A VA loan is a mortgage loan that is available to veterans of the U.S. military and, in some cases, their spouses. Because the loans are underwritten and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, lending requirements are less stringent than those of most commercial lenders. Read on to determine if you are eligible for a VA mortgage loan.
Terms of Military Service
Veterans are eligible for a VA loan if they were not dishonorably discharged and served a minimum number of service days. These minimum numbers are as follows: 90 total days for veterans of World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War; 180 continuous days for those who served after one of those conflicts; and 24 continuous months for those who served between 1980 and 1990 or during the Gulf War.
Active Duty Requirements
Current active duty members of the military are eligible for a VA loan once they have served 90 continuous days. Members of the National Guard or Reserves are eligible if they had 90 days of continuous service during the Gulf War or had six years of service and were honorably discharged, retired, or continue to serve.
Spouses of veterans are also eligible for VA loans under certain circumstances. You may be eligible if your spouse died during service or because of a service-related disability and you have not remarried or if you have remarried after age 57 and after December 2003. You are also eligible if your spouse is a prisoner of war or missing in action.
In addition to these conditions, some other Americans are eligible for VA loans, including those who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in World War II, or those who served in one of the positions listed below:
- Public Health Service officer
- United States Military Academy cadet
- Air Force Academy cadet
- Coast Guard Academy cadet
- United States Naval Academy midshipman
- National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officer
Beyond service requirements, there are some financial requirements you must meet to be eligible for a VA mortgage loan. Depending on the cost of the property you'd like to purchase, you must have sufficient income and strong enough credit to qualify. Your mortgage broker can help you determine the mortgage amount that you're qualified for.