The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is an important step in starting the VA loan process. This document declares your eligibility for the VA loan program. When looking to start the loan process, you can either get the COE yourself or have your California VA lender request it for you. The fastest and easiest way to retrieve your COE is to have your lender do it.
Regardless of which way you decide to obtain your Certificate of Eligibility, you will need to provide proof of service for your lender. If you served in the armed forces you will need to provide your DD214, which is also known as the Certificate of Release or Discharge papers, for your proof of service. Copy 4 of the DD-214 is the preferred version for the VA program because it provides the most details regarding your service. For members of the national guard and reserves, you will have to show your most recent annual retirement summary as their proof of service. You can still submit a request for a COE even if you don’t have a proof of service form because in some cases the VA can determine your eligibility based on their own records.
If you decide to go about obtaining your COE yourself there are a couple different ways that you can go about getting it. You can use the VA online ebenefits portal, visit your nearby regional loan center or mail in the needed documents. If you decide to have your lender get the COE it is a much simpler and quicker process. If you have your lender request the COE, all you need to do is provide them with your proof of service. In some cases, your lender may be able to retrieve your COE in minutes without the proof of service. Lenders are able to use the VA Automated Certificate of Eligibility portal to request your COE and determine your eligibility in a matter of minutes. In some cases, the automated portal will be unable to make a decision but it will still be a faster process for your lender to get the COE. Even if you have already received your Certificate of Eligibility, your lender will still go online to pull an updated version, so having the lender pull it in the first place is the best way to go in most cases.
Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County VA Loan Officer specializing in VA Loan. MLO 223456. – Please contact my office at the Home Point Financial. My direct line is 949-640-3102. I will prepare custom VA loan scenarios which will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short-term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of the your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process.
DD 214 forms are required of California veterans when applying for a VA mortgage loan, and, unfortunately, are commonly misplaced over time.
The good news is that losing or misplacing your DD 214 is an easily solved problem!
For starters, let’s go ahead and define what a DD 214 is and what it is used for:
A DD 214 (short for Defense Department 214) form is issued to military members upon retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty. Also called a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, this paperwork lists the details of the veteran’s status during the time they changed to inactive and if they left honorably or dishonorably.
DD 214 forms are a vital part of getting a California VA loan for those applicants who are no longer in the military. They are required by the federal government in order to prove you are eligible for a VA loan.
Remember that a Certificate of Release is not just for getting approved for a VA loan, so it’s generally a good idea to have yours accessible. You can use this paperwork to qualify for a variety of additional veteran benefits.
There are different ways you can acquire this paperwork:
- Veterans receive a copy of their DD 214 when they leave active duty. They get their form regardless of the circumstances behind their leaving.
- If you are a spouse(note: you can’t be re-married), a parent, or a child or sibling of a veteran, you can get a copy of from either the National Archives or the U.S. Department of Defense.
If you did receive your DD 214 when you left active duty but have misplaced or lost it, you can also get a copy of it through the National Archives or the U.S. Department of Defense.
For veterans, Certificate of Release copies are typically free of charge, although spouses and family might have to pay a nominal fee.
To request a copy, you will first need to fill out Standard Form 180 (also known as SF 180). You can download a copy of it HERE.
After you have filled out both sides of SF 180 you can then either fax or mail it to the address listed on the bottom. Simple enough!
Once you have your DD 214, be sure to confirm that it has the following information:
- Your complete name during your time of service.
- Your specific service branch.
- The dates of your service.
- Your social security number.
As we already mentioned earlier in the article, having a DD 214 form is absolutely essential in applying for and getting approved for a VA loan. If you do not currently have yours, you should request a copy of it as soon as possible, even if you are not currently shopping for a new mortgage or refinance.
This will ensure that when you do begin the VA loan process your approval won’t be held up waiting for the form to arrive.
Once you have your DD214 in hand, you can provide it to a California VA lender who can help to quickly retrieve your Certificate of Eligibility, a necessary step to closing a VA loan on a California home.
Authored by Tim Storm, a California VA Loan Officer specializing in VA Loans. MLO 223456. – Please contact my office at the Home Point Financial. My direct line is 949-640-3102. I will prepare custom VA loan scenarios which will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of the your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process.