To qualify for a VA home loan, every military person and veteran must meet with stipulated requirements by the US Department of Veteran Affairs. The following provides a breakdown of the terms and conditions that must be met by each applicant.
You will need to have proof of a reasonable credit score. Most lenders will accept FICO scores of 620 and above. In combination with your credit score, you must present a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to qualify for a guaranteed VA home loan.
When you are ready to apply for your home loan and considering a place of residence, the select property must be occupied by you and your dependents.
All eligible beneficiaries include:
- Active duty military men and women
- Other qualifying service members
For Military Personnel on Active Duty
If you are in active duty, your qualifying status can be determined after completing 90 days of active service. If you have been released or discharged, your eligibility must be re-examined.
Military men and women who are discharged based on unethical behavior will not be eligible for a VA home loan.
For the Selected Reserve or National Guard:
You may be eligible for a VA home loan if you have completed at least 6 credible years within your Reserve or the National Guard (you would need to act as a member of an active unit, have completed weekend drills and a 2 week training program) including one of the following services:
- If you were discharge honorably
- You were retired
- You have been transferred for Standby Reserve or part of the Ready Reserve
- You remain an active member of the Select Reserve
If you have not completed the 6 year requirement, you could qualify for a VA loan if you have received an honorable discharge with a disability.
You may qualify if you are a Veteran spouse who has not remarried and the spousal veteran has passed while on duty or a disability related to active service.
You will be eligible if you are a spouse of a Veteran who has gone missing while in service or become a war prisoner.
You are a spouse who has survived the death of a Veteran not connected to their service and are in receipt of the Dependency Indemnity and Compensation Benefits.
Spouses of veterans are eligible to apply for home loans when one of the conditions below are met:
- Un-remarried spouse of a Veteran who died while in active service or from a service that is connected to the disability
- Spouse of a Service member missing in action or a war prisoner.
- Surviving spouse who remarries on or after turning 57 years of age and on or after December 16, 2003
(Note: a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after turning age 57, should have applied no later than December 15, 2004, to determine home loan eligibility. VA will deny the applications from surviving spouses who have remarried before December 6, 2003 that are received after December 15, 2004.)
- Surviving Spouses of specific disabled veterans whose disability may not be related to the cause of death
Other Eligible Beneficiaries
You may also qualify should you fall into one of the following categories:
- Specific U.S. citizens who have served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in World War II
- Individuals who are recognized as service members in certain organizations, including Public Health Service officers, all cadets at the United States Military, the Air Force, or the Coast Guard Academy, designated midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, the officers of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the merchant seaman aligned with World War II service, and others.
For veterans who wish to purchase another house with a VA loan, they will be eligible to do so if they have a previously-used entitlement recognized as “restored.”
This includes the full payment of the VA mortgage on the previous property
A fully qualified Veteran-transferee (the buyer) has agreed to assume the VA loan and substitute his or her entitlement for the same amount of entitlement that was originally used by the Veteran seller.
The entitlement may be restored one time only if the Veteran has repaid the prior VA loan in full, but has not disposed of the property purchased with the prior VA loan.
If you are interested in the remaining entitlement and restoration of entitlement, it can be requested from the VA Eligibility Center and completion of VA Form 26-1880.