Who is eligible for a VA loan?

For seven decades, VA loans, also known as Veterans Affairs mortgages, have offered a lifeline for military borrowers. Over twenty million veterans have taken advantage of this government-backed mortgage program. It’s not surprising that VA loans currently represent eleven percent of mortgage applications.2 They offer considerable benefits with lower interest rates than traditional mortgages, as well as no down payment options.

Most military veterans understand that they may qualify for VA loans. However, these loans assist many other prospective homeowners. Let’s take a closer look at exactly who is eligible for this beneficial program.1


According to The Mortgage Reports, “most veterans must complete a minimum term of qualifying active-duty service to be eligible for a VA loan, though this requirement does have a few exceptions.” Also, “veterans who were discharged due to hardship, government convenience, reduction-in-force, certain medical conditions or a disability connected to military service can be eligible for a VA loan even if they don’t meet the minimum term of service requirement.”3

Servicepersons on active duty

Eligibility can be established after 90 days of continuous active duty. You must reestablish eligibility upon discharge or release from active duty.4

Selected Reserve or National Guard

If you have completed a total of six credible years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard and were discharged with an honorable discharge, or placed on the retired list, you may apply for eligibility. Also, if you were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable service or continue to serve in the Selected Reserve, you may be eligible.5

Spouses of service members

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states that spouses of Veterans may also be determined eligible if:

  • You are a spouse of a Veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability and have not remarried
  • You are a spouse of a Servicemember missing in action or a prisoner of war
  • You are a surviving spouse in receipt of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits in cases where the Veteran’s death was not service-connected.6

Other eligible beneficiaries

Members of collective services who may also apply include cadets at the Air Force or Coast Guard Academy, midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, officers of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and others.7

The VA loan process

The first step in getting a VA loan is to visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to check your eligibility. Once you’ve determined you’re eligible to apply, the second step is to select a VA-approved lender. This lender will help direct you to the right resources to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and get pre-approved. After finding a home and signing a purchase agreement, your lender will process your application and order a VA appraisal. Military.com sums up the final step, “after being approved by the underwriter, all that is left to do is close and move in.”8

At Guild Mortgage, we have been proudly supporting the armed forces since we were established in 1960. Not only are we dedicated to helping military heroes and their families achieve homeownership, but we also strive to help them stay in their homes when life presents unforeseen challenges. Watch how Guild worked alongside one veteran family after a severe storm.

Wondering if you’re eligible or have other questions? Find your local loan officer or visit our VA loan page.

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply.

1 VA home loan rates, guidelines, & loan limits –The Mortgage Reports

2 January Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae – Ellie Mae

3 VA Mortgages: The VA Loan Eligibility Reference Guide – The Mortgage Reports

4 VA Home Loans Eligibility – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

5 VA Home Loans Eligibility – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

6 VA Home Loans Eligibility – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

7 VA Home Loans Eligibility – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

8 Step-by-Step Guide to the VA Loan Process – Military.com