VA

    VA Loan Requirements

    VA loan eligibility gives veterans and active duty military the option to purchase a new home with no money down at very competitive interest rates.

    VA Loan Requirements

    What is a VA loan?

    A VA loan is quite possibly the best home financing option available anywhere. In most cases, VA loans do not require a down payment, require no monthly mortgage insurance (PMI), and have very competitive interest rates. The result is very little to no money out of pocket and a monthly house payment that is lower than a comparable FHA or USDA loan. VA loans are not available to everyone, but fortunately, if you meet VA loan requirements, you may have VA loan eligibility.

    VA Loan Eligibility

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the “VA” in VA loan. The VA is tasked by the federal government to maintain and provide benefits to our nation’s active military and veterans. One of those benefits is the VA loan program. VA loans offer great terms and are designed to promote homeownership amongst those who have dedicated their lives to serving our country. Whether or not you are eligible for a VA loan is determined by how you served and for how long.

    In general, if you are currently on active duty and have been for 90 continuous days, you are likely eligible for VA loan benefits. If you are a veteran and were honorably discharged, your benefit depends on the dates you served. In nearly all cases, a discharge related to service connected disability results in eligibility regardless of the amount of time served. Veterans with service connected disabilities are also typically exempt from the VA funding fee.

    VA Loan Service Requirements Chart

    Veterans and Active Duty Service Members

    When did you serve? You meet the minimum active-duty service requirement if you served for at least this amount of time:
    Between September 16, 1940, and July 25, 1947 (WWII)90 total days, orLess than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
    Between July 26, 1947, and June 26, 1950 (post-WWII period)181 continuous days, orLess than 181 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
    Between June 27, 1950, and January 31, 1955 (Korean War) 90 total days, orLess than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
    Between February 1, 1955, and August 4, 1964 (post-Korean War period) 181 continuous days, orLess than 181 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
    Between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975 (Vietnam War), orFebruary 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, if you served in the Republic of Vietnam 90 total days, orLess than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
    Between May 8, 1975, and September 7, 1980 (post-Vietnam War period), orBetween May 8, 1975, and October 16, 1981, if you served as an officer 181 continuous days, orLess than 181 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
    Between September 8, 1980, and August 1, 1990, orBetween October 17, 1981, and August 1, 1990, if you served as an officer 24 continuous months, orThe full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called to active duty
    Between August 2, 1990, and the present (Gulf War) 24 continuous months, orThe full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty, orAt least 90 days if you were discharged for a hardship, a reduction in force, or for convenience of the government, orLess than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
    You separated from service after September 7, 1980, orAfter October 16, 1981, if you served as an officer 24 continuous months, orThe full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty, orAt least 181 days if you were discharged for a hardship, a reduction in force, or for convenience of the government, orLess than 181 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
    I'm on active duty now90 continuous days

    Service Requirements for National Guard and Reserve Members

    When did you serve?You meet the minimum active-duty service requirement if you served for at least this amount of time:
    Between August 2, 1990, and the present (Gulf War)90 days of active-duty service
    Any time period6 creditable years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard, and one of the descriptions below is true for youAt least one of these must be true. You:Were discharged honorably, orWere placed on the retired list, orWere transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable, orContinue to serve in the Selected Reserve

    SOURCE: VA Home Loan Eligibility Requirements

    VA Certificate of Eligibility

    The easiest way to definitively determine VA loan eligibility is to formally request your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) directly from the VA website. Veterans will need to provide a copy of their DD-214 to confirm service dates and discharge status. Applying for a COE is easy and should be completed prior to your home search if there is any doubt to eligibility status. Your COE will list the category from which your eligibility is determined as well as your available VA entitlement.

    As of 2020 your available entitlement is only relevant if you have used entitlement on your COE. There is no longer a maximum VA loan amount if you have never had a VA loan or if your entitlement has been restored after paying off a previous VA loan. If you already have a VA loan and it will not be paid off prior to obtaining a new one, that’s okay, but the maximum VA loan amount will be impacted. Our VA entitlement calculator will determine your remaining eligibility as determined by your location.

    I am eligible. Now what?

    Buying a home with a VA loan is not much different than using any of the other home financing options. However, the VA does not originate loans, so your mortgage lender must be approved by the VA in order to do them. Most are, but it won’t hurt to ask your loan officer.

    You’ll apply no differently than you would for a traditional mortgage. Your lender will verify your COE and may ask for the same documents you provided to VA when obtaining your copy. Once your eligibility is confirmed and you’ve met the VA loan requirements, you are ready to start shopping for your new home.

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