VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

If you are a service member, VA home loan eligibility you may be eligible for a $0 down mortgage know as a VA loan. The loan is provided by banks, Military Spouse Benefits Companies, and other private lenders and guaranteed by the US department of Veteran's Affairs (VA).

During the VA home loan process, lenders ask for proof of the veteran's service. This is where Certificate of Eligibility (COE) comes in handy. COE serves as an official proof that the lender has met the minimum service requirement. There are several ways to obtain a certificates of eligibility. However, the process can be quite exacting. Instead of bombarding you with a lot of details at once, let go step by step. 

Let's get started.

What is a Certificate of Eligibility?

Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a vital document when buying, refinancing, or building a home using a VA home loan before military relocation. It is the jump-off point for VA loan application process and proves to the lender that the applicant has met the VA service threshold. 

So what is the service requirement for obtaining a VA loan? Well, below are the requirements. 

• Service during peacetime spanning 181 days

• 90 days of service during war tine

• Service in the national guard or reserve for six years

• Surviving spouses of a service member who die line of duty are eligible

VA home loan eligibility who meet the minimum requirement can proceed to apply for the Certificates of eligibility. You can obtain a COE in three ways.

1. Online Application

Log in to the Benefits portal and create a new account. If you already have an account, you only need to go straight to the login box. To get login credentials, click on the Register box and follow instructions displayed on the screen. If you are having problems, you can contact customer support through the benefits help desk 1-800-983-0937.

2. Email Application

Download a form and fill in the required details. Once you have filled in, send the form to the Regional Loan Center. Surviving spouses must apply mailing VA Form 26-1817. Veterans Affairs must determine the cause of death was service-connected disability if the veteran died after service. In this case, you may have to wait for 2 to 3 months before the PCS'ing is done. 

As for Help from the Lender

This is probably the easiest way to apply for Certificates of eligibility. Ask your lender to take you through the process of PCS'ing . VA approved lenders such as Veterans United can obtain your CEO in minutes from a special database as you wait. The Web LGY system which is an internet-based application can establish eligibility and issue COE in seconds. However, the system does not process all cases. It only works for members who VA has sufficient data in their records. It is advisable for veterans to enquire about the methods of obtaining Certificates. 

VA home loan eligibility information is vital to both the lender and the applicant before any Military relocation. For instance, it shows if a veteran is exempted from paying the VA loan funding fee. It also shows your VA loan entitlement. For instance people using the program for the first time have 100% entitlement to utilize for a VA home loan

There is an array of information on the COE, including social security number, name, and service branch. While most of the information is pretty straightforward, there is a confusing part to many applicants known as entitlement code. Entitlement code is a two-digit number showing military service history and whether you are excluded from VA funding fees. 

Purple Heart recipients, eligible surviving spouses, and veterans receiving service-related disabilities are exempted from this fee. Examples of entitlement codes include 01 world war II, 09, Post Vietnam, 10 Gulf War, and 05 Entitlement Restored. As the names suggest, most of the codes are connected to a period of military service. 

The VA loan Application Process

When applying for a VA loan, the first thing is showing the lender that you qualify for the facility. This is where the COE comes in. It tells the lender that you qualify for a VA mortgage consideration.

Here is an important point. Getting a COE does not mean that you automatically qualify for the mortgage. You must qualify financially, just like other credit line. The COE only shows you are an eligible loan application. VA COE application procedure depends on the applicant's status 

Veterans Requirements for COE application

During the COE application, the veterans are required to submit a discharge report such as DD form. Any Reserve/Guard equivalents will also get the job done. Parts of the discharge document must show the narrative reason for separation and the character of service.

Requirements of Active Duty

The applicant is required to present a statement of service either individually or through the lender. The statement shows the name of the applicant, their Date of birth and Social security number. As the applicant you are required to show the date you entered active duty and indicate any lost time during service. The document must also contain the signature of the personnel office, adjutant, or unit commander.

Requirements for Current or Former Reserve member or National Guard members 

Reserve or National Guard members are required to present a report of discharge. Also, the paperwork must contain a character of service and the narrative reason for separation sections. 

Guard/Reserve Members (Without Federal Service)

Reserve and Guard members who haven’t joined federal service are required to submit their full names, Date of birth, duty entry date, social security number, and total years creditable to service. But that is not all. The application should also contain a service statement from commander of the unit. Personnel officer or adjutant’s statement also suffices. The application must show the name of the command giving the information.

Reserve/Guard with Federal Service

Members of Guard and reserve who have served in the federal service are required to provide 

• NGB Form 22, Separation and Record Service report for National Guard service period

• NGB Form 23, Retirement points Accounting and proof of the character of service 

• A copy of the statement of annual retirement points and proof of honorable service 

Application Requirement for Surviving Spouses

• VA form 26-1817

• DD24 of the veteran 

• Social security of the spouse and veteran 

Surviving Partner not Receiving DIC 

These spouses are required to deliver the following documents to the VA compensation and pension office. 

• Marriage license 

• VA form 21P-534-1RE

• DD214 

• Death certificate. Alternatively the spouse can submit DD Form 1300

Ineligible Service 

You are not eligible for VA financing if you are in active duty for training in the reserves or active duty for training in National Guard. 

Submitting COE

You can now start the application process after gathering all the necessary documents ready. The easiest way to make application is through the participating lender. However, if you prefer making online application for VA COE either through simply use the Department of Veterans Affairs e-Benefits portal. 

Take Away

VA certificates of eligibility (COE) document tell the lender that the applicant meets the requirement for military service VA home loan eligibility or surviving spouse eligibility for VA Loan. You can obtain the document from VA approved lenders or request through the Military Spouse Benefits portal requesting for Certificates of Eligibility form, and sending it to the regional loan center through email. However, you need evidence to show that you are a veteran, service member, or a Guard or Reserve member. If you have used the entitlement to get a loan, the initial entitlement reduces significantly. Once you have all the documentation ready, head over to a VA approved lender and own that house you have always dreamt of.

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