VA Loan Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for a VA Loan, veterans, active duty service members, National Guard members and reservists must meet the basic service requirements set forth by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Spouses of military members who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability may also be eligible.
It's ultimately up to the VA to determine eligibility for the home loan program, but prospective borrowers can get a good idea by looking at the VA's basic eligibility guidelines.
You may be eligible for a VA Home Loan if you meet one or more of the following conditions:
IF You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime,
OR You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime,
OR You have more than 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves,
OR You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.
Don't meet these conditions?
See What You Qualify For
Answer a few questions below to speak with a specialist about what your military service has earned you.
How to Apply for a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
While you don't need your VA Certificate of Eligibility in hand to start the loan process, this certificate is a very important part of your loan application. Your COE verifies that your length and character of service make you eligible to use the VA home loan benefit.
You can apply for a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility three different ways:
Apply through a VA approved lender
Apply online through the VA’s eBenefits portal
Apply by mail with VA Form 26-1880
We can assist with obtaining your COE on your behalf. The process takes minutes to complete with proof of your military service and ensures your home financing moves forward without delays.
If you prefer to do the work yourself, VA Loan applicants can contact the Veterans Administration directly and fill out a Certificate of Eligibility (VA Form 26-1880).
VA Loan Income Requirements
Homebuyers interested in the VA Loan aren't required to reach any kind of income threshold to use their home loan benefits; however, borrowers are expected to have stable, reliable income that will cover monthly expenses – including their new mortgage payment.
Additionally, the VA requires that borrowers maintain a certain amount of income left over each month after all major expenses are paid. The excess is meant to cover typical family needs, such as food, transportation and so forth and is referred to as residual income. Residual income is a large reason why the VA Loan maintains one of the lowest foreclosure rates of all major lending options.
By enforcing residual income requirements, the VA increases the chances of its borrowers earning sufficient income to meet all financial obligations, and also ensures borrowers have a cushion in the event of an emergency.
Additional Eligibility Requirements
Although the VA determines the guidelines for those who are eligible for the VA Loan benefit, private lenders who finance the home purchases have an additional set of criteria a potential borrower must satisfy, including debt, income and credit requirements
When you apply for a VA Loan, your lender will pull your credit score from the three leading credit agencies, as well as examine your debt-to-income ratio.
Finally, a veteran applying for a VA Loan must not have been discharged under dishonorable conditions.
How to Apply for a VA Loan
The VA loan process typically takes 30 to 45 days once you’re under contract on a home, although every buyer’s situation is different. Applying for a VA loan doesn’t obligate you in any way to a particular lender or to moving forward with the homebuying process.
Here’s a look at the four basic steps to applying for a VA Home Loan:
Familiarize yourself with the broad VA Loan eligibility requirements above
Obtain your Certificate of Eligibility through your lender or on your own
Finalize your loan application and provide all necessary paperwork to your lender, including W-2s, tax returns and recent bank statements
Questions about whether you qualify?
We are available 24/7 to answer any questions you have about the process. Give us a call at 1-888-548-7853 or get started online.