VA home loans from the Depart of Veterans Affairs can be a huge benefit to military service members and their surviving spouses when it comes to homeownership. They have relaxed credit requirements, no down payment in some cases, no private mortgage insurance, and competitive interest rates. If you qualify for one of these helpful loans, one of the important steps you will need to take is obtaining a certificate of eligibility (COE) from the VA.
What is a COE?
A certificate of eligibility is a document that proves to a lender that you are authorized to apply for a VA loan. It also helps lenders determine the size of your entitlement or the amount of money the VA will guarantee for you. Those who qualify for this status include military veterans, active-duty service members, current or former National Guard or Reserve members, and surviving spouses of veterans.
3 Ways to Get a COE
There are several ways to go about getting your certificate of eligibility.
- Fill out the form in the VA eBenefits Portal via the Internet.
- Mail in an application to the Atlanta Regional Loan Center by U.S. mail
- Access the VA Online Portal through your VA-approved lender. This is often the quickest option, as lenders have access to an online application that can issue a COE immediately if all the right information is in the system’s database.
If you apply for a COE while on active duty it will be good for as long as you are serving; you will have to apply for another one, if needed, after you retire. If you are retired and have never applied for one before, it will never expire for you.
Depending on your situation you will need several different pieces of information and documents to obtain your COE. The most basic ones include, your full name, date of birth, social security number, and the date you entered duty. You might also need to provide the name of the command providing information, the duration of any lost time in the service, your DD214 or other discharge documents if you are retired, or your spouse’s discharge paperwork if you are a surviving spouse. If you are a spouse not receiving Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) you will also need to provide a completed Application for DIC, Death Pension and/or Accrued Benefits, and a copy of your marriage license, and the Veteran’s death certificate.
Just because you obtain a COE does not mean you automatically qualify for a VA mortgage. You will still need to meet the financial requirements set by your lender. Talk to your VA-approved lender about any income, asset, or credit prerequisites for qualification.
We are an excellent source of help for understanding your VA entitlement. It contains all sorts of codes that may be difficult for borrowers to decipher but VA lenders are trained and experienced in translating it all into plain English.
Obtaining a certificate of eligibility is one extra step needed to get a VA loan, but the process can be quick and easy with our help.
These materials are not from HUD, VA, or FHA and were not approved by HUD or any other government agency.