FAQ VA Loan Eligibility

Who Is Eligible For a VA Loan?

Eligibility is one of the topics that is most frequently asked about in the VA loan program. The rules for VA loan eligibility fall into three categories: active duty servicemembers or veterans, National Guard/Reservists, and surviving spouses. There are different service requirements for those who served or are serving in active duty and those who served in the Guard/Reserve, and the requirements for active duty servicemembers differ depending on the time period in which they served. The VA offers a comprehensive table that is easy to read and see what the service requirements are for the time period you have served.

Status Qualifying Wartime & Peacetime Periods Qualifying Active Duty Dates Minimum Active Duty Service Requirement
Veteran WWII 9/16/1940 – 7/25/1947 90 total days
Post-WWII 7/26/1947 – 6/26/1950 181 continuous days
Korean War 6/27/1950 – 1/31/1955 90 total days
Post-Korean War 2/1/1955 – 8/4/1964 181 continuous days
Vietnam War 8/5/1964 – 5/7/1975 *For Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, the beginning date is 2/28/1961 90 total days
Post-Vietnam War 5/8/1975 – 9/7/1980 *The ending date for officers is 10/16/1981 181 continuous days
24-month rule 9/8/1980 – 8/1/1990 *The beginning date for officers is 10/17/1981 24 continuous months, ORThe full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty
Gulf War 8/2/1990 – Present 24 continuous months, ORThe full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty
Currently On Active Duty Any Any 90 continuous days
National Guard & Reserve Member Gulf War 8/2/1990 – Present 90 days of active service
Six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard, ANDWere discharged honorably, OR

Were placed on the retired list, OR

Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable, OR

Continue to serve in the Selected Reserve

To find out if you are eligible for a VA loan, just take a look at the table above and see what the requirements are for your service period. Even if you didn’t serve for long enough, you still might be eligible if you were discharged due to hardship, the convenience ofWho Is Eligible For a VA Loan? the government, reduction-in-force, certain medical conditions, or a service-connected disability. If you are eligible for the VA loan program, the first step you’ll need to take is to get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You can obtain your COE on your own if you want, but it’s usually easier to work through a lender to get it. The COE will show how much “entitlement” you have. Entitlement refers to the maximum amount that the VA will guarantee on your behalf. Speak with a VA-approved lender for more details on that, and how you can purchase a home that is more expensive than you can buy with just your entitlement.

You may have noticed that surviving spouses are not on the above table. Spouses of those who died in the line of duty or from a service-connected disability can be eligible for the VA loan program as well. If you are eligible for DIC, then you are eligible for the VA loan program. If you are eligible or aren’t sure, it’s best to get started by speaking with a VA-approved lender, who can walk you through all of the steps to get a VA loan. If you have remarried, you may no longer be eligible.
Remember that being eligible for the VA loan program is not the same thing as being approved for the loan – it is possible to be eligible for the VA loan program but not qualified for a loan. Qualifying for a loan involves passing a credit check and having sufficient income and stable employment, and if you can’t qualify for a VA loan, no lender is obligated to approve you for one. Make sure to be prepared to apply for your VA loan by paying off any debts, establishing a consistent, reliable income, and improving your credit score.

4 thoughts on “FAQ VA Loan Eligibility

  1. Veteran Disabled serve ten years Our Nation Overseas
    Last March 2014 , our home was sold at a Short Sale
    We leased a home to wait for the two years required to buy a home for us…
    Then at last then one year, the owner of the home we leased want to sale the home we leased
    I very severely Disabled, also my wife is severely Disabled from Birth…
    We have no place to move too, and no one that can help us
    Please tell us what is the real waiting time after a short sale for I is a Veteran to be able to buy a home?. We are so afraid to be homeless due to not been able to find a place to live.
    I have been retired, work for 38 years for The Federal Government, at DOD.
    Thank you most kindly. Jim.

  2. Jim, call our toll free number or apply online and we will have a VA loan specialist get in contact shortly. Thanks

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