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VA Loan Requirements for Active Duty Military Members

Active-duty military members have access to several benefits that make purchasing a home easier. One such benefit is the VA home loan program, which provides a way for you to purchase a home with little or no money down and competitive interest rates.

In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know about currently being in the military and VA home loans.

Can I Get a VA Loan While on Active Duty?

Yes, active duty service members can get a VA loan. The minimum eligibility requirement for current service members is serving at least 90 continuous days. If you have a break in service, you may not be eligible. Active duty service members can also use Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to pay for part, or all, of their VA mortgage.

VA Loan Requirements for Active Duty Military Members

Active duty military members have the same eligibility requirements as Veterans for VA loans. In addition to the requirements above, these include:

  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE): You must have a valid COE from the VA. This document verifies your service and eligibility for a VA home loan.
  • Credit Score: While there is no minimum credit score requirement, lenders will typically look for a score of at least 620.
  • Income: You must have a steady income that is sufficient to cover your monthly mortgage payments. Lenders will typically look for a debt-to-income ratio of 41% or less.
  • Occupancy: You must intend to use the property as your primary residence.
  • Property Requirements: The property you purchase must be a single-family home, condominium, townhouse or multi-unit property of up to four units. It must also meet the VA's minimum property requirements, which ensure that the property is safe, sound and sanitary.

How Many Active Duty Points Do I Need For a VA Loan?

Active duty points only apply to active National Guard and Reserve members. These members typically need six "good" years' worth of points. A "good" year usually consists of at least 50 retirement points.

Is Active Duty Exempt From the VA Funding Fee?

Active-duty members are required to pay the VA funding fee unless they provide evidence of having received the Purple Heart before the loan closing date. If the Purple Heart is received after the closing date, the active duty service member must pay the funding fee.

However, the VA ultimately determines who is exempt, and some issues may be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

What If I’m Nearing the End of My Active Duty Service?

Active service members may face additional requirements to ensure they will be able to afford the monthly payments after their service ends if they are within a year of their current reenlistment, retirement or separation date.

VA lenders must determine the expiration date of the current enlistment and verify whether or not the VA loan applicant is reenlisting. To accomplish this, lenders must get one or more of the following:

  • Documentation that the service member has already reenlisted or extended their period of active duty to a date beyond the 12-month period following the projected closing of the loan.
  • A statement from the service member that they intend to reenlist or extend their period of active duty to a date beyond the 12-month period.
  • If the borrower is not reenlisting or extending the service commitment, verification of a valid offer of local civilian employment and/or verification of military retirement income following the release from active duty. This verification must include the date employment will begin, projected pay, etc.

For those who will reenlist or extend their service in the military, VA loan rules require the borrower to furnish a statement of service letter from the applicant's commanding officer showing the applicant is eligible to reenlist and that there is no reason why the reenlistment or extension of duty would be denied.

Contact your VA lender or the Department of Veterans Affairs for more information if you aren't sure what rules apply to your specific circumstance.