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VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) - Information & How To Apply

March 5th, 2018 7:14 AM by Jackie A. Graves

Current or past members of the U.S. military can finance up to 100 percent of their home purchase with a VA loan that has no mortgage insurance or prepayment penalties.

These loans — backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs and made by local mortgage lenders throughout the country — have a critical first step: proving you’ve met the VA’s military service requirement.

This is done with a document called the Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The VA requires that all lenders making VA-backed loans include this in their loan approval process. The fastest way to get your COE is through a lender.

Request a COE Through a Lender

All VA-approved lenders have access to a lender-only VA website that’s not accessible to consumers, and they can usually obtain your COE within minutes on the same day you apply with them.

Apply for a COE Online

You can also apply for a COE online yourself using the VA’s eBenefits portal. If you don’t already have a login, you can register. Call the VA’s eBenefits Help Desk at 800-983-0937 for help with the site.

Apply for a COE by Mail

The VA also allows you to apply for a COE by mail by filling out VA form 26-1880 and mailing it in. This process can take several weeks, however, so one of the online options is recommended. It’s a good idea to refer to this for the information required by the VA even if you’re completing the process online.

The COEs for each category of eligible VA borrower — whether veteran, active duty service member, current or former National Guard or Reserve member, etc. — have different requirements.

Once you’ve obtained your COE, a VA lender will approve you in much the same way they would any other borrower. Be prepared to provide all of your tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and any other information your lender requests.

The COE process is very easy for experienced VA lending officers, so you’ll want to find a lender who specializes in VA loans in your area. You can also estimate the cost of a VA loan using our VA mortgage calculator.

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Posted by Jackie A. Graves on March 5th, 2018 7:14 AM


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