VA Loan Articles
VA Loan Eligibility: How Long Do I Have to Serve?The VA home loan is a benefit Americans receive from the government for serving their country as part of the military. Like many other benefits, VA loans have requirements the recruit must fulfill before they can be considered eligible to apply. For example, those serving in the National Guard or in the Reserves have a minimum duty requirement--six years of honorable service must be completed before the service member can apply for VA loan eligibility.
For Guard and Reserve members who have retired, the minimum service requirements have obviously been fulfilled and the VA simply requires an NGB Form 22 (Report of Separation and Record of Service) or the NGB Form 23 (Retirement Points Accounting) plus proof of the nature of the discharge.
A discharged member of the Selected Reserve who has never been activated for federal service needs a copy of the most recent annual retirement points statement and evidence of honorable service. Those in the Guard or Reserves who were activated for federal service should furnish a copy of their DD Form 214.
For active duty service members, VA eligibility requirements for a VA mortgage are different. Active duty service members have different requirements for establishing eligibility for a VA loan than their Guard or Reservist counterparts.
The VA requires active duty military members to supply a current statement of service including the date active duty began, plus a signature indicating the approval of the unit commander. But when can they actually accomplish this?
New recruits in basic training won't be able to apply for a VA home loan-there's no way for someone in basic training to go through channels to get a commander's signature of approval. Even if a recruit were to make such a request, the trainee would be told they must wait until they've successfully completed basic training to be eligible for VA benefits.
For most new recruits, technical school follows basic training, or some form of on-the-job training that is time intensive and requires time and attention the trainee must give to the task at hand. Again, there isn't much time to go through channels to request a commander's approval for a VA home loan in many cases, at least until the initial orientation phase is complete for the new soldier, sailor, airman or marine.
On top of such concerns, a newcomer to the military will likely be moving around a great deal in the earliest days of their military career-between technical schools and the actual first assignment, some new recruits may be assigned to two or more military bases in a short amount of time-far too short to consider purchasing a home in any given area until the first long-term assignment has been issued.
While a new military member may be technically eligible to apply for VA loan eligibility as soon as circumstances permit, they are usually not able to do so until they report for duty at their first assignment.