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VA Loan Eligibility

VA Home Loan Eligibility and Time-in-Service Requirements

Millions of veterans and active military members have earned VA home loan benefits. Only the VA can tell you for sure whether you’re eligible, but you can get a good idea after looking at some general guidelines.

You may be eligible for a VA home loan if your service falls within any of the following categories:

Wartime Service

  • World War II (September 16, 1940 to July 25, 1947),
  • Korean Conflict (June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955),
  • Vietnam Era (August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975), or
  • Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 to present (requires service for 2 years or the full period for which called to active duty, except that exceptions applying to service between September 7, 1980 and August 1, 1990 also apply to Persian Gulf War.)

You must have served at least 90 days on active duty and been discharged or released under other than dishonorable conditions. If you served less than 90 days, you may be eligible if discharged because of a service-connected disability.

Peacetime Service

If your service fell entirely within any one of the following periods:

  • July 26, 1947 to June 26,1950,
  • February 1, 1955 to August 4, 1964, or
  • May 8, 1975 to September 7, 1980 (if enlisted) or to October 16, 1981 (if officer)

You must have served at least 181 days of continuous active duty and been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. If you served less than 181 days, you may be eligible if discharged because of a service-connected disability.

Service between September 7, 1980 (enlisted) or October 16, 1981 (officer) and August 1, 1990

If your entire period of service was between 9/7/80 (10/16/81) and 8/1/90, you must have:

  • Completed 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty, and been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • You may also be determined eligible if you were discharged for a service-connected disability, or you were discharged for the convenience of the government after completing at least 20 months of a 2-year enlistment,
  • or you completed 181 days of active duty and:
  1. were discharged because of a hardship, or
  2. were determined to have a service connected, compensable disability, or
  3. were discharged or released from active duty for a medical condition which preexisted service and has not been determined to be service connected, or
  4. received an involuntary discharge or release from active duty for the convenience of the Government as a result of a reduction in force, or
  5. were discharged or released from active duty for a physical or mental condition not characterized as a disability and not the result of misconduct but which did interfere with your performance of duty.

Note: During the Persian Gulf War, the foregoing exceptions to the 2-year requirement apply, except that 90 days of active duty is sufficient in lieu of 181 days.

Active Duty Service Personnel

If you are now on active duty, you are eligible after having served on continuous active status for at least 90 days. When an ending date is established for Persian Gulf War service, a minimum of 181 days of continuous active duty will be required for persons who did not have wartime service.

Members of the Selected Reserve

Individuals who are not otherwise eligible and who have completed at least 6 years in the Reserves or National Guard, or been discharged because of a service-connected disability, and (1) have been discharged under honorable conditions, or (2) have been placed on the retired list, or (3) have been transferred to an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve, or (4) continue to serve in the Selected Reserve are eligible for a GI loan. (Eligibility for members of the Selected Reserve expires September 30, 2007.)

Other Types of Service

  • Certain United States citizens who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in World War II.
  • Un-remarried surviving spouses of the above described eligible persons who died as the result of service or service-connected injuries. (Children of deceased veterans are not eligible.)
  • The spouse of any member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who is listed as missing in action, or is a prisoner of war and has been so listed for a total of more than 90 days.
  • Individuals with service as members in certain other organizations, services, programs and schools may also be eligible. Questions about whether this service qualifies for home loan benefits should be referred to the Loan Guaranty Division of the nearest VA regional office.

Compare Top VA Purchase Lenders

Take the guesswork out of finding a VA Loan provider. Veterans United Home Loans created this site to educate and empower military homebuyers. Regardless of what lender you pick, it's always a good idea to compare and know your options.

  • NMLS #1907
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    • Veterans United ranks No. 1 in Customer Ratings for VA purchase lenders, according to ratings and reviews collected by TrustPilot.
    • In 2017, Veterans United closed 37,696 VA Purchase Loans, which was 9% of all VA Purchase Loans closed nationwide last year.
    • VA Loans were 97% of the company’s total loan volume.
  • NMLS #401058
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    • USAA ranks No. 5 in Customer Ratings for VA purchase lenders, according to ratings and reviews collected by TrustPilot.
    • In 2017, USAA closed 29,781 VA Purchase Loans, which was 8% of all VA Purchase Loans closed nationwide last year.
    • VA Loans were 70% of the company’s total loan volume.
  • NMLS #399807
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    • Navy Federal ranks No. 3 in Customer Ratings for VA purchase lenders, according to ratings and reviews collected by TrustPilot.
    • In 2017, Navy Federal closed 17,613 VA Purchase Loans, which was 5% of all VA Purchase Loans closed nationwide last year.
    • VA Loans were 48% of the company’s total loan volume.
  • Customer Ratings: Customer Ratings based on ratings and reviews provided by TrustPilot. VALoans.com is not affiliated with TrustPilot and has no control or influence on how users rate each lender.
  • 2017 VA Loans: Total VA loan volume for fiscal year 2017 as reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA Home Purchase, VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance, VA Cash-Out Refinance).
  • % VA Volume: Percentage of lender's total loan volume which is comprised of VA Loans, determined from Product Mix data found under Lender Search located here.

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