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All About the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Obtaining your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is an important part of verifying your VA loan eligibility.

Updated on September 8, 2023

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.

What is a Certificate of Eligibility?

The VA Certificate of Eligibility is a document issued by the VA that shows you have met the service requirements to be eligible for a VA home loan. It provides important information such as your entitlement amount and whether you are required to pay the VA funding fee.

Who Qualifies for a VA Loan?

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:

  1. 90 consecutive days active duty during wartime
  2. 181 days active duty during peacetime
  3. Six years in the Reserve or National Guard
  4. 90 days active duty (with at least 30 days consecutive) under Title 10 or Title 32 orders

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.

How to Request a VA Certificate of Eligibility

There are three ways to obtain your COE:

  1. VA eBenefits Portal: You can apply online through the VA eBenefits portal
  2. Through Your VA-Approved Lender: Your VA-approved lender can help you request the COE through the VA Online Portal
  3. Through the Appropriate VA Regional Loan Center
    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

    Documents Needed for VA Certificate of Eligibility

    When requesting your COE, make sure to prepare the appropriate documents and include them alongside your request.

    These documents may include:

    • A copy of Form DD-214 (discharge or separation proof for Veterans and current or former National Guard and Reserve members)
    • A statement of service signed by your commander, adjutant or personnel officer (for active-duty service members and current or former National Guard and Reserve members)
    • Other necessary proof of service and honorable discharge
Our Lender
Veterans United Home Loans is a VA approved lender; Mortgage Research Center, LLC – NMLS #1907 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Not affiliated with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs or any government agency. Not available in NV. 1400 Forum Blvd., Columbia, MO 65203. Equal Housing Lender

How to Read a VA Certificate of Eligibility

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.

VA Certificate of Eligibility FAQs

How long does it take to receive my VA Certificate of Eligibility?

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.

Does a VA Certificate of Eligibility expire?

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.

Can I get a Certificate of Eligibility as the spouse of a Veteran?

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.