VA Loan Eligibility

VA loan eligibility qualifies an individual to borrow money under the Department of Veterans Affairs' loan guarantee program. Under this program, those eligible can apply for a mortgage loan from a private lender who receives a guarantee the loan will be repaid by the government if the borrower defaults. This can result in lower-than-market interest rates. VA loan eligibility is extended to several groups, including veterans of the U.S. military from certain periods, current active duty military members who meet certain criteria, some military spouses, some widows of veterans, some federal employees and some U.S. citizens who served with the military of other nations.

Veterans of U.S. Wars

Individuals who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War or the Gulf War qualify for VA loan eligibility if they served at certain times and under certain conditions. Veterans of World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam are required to have had at least 90 days of continuous service and other than a dishonorable discharge. Service dates include:

  • World War II--Sept. 16, 1940, to July 25, 194
  • Korea--June 27, 1950, to Jan. 31, 1955
  • Vietnam--Aug. 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975

For the Gulf War, service must have begun no earlier than Aug. 2, 1990, and (as of June 2010) the last eligible date of service has yet to be determined. The time served must be either a 24-month term or less time, but not less than 90 days, if that time constitutes your full term. Other than a dishonorable discharge is also required. A Gulf War veteran can be eligible with under 90 days of service if the discharge was for a service-related disability or required by force reduction.

Peacetime and Non-Active Duty Service

VA loan eligibility is extended to veterans with peacetime service of at least 181 consecutive days and a less than dishonorable discharge for specific dates following World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. Under 181 days of service can be acceptable for some veterans receiving a disability discharge. Specific dates and conditions are spelled out on the VA website.

Those who do not have VA loan eligibility as outlined above or through current active service may also qualify if they served a total of six years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard and attended all required training.

Active Service

Those now on active service and who have been for at least 181 consecutive days have VA loan eligibility as well. However, you cannot have been discharged or separated from the service during a previous VA loan qualifying period.

Spousal Eligibility

Some military spouses, including those who meet these criteria, have VA loan eligibility:

  • spouses of veterans who died while in service or from a service-related disability and who have not remarried and
  • spouses of a service member who is a prisoner of war or is missing in action.

Other Forms of Eligibility

VA loan eligibility is also offered, under certain conditions, to officers in the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and to service academy students. Current U.S. citizens who served in the military of an allied government during World War II may also qualify.