Skip to Content

VA Loan Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a VA loan, you or your spouse must meet the basic service requirements set by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), produce a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and satisfy the lender’s credit and income requirements.

Veterans, service members and spouses may be eligible for a VA loan by meeting one or more of the following conditions:

  • IF You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime,
  • OR You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime,
  • OR You have more than 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves,
  • OR You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.
Don't meet these requirements? You may still be eligible: Talk with a Home Loan Specialist today

VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

While you DO NOT need your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in hand to apply for a VA loan, it is an important part of VA loan eligibility. Your COE provides the lender with confirmation that you qualify for VA loan benefits.

You can apply for a VA loan Certificate of Eligibility three different ways:

  1. Apply through a VA approved lender
  2. Apply online through the VA’s eBenefits portal
  3. Apply by mail with VA Form 26-1880

Many VA lenders can instantly pull your COE through the VA’s automated system. In fact, nearly all VA loan COEs are requested electronically, and about two-thirds of certificates are issued immediately, according to the VA.

Speak with a Home Loan Specialist to get your COE today. The process takes minutes to complete with proof of your military service and ensures your home financing moves forward without delays.

Documents Required to Obtain a COE

Proof of service to obtain your COE often comes in the form of the DD-214 for regular military, and the NGB Form 22 and NGB Form 23 for National Guard and Reserve. However, this isn’t always the case. See the required forms for each service type below.

Service Type Required Documents


DD Form 214 (Report of Separation)

Current or Former Activated National Guard or Reserves

DD Form 214 (Report of Separation)

Active-Duty Servicemember

Statement of Service

Current National Guard or Reserves (Never Activated)

Statement of Service

Discharged National Guard (Never Activated)

NGB Form 22 (Report of Separation and Record of Service) and NGB Form 23 (Retirement Points Accounting and proof of the character of service)

Discharged Reserves (Never Activated)

NGB Form 23 (Retirement Points Accounting and proof of the character of service

How To Obtain a COE as a Spouse

Getting a COE as a spouse depends on whether or not you’re receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.

Spouses receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits must fill out VA Form 26-1817 (Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility – Unmarried Surviving Spouses) and obtain a copy of the Veteran’s separation paperwork, such as a DD214.

If you’re not receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits, you’ll need to fill out VA Form 21P-534EZ (Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Survivors Pension and/or Accrued Benefits) and submit to your state’s VA Pension Management Center (full list here).

Additionally, you’ll need to provide a copy of your marriage license, the Veteran’s death certificate (or DD Form 1300 – Report of Casualty) and the Veteran’s separation paperwork.

Separation paperwork can be requested from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Additional VA Loan Eligibility Requirements

Although the VA determines the guidelines for VA loan eligibility, private lenders who finance the home typically have an additional set of rules potential borrower must satisfy, including sufficient reliable income to repay the loan, acceptable levels of debt and a credit score that meets the lender’s credit requirements

Ready to see if you're eligible for a VA loan? Start your VA loan with Veterans United and speak with a home loan specialist today.

How to Apply for a VA Loan

Interested homebuyers who meet the service requirements for VA loan eligibility should take the next step and become preapproved for a VA loan.

The VA loan process typically takes 30 to 45 days once you’re under contract on a home, although every buyer’s situation is different. Applying for a VA loan doesn’t obligate you in any way to a particular lender or to moving forward with the homebuying process.

Here’s a look at the four basic steps to applying for a VA Home Loan:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the broad VA Loan eligibility requirements above
  2. Contact a VA-approved lender like Veterans United Home Loans and start your VA Loan application
  3. Obtain your Certificate of Eligibility through your lender or on your own
  4. Finalize your loan application and provide all necessary paperwork to your lender, including W-2s, tax returns and additional financial information

Questions about whether you qualify?

Our Home Loan Specialists are available 24/7 to answer any questions you have about the VA Loan Program. Give us a call at (208) 580-0051 or get started online.

Learn about the many advantages of the VA Loan in our next section.