VA Loan Requirements: Understanding Eligibility

VA Loan Requirements: Understanding Eligibility

Who is eligible for a VA loan?
Discover how the VA loan program can help veterans, active-duty service members, and eligible spouses become homeowners. Learn about the VA loan eligibility requirements and how this government-backed mortgage program can benefit you. Gain valuable insights to qualify for a VA loan and make well-informed decisions about homeownership.

Military Service Requirements

To be eligible for a VA loan, it's essential to meet the military service requirements established by the VA. The following individuals may qualify for a VA loan:

Active-Duty Service Members:

  • Active-duty service members who have demonstrated unwavering commitment and continuous service in the military are eligible for VA loans.


  • Honorably discharged veterans who have proudly served in the military can meet the criteria for a VA loan. Their invaluable contributions to the nation entitle them to the benefits of this home loan program.

National Guard and Reserve Members:

  • National Guard and Reserve members who have fulfilled their required service time are eligible for VA loans. Their dedication to the military reserve force makes them eligible for this advantageous home loan program.

Surviving Spouses:

  • Spouses of fallen service members who made the ultimate sacrifice may qualify for a VA loan if it was due to duty or a service-related disability. The VA acknowledges their sacrifices and provides an opportunity for homeownership through this program. For surviving spouses seeking answers or further information, they can easily connect with a specialist from connect with a specialist from

Length of Service

The specific length of service requirements varies based on when you served. Generally, a minimum of 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime or 181 days during peacetime is required. However, shorter service periods may be acceptable for those discharged due to service-related disabilities.

  • Active-Duty Service Members:

    1. At least 90 consecutive days of active service in wartime.
    2. At least 181 days of continuous active service during peactime.
  • Veterans:

    1. Generally, 90 days of active service, with at least one day served during a wartime period.
    2. At least 181 days of continuous active service during peacetime.
    3. At least 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) for Gulf War service.
    4. Six years of creditable service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard (or a combination thereof), and:

      1. Honorable discharge
      2. Placed on the retired list
      3. Transferred to Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after honorable service
      4. Continued service in the Selected Reserve

Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Obtaining a COE from the VA is a vital step in the VA loan application process. COE confirms VA loan eligibility; obtain it from VA or VA-approved lender.

  • To get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for a VA home loan, you can follow these steps. First, gather required military service documents (e.g., DD Form 214 for veterans or current service statement). Next, complete the VA Form 26-1880, Request for a COE, providing service and personal details. Submit the form and supporting documents to the Department of Veterans Affairs for processing.

    Or you can work with a VA-approved lender who can help you obtain the COE.

  • The COE verifies your eligibility for a VA loan, obtainable from the VA or a VA-approved lender.

Documents required to obtain a COE

Veteran A copy of your discharge or separation papers (DD214).
Service Member A statement of service — signed by your commander, adjutant, or personnel officer,
Current or Former Activated National Guard or Reserve Member Copy of your discharge or separation papers (DD214).
Current member of the National Guard or Reserves who has never been activated A statement of service — signed by your commander, adjutant, or personnel officer
Discharged member of the National Guard who was never activated

Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22) for each period of National Guard service

Your Retirement Points Statement (NGB Form 23)

Proof of character of service.

Discharged member of the Reserves who was never activated A copy of your latest annual retirement points, and Proof of your honorable service

Additional Requirements


  • While the VA doesn't set a specific minimum credit score, lenders generally prefer a score of around 620 or higher. Your credit history and overall financial stability will also be considered.

Income and Debt:

  • Demonstrating a stable income that can cover your mortgage payments and financial obligations is essential. Lenders evaluate your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to ensure you can afford the loan.

Property Occupancy:

  • VA loans are intended for primary residence occupancy. You must certify that you will live in the property as your main home. Certain exceptions exist for active-duty service members facing frequent relocations.View a full list of VA eligible properties here.

It's important to note that meeting these basic eligibility requirements does not guarantee loan approval. Additional requirements and criteria may be imposed by individual lenders.

Contacting ensures you get accurate and up-to-date information on VA home loan eligibility and requirements. With any questions or concerns, contact us at 1 (888) 232-1428