Confirming Service With a VA Certificate of Eligibility

In this article...
  • You need a VA certificate of eligibility to apply for a no-down-payment mortgage as a military member or veteran. Learn more about this critical document.

A VA Certificate of Eligibility shows lenders that you meet the requirements for a mortgage through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Get answers to common questions about starting the process of getting a zero-down home loan through the VA.

Who Qualifies for a VA Certificate of Eligibility?

You can potentially qualify for a VA certificate of eligibility if you are a service member on active duty, veteran, Reserve member, National Guard member or spouse of someone in one of those groups. You must also meet requirements for length of service in active wartime or peacetime periods. Shorter requirements for active duty service apply for those who became disabled during service. You may qualify for a special VA loan program if you are of Native American descent.

What Documents Do I Need for a Certificate of Eligibility?

You will need documents that show proof of service to get a Certificate of Eligibility. 

  • Discharged National Guard members: Record of Service for every service period along with Record of Separation or Proof of Character of Service and Retirement Points Statement
  • Discharged Reserve members: Most recent copy of Retirement Points Statement or Proof of Honorable Service
  • Current National Guard, Reserve and active-duty military members: Statement of Service with personnel officer, adjutant or commander signature
  • Former National Guard and Reserve and veterans: Separation or discharge papers

How Long Does It Take to Get a Certificate of Eligibility?

After you complete your application and submit all required documents, you should get your Certificate of Eligibility in about 6 weeks. However, you can speed up the process by applying through your VA eBenefits portal or directly through a lender that offers VA benefits. Once you have a Certificate of Eligibility, it never expires. You will need a new certificate if your status changes, however (in the case of retirement, for example).

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