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Basic Eligibility Requirements for a VA Loan.

The VA loan is guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs but provided through private lenders. Both the VA and each individual lender have requirements that must be met to use the VA loan benefit. 

To use the VA loan, you must meet ONE of the following requirements.

  • I have served at least 90 consecutive days of active duty military service during wartime.
  • I have served at least 180 consecutive days of active duty military service during peacetime.
  • I have served at least 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves.
  • I am the surviving spouse of a military service member who died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.

Obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility

One of the first steps to using your VA loan entitlement is demonstrating your eligibility to your lender. This is done through obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility, or COE, from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The COE is not required when applying for a VA loan but will be necessary to get during the loan process. Oftentimes, your lender can request the COE on your behalf with your permission.

To get your COE, you can:

  • Apply through the mail with VA Form 26-1880
  • Apply online at the VA’s eBenefits website
  • Apply through your lender
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