If you have been considering a VA home loan and have been doing some research on the VA home loan program, you have most likely come across the Certificate of Eligibility requirement. A Certificate of Eligibility is a document distributed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to honorably discharged veteran or to active duty service members who have served for a certain period of time, and is a must for any service member interested in purchasing a home through the VA loan program.
What can a Certificate of Eligibility be used for?
A Certificate of Eligibility is a form that lets VA-approved lenders know that a service member has served in the United States military long enough to become eligible for VA home loan benefits. The Certificate of Eligibility also tells military personnel, and their VA-approved lender, how much they are able to borrow in order for their loan to be insured 100% by the VA. Service members will need a Certificate of Eligibility should they:
- apply for a VA home loan
- need to replace a Certificate of Eligibility that was previously issued
- regain the VA home loan benefit after paying off a previous VA loan
- want to refinance your existing VA or conventional loan
How do you obtain a Certificate of Eligibility?
There is usually a lot of paperwork that needs to be managed when working to secure a home loan, however, the VA has made securing a Certificate of Eligibility easier for applicants. To obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, a service member or eligible spouse has two options:
Have your VA-approved lender obtain it for you
Most VA-approved lenders have access to a program called Automated Certificate of Eligibility which they are able to enter in your information and receive your Eligibility Certificate in little time. On occasion, the automated system may not have enough information to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility which will require you to obtain your certificate manually.
Submit the application yourself
For those who do not have enough information in the VA’s automated program, or who simply choose to do it themselves, they can apply for their Certificate of Eligibility by filling out and submitting form 26-1889 to the VA. Applications can be obtained on-line, and the turn around time for filing for a Certificate of Eligibility manually is generally 10 days.
Although the Certificate of Eligibility is needed to secure a VA home loan, VA-approved lenders will also determine a borrower’s eligibility by reviewing his or her credit history and income.
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