VA Guaranteed Home Loan

What Is a VA Guaranteed Home Loan?

A VA guaranteed home loan can be used to:

  • buy a home, a manufactured home, or a condominium
  • buy a lot for a manufactured home
  • build, repair, or improve a home (including energy-efficient improvements)
  • refinance an existing loan

va guaranteed home loanA VA guaranteed home loan offers a number of safeguards and advantages over a non VA guaranteed loan. For example, the interest rate is competitive with conventional rates with little or no down payment required. A VA guaranteed home loan is made by private lenders, such as banks, savings and loan associations, and mortgage companies. As with any loan, you must apply directly to the lender. Your real estate broker can assist you in finding a lender.

When the loan is approved, VA will guarantee part of it. The amount of VA's guaranty usually depends on the size of the loan. This guaranty protects the lender against loss up to the amount guaranteed by VA. The largest guaranty that VA can give is an amount equal to 25% of the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit for single-family residences. These limits are subject to change each year.

Who Is Eligible for a VA Guaranteed Home Loan?

Note: Applications involving other than honorable discharges will usually require further development by VA. This is necessary to determine if the service was under other than dishonorable conditions.

Military Service Requirements for VA Loan Eligibility:

Wartime - Service During:

  • WWII: 9/16/1940 to 7/25/1947
  • Korean: 6/27/1950 to 1/31/1955
  • Vietnam: 8/5/1964 to 5/7/1975

You must have at least 90 days on active duty and been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions to qualify for a VA guaranteed home loan. If you served less than 90 days, you may be eligible if discharged for a service-connected disability.

Peacetime - Service during periods:

  • 7/26/1947 to 6/26/1950
  • 2/1/1955 to 8/4/1964
  • 5/8/1975 to 9/7/1980 (Enlisted)
  • 5/8/1975 to 10/16/1981 (Officer)

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

Service after 9/7/1980 (enlisted) or 10/16/1981 (officer)

If you were separated from service which began after these dates, you must have:

  • Completed 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period (at least 181 days) for which you were ordered or called to active duty and been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, or
  • Completed at least 181 days of active duty and been discharged under the specific authority of 10 USC 1173 (Hardship), or 10 USC 1171 (Early Out), or have been determined to have a compensable service-connected disability;
  • Been discharged with less than 181 days of service for a service-connected disability. Individuals may also be eligible if they were released from active duty due to an involuntary reduction in force, certain medical conditions, or,
  • in some instances for the convenience of the Government.

Gulf War - Service during period 8/2/1990 to date yet to be determined

If you served on active duty during the Gulf War, you must have:

  • Completed 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty, and been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, or
  • Completed at least 90 days of active duty and been discharged under the specific authority of 10 USC 1173 (Hardship), or 10 USC 1173 (Early Out), or have been determined to have a compensable service-connected disability, or
  • Been discharged with less than 90 days of service for a service-connected disability. Individuals may also be eligible if they were released from active duty due to an involuntary reduction in force, certain medical conditions, or,
  • in some instances, for the convenience of the Government.

Active Duty Service Personnel

If you are now on regular duty (not active duty for training), you are eligible after having served 181 days (90 days during the Gulf War) unless discharged or separated from a previous qualifying period of active duty service.

Selected Reserves or National Guard

If you are not otherwise eligible and you have completed a total of 6 years in the Selected Reserves or National Guard (member of an active unit, attended required weekend drills and 2-week active duty for training) and

  • Were discharged with an honorable discharge, or
  • Were placed on the retired list, or
  • Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable service, or
  • Continue to serve in the Selected Reserves

Individuals who completed less than 6 years may be eligible if discharged for a service-connected disability.

You may also be determined eligible if you:

  • Are an unremarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability, or
  • Are a spouse of a serviceperson missing in action or a prisoner of war

Note: Also, a surviving spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003, may be eligible for the home loan benefit. However, a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, must apply no later than December 15, 2004, to establish VA guaranteed home loan eligibility. VA must deny applications from surviving spouses who remarried before December 6, 2003 that are received after December 15, 2004.

Eligibility may also be established for:

  • Certain United States citizens who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in WW II.
  • Individuals with service as members in certain organizations, such as Public Health Service officers, cadets at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy, midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, officers of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, merchant seaman with WW II service, and others.

Note: There are certain other groups of individuals who may be eligible.

What Documents Do I Need to Provide the Lender To Receive a VA Guaranteed Home Loan?

The lender will need a Certificate of Eligibility to prove that you are eligible for a VA guaranteed home loan. Certificates are issued by VA’s Loan Eligibility Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to eligible persons who apply for the certificate. The Eligibility Center can be reached by calling toll-free 1-888-244-6711. Often times, your lender may be able to access VA’s secure web site and obtain a certificate for you.

How Can You Apply?

We strongly recommend that you enlist the services of a Veteran Service Officer before you submit your application for a VA guaranteed home loan. They will review your application, helping ensure it has all the information the VA requires. If you do not have a VSO yet, the NVF will help you find one. Simply call us at 888-777-4443.

You can apply for a VA guaranteed home loan by requesting your lender to obtain a certificate for you through VA’s secure web site OR by completing one of the following forms and submitting it to the Loan Eligibility Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina:

  • Veteran/Servicemember: VA Form 26-1880, Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits
  • Surviving Spouse: VA Form 26-1817, Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility – Unmarried Surviving Spouse