How to Get a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan?

A hand writing the word benefits on a blue screen that signifies eligibility.The VA certificate of eligibility (COE) is a crucial document for veterans seeking a VA home loan, prompting questions like "Do VA certificates of eligibility expire? " and "How long does it take to get a VA certificate of eligibility?"

Understanding the COE's validity period and the application timeline is vital for prospective homebuyers. Additionally, the automated certificate of eligibility streamlines the process, providing efficiency in obtaining this essential document.

Exploring the COE's significance, duration, and application intricacies ensures a smooth experience for veterans navigating the VA loan process, offering valuable insights into the steps required to secure this essential eligibility credential for home financing.

What is a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan?

If you're a veteran or active-duty service member looking to buy a house, you might have heard of the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for a loan for a mortgage on a home or property. But what exactly is it, and why do you need one?

The COE is a crucial document confirming your eligibility for VA home loan benefits to lenders. To acquire one, you must provide proof of your military service or another form of qualification. This documentation can help veterans purchase houses more efficiently and with better terms than traditional mortgages.

Lenders may be wary of working with veterans seeking financing through the VA loan program without a COE. So, obtaining one before starting your search for a house, property, or piece of real estate to purchase is essential. The COE can also affect the financing charge that you receive, so it's crucial to have it in hand before applying for a VA mortgage.

VA Home Loan Eligibility: Who Qualifies for a COE?

A VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a document the Department of Veterans Affairs issues to verify veterans' VA home loan eligibility. 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 an individual's specific benefit program. 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

If you are a military member, veteran, or eligible surviving spouse, you may be able to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to qualify for a VA loan. This is an affordable and reliable financing option that can help you invest in your own home. VA loans are considered safe and secure, making them a convenient choice for many.

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 loan eligibility. This certificate is required to apply for a VA loan, which is an excellent option if you want to finance your own home. It is a safe and secure investment option that can help make homeownership more affordable and convenient.

Go to How to Request a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for more information.

Do VA Certificates of Eligibility Expire?

It's worth noting that while VA certificates of eligibility do not expire, there are other types of home loan options to consider if you're looking to buy a house or invest in real estate. FHA, USDA, conventional, and jumbo loans are viable options depending on your financial situation and home-buying needs.

FHA loans, for instance, are outstanding for first-time homebuyers or those with lower credit scores. USDA loans can help people in rural areas and require no down payment. Conventional loans are a good option for borrowers with a solid financial history and larger down payments. Jumbo loans are designed for homebuyers who need a loan amount exceeding the limits Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac set.

Homeownership and real estate investing typically require mortgage financing regardless of your chosen loan. So, it's essential to research and find the best option for your unique situation.

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 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:

  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 the Surviving Spouse of a Veteran?

If you are a veteran's surviving spouse, you may be eligible for mortgage financing with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). To purchase your property and achieve your real estate goals, it's essential to understand the requirements for a COE.

To qualify, your veteran spouse must have passed away due to a service-related sickness, injury, or while on active duty. Additionally, you cannot remarry before reaching the age of 57. With a COE, you may be able to secure a loan and move forward with your property purchase.
Go to  How to Request a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for more information.


In conclusion, if you're a veteran considering applying for a VA loan, getting a certificate of eligibility should be at the top of your priority list. This certificate confirms that you have proudly served your nation and are committed to financial responsibility.

Presenting this certificate to your lender increases your chances of receiving a low-interest rate and acceptable loan conditions.

Be sure to apply for your certificate immediately!

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

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