What is a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan?

Three easy ways to get your certificate of eligiblity for a VA loan.

House with a sold signThe Certificate of Eligibility, also known as the Certificate of VA eligibility, or simply COE, is an application document that confirms your eligibility to apply for a VA loan to purchase or refinance your home. If you’re not sure what this certificate is, you’re not alone; many homebuyers are confused about what exactly the COE is and how it impacts their loan application process. Luckily, we’ve put together this article to explain all about what is a certificate of eligibility for a VA loan and how you can get one!

How Do You Get a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan?

There are three methods in which you may get your Certificate of Eligibility:

1. VA-approved lenders have access to a VA database and are typically able to get your Certificate of Eligibility in seconds.

2. Fill out an online application for your certificate of eligibility.
Visit the eBenefits portal site and sign in with your existing account or create a new one.

3. Apply via mail.
You may print this form, complete it, and mail it back to the address shown on the form.

The Lender Can Get the Certificate of Eligibility

Veterans can usually have their Certificate of Eligibility pulled from the government's computerized database by a lender in most circumstances. If a certificate is necessary, lenders may need the Veteran's Social Security number and date of birth.

Member copy 4 of the DD-214 is often considered the most accurate copy, since it provides the most detailed information on the Veteran's military service. You can tell which copy of the paper to submit in for review by taking a quick look in the bottom right corner of the document.

How to Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (Coe) as an Active Duty Member?

Those who are still on active duty may be required to provide a recent statement of service that includes the following information:

Veteran's full name
Active duty entry date
Branch of service
Separation date as of today
Date of birth
Duration of lost time, if any
Last Discharge
Name of the command providing the information
Social Security Number
Type of Discharge, and
The assignment unit and the current duty location

How to Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) as a Reserve or National Guard member?

Reservists and National Guard troops, unlike active-duty military personnel, do not have a single discharge certificate, such as a DD-214, to reflect their service. It is ideal if they can submit their most current annual retirement points summary, as well as proof of their honorable service. Members of the Army or Air National Guard may submit their separation and record of service using NGB Form 22, a Report of Separation and Record of Service, or NGB Form 23, a points' statement.

Active Reserves and National Guard members, like their colleagues in the Armed Forces, must provide a signed declaration of service that contains the relevant personal information. Furthermore, the statement must say expressly that the applicant is a current member of the Reserves or National Guard.

What steps must be taken to get an NGB Form 22 from the NGB?

To get a copy of your NGB Form 22/22A, which is issued by the National Guard Adjutant General, you must first contact the Adjutant General's Office for the state in which you served in the National Guard. Please visit the National Guard's website for further information on how to contact the National Guard.

How to Get Your COE as a Military Spouse

See Surviving Spouse Requirements

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Veteran with wifeQ. Does a Certificate of Eligibility have an expiration date?
A. Your Certificate of Eligibility remains valid indefinitely. If you're just getting started with the loan procedure, don't expect to be able to utilize an old Certificate of Eligibility. Your entitlement code will need to be verified by your lender. Additionally, if you obtained your first COE while on active service, you may need a new one.

Q. Is receiving a Certificate of Eligibility a guarantee that I will be approved for a VA loan?
A. What the Certificate of Eligibility is not, and cannot be, is a guarantee of future success. The term “guarantee” is commonly used in connection with VA loan negotiations, however it should be noted that no one is guaranteed to obtain a VA loan just by satisfying the minimum service criteria of the VA program.

The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) merely indicates that you have completed one of the requirements for admission to the program—notably, that you have completed the military service requirement. Your property must still satisfy VA standards, and your borrower credentials (credit score, income, and debts) must still match VA and lender requirements in order to be approved.

Q. What Happens If I Misplace a Certificate of Eligibility That Was Previously Issued?
A. It isn't a big deal if you lose your certificate of eligibility. Through one of the three options indicated above, you may submit an application for a new one.

Q. To get a Certificate of Eligibility, how long does it typically take?
A. The time it takes to get a Certificate of Eligibility is dependent on how you submit your application.
Requesting a Certificate of Eligibility by mail might take 4 to 6 weeks, but applying online or via a lender normally takes just a few minutes. VA Form 26-1880

Having access to your eBenefits site will reduce the time it takes to obtain your COE confirmation to less than 5 minutes, on average.

Q. What is the best way to get my DD-214?
A. This gateway, provided by the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, allows you to apply for your form online.

Q. Why is it stated on my VA Certificate of Eligibility that I am qualified for $36 000?

A. This section of your Certificate of Eligibility provides lender-specific information.
This proves your total entitlement.
The $36,000 is not the maximum loan amount.
Rather than that, it means that if you default on a loan with a balance of less than $144,000, we will guarantee your lender up to $36,000 in damages.


In conclusion, a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan is an important document that proves you are eligible for a VA Loan. If you are planning to purchase a home with a VA Loan, you will need to provide this document to your lender.