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9.4. VA Home Loan Guaranty Benefits
VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of the VA's mission to serve you, the VA provides a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.
VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide you with more favorable terms.
Purchase Loans help you purchase a home at a competitive interest rate often without requiring a downpayment or private mortgage insurance. Cash Out Refinance loans allow you to take cash out of your home equity to take care of concerns like paying off debt, funding school, or making home improvements. Learn More
Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL): also called the Streamline Refinance Loan can help you obtain a lower interest rate by refinancing your existing VA loan. Learn More
Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program: helps eligible Native American Veterans finance the purchase, construction, or improvement of homes on Federal Trust Land, or reduce the interest rate on a VA loan. Learn More
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. The eligibility requirements to obtain a COE are listed below for Servicemembers and Veterans, spouses, and other eligible beneficiaries.
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.
|Status||Qualifying Wartime & Peacetime Periods||Qualifying Active Duty Dates||Minimum Active Duty Service Requirement|
|Veteran||WWII||9/16/1940 - 7/25/1947||90 total days|
|Post-WWII||7/26/1947 - 6/26/1950||181 continuous days|
|Korean War||6/27/1950 - 1/31/1955||90 total days|
|Post-Korean War||2/1/1955 - 8/4/1964||181 continuous days|
|Vietnam War||8/5/1964 - 5/7/1975 *For Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, the beginning date is 2/28/1961||90 total days|
|Post-Vietnam War||5/8/1975 - 9/7/1980 *The ending date for officers is 10/16/1981||181 continuous days|
|24-month rule||9/8/1980 - 8/1/1990 *The beginning date for officers is 10/17/1981||
|Gulf War||8/2/1990 - Present||
|Currently On Active Duty||Any||Any||90 continuous days|
|National Guard & Reserve Member||Gulf War||8/2/1990 - Present||90 days of active service|
*If you do not meet the minimum service requirements, you may still be eligible if you were discharged due to (1) hardship, (2) the convenience of the government, (3) reduction-in-force, (4) certain medical conditions, or (5) a service-connected disability.
The spouse of a Veteran can also apply for home loan eligibility under one of the following conditions:
- Unremarried spouse of a Veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability, or
- Spouse of a Servicemember missing in action or a prisoner of war
- Surviving spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003
(Note: a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, must have applied no later than December 15, 2004, to establish home loan eligibility. VA must deny applications from surviving spouses who remarried before December 6, 2003 that are received after December 15, 2004.)
- Surviving Spouses of certain totally disabled veterans whose disability may not have been the cause of death
Other Eligible Beneficiaries
You may also apply for eligibility if you fall into one of the following categories:
- Certain U.S. citizens who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in World War II
- Individuals with service as members in certain organizations, such as Public Health Service officers, cadets at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy, midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, officers of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, merchant seaman with World War II service, and others
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.
Certificate of Eligibility
After establishing that you are eligible, you will need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The COE verifies to the lender that you are eligible for a VA-backed loan. This page describes the evidence you submit to verify your eligibility for a VA home loan and how to submit the evidence and obtain a COE.
The evidence you need depends on the nature of your eligibility. Consult the table below to determine your category and the evidence you will need when applying.
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.
Spouses can take the VA form 26-1817 to their lender for processing (see Apply Through Lender above) or may mail the 26-1817 and DD214 (if available) to the following address:
Download VA Form 26-1817, Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility - Unmarried Surviving Spouses
If you can't print the form, just call 1-888-768-2132 and follow the prompts for Eligibility and we will mail the form to you.
Send the completed form to:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
Attn: COE (262)
PO Box 100034
Decatur, GA 30031