In order to obtain a VA home loan, you must first get a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility. This certificate is issued only through the Veterans Administration, and is the first step towards applying for your loan. Veterans, active duty, guard or reserve, and military spouses potentially qualify for this certificate. Keep in mind that the Certificate of Eligibility, while necessary, only allows an eligible individual to apply for a home loan; it does not guarantee a loan approval.
Learn more about this exclusive benefit, Download a free VA Loan Guide today.
Eligibility for the Certificate is based on an individual's (or a spouse's) military service. Congress establishes eligibility with strict guidelines. Here are five common categories of those who normally qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility:
Wartime - Service During:
You must have at least 90 days on active duty and been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If you served less than 90 days, you may be eligible if discharged for a service connected disability.
Peacetime - Service during periods:
You must have served at least 181 days of continuous active duty and been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If you served less than 181 days, you may be eligible if discharged for a service connected disability.
Service after 9/7/1980 (enlisted) or 10/16/1981 (officer)
If you were separated from service which began after these dates, you must have:
Gulf War - Service during period 8/2/1990 to date yet to be determined
If you served on active duty during the Gulf War, you must have:
Active Duty Service Personnel
If you are now on regular duty (not active duty for training), you are eligible after having served 181 days (90 days during the Gulf War) unless discharged or separated from a previous qualifying period of active duty service.
Selected Reserves or National Guard
If you are not otherwise eligible and you have completed a total of 6 years in the Selected Reserves or National Guard (member of an active unit, attended required weekend drills and 2-week active duty for training) and
Individuals who completed less than 6 years may be eligible if discharged for a service-connected disability.
You may also be determined eligible if you:
Note: Also, a surviving spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003, may be eligible for the home loan benefit. However, a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, must apply no later than December 15, 2004, to establish home loan eligibility. VA must deny applications from surviving spouses who remarried before December 6, 2003 that are received after December 15, 2004.
Eligibility may also be established for:
NEXT STEP: Download a free VA Loan Guide to get started using your VA home loan benefit.