Certificate Eligibility for a VA Loan

A pen, glasses and papers with a form that has VA loan written across the top.You must be eligible to obtain a VA loan, and the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) proves that. A COE is the first step towards securing a direct or VA-backed home loan. The requirements to qualify for a VA loan entail meeting the VA's guidelines, but the process is pretty straightforward.

To get started, you can fill out a request with your lender or apply through the VA website. You must provide proof of service, such as military discharge papers, to receive a certificate of eligibility. The timeframe for receiving your COE varies but usually takes a few weeks.

Your COE will include your entitlement code, the loan amount you are qualified for, and whether you will be required to make a down payment. It's important to note that if you are the surviving spouse of a military member, you may also be eligible for a VA mortgage with a COE.

Getting a VA loan requires meeting specific requirements, and the Certificate of Eligibility is the first step in making that happen. You can get your COE through your lender or by filling out a request. With a VA loan COE, you'll be well on securing the loan.

VA Certificate Of Eligibility: What Is it?

You've heard of the VA Certificate of Eligibility if you're a veteran or active-duty service member wanting to buy a house (COE). Nevertheless, what is it specifically, and why do you need one?

The COE, in summary, is a document that demonstrates to lenders your qualification for VA home loan benefits. You must provide documentation of your military service or another need to receive one. The COE is a crucial step in the VA home loan application process and may help veterans purchase houses more efficiently and with better conditions than conventional loans.

Lenders could be reluctant to deal with veterans seeking financing under the VA loan program without a COE. To receive the certificate, you must learn to do so before beginning your search for a new property. Financing Charge?

VA Home Loan Eligibility: Who Qualifies for a COE?

A VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) documents the Department of Veterans Affairs issues verifying eligibility for veterans' VA home loan benefits. To qualify for a VA COE, an individual must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Active-duty service members: Service members who have served at least 90 consecutive days of active duty during wartime or 181 days during peacetime may be eligible for a VA COE.
  2. Veterans: Veterans who have served at least 90 consecutive days of active duty during wartime, or 181 days of active duty during peacetime, and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable may be eligible for a VA COE.
  3. National Guard and Reserve members: Members of the National Guard and Reserves who have completed at least six years of service and have been honorably discharged or placed on the retired list, or are still serving, may be eligible for a VA COE.
  4. Surviving spouses: Surviving spouses of service members or veterans who died due to a service-related disability or while on active duty may be eligible for a VA COE.

It is important to note that additional requirements may apply depending on the specific benefit program an individual applies to. VA benefits are complex, and eligibility requirements may vary depending on the benefit sought. Veterans and their families are encouraged to work with a VA benefits counselor or representative to determine their eligibility for VA benefits.

How to Get a Certificate of Eligibility

Suppose you are a military member, a veteran, or an eligible surviving spouse. In that case, you may be able to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to qualify for a VA home loan. 

To get a COE, you can submit an online application through the VA's eBenefits portal, apply through a lender who can access the VA's Automated Certificate of Eligibility (ACE) system, or submit a paper application via mail. 

You must provide documentation such as proof of military service, discharge papers, and information on your current financial situation. Once your application is processed, you will receive a COE showing your VA home loan eligibility. This certificate is required for you to apply for a VA home loan and use the benefits available as a service member.
Go to How to request a VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for more information.

Does the VA Certificate of Eligibility Expire?

Many people are surprised to learn that VA certificates of eligibility (COE) do not expire. That said, there are a few things to remember if you're trying to get a VA home loan with an expired COE.

For one, most lenders will not accept an expired COE. So if you're trying to get a new VA home loan, you'll need a new COE from the VA. This usually involves submitting a new request, which can take a few weeks to get the new COE.

Additionally, if your COE has expired for over a year, the VA may require you to get a new one. This is because the VA considers an expired COE invalid after a year. So if you're trying to get a VA home loan with an expired COE, it's best to get a new one as soon as possible.

Finally, remember that even if your COE doesn't expire, it's only valid for a certain period. So if you're trying to get a VA home loan, do it within the timeframe specified on your COE.

VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility Amount

For most veterans, the COE will be worth $36,000. If you're looking for a jumbo loan, your COE could be worth up to $729,750. But if you're looking for a regular VA loan, the maximum loan amount is $726,200 in most U.S. counties. The maximum VA loan amount can exceed $1,089,300 in high-cost counties.

So, if your COE is worth $36,000, that's the maximum loan amount you could get without a down payment.

Remember that the COE is only one factor in getting a VA loan. Your credit history, income, and other factors will also come into play. But if you're wondering how much your COE is worth, the answer will depend on a few key elements.

How to Obtain a COE for 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:

  1. Veteran's full name
  2. Active duty entry date
  3. Branch of service
  4. Separation date as of today
  5. Date of birth
  6. Duration of lost time, if any
  7. Last Discharge
  8. Name of the command providing the information
  9. Rank
  10. Social Security Number
  11. Type of Discharge, and
  12. The assignment unit and the current duty location

How to Obtain a COE for a Reserve or National Guard Member

Unlike active-duty military personnel, reservists and National Guard troops do not have a single discharge certificate, such as a DD-214, to reflect their service. It would be ideal if they could submit their most current annual retirement points summary and proof of their honorable service.

Army or Air National Guard members 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 express that the applicant is a current Reserve or National Guard member.

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 the National Guard Adjutant General issues, you must contact the Adjutant General's Office for the state where you served in the National Guard. Please visit the National Guard's website for further information on how to contact the National Guard.

Can I get a COE as a Surviving Spouse of a Veteran?

A veteran's surviving spouse may qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). To qualify for a COE as a surviving spouse, the veteran must have passed away due to a service-related sickness or injury or while on active duty; furthermore, the surviving spouse cannot wed again before turning 57.
Go to How to request a VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for more information.


A VA loan is an excellent option for qualified men and women who have served in the armed forces or National Guard. It allows them to purchase a home without any upfront payment, often at lower interest rates than other financing options. To qualify for a VA loan, you must meet specific criteria and have proof of eligibility.

To apply for a VA loan, you must go through a loan process and request a certificate of eligibility (COE). This request can take some time, but it is necessary to determine if you qualify for a VA loan. If approved for a VA loan, you can work with a lender to determine your eligibility for a VA direct or VA-backed home loan. With a VA loan, you will have special protections against foreclosure and can use the loan to refinance existing mortgages. 

SOURCE:  How to Request a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility (Coe)

Recommended Reading
The VA Home Loan Process: From Application to Closing
VA Loan Questions & Answers
VA Loan Requirements for Surviving Spouse
How VA Loans Can Help You Buy a House