Certificate of Eligibility
Obtain your COE in one of three ways: through your lender, online through the VA’s information portal, or by mail.
Find out which way is best for you.
What Is a COE?
COE stands for Certificate of Eligibility. Your COE is a document generated by the VA that tells your VA-approved lender that you are eligible for a VA-backed loan. Generally, if you want to take steps toward purchasing or refinancing a home with a VA loan, you’ll need to obtain your COE early in the process.
Who May Receive a COE?
COEs are not just for Veterans. While more specific eligibility requirements apply than what’s listed here, the following people may be eligible for VA loan benefits:
- Active-duty servicemembers
- National Guard or Reserve members (current or former)
- Surviving spouses
Other groups, such as commissioned officers of NOAA and PHSCC, military academy cadets and midshipmen, and certain merchant marines and allied forces of World War II, may also be eligible. In additional to these general rules, other specific eligibility requirements apply.
Learn more about VA loan eligibility.
How to Apply for a COE
A new COE is required for every type of VA loan transaction, except for IRRRL (streamline refinance) loans. You can obtain your COE using one of these three methods: through your lender, through the VA’s eBenefits Portal, or through the U.S. mail.
To speed up the process, it can be a good idea to gather service-related documents and have them in front of you when you request your COE.
Want to learn more about eligibility requirements? Read 10 Facts About VA Loan Eligibility.
1. Through Your Lender
Your COE may be just a phone call away. That’s because approved VA lenders like Veterans First have access to the VA’s information portal to establish your eligibility. With a few pieces of basic information from you, we can often obtain an electronic COE in a matter of minutes. Get your COE now.
A large number of our clients are able to confirm their eligibility very quickly and easily by utilizing our help. However, not all COEs can be obtained this way. If the VA has insufficient data in their records, you may have to obtain your COE through the VA’s information portal or by regular mail instead.
To help determine your eligibility, we offer a VA Loan Eligibility Self-Assessment. Answer a few questions to see if you meet the basic requirements.
2. Through the VA eBenefits Portal
Another way to apply for a COE is through the VA’s eBenefits portal. The portal can be accessed by Veterans, servicemembers, their family members, and authorized caregivers.
Before you can use the portal, you’ll need to log in. If you don’t have login credentials, click “register” in the upper right-hand corner of the portal’s home page and follow the prompts. If you need help, you can contact the VA’s eBenefits Help Desk at 1-800-983-0937, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST.
Visit the VA’s page for complete eligibility requirements.
3. By Mail
If you’d rather obtain your COE via the USPS, you can send VA Form 26-1880, Request for Certificate of Eligibility to your Regional Loan Center (RLC) of Jurisdiction. Expect two weeks or longer for this method.
For surviving spouses, obtaining a COE by mail may be the only option. However, spouses use a different form. If you’re a surviving spouse, fill out and send VA Form 26-1817, Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility – Unmarried Surviving Spouses and VA Form 26-8937, Verification of VA Benefits (as well as the deceased spouse’s DD 214, if available) to the following address:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
Attn: COE (262)
PO Box 100034
Decatur, GA 30031
NOTE: In our experience, it can be beneficial for a surviving spouse to utilize a loan officer’s help in obtain a COE. Get help obtaining your COE by mail.