You must have suitable credit, sufficient income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan. The home must be for your own personal occupancy.
- Military members – To be eligible for a VA loan, you must be an active-duty or retired member of the armed forces with at least:
- 90 days of consecutive service during wartime, or
- 181 days of service during peacetime, or
- 6 years of service in the National Guard or reserves.
- Surviving spouses – Spouses of service members who died in the line of duty or as the result of a service-related disability.
- You will need a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA to show that you meet these requirements. Your mortgage loan originator can help you obtain this certificate.
VA home loans can be used to:
- Buy a home, a condominium unit in a VA-approved project
- Build a home
- Simultaneously purchase and improve a home
- Improve a home by installing energy-related features or making energy efficient improvements
- Buy a manufactured home and/or lot.
RESTORATION OF ENTITLEMENT
Veterans can have previously-used entitlement “restored” to purchase another home with a VA loan if:
- The property purchased with the prior VA loan has been sold and the loan paid in full, or
- A qualified Veteran-transferee (buyer) agrees to assume the VA loan and substitute his or her entitlement for the same amount of entitlement originally used by the Veteran seller. The entitlement may also be restored one time only if the Veteran has repaid the prior VA loan in full, but has not disposed of the property purchased with the prior VA loan. Remaining entitlement and restoration of entitlement can be requested through the VA Eligibility Center by completing VA Form 26-1880.
APPLYING FOR A COE
After gathering the evidence you need, you can apply for your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in the following ways.
Servicemembers, Veterans, and National Guard and Reserve Members
To get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) online, please go to the eBenefits portal. If you already have login credentials, click the Login box, and if you need login credentials, please click the Register box and follow the directions on the screen. If you need any assistance please call the eBenefits Help Desk at 1-800-983-0937. Their hours are Monday-Friday, 8am to 8pm EST.
Apply through your lender
Most lenders have access to the Web LGY system. This Internet-based application can establish eligibility and issue an online COE in a matter of seconds. Not all cases can be processed through Web LGY – only those for which VA has sufficient data in our records. However, Veterans are encouraged to ask their lenders about this method of obtaining a certificate.
Apply by mail
Use VA Form 26-1880, Request for Certificate of Eligibility.
VA FUNDING FEE
Generally, all Veterans using the VA Home Loan Guaranty benefit must pay a funding fee. This reduces the loan’s cost to taxpayers considering that a VA loan requires no down payment and has no monthly mortgage insurance. The funding fee is a percentage of the loan amount which varies based on the type of loan and your military category, if you are a first-time or subsequent loan user, and whether you make a down payment. You have the option to finance the VA funding fee or pay it in cash, but the funding fee must be paid at closing time.
You do not have to pay the fee if you are a:
- Veteran receiving VA compensation for a service-connected disability, OR
- Veteran who would be entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability if you did not receive retirement or active duty pay, OR
- Surviving spouse of a Veteran who died in service or from a service-connected disability
The funding fee for second time users who do not make a down payment is slightly higher. Also, National Guard and Reserve Veterans pay a slightly higher funding fee percentage. To determine your exact percentage, please review the latest funding fee chart.