In order to apply for a VA loan you will need a Certificate of Eligibility, or COE for short.
There are different steps required to receive a Certificate of Eligibility depending on your personal situation and branch of the military.
Group 1: Veterans, Activity Duty, Reservists and National Guard Members Who Been on Active Duty
If you belong to one of the above categories then you have three different ways that you can receive a COE:
- Apply Through Mail: Fill out VA Form 26-1880, which you can find on va.gov, the official VA website. You can then mail it to the address that is listed on the form.
- Apply Through A Lender: Your lender may be able to acquire your COE for you online; if so, the process typically only takes a few minutes. Be sure to speak to your lender beforehand to determine whether or not this is an option.
- Apply Online: Visit the Veterans Information Portal at http://www.ebenefits.va.gov to request the certificate.
If for whatever reason you cannot print out Form 26-1880 you can contact the VA at 1-888-244-6711 and request a copy be mailed to you.
Group 2: Reservists and National Guard Members Who Have Not Been On Active Duty
Group 2 enjoys the same options as Group 1 above.
Group 3: Spouses of Veterans Who Either Passed Away During Service or As a Result of Service
Unlike the application options for Groups 1 and 2, you are required to mail your application.
If your spouse passed away during service, the process is relatively quick and straightforward. However, if your spouse passed away after service, the VA must first confirm that the death resulted from a disability connected to the service.
This process can take anywhere between 2 to 3 months depending on the current caseload of the VA.
To apply, download and fill out VA Form 26-1817, which you can find on va.gov, the official VA website. The address you should mail the form to is:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
PO Box 20729
Winston-Salem, NC 27120
Similar to above, if for whatever reason you cannot print out Form 26-1817, you can contact the VA at 1-888-244-6711 and request a copy be mailed to you.
Regardless of the category you personally fall into, you will have to provide some sort of evidence to prove your are eligible for a COE. The eligibility graph on the VA website (located at http://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/eligibility.asp) details exactly what kind of evidence will be required from you.