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VA Home Loans: Obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility
VA determines your eligibility and, if qualified, a certificate of eligibility will be issued.  Eligibility applications can involve:
  • An original determination of eligibility for the home loan benefit
  • A request to replace a lost certificate of eligibility
  • A request for restoration of the benefit after payment in full of a previous VA home loan
  • Issuance of a certificate reflecting a current outstanding loan for refinance purposes

Requesting a certificate through your lender:

In many cases, your lender will be able to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility for you by using ACE (Automated Certificate of Eligibility).  ACE is a web-based application that is able to determine eligibility and issue an online Certificate of Eligibility in a matter of seconds.  Not all cases can be processed through ACE.  If there is insufficient data in our records, the certificate will have to be requested from VA using the procedures below:

Requesting a certificate from VA:

  1. Complete VA Form 26-1880, Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits.
  2. Send the completed VA Form 26-1880 and any supporting evidence (see 3 and 4 below) to the Winston-Salem Eligibility Center.  Under normal circumstances a response can be anticipated in roughly 10 days.  This time frame will vary during periods of heavy activity.
  3. Include photocopies of your most recent discharge or separation papers covering active military duty, which show active duty dates and type of discharge.  If you served on regular active duty (not a reservist) and were discharged after 1975 or you have previously had a VA loan, it may not be necessary for you to provide documentation of your military service.  However, it is best to provide such evidence with your VA Form 26-1880 if it is readily available so as to avoid possible delays in processing your request.
  4. If you are seeking restoration of your previously used benefit, you should include any evidence of payment in full of your prior loan (copy of HUD-1, settlement statement for example) that you have in your possession.  Normally VA receives notification that a loan has been paid, but this does not always happen.  VA determines your eligibility and, if you are qualified, VA will issue you a certificate of eligibility to be used in applying for a VA loan.

If you were discharged from regular active duty

If you were separated after January 1, 1950, the appropriate documentation of your military service would be DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.  If you were discharged after October 1, 1979, DD Form 214, copy 4 would be appropriate.  A photocopy of DD214 will suffice.  Do not submit an original document.

If your service was in Selected Reserves

If you served in the Selected Reserve you must provide documentation sufficient to establish that you served a minimum of 6 years with points earned for weekend drills or active duty for training and received an honorable discharge.  Since there is no uniform document similar to DD214 for proof of service in the Selected Reserve, a number of different forms may be accepted.

For those who served in the Army or Air National Guard and were discharged after at least 6 years of service, NGB Form 22 may be sufficient.

Those who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserves may need to relay on a variety of forms.  Often it will be necessary to submit a combination of documents such as an Honorable Discharge certificate together with a Retirement Points Statement.

If you remain on active duty

If you are now on regular active duty and have not been previously discharged from active duty service, you must submit a statement of service which includes the name of the issuing authority (base or command), and is signed by or at the direction of an appropriate official.  The statement must identify you (SSN), and provide your date of entry on active duty and the duration at any time lost.  If you remain on active Selected Reserve duty, the statement of service should be from your unit CO and should cite the length of time you have served with the reserve unit.

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