Most who apply for a VA home loan may be well aware that they’re eligible for the VA mortgage benefit. Veterans, active duty, National Guard and Armed Forces Reserves are eligible with basic requirements but there really is only one way to find out if eligibility is there and that’s with the certificate of eligibility. Obtained directly from the VA, the certificate identifies the borrower and lists the entitlement amount as well as any previous or outstanding VA mortgages the borrower has taken out.
The borrower has several ways to obtain the certificate. If the veteran simply wants to find out about eligibility without speaking directly with a VA lender, the veteran has several ways to get the information. The first is to visit the nearest regional VA center and take along a copy of the DD-214. The second way is to complete form 26-1880, the request for the certificate of eligibility, and mail or fax the form in. In a couple of weeks, the certificate arrives in the mail. Borrowers can also log online and request the certificate directly from the VA website and completing an online version of the 26-1880 form.
The easiest way is to apply for a VA loan and have the VA lender order the certificate of eligibility on behalf of the veteran. Approved VA lenders have access to an electronic certificate retrieval system that can obtain the certificate in a matter of seconds.
Once the veteran applies for a VA loan and decides to switch lenders or halt the process altogether, if the veteran obtained the certificate on their own without the assistance of a VA lender, the certificate can be transferred to the new lender. However, if the borrower had the lender obtain the certificate, that certificate may not be transferred and a new one will be ordered by the newly selected lender.