VA Eligibility

VA Eligibility

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For A VA Home Loan?

The Department of Veteran Affairs has set the ground rules for eligibility in the VA Home Loan program and those ground rules make it possible for almost any veteran or active service member to get a home loan. The important thing to remember is that eligibility and application are two different things in the VA Home Loan process. Just because you are eligible does not automatically give you a loan. But it is definitely the first step in the process that you have to follow if you want to take advantage of this program.

There are several ways that a VA Home Loan can be used. The VA offers foreclosed properties that can be purchased using this form of financing. A veteran or active service member can choose to purchase a condominium, purchase an existing home, remodel an existing home, add energy efficient upgrades to a home, buy a unit in a VA living project or buy a lot to place a manufactured home. The VA can also help you to set up a situation where you get a home built and then finance the finished home with a VA loan.

The eligibility requirements for active service members are easy to follow. Any currently active service member who has been active for 90 continuous days can qualify for the program. These are members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines. Members of the Reserves or National Guard can qualify after six years of service provided that they maintained their training obligations, were honorably discharged, were retired or still remain on the active roster. Some members can qualify if they have less than six years of service, provided that their early departure was due to an injury sustained during duty.

Veterans who served in the past are eligible if they had 90 continuous days of service during war, or 181 continuous days of service during peacetime. The Department of Veterans Affairs considers wartime duty to be the following:

  • World War II 1940 to 1947
  • Korean War 1950 to 1955
  • Vietnam War 1964 to 1975 (members who served in the Republic of Vietnam have eligibility dates of 1961 to 1975)
  • Gulf War 1990 to present day

Veterans of World War I are no longer eligible for the VA Home Loan program.

The eligibility of a VA Home Loan can get complicated, depending on your current situation. If you are an active service member that meets the eligibility requirements, then you can have as many VA Home Loans as you like, provided that your previous properties are paid off or have had ownership transferred to a veteran.

Active members are allowed to have one property paid in full and then still be able to get one more VA Home Loan to buy a second property. A good example of how this works is if an active service member buys a home in the United States and then gets sent overseas for several years. As long as that active member is buying a home in territory or possession of the United States, then he can own one home that is paid in full and finance another using a separate VA Home Loan.

For retired veterans, there is a limited eligibility. Veterans can purchase one home or take out a loan for improvements to an existing home as per the program guidelines. But if that veteran wants to buy a second property, then he cannot still own the original property that was purchased or the remodeling loan must be paid off in full.

The veteran must either pay off the loan and then sell the property, or another veteran can assume the property and transfer his eligibility to the loan. That would free up the seller to use his remaining eligibility on a new property.

It should also be noted that spouses of deceased veterans also qualify to be part of the VA Home Loan program, provided that those spouses have not remarried. Service members who were in the militaries of United States allies can also qualify for a VA Home Loan, provided they meet the special criteria set up by the VA.

Once the veteran or active service member has been able to prove eligibility, the next step is to apply for a VA Home Loan through an authorized lender. The process has been streamlined for military personnel, but there is still an application process that requires personal financial records and the completion of an application which the lender will use to process the VA Home Loan request.