If you’re just now getting your documents together in order to complete a VA loan application, one of the most important documents you’ll need, you can’t get approved without it, is your certificate of eligibility. This form may be obtained by writing or visiting the nearest VA regional center, you may go on online and complete the form provided by the VA or you can let your lender obtain it for you. Yet over the years, you may have misplaced certain documents, especially if you’ve yet to take advantage of the VA benefits waiting for you.
To obtain your certificate of eligibility, you’ll need to complete the DOD form 26-1880, the Request for Certificate of Eligibility. But you should also have a copy of your discharge papers, your DD-214. The information from the DD-214 must match exactly the information requested and entered on form 26-1880. Can’t find your discharge papers? Maybe you had a general idea but now they’re nowhere to be found?
If you need a new copy of your DD-214, the VA has a portal you can log into at archives.gov/veterans/evetrecs/index.html. By completing this online form, you can make your request directly from military archives. Or, you can complete the request form and mail it to the Military Personnel Records building in St. Louis, MO. Once you’ve received your copy, you should store the new DD-214 in a fireproof storage box. And after all that, you can bet you won’t lose the form again.
One more tip? Go to the county recorder’s office and record a copy of your newly retrieved DD-214. There will be a small fee, say $20 to $40 but the county government will always have your copy. Just in case, that is.