Home  »  Finance   »   Who Qualifies For A VA Home Loan?

Who Qualifies For A VA Home Loan?

VA benefits

Do you need to know about VA home loan eligibility requirements? Most who serve on active duty today are required to serve 90 continuous days on active duty before they can apply for a VA Certificate of Eligibility for a VA home loan. But what about members of the National Guard or the Reserve? What about veterans who retired or separated from active duty service years ago? Here is a list of the qualifying service eras and information on eligibility for qualifying surviving spouses.

VA Loan Eligibility For Veterans: Gulf War Era Veterans August 2, 1990, to Present Day

To qualify for the VA home loan program you must have served:

  • At least 24 continuous months, or
  • The full period of 90 days or more for which you were called or ordered to active duty, or
  • At least 90 days of service if discharged for a hardship, or a reduction in force, or
  • Less than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For Veterans: September 8, 1980, to August 1, 1990

To qualify for a VA mortgage as an enlisted member during this service era you must have served on active duty:

  • At least 24 continuous months, or
  • The full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called to active duty, or
  • At least 181 days if you were discharged for a hardship, or a reduction in force, or
  • Less than 181 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For Veterans: May 8, 1975, to September 7, 1980

You meet the minimum active-duty service requirement if you served for:

  • 181 continuous days, or
  • Less than 181 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For Veterans: August 5 1964 to May 7, 1975

The minimum active-duty service requirement if you served in this era includes:

  • At least 90 total days, or
  • Less than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For Veterans: February 1, 1955, to August 4, 1964

The VA loan program’s minimum active-duty service requirement for this era includes active service for:

  • At least 181 total days, or
  • Less than 181 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For Veterans: June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955

You meet the VA Loan program’s minimum active-duty service requirement if you served for:

  • At least 90 total days, or
  • Less than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For Veterans: July 26, 1947, to June 26, 1950

The minimum active-duty service requirement in this service era includes:

  • At least 181 continuous days, or
  • Less than 181 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For Veterans: September 16, 1940, to July 256, 1947

The minimum active-duty service requirement for the VA home loan program for this service area includes:

  • At least 90 total days, or
  • Less than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For National Guard members

The minimum active-duty service requirements depend on when you joined. If you joined any time after August 2, 1990, you must serve 90 days of active duty service. If you served during any other area besides the present Gulf War era (August 2, 1990, to the present day) you must meet the following requirements:

  • 90 days or more of non-training active-duty service, or
  • 90 days or more of active-duty service including at least 30 consecutive days (your DD214 must show 32 USC sections 316, 502, 503, 504, or 505 activations), or
  • Six years in the National Guard, and you received an Honorable discharge or
  • Six years in the National Guard and placed on the retired list

VA Loan Eligibility For Reserve Members

Like members of the National Guard, if you serve today (anytime after August 2, 1990) you must have 90 days of service. You may also have six years in the Selected Reserve and one of the following must apply:

  • You have an Honorable discharge or
  • You were placed on the retired list, or
  • You were transferred to the Standby Reserve or
  • You were transferred to an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve or
  • You continue to serve in the Selected Reserve

VA Loan Eligibility For Those Who Do Not Meet Minimum Service Requirements?

Were you given a military discharge for one of the reasons below? You may still be able to request the VA loan benefit. Much depends on your circumstances:

  • Hardship
  • The convenience of the government (after serving 20 months of a two-year enlistment)
  • Early out (after serving 21 months of a two-year enlistment) 
  • Reduction in force
  • Certain medical conditions
  • A service-connected disability

VA Loan Eligibility For Surviving Spouses

You may be eligible for the VA home loan program if you are the surviving spouse of a veteran who has died, is missing, or declared a prisoner of war. If this applies to you, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs directly at 1-800-827-1000 to discuss your circumstances and how to apply.

The rules for surviving spouses are unique and you should get help from the VA and from your participating lender to start the process. In general, surviving spouses may qualify if one of the following applies:

  • The veteran is declared missing in action
  • The veteran is a prisoner of war
  • The veteran died while in service or from a service-connected disability and the surviving spouse did not remarry
  • The veteran died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn’t remarry before you were 57 years old or before December 16, 2003, or
  • The veteran had been totally disabled and then died (not necessarily service-connected)

Others Who May Qualify For A VA Mortgage

There are other Americans who may qualify for a VA home loan. They include anyone who served in the military of a government “allied with the United States” during World War Two, plus members of “certain organizations” according to the VA official site. They include:

  • Public Health Service officers
  • Cadets at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy
  • Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy
  • Officers of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
  • World War Two-era Merchant seamen

Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs for more information on how to apply for VA loan benefits if any of the above applies to you. A participating lender can help you obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility to help you get started on your VA loan journey.