Active-Duty Military Need a Statement of Service for a VA Loan

Marcus Marion, CMA™ 4 weeks ago 0 5

Active-duty military members can benefit by using a VA loan in many ways. This program allows you to finance the entire purchase price of a house, which means you don’t have to make a down payment unless you want to.

As a government-backed mortgage program, VA loans have specific rules and requirements, especially when it comes to documentation. Active-duty military members who wish to use a VA loan to buy a home must obtain a variety of documents, including a “statement of service.”

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the statement of service, the information it has to include, and how it ties into the VA loan origination process.

Statement of Service for a VA Loan

The VA loan program is open to active-duty military, veterans, and members of the National Guard and Reserve. But in all cases, the borrower must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA that verifies to the lender that they’re eligible for the program.

In order to obtain your COE, you’ll need to provide proof of service. Veterans typically use the DD Form 214 (discharge papers) for this purpose. But if you’re currently serving on active duty, you obviously don’t have a DD 214.

That’s where the statement of service comes into the picture.

In the context of VA loans, the statement of service is an official letter or document issued by the applicant’s military command. It verifies the service member’s active-duty status and provides key details about their service, including:

  • Full Name: The service member’s legal name as it appears in official records.
  • Social Security Number (or last 4 digits): Used for identification and to match records.
  • Entry Date on Active Duty: The date the service member began their active service.
  • Duration of Lost Time (if any): Any periods of time when the service member was not on active duty (for active duty only, not reserve).
  • Name of the Command: Identifies the military unit providing the information.

The statement of service must be signed by (or by the direction of) the command adjutant, personnel office, or unit commander. Once the VA has this letter, they can verify your service and issue a Certificate of Eligibility so you can apply through a mortgage lender.

How to Request a Statement of Service

The process for requesting a statement of service is fairly straightforward. Personnel, adjutant and admin departments are typically very familiar with these letters and probably have templates at their disposal.

Here’s how to navigate the process:

1. Contact Your Command. Reach out to your unit’s adjutant, personnel office, or your commander. Explain that you need a statement of service for a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan application.

2. Provide Required Information. At a minimum, you’ll have to provide your full legal name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and the date you entered active-duty service.

3. Verify Information. Once you receive the statement of service, carefully review it to ensure all information is accurate. If any errors are found, request corrections to avoid unwanted delays further down the road.

According to the VA: ” There is no one form used uniformly by the military for a statement of service.” So the format and wording can vary, as long as it contains the necessary information.

Where to Send the Document

So, you’ve obtained a statement of service through your command, and you’re now ready to move forward with the VA loan application process.

What next?

Where you send the statement will depend on where you are in the loan process:

Option 1: Sending It to the VA Directly

If you are applying directly to the VA in order to obtain your COE, include the statement of service along with your VA Form 26-1880 (Request for Certificate of Eligibility). Mail it to the address for your state listed on the form, or refer to the VA.gov website for instructions.

Option 2: Giving It to Your Lender

If you’re already working with a mortgage lender, they might be able to request a COE on your behalf. Mortgage lenders can often do this electronically, which helps to expedite the process. In this scenario, you would give your statement of service directly to the lender and they will handle the rest.

How the Rest of the Process Unfolds

Once you’ve delivered the statement of service and obtained your Certificate of Eligibility, the VA loan process moves forward just as it would with a regular mortgage loan:

  • You’ll get pre-approved for a specific loan amount to guide your house hunting efforts.
  • You’ll make an offer on a house you want to buy, supported by your pre-approval letter.
  • You’ll go through an underwriting process that examines all aspects of the loan.
  • You’ll attend closing to sign the finalized loan documents and pay your closing costs.

These steps generally work the same for both VA and conventional (non-government-backed) home loans. But it’s those preliminary steps that are unique to the VA loan program. And that includes obtaining the statement of service from your command, if you’re on active duty.

A Different Process for Veterans

All of the information above pertains to active-duty service members in particular. The process works a little differently for veterans.

If you’ve been honorably discharged from the military, you’ll still need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to use a VA loan. But instead of using a statement of service to request your COE from the Department of Veterans Affairs, you’ll need to provide your DD 214.

Aside from that, the rest of the steps for pre-approval, house hunting, and closing are the same for both veterans and active-duty military members.

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