Updated January 2018
VA streamline loans, or Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRLs) are a fantastic value for veterans who qualify for them. You may be eligible for VA loan benefits if you are serving or have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard and were honorably discharged.
In addition to being fast and easy to acquire, the IRRRL requires little documentation from the borrower. Some of the documentation that the VA waives includes income verification, credit reports and an appraisal (although some lenders do require an appraisal, along with credit score minimums).
One important document that is needed to qualify for the VA IRRRL program is the Certificate of Eligibility, also known as the Form 26-1880 for VA loans. This form shows you used your entitlement to purchase your home with a VA loan. You may have used your entitlement by obtaining a VA loan when you bought your house, or by substituting your eligibility for that of the seller, if you assumed the loan.
Because the VA streamline refinance loan is a “VA to VA” loan, meaning it can only be applied to a pre-existing VA loan, you have already used a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA loan on the property you are wanting to refinance.
If you have your VA Certificate of Eligibility, it will show that you have used your entitlement. However, if you don’t have your VA Certificate of Eligibility, lenders can use the VA’s e-mail confirmation procedure for the IRRRL in lieu of a certificate of eligibility.
The good news for veterans is that the IRRRL is a fast, easy way to refinance their VA loan. It can lower both interest rates and monthly mortgage payments. If you are a vet with a VA loan, an IRRRL may be a good way to reduce your bills and pay off your mortgage earlier.
How can you apply for a COE?
- Go online. Head over to the VA’s eBenefits portal. If you have already accessed this site before, chances are you already have your credentials. If you don’t have it yet, click the Register box and follow the directions on the screen. If you’re having difficulties, please feel free to ask for assistance from the eBenefits Help Desk at 1-800-983-0937. They are willing to assist you from Monday to Friday between 8am to 8pm.
- Apply through your lender. With the advent of automation, most VA-approved lenders nowadays already have access to the department’s Web LGY system. If your lender does have access to the system then you’re in luck. This internet-based application system can establish your eligibility and issue an online COE in just a few seconds.
- And as a last resort, send the department a good old snail mail. Use the VA Form 26-1880, Request for Certificate of Eligibility
- For surviving spouses, use the VA form 26-1817 for processing via their lenders or by mailing it directly to the VA along with the DD Form 214 if available. If you have a problem with printing the form, contact 1-877-827-3702 and follow the instructions. The VA will mail the form to you. After you receive the form, fill it properly and send to:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
Attn: COE (262)
PO Box 100034
Decatur, GA 30031