Veterans are not automatically eligible for the VA loan. They have to prove their eligibility with the Certificate of Eligibility. You can obtain this certificate in several ways, many of which require you to do the legwork.
However, there is a way for your VA lender to get it for you. If you want the quickest option, we recommend using an experienced VA lender that can handle this step on your behalf.
How a Lender Can Get Your COE
The lender has two options when requesting your Certificate of Eligibility. Both options are done in the VA portal.
If you already had a COE issued in your name but you don’t have a copy of it, the lender can enter the system, search for your name and print the certificate. Within a matter of seconds, they have proof that you are eligible for VA benefits. It’s that simple.
If you have a COE issued but it is incorrect, the lender can request the changes on your behalf. This takes a little longer, but only requires the lender to put forth the effort. Common reasons for a correction include:
- Entitlement that the borrower applied for restoration but is not being reported
- The certificate is outdated
- The funding fee exemption information is missing or incorrect
If the lender must request changes, the appropriate proof must be provided. This may include service records, proof of the sale of a home, proof of a VA loan paid off or VA award letter for disability.
Applying for a New Certificate of Eligibility
If you don’t have a COE issued in your name, the lender can apply for a new one for you. As the veteran, you must complete VA Form 26-1880 and give it to the lender. This is what the lender uses to enter the information and process your request.
Lenders must make sure all of the information they input is correct, which is why the VA Form 26-1880 is so important. Misspelled names or incorrect social security numbers will only delay the process.
The lender will also answer other important questions on your behalf, such as:
- Dates of service
- Type of service
- Information about any previous VA loans if applicable
- Information about any homes you currently own if applicable
- Reason for the request
The lender will then upload the necessary documents to facilitate the process. This may include:
- VA Form 26-1880
- Service records
- Closing Statements for previously owned homes that have been sold
- Proof of mortgage payoff
The Status Updates
When the lender sends in your request for a COE, they will receive one of the following updates:
- Approved – The answer you want to see as this means the certificate is ready to issue
- Approved but needs corrections – This is when you need corrections on the COE based on the VA’s error
- Unsuccessful – This usually requires manual processing
- Pending – The VA is waiting for more documentation from the veteran and/or lender
Receiving the COE
Once the application is sent and the appropriate documents uploaded, the lender waits for the COE. One of two things will happen:
- The lender will receive the Certificate of Eligibility via email
- The lender will receive a Return Letter
he Return Letter lets a lender know what other documents the VA needs to process the request. The lender can upload the necessary documents after you provide them and wait for the approval.
As you can see, the lender has to jump through some hoops to get your Certificate of Eligibility. With your cooperation though, it’s possible to get the certificate in a short amount of time.