The loan programs offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs aren’t available to just anyone. The opportunity to secure a VA loan is an entitlement earned through service, so it makes sense that the nature and duration of your military service is a factor in your VA loan eligibility. If you’re interested in purchasing a home, improving a home, or refinancing with a VA loan, then you’ll need to explore the VA’s service requirements for their loan programs and determine whether your service fits the bill.
Exploring VA Loan Eligibility Requirements
When applying for a VA Loan, you must secure a valid Certificate of Eligibility. This document serves as proof of the entitlement that you’ve earned. What do you have to do to be deemed eligible? As the VA makes clear, there are several paths to eligibility. The timing and nature of your service will impact the length of service required for eligibility, so it can be a bit tricky trying to decipher all the rules. Generally speaking, you may be eligible to apply for a VA loan if any of the following statements is true:
- You are an honorably discharged veteran who served at least 90 days of active duty during wartime.
- You are an honorably discharged veteran who served at least 181 days of active duty during peacetime.
- You were a prisoner of war held in captivity for at least 90 days.
- You are currently on active duty and have served at least 90 continuous days of active duty.
- You have served at least two years of active duty and have not been dishonorably discharged.
- You have served at least six credible years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard and have not been dishonorably discharged.
- You are the spouse of a prisoner of war, a soldier who is missing in action, or a widowed spouse who has not remarried after your husband or wife died either while serving or as the result of a service-connected disability.
What Constitutes Service During Wartime?
To meet the VA loan eligibility requirements due to service during wartime, you must have completed at least 90 days of active duty service when called up or ordered under United States Code Title 10 during specific time periods. If you were discharged for a service-connected disability, you may qualify even if you ultimately served less than 90 days. According to the VA, World War II occurred from September 16, 1940 to July 25, 1947; the Korean War ran from June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955; and the Vietnam War was fought from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.
What about the Persian Gulf War? While a start date of August 2, 1990, has been established, an end date has not yet been determined. To earn your VA loan entitlement with wartime service during this period, you must have served two years or the full amount of the time that you were called to serve. At minimum, at least 90 days of active duty is required unless you were discharged for a service-related disability. The manner of your discharge is also important. Generally, no one who receives a dishonorable discharge will be eligible for a VA loan.
What Constitutes Service During Peacetime?
For the purpose of establishing VA loan eligibility, you are considered to have served during peacetime if you were called up under United States Code Title 10 during the periods after notable conflicts. These include after World War II from July 26, 1947 to June 26, 1950; after the Korean War from February 1, 1955 to August 4, 1964; and after the Vietnam War from May 8, 1975 to August 1, 1990. To secure your entitlement with peacetime service, you must have served a minimum of 181 days of continuous active duty and been honorably discharged or served less than 181 days and been discharged because of a service-connected disability.
A Matter of Time
If you enlisted and started your service after September 7, 1980, or you were an officer and your service started after October 16, 1980, then the length of your service may be enough to qualify you. Service members who provided 24 months of continuous service are generally considered eligible. On a similar note, members of the Selected Reserve or National Guard who provide 6 years of service are generally eligible to apply for a VA loan.
Are you confused by the various rules and requirements surrounding VA loans and VA loan eligibility? Let us help. Our team is comprised of expert loan professionals who are fully versed in all the ins and outs of VA loans, and we’re ready to help you make the most of the entitlement that you’ve earned.
Contact PrimeLending: Manhattan, Kansas today to arrange a consultation. Every year, we help thousands of veterans and active-duty members of the military buy or refinance their homes through the VA home loan program. With our assistance, you can take advantage of the many benefits of a VA loan while saving money due to our lack of lender fees. We offer 100% financing with competitive interest rates – no down payment or PMI required! To learn more, please give us a call at 785-560-3011 or contact us online. We would be happy to help you explore the types of VA loans available. It’s our turn to serve you!