Created specifically for active-duty service members, National Guard members, reservists, veterans and their families, the VA loan program comes with significant benefits to help eligible borrowers finance the purchase of a home.
But to qualify for a VA loan, an applicant must satisfy at least one of the basic military service requirements set forth by the VA. Active-duty military members must have served continuously for at least 90 days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime. National Guard and Reserve members must have a minimum of 6 years of active-duty service. The military members discharged for a service-related disability may be eligible for a VA loan, irrespective of the number of days of continuous active duty.
As VA loan applicants need to provide evidence of their military service, the Certificate of Eligibility is used to determine whether or not an applicant meets the minimum service requirements.
Submitting Evidence and Getting a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA Loan
In addition to the documents typically required by lenders, there are two steps each VA applicant needs to follow when applying for a VA-backed loan.
First, the applicant must submit certain documents, based on his or her category. These are as follows:
- DD Form 24 (veterans, current and former National Guard or Reserve members who have been assigned to federal active-duty service);
- A current statement of service (active-duty service members);
- A statement of service (active National Guard and Reserve members who have never been on Federal active service);
- NGB Form 22 or NGB Form 23 (discharged members who have never been activated for Federal military service);
- Evidence of honorable service and the latest annual retirement points statement (discharged Selected Reserve members who have never been on Federal active duty).
Second, the applicant will need a Certificate of Eligibility. Potential borrowers can apply for this certificate in three different ways.
- Online. To apply online, a person must be registered in DEERS and open a free eBenefits premium account. Once registered, the user can view his or her VA home loan benefit and print a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA loan.
- Through Lenders. VA-approved lenders can also obtain a Certificate of Eligibility on behalf of an applicant by accessing the VA’s web-based loan guaranty system, called Web LGY. It’s important to note, however, that lenders can get this certificate only if there is sufficient data in the system.
- By Mail. Another way to get a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA loan is by filling out the form Request for a Certificate of Eligibility and sending it to the VA for processing.
Although a potential borrower doesn’t need a Certificate of Eligibility in advance to shop around for a VA loan, most lenders require this certificate early in the process in order to determine whether the applicant is eligible for the VA loan program or not.
Another thing an applicant must know is that the Certificate of Eligibility doesn’t guarantee loan approval. To get a VA loan, a potential borrower must meet certain credit score, income and DTI ratio requirements established by the lender. Also, the home must pass the VA appraisal.
Selecting the right mortgage product usually requires the knowledge and experience of a licensed mortgage broker. Founded back in 2001, North Florida Mortgage has successfully serviced hundreds of customers with their mortgage needs. Since our mission is to provide a hassle- and worry-free mortgage experience to all of our customers, please don’t hesitate to contact our highly experienced, fully licensed mortgage originators with any inquiries you might have about our mortgage programs.