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How to apply for a VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility

Learn how to apply for a VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This is the first step in getting a VA-backed home loan or Native American Direct Loan. It confirms for your lender that you qualify for the VA home loan benefit. Then, choose your loan type and learn about the rest of the loan application process.

How do I prepare before starting my application?

Gather the information you’ll need to apply for your COE. Click on the description below that matches you best to find out what you’ll need:

If you’re a Veteran, you’ll need a copy of your discharge or separation papers (DD214).

If you’re an active-duty service member, you’ll need a statement of service—signed by your commander, adjutant, or personnel officer—showing this information:

  • 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

If you’re a current or former activated National Guard or Reserve member, you’ll need a copy of your discharge or separation papers (DD214).

If you’re a current member of the National Guard or Reserves, and have never been activated, you’ll need a statement of service—signed by your commander, adjutant, or personnel officer—showing this information:

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

If you’re a discharged member of the National Guard and were never activated, you’ll need:

  • Your Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22) for each period of National Guard service, and
  • Your Retirement Points Statement (NGB Form 23) and proof of the character of service

If you’re a discharged member of the Reserves and were never activated, you’ll need:

  • A copy of your latest annual retirement points, and
  • Proof of your honorable service

If you’re a surviving spouse who qualifies for home loan benefits, you’ll need the Veteran’s discharge documents (DD214)—if available—and:

If you’re receiving Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC), you’ll need to fill out and send us a Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility—Unmarried Surviving Spouses (VA Form 26-1817).
Download VA Form 26-1817 (PDF)

Or

If you’re not receiving DIC benefits, you’ll need to send us all of these:

  • A completed Application for DIC, Death Pension and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21P-534EZ), and
  • A copy of your marriage license, and
  • The Veteran’s death certificate

Download VA Form 21P-534EZ (PDF)
Find out if you qualify for home loan benefits
Get military service records online

How do I apply for my COE?

You can apply online right now.

Go to eBenefits to apply

You can also apply:

Through our Web LGY system

In some cases, you can get your COE through your lender using our Web LGY system. Ask your lender about this option.

By mail

To apply by mail, fill out a Request for a Certificate of Eligibility (VA Form 26-1880) and mail it to the address listed on the form. Please keep in mind that this may take longer than applying online or through our Web LGY system.
Download VA Form 26-1880 (PDF)

Next steps for getting a VA direct or VA-backed home loan

Applying for your COE is only one part of the process for getting a VA direct or VA-backed home loan. Your next steps will depend on the type of loan you’re looking to get—and on your lender (for most loans, the lender will be a private bank or mortgage company; for the Native American Direct Loan, we’ll be your lender).

The lender will request a VA appraisal (assessment) of the house. An appraisal estimates the house’s market value at the time of inspection. An appraisal isn't a home inspection or a guaranty of value. 

The lender reviews the appraisal and your credit and income information and decides if they should accept your loan application. 

If they decide to accept your application, the lender will work with you to select a title company (or other entity) to close (transfer ownership) on the house.

What if I have questions about the loan process?

If you have any questions that your lender can’t answer, please call your VA regional loan center at 877-827-3702. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.
Find your regional loan center

Watch a video about VA home loans and how to apply

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