When you start the process of applying for a VA mortgage, one of the first things you're required to do is prove that you meet the VA’s eligibility requirements. If you're on active duty, you need to be in good standing with your branch of the service. Your loan officer may ask for documents such as a Leave and Earning Statement (LES). But, the Department of Veterans Affairs requires more information.
In order for active duty service members to be eligible for a VA home loan, the VA requires a signed statement from your unit commander or a designated representative. The statement must list you by name, rank, Social Security number, and also the nature of your current active duty service commitment or the length of your current assignment.
There isn't a standard form for the statement of service, but it must include:
Statements of Service are a bit complicated compared to the requirements retirees and honorably separated military members have to show for proof of service; in those cases it's simply a matter of submitting a copy of the DD-214 form, which acts as proof of service and also shows the nature of the discharge. Those who left the military under circumstances other than fully honorable may have a difficult time getting qualified for a VA mortgage. Veterans who served in a Guard or Reserve component may also be asked for a Points Statement.
Both a statement of service for active military and a DD-214 for Veterans are essential for obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility. This is a formal VA document indicating your eligibility for a VA home loan.
Learn More: See the full list of VA loan eligibility requirements
If your time in service is sufficient and you were discharged honorably, you should have no trouble getting past the proof of service requirements once you get a copy of your DD214, but some assume that a discharge not listed as honorable is a permanent barrier to getting military benefits like a VA mortgage.
Fortunately, that's not always true. Veterans who received military discharges classified as other than honorable may be eligible to appear before a discharge review board and apply to have it changed to honorable. If you're able to take advantage of this "second chance" type of military discharge upgrade or correction, it's a good idea to start the proceedings as soon as you're permitted under the discharge review board regulations.
Buyers and sellers should never assume that a certain kind of discharge is an immediate barrier to getting a VA loan and purchasing the property. Buyers should consult with the nearest regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs to learn what rules and timetables apply in a particular circumstance.