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Applying for and obtaining a VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the department of veterans affairs is the first step to getting a VA-backed home loan. Without a VA COE, lenders won’t have confirmation that you qualify for the specific type of home loan that is offered to veterans and active service members. Once you provide your lender with your COE as proof that you are eligible, you’ll be able to continue with the remainder of your loan application process. 

How Do I Obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility?

Your certificate of eligibility can be obtained by submitting an application to the department of veterans affairs. The application requirements are different for different members of the military, read below to find out what may be required for your application:

If you’re a veteran, you’ll need:

  • A copy of your discharge papers

If you’re an active service member, you’ll need:

  • Your full name
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your date of birth
  • The date you entered duty
  • The duration of any lost time
  • The name of the command providing the information

There are different requirements for surviving spouses, current and former national guard members, current and former reserve members, and discharged reserve and national guard members. Refer to the department of veterans affairs website to find out what documents you’ll need to complete your application for a VA Certificate of Eligibility. 

VA COE Application Process

You can apply for your Certificate of Eligibility on the va.gov website under the eBenefits portal, by mail, or, in some cases, by web using the Web LGY system. 

If you submit your application in the mail, you can expect to get your certificate within 4 to 6 weeks if you meet the eligibility requirements. If you fill out the application online, you can have your certificate within minutes if you meet the eligibility requirements. 

VA COEs don’t expire, but if you ever lose your COE, you can easily reapply for a new certificate online or by mail or through a lender. If you obtained your first COE while on active duty and your status changes before you apply for another home loan, you’ll need to reapply with your updated status.

What is Shown on My Certificate of Eligibility?

When you receive your certificate of eligibility, you’ll notice there are 5 sections on your COE. It can be a little confusing trying to decode the COE, but don’t fret, your lender will know what to do! The five sections of the Certificate of Eligibility are:

  • Entitlement Codes
  • The VA Loan Funding Fee
  • Prior VA Loans (or the lack of)
  • Your VA Loan Entitlement Amount
  • Conditions

My Lender is Having Issues With My Certificate of Eligibility, What Can I Do?

If a lender isn’t able to immediately view or access your COE, it could be because the automated system can’t determine your eligibility. There are several ways that your Certificate of Eligibility can be hindered, including:

  • Service members who had a prior VA loan go into foreclosure.
  • Service members who were discharged under conditions other than honorable.
  • Some Reservists and National Guard members.
  • Unmarried surviving spouses.

This issue occasionally arises, and there’s no reason to panic if it happens to you. Your lender will likely be able to help you figure it out using their experience in the realm of VA loans, or they’ll reach out directly to the VA to get the issue sorted out.

VA Home Loans with Finance of America Home Loans

Getting your COE is just one step in the VA home loan process. When you’re ready to continue the process of obtaining a VA home loan, Finance of America is here to help. Our VA-savvy team of experts can help you get your dream home with the best financing possible. Get in touch with us today to get started.

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