A required first step in the VA loan process is obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). COE can be obtained through a VA-approved lender or online. The COE provides information to the VA-approved lender about the eligibility and entitlement of each borrower.
An experienced VA loan professional can obtain a potential borrower’s COE instantly with the VA’s online system. If the borrower is a surviving spouse, Reservist, National Guard member or someone new to the military, then chances are the system will not be able to provide a COE instantly. In this case VA Form 26-1880 must be filled out and sent to the Winston-Salem VA Office of Eligibility, and the COE will be sent in about two weeks.
A blank VA form 26-1880 can be obtained through a VA loan professional, or downloaded online in PDF format directly from the VA website: www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/vba-26-1880-ARE.pdf.