To determine a person’s VA home loan eligibility they must first complete a VA Form 26-1880 (which is issued by Veterans Administration) to request a Certificate of Eligibility. In general terms all veterans, active duty, guard or reserve military personnel as well as military spouses may qualify for this certificate. The Certificate of Eligibility is the first step that an eligible individual must take to apply for a home loan, however it does not guarantee a loan approval.
The Certificate of Eligibility is issued based on an applicant’s military service. Laws passed by Congress have specific guidelines for receipt of the certificate. Generally successful applicants fall into one the categories outlined below.
Service During Wartime
An applicant must have served in the second world war, the Korean war or the Vietnam war within specified date ranges. During these periods they must have had at least 90 days active duty and not have been dishonorably discharged at the end of their service. Applicants who were disabled while serving on during this period may be eligible with less than 90 days active service.
Service During Peacetime
Service personnel are eligible if they served within specified periods during peacetime (these periods may vary depending on whether they were enlisted or an officer). During these periods applicants must gave served at least 181 days of uninterrupted active duty and must not have been dishonorably discharged. Applicants with a service related disability may be eligible even if they do not meet this requirement.
Service During the Gulf War
Applicants that served during the Gulf war may be eligible if they completed the active duty period requirements and were not dishonorably discharged, were discharged under a specific authority (Hardship or Early Out), or been discharged with less than the required service period with a service-connected disability. In addition, some personnel may be eligible if they were released from duty because of a reduction in forces, specific medical conditions or because of government directives.
Currently Serving Personnel
Applicants who are on active duty, other than for training, are eligible after they have served the required active time period unless they were discharged or otherwise separated from another past qualifying active service duty period.
Selected Reserves and National Guard
Selected reserves and national guards applicants may be eligible if they have completed six years service and were members of an active unit and also attended required drills and active duty two-week training when required. In addition they must either have been honorably discharged, placed on the retired list, transferred to a standby reserve or an element of the ready reserve where their service continued to be characterized as honorable, or are currently serving in the selected reserves.
Spouses of Veterans
The spouse of a veteran may be eligible when their partner was a veteran who died during service or died from a service related disability. Spouses of veterans lost in action or who died as a prisoner of war are also eligible. There are conditions on surviving spouses of veterans that have remarried. Spouses of veterans should check with the VA for further information about these requirements.