VA Loan Certificate Eligibility: What You Need to Know

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

Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan

VA mortgage graphicIf you're a veteran looking to purchase a home, you'll need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This certificate proves that you're eligible for a VA loan and is required by most lenders before they'll approve your mortgage.

The good news is that getting your COE is relatively easy. You can apply online, through your lender, or by mail. If you're applying online or through your lender, you'll need to provide basic information about yourself and your military service.

certificate of eligibility chart

Once you have your COE, you can work with a lender to get pre-approved for a VA loan. Then, you can start shopping for a home that fits your budget and needs. With a VA loan, you can buy a home with no money down and without having to pay for private mortgage insurance.

If you're a veteran or service member looking to purchase a home, getting a VA loan can be a great option. Be sure to get your Certificate of Eligibility to take advantage of all the benefits that VA loans offer.

How to Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan

US flag patchThere are a few different ways to obtain your COE. You can get it online through the VA  eBenefits portal, through your lender, or your local VA regional loan center.

If you obtain your COE online, you'll need to log in to your eBenefits account. Once you're logged in, go to the "Apply for Benefits" section and select "Get a Certificate of Eligibility for Home Loan."

If you're working with a lender, they will likely help you obtain your COE. You can also complete the VA Form 26-1880 and submit it to your regional loan center.

Once you have your COE, you're one step closer to getting a VA-backed home loan. Be sure to work with an experienced lender who can help you through the rest of the loan process.

Certificate of Eligibility and VA Loan Amount

Once you have your certificate of eligibility, you'll need to provide it to your lender. The lender will then use it to determine the maximum loan amount for which you'll be eligible.

If you need help getting a certificate of eligibility, don't worry. We've got you covered. Keep reading, and we'll walk you through the process.

Do 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 keep in mind 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 more than 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 still only valid for a certain period. So if you're trying to get a VA home loan, make sure you 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 $424,100. 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.

Steps to get your Certificate of Eligibility

Here's a quick overview of what you'll need to do:
First, you'll need to gather documentation, including your DD-214 (discharge papers), SF-180 (request for military records), and most recent leave and earnings statement.

Next, you'll need to fill out a VA Form 26-1880. This form asks for basic information about your service, including your service dates and discharge status.

Once you have your documentation and the completed form, you'll need to submit it to the VA. You can do this by mail, fax, or online.
Once the VA receives your request, they will process it and issue your COE. The entire process can take a few weeks, so be patient.

Once you have your COE, you're one step closer to getting a VA home loan. The next step is finding a lender participating in the VA home loan program.

VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility Requirements

House with a for sale signYou'll need to meet a few requirements to obtain a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Perhaps most importantly, you must have served in the military for a specific time (this varies depending on when and how you served). You'll also need to provide proof of your service and any discharge documents.

If you're currently serving, you'll need a Statement of Service. Lastly, you'll need to show that you have a good credit history and sufficient income to repay the loan.

Certificate of Eligibility 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

Certificate of Eligibility 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.

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 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?

Yes, a veteran's surviving spouse may be qualified to get 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.

Rotating question markFAQs About the VA Certificate of Eligibility

Q. Do the VA certificate of eligibility expire?

A. Your Certificate of Eligibility has no expiration date, and veterans who got their certification while on active service are the lone exception. After being released, this veteran would need to get a new Certificate of Eligibility.


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.

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

Recommended Reading

  1. How to Get Approved for a VA Loan with a Cosigner
  2. What is a Good Debt to Income Ratio for a VA Loan?
  3. Do VA Loan Require PMI Insurance: What It Is and What It Does
  4. See Surviving Spouse Requirements