Obtaining your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is an important part of verifying your VA loan eligibility.
If you’re a Veteran or military member planning to buy a home using a VA loan, retrieving your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is an essential step toward purchasing your dream home.
While it’s possible to start the VA loan process and even get a preapproval letter without a COE, you must submit the document to your lender before you can fully close on your home. Taking the time to understand the Certificate of Eligibility can help streamline the closing process and get you into your new home faster.
VA home loan eligibility differs depending on the type and duration of service. You may be eligible if you meet any of the following qualifications:
Eligibility is also extended to certain Veterans honorably discharged from active duty for service-connected injuries or other reasons outlined by the VA. Additionally, many surviving spouses may also be eligible.
There are three ways to obtain your COE:
|Regional Loan Center||States in Their Jurisdiction||Phone Number||Address|
|Atlanta||Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee||1-888-768-2132||1700 Clairmont Rd., Decatur, GA 30033-4032|
|Cleveland||Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont||1-800-729-5772||1240 East Ninth Street, Cleveland, OH 44199|
|Denver||Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming||1-888-349-7541||155 Van Gordon Street, Lakewood, CO 80228|
|Houston||Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas||1-888-232-2571||6900 Almeda Road, Houston, TX 77030-4200|
|Phoenix||American Samoa, Arizona, California, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada||1-888-869-0194||3333 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012-2402|
|Roanoke||District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia||1-877-827-3702||210 Franklin Road, S.W., Roanoke, VA 24011|
|St. Paul||Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin||1-877-827-3702||1 Federal Drive, Ft. Snelling, St. Paul, MN 55111-4050|
|St. Petersburg||Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands||1-877-827-3702||9500 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33744|
When requesting your COE, make sure to prepare the appropriate documents and include them alongside your request.
These documents may include:
Upon receiving your COE, it will contain basic information such as your name, Social Security Number, military branch and date of birth. Two very important things included in your COE are your entitlement code and your VA loan entitlement amount.
Your entitlement code is a two-digit number that indicates you’re entitled to a VA home loan. Your entitlement is the dollar amount the VA will repay your lender if you default on your loan. If you have never used your VA loan benefits before, you most likely have the full basic entitlement amount of $36,000. Conversely, if you have used the VA loan program before, you may have partial or reduced entitlement, which could affect future attempts to acquire a VA loan.
Your COE also notes whether you are exempt from paying the VA funding fee. There are several reasons you may be exempt, including if you receive compensation for service-related disabilities or if you are a surviving spouse.
For any questions or help in understanding your COE documents, you can reach out to an approved VA lender.
The processing time for a VA COE may vary depending on the method used to request it. In some cases, it can take a few weeks. It is essential to apply for the COE as early as possible in the homebuying process to avoid delays. Utilizing the VA Online Portal can allow you to retrieve your COE in minutes.
No, a VA COE does not have an expiration date. Once you have obtained your COE, it remains valid for your entire lifetime. However, If you received your COE while on active duty, you will need to request a new one after you have been discharged.
In many cases, surviving spouses of Veterans are eligible for a VA COE. Check the VA guidelines or consult with your lender to determine if you qualify.