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How to Get Your Certificate of Eligibility

If you’re active-duty military or a veteran, a VA home loan is an excellent option to consider for your home financing needs, but you’ll need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in order to receive your loan.

VA CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY

What is a COE?

The first step toward securing a VA loan to fund your home is to get your VA Certificate of Eligibility. This document is required by your lender to prove that the home buyer has met the Department of Veterans Affairs' service requirements.

To qualify for a VA loan, you must have one of the following requirements:

  • 181 days of service during peacetime
  • 90 days of service during war time
  • 6 years in the Reserves/National Guard
  • Are the surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty
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How do I get my COE?

There are three ways to apply for your COE:

  1. The easiest way is to talk to your lender. They have access to a portal that allows them to quickly obtain your COE.
  2. Apply online. Log in or create an account on the eBenefits portal.

Mail your application. Print and fill out Form 26-1880. Mail the completed form to the correct address specified on the form.

Include Your Proof of Service

In order to apply for your COE, you’ll need to provide proof of service. The VA gives clear directions on what documentation is required for eligible proof of service depending on whether you are a veteran, an active service member, or a member of the National Guard or Reserves. This could include discharge forms or a statement of service.

Entitlement Codes

These two-digit numbers don’t mean much to the borrower, but they give lenders information about your military history and whether you are exempt from paying the VA funding fee, which is a cost paid by borrowers directly to the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are 11 codes and each one stands for a different era as follows:


Understanding your COE

Once you obtain your COE, you’ll see it includes a variety of information used to determine the terms of your VA home loan. In addition to your personal information, like your name and social security number, your COE will include information about whether you’re exempt from paying the VA loan funding fee, whether this is your first time applying, and your VA home loan entitlement amount.

Most of the codes are straightforward and directly correspond to a period of conflict or peacetime. Entitlement code 05 has an important distinction and typically indicates that you’ve already used your VA home loan benefit. A VA entitlement code of 05 notes that your entitlement has been restored, allowing you to use your VA loan benefit again.If you have questions about your entitlement code, be sure to bring them up to your lender.


  • 01 – World War II
  • 02 – Korean War
  • 03 – Post-Korean War
  • 04 – Vietnam War
  • 05 – Entitlement Restored
  • 06 – Surviving Spouse
  • 07 – Spouse of POW/MIA
  • 08 – Post-World War II
  • 09 – Post-Vietnam
  • 10 – Persian Gulf War
  • 11 – Selected Reserves

Most of the codes are straightforward and directly correspond to a period of conflict or peacetime. Entitlement code 05 has an important distinction and typically indicates that you’ve already used your VA home loan benefit. A VA entitlement code of 05 notes that your entitlement has been restored, allowing you to use your VA loan benefit again.

If you have questions about your entitlement code, be sure to bring them up to your lender.

Start Your VA Home Loan

Getting your COE is the first step to getting started on your VA home loan journey.

Talk to a Loan Officer