining your COE: directly through your lender, through your online portal, or the mail.

Getting your COE directly through your lender is arguably the most straightforward and most hassle-free option of the three. VA-approved lenders can access the government’s automated database of service members. This will give you a COE in hand within seconds.

You may also choose to obtain your COE online before meeting with a lender. To do this, simply create an account or log in to your ebenefits portal through the VA and apply for your COE online.

We recommend downloading and filling out VA Form 26-1880 if you prefer snail mail. Then, send it through the post office to obtain a paper copy straight to your door.

Do I need additional paperwork?

Yes, there is additional paperwork you may need with your COE in many cases. For veterans, other documents are typically required, such as discharge paperwork or your certificate of release.

If you are actively-duty, you will need to submit service documentation on official military letterhead. This document should include your name, branch and service information, and essential service dates.

The VA requires National Guard or Reserve members to submit a retirement points statement through NGB Form 23 along with honorable service evidence. Active members should send a statement of active service.

Surviving spouses also qualify for VA Home Loan benefits. A few additional documents are required as proof, such as VA Form 21P-534EZ to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits.

Also, VA Form 26-1817 is a Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility. These, along with the service member’s discharge paperwork, are required to receive a COE.

Finding a Qualified VA Lender

Qualifying for a VA Home Loan requires many steps. And one of the first is to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility. However, you can start working with our team today and we can get you moving toward the home you’ve sacrificed for.

Our team can help you walk through how to improve your credit score, review your service eligibility, and answer any questions you have. We’re dedicated to serving you through every step of The VA Home Loan Journey and providing an excellent experience.

Jimmy Vercellino’s direct line is (602).908.5849 and you can reach him personally to get started with your VA Loan. Another welcoming Va Loans for Vets team member can assist you if Jimmy is unavailable and put you in touch soon.