VA loans help make buying or refinancing a home more affordable. Veterans, active-duty personnel, and surviving spouses are eligible for VA loans. Eligibility is generally based on meeting minimum active-duty requirements or having been discharged for a service-related disability. You typically need an honorable discharge to be eligible too.
You’ll need to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) the first time you apply for a VA loan. You may need this certificate when you buy another home or refinance your mortgage too. Remember you still need to meet credit, income, and financial requirements to be approved for a VA loan.
Freedom Mortgage is the #1 VA lender1 in the United States. We are dedicated to helping veterans, service members, and surviving spouses finance homes with VA loans!
VA loan eligibility from the Gulf War to the present
If you are currently on active duty, you need 90 continuous days of service to be eligible for a VA loan.
Many veterans and military personnel fall under the minimum active-duty requirements for the Gulf War period. This period started on August 2, 1990 and continues to the present. You are eligible for a VA loan if during this period you served at least this amount of time:
- 24 continuous months, or
- The full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty, or
- At least 90 days if you were discharged for a hardship, a reduction in force, or for convenience of the government, or
- Less than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
VA loan eligibility from peace-time service in the 1980s
Veterans who served during the 1980s need 24 continuous months of service or at least 181 days when they were called or ordered to active duty. Here are the service periods.
|1980s||September 8, 1980 to August 1, 1990|
|1980s (officers)||October 17, 1981 to August 1, 1990|
VA loan eligibility from war-time service
Veterans who served during times of war need 90 days of service or less than 90 days of service if they were discharged for a service-connected disability. Here are the service periods.
|World War II||September 16, 1940 to July 25, 1947|
|Korean War||June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955|
|Vietnam War||August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975|
VA loan eligibility from peace-time service
Veterans who served during times of peace need 181 days of service or less than 181 days of service if they were discharged for a service-connected disability. Here are the service periods.
|post World War II||July 26, 1947 to June 26, 1950|
|post Korean War||February 1, 1955 to August 4, 1964|
|post Vietnam War||May 8, 1975 to September 7, 1980|
|post Vietnam War (officers)||May 8, 1975 to October 16, 1981|
See the VA website for more information about eligible service periods.
VA loan eligibility for members of the National Guard and Reserves
Members of the National Guard and Reserves are eligible if they have 90 days of active-duty service between August 2, 1990 and the present. You are also eligible if you have 6 credible years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard and you meet certain conditions. See the VA website for more information.
VA loan eligibility for surviving spouses
Surviving spouses of veterans can also be eligible for VA loans. For the spouse to be eligible, the veteran needs to be missing in action, a prisoner of war, or have died in the service or from a service-related disability. There are rules about surviving spouses remarrying that can affect eligibility too. See the VA website for more information.
Talk to Freedom Mortgage about VA loans
1. Inside Mortgage Finance, January to June 2020