VA Form 26-1880 Instructions
You are allowed to request the COE if:
- You are or were an active duty service member for 90 days minimum during wartime;
- You are or were an active duty service member for 181 days minimum during peacetime;
- You are a current or discharged member of the National Guard or the Reserves who have served for 6 years minimum;
- You are a spouse of a veteran who is missing in action, is a prisoner of war, or died while in service or from a service-connected disability.
Even if you do not meet the minimum service requirements or if you served as a member of certain organizations, you can still apply for the COE using the VA 26-1880. Note that in addition to the service requirements, you need to meet the credit and income requirements of your lender to get a mortgage.
In most cases, the VA can check the information you provide on the form using their own databases. However, sometimes they may ask you for evidence. It is a good idea to attach copies of the documents that prove your service and repayment of your VA-guaranteed home loan if readily available to avoid delays in processing.
How to Fill out VA Form 26-1880?
- Item 1. Enter your name as you want it to be indicated on your COE;
- Items 2 - 3. Self-explanatory;
- Items 4A - 4B. If you served under the name other than the name indicated in Item 1, fill out these items. The name in this items must concur with the name indicated on your DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty;
- Items 5 - 7. Provide all applicable contact information;
- Items 8A - 8B. Specify if you were discharged, retired, or separated because of disability and provide your VA claim number if any. Find the VA claim number on the letters you receive from the VA. It is often the same as your Social Security number (SSN);
- Items 9A - 9C. Provide detailed information about your military service, including the branch of service, date entered, date separated (if any), and service number (if different from the SSN). Your eligibility is usually determined according to this information and data in the VA system. However, the VA may ask you to provide proof: a statement of service signed by your commander (if on active duty), DD Form 214 (if discharged), NGB Form 22, Report of Separation and Record of Service or NGB Form 23, Retirement Points Accounting (if a member of the National Guard Service), any latest annual retirement points statement and proof of honorable service (if a member of reserve);
- Items 10A - 10D. Provide the required information about your previous VA loans if you had any. If you have ever had the VA loan, paid it off, and do not own the home any longer, your previous eligibility can be restored. Even if you are a homeowner, you still can apply for a loan. If You have never had any VA loan, check the applicable box in Item 10A and skip to Item 14;
- Items 11A - 11D. Use these items if you are a homeowner who has paid off the previous VA loan but wish to buy another home for a primary residence. Remember that you can apply for one-time restoration only in this case;
- Items 12A - 12D. Fill out these items if you need to refinance your VA or non-VA loan;
- Items 13A - 13D. Complete this part if you want to reduce your interest rate or convert an adjustable rate loan to a fixed rate loan;
- Items 14A - 14B. Sign and date your request.
Your signature states that the information you provide is true and complete to the best of your knowledge. Remember that fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation can lead to severe penalties. If the form will be returned to you, the VA will provide a reason for return on the bottom of the document.
Where Do I Send my VA Form 26-1880?
You can submit your application electronically or by mail. To submit it electronically, you can visit the eBenefits portal or ask the lender you choose to help you with the electronic application. Electronic submission fastens the process. In most cases, you will receive a VA decision instantly.
If you prefer a paper version of the form, mail your completed application and the related documents to the VA regional loan center. The address depends on the state you live in. Find the table with the addresses of all the regional loan centers attached to the form.