HomeVeterans Guide to VA BenefitsVeteran Benefits-Other Non-Healthcare VA BenefitsVA Home Loan Guaranty Benefits

9.4. VA Home Loan Guaranty Benefits

Home Loans

VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part ofthe VA'smission to serve you,theVAprovides 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.

Benefits

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

Eligibility

You must havesuitable 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:

StatusQualifying Wartime & Peacetime PeriodsQualifying Active Duty DatesMinimum 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
  • 24 continuous months, OR
  • The full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty
Gulf War 8/2/1990 - Present
  • 24 continuous months, OR
  • The full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty
Currently On Active Duty Any Any 90 continuous days
National Guard & Reserve Member Gulf War 8/2/1990 - Present 90 days of active service
  • Six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard, AND
    • Were discharged honorably, OR
    • Were placed on the retired list, OR
    • Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable, OR
    • Continue to serve in the Selected Reserve

*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.

Spouses

The spouse of a Veteran can also apply for home loan eligibility under one of the following conditions:

Other Eligible Beneficiaries

You may also apply for eligibility if you fall into one of the following categories:

Restoration of Entitlement

Veterans can have previously-used entitlement "restored" to purchase another home with a VA loan if:

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.

Evidence Needed

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.

CategoryEvidence To Apply
Veteran DD Form 214 - required to have a copy showing the character of service (item 24) and the narrative reason for separation (item 28).
Current or former National Guard or Reserve member who has been activated Federal active service
Active Duty Servicemember A current statement of service:
  • signed by (or by the direction of):
    the adjutant, personnel office, or commander of the unit or higher headquarters
  • showing:
    Your full name
    Social Security Number
    Date of birth
    Entry date on active duty
    The duration of any lost time
    The name of the command providing the information
Current National Guard or Reserve member who has never been Federal active service Statement of service:
  • signed by (or by the direction of):
    the adjutant, personnel officer or commander of your unit or higher headquarters
  • showing:
    Your full name
    Social Security Number
    Date of birth
    Entry date on duty
    The total number of creditable years of service
    The duration of any lost time
    The name of the command providing the information
Discharged member of the National Guard who has never been activated for Federal active service NGB Form 22, Report of Separation and Record of Service, for each period of National Guard service
-OR-
NGB Form 23, Retirement Points Accounting, and proof of the character of service
Discharged member of the Selected Reserve who has never been activated for Federal active service Copy of your latest annual retirement points statement and evidence of honorable service
If you are a Surviving Spouse in Receipt of DIC (Dependency & Indemnity Compensation) benefits

Submit VA form 26-1817 and veteran's DD214 ( if available)

Include veteran's and surviving spouse's social security number on the 26-1817 form

If you are a Surviving Spouse and are not receiving DIC (Dependency & Indemnity Compensation) benefits

Submit the following to the appropriate Compensation and Pension office:

- VA form 21-534

- DD214 (if available)

- Marriage License

- Death Certificate or DD Form 1300 Report of Casualty

- Please find the mailing address for your state to send the VA 21-534 on the following link.PMC States

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

Apply online

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.

Surviving Spouses

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

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