If you’ve served in the military and are interested in utilizing your VA eligibility to purchase a home, your first step to qualifying for a VA mortgage is to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility or COE as it’s frequently referred to.
There are several options on how to retrieve a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility based on your circumstances and branch of the military.
Option 1: Veterans, Activity Duty, Reservists and National Guard Members Who Been on Active Duty
For those who belong to one of the above groups, you have three different means to obtaining a COE:
- Apply Through Mail: Fill out VA Form 26-1880, which you can find on va.gov, the official VA website.
- You will be able to then mail it to the address which is listed on the form.
- Apply Through A Lender: Your lender may be able to acquire your COE for you online; if this is the case, the process typically only takes a few minutes. Make sure you speak to your lender upfront to determine whether or not this is an option.
- Apply Online: Visit the Veterans Information Portal to request the certificate.
If you are unable to print Form 26-1880 it is possible to contact the VA at 1-888-244-6711 and ask for a copy be mailed to you.
Option 2: Reservists and National Guard Members Who Have Not Been On Active Duty
This category enjoys exactly the same options as the first group. See options 1, 2 and 3.
Group 3: Spouses of Veterans Who Either Passed Away During Service or As a Result of Service
Unfortunately, the options available to both groups above do not pertain to you. You are required to mail your application to the Veterans Administration.
Additional Information on How to Obtain Your Certificate of Eligibility
If your spouse passed away in the course of service, the procedure is relatively simple and shouldn’t take too long. Keep in mind though, if your spouse passed away after service, the VA must first confirm that the death derived from a disability connected to the service. This process usually takes somewhere between 2 to 3 months depending on the existing caseload of the VA.
To apply, download and fill out VA Form 26-1817, which you can find on the official VA website. The address you should mail the form to is:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
PO Box 20729
Winston-Salem, NC 27120
If you have trouble printing the form, you’re also able to contact the VA at 1-888-244-6711 and request a copy be mailed to you.
No matter what group you find yourself in, you will be required to provide proof that you are eligible for VA home loan benefits and a COE. The eligibility graph on the VA website details precisely what type of evidence will be required from you.