How to request your VA COE

Nicole Carlson
Military VA Loan editor

To qualify for a VA loan, your lender will need to obtain your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The VA COE proves that you are entitled to a VA loan.

Your lender may need your DD-214 in order to request and receive the COE. Usually, the lender can request a COE straight from the VA WebLGY site, which is only available to lenders.

As part of the loan application process, your lender may request that you complete a COE request form 26-1880, which details your service history.

Get your COE automatically with a VA loan estimate. Start here (Jun 23rd, 2024)

What is a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)?

A Certificate of Eligibility, or VA COE, is a document issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs to verify your ability to take part in the VA home loan program.

In addition to confirming your general eligibility, a COE will indicate your entitlement code and the amount of VA loan entitlement you can access. Plus, whether or not you have to pay the VA funding fee.

Lenders will use the information on your VA COE to confirm your eligibility before moving forward with a VA loan.

How do I apply for my COE?

Ready to apply for your VA COE? Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Gather the required information. You can streamline the COE application process by gathering the required documentation ahead of time. The exact documentation will vary based on your service status. But as a veteran, you’ll need a copy of your DD214 form.
  2. Fill out the application. With your information in hand, you can apply for your COE through the eBenefits portal or via mail. Another option is to work with your chosen lender who will have access to the VA’s Web LGY system to move forward more quickly.
  3. Wait for a decision. After filing the paperwork, you’ll have to wait for the VA to issue your certificate of eligibility.
  4. Potentially pursue an appeal. If you disagree with the VA’s decision concerning your eligibility, you can request a decision review. In some cases, you may still be able to secure a VA COE after an initial rejection.

For the VA COE application process to go smoothly, you’ll want to confirm your eligibility ahead of time. Let’s explore the application requirements below.

VA COE Application Requirements

In order to successfully receive your VA COE, you’ll need to meet the application requirements.

You will qualify for the VA Certificate of Eligibility if:

  • You have served 90 consecutive days of service during wartime, you will qualify.
  • You have served 181 days of service during peacetime.
  • You are a National Guard or Reserve member, you can qualify if you have served more than 6 years.

Beyond service in the four branches of the military, you may qualify for a COE if you served as a Public Health Service officer, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, an officer of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, a merchant seaman during World War II, or a Cadet in the U.S. Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy.

In some cases, you can be eligible if you have not served. For instance, if you are an unmarried spouse of a veteran who died from a service-connected injury or disability. Surviving spouses may also claim eligibility for POW/MIA service members.

Here are some documents you should start putting together now to be ready for your application.

  • If you are currently on Active Duty, you will need to get a letter from your unit to verify your current status in the military. You are eligible after active status for at least 90 consecutive days.
  • If you are a Reservist, and you are drilling, you will need a letter from your unit on your status. If you are retired or no longer in the Reserve Program, you will need to have received an honorable discharge and placed on the retired list. You will need to have your points statement covering at least 6 years of creditable service, and evidence of an Honorable Character of Service. Your point statement has to have at least one Active Duty point or Inactive Duty (drill) during each 12 month period.

Want to find out more about the specifics of eligibility for the VA loan? Take advantage of our full guide today.

You might want to start putting the required information together now and putting it into a file so that you have it available when you are ready.

How long does it take to get a COE?

The way you choose to apply for your COE will dramatically impact your timeline.

The eBenefits portal application should confirm your eligibility and provide a COE within a few minutes. But if you choose to go the snail mail route, it could take 4 to 6 weeks to receive your VA COE in the mail.

As you begin shopping for a home, keep these timelines in mind. It is a smart move to secure your Certificate of Eligibility as early as possible in the home buying process. With the documentation lined up, you can move on to the next steps of your home search confidently.

Next steps: Obtain your pre-approval

If you are interested in purchasing a home with a VA loan, it will benefit you to get pre-approved. This will let you know the maximum loan amount that your income allows you to qualify for so that you can know your price range for homes. Shop for your home with confidence knowing that you have gone through the approval process.

If you’d like to get pre-approved, call (866) 240-3742 to speak with a knowledgeable lender, or simply complete a contact request form.

Check your VA loan eligibility. Start here (Jun 23rd, 2024)


How to get a COE for a VA loan?

You can get your Certificate of Eligibility for a VA loan through an application in your eBenefits portal. If you are having trouble with the eBenefit system, you can contact the help desk at 1-800-983-0937. Additionally, you can submit a paper version of the application to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It is possible to streamline this process by working directly with your lender. Your loan officer may be able to request your COE for you, through the VA’s Web LGY system. You should contact your lender directly to pursue this option.

Does a VA COE expire?

The VA Certificate of Eligibility does not expire. However, servicemembers that obtained their COE during their active duty will need to obtain a new COE after their discharge.

How much is a VA Certificate of Eligibility?

It is free to obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility.

Does a VA COE mean you’re qualified for a VA loan?

A VA COE is the first step in the VA loan process.

Although you cannot obtain a VA loan without a Certificate of Eligibility, the document doesn’t ensure you are qualified for a VA home loan benefit. Instead, a lender will determine whether or not you qualify for a mortgage loan based on your credit, income, and assets.

Who is eligible for a VA loan?

VA loans are available to active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. Your COE will help you confirm that your military service meets the VA’s eligibility requirements / service requirements, confirming your VA loan eligibility.

What can disqualify you from a VA loan?

You might not be eligible for a VA COE if you received an ‘other than honorable’, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge. However, you may pursue a discharge upgrade or request a VA Character or Discharge review to change your eligibility status.

Can you get a VA loan without a COE?

No, you cannot get a VA loan with a COE. Lenders require your Certificate of Eligibility to provide a VA loan. Without this documentation, you will not be able to move forward with a VA loan.

Can you get a VA loan without a DD214?

Yes, it is entirely possible to obtain a VA without a DD214 form. In fact, a DD Form 214 isn’t a requirement at all for the VA loan.

But depending on your service status, you may need to provide a DD214 form if you have separated from the military.

If you are still an active duty member, you won’t need to submit a DD214 form. Instead, you will need to submit a Report of Separation and Record of Service, including a statement with your identifying information, your Social Security Number, your date of entry, and the signature of the adjutant, personnel officer, or commander of your unit.

Reserve or National Guard members will need to submit another form of documentation. As an unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran that died in active duty or due to a service-related disability, you will not need to submit a DD214 form.

Should I get a VA loan?

The VA home loan program offers significant benefits for qualifying borrowers, including:

  • No down payment
  • No private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • Competitive interest rates

For most eligible homebuyers, VA loans are the best mortgage product on the market.

Check your VA loan eligibility. Start here (Jun 23rd, 2024)