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Service Requirements for VA Home Loan

Almost all veterans are eligible for a home loan. (However, you cannot hold a discharge that the VA considers dishonorable).

The categories for eligibility include:

Wartime service: Veterans who served at least 90 days on active duty during the periods listed here are eligible. For these periods, the active-duty time is not required to be continuous.

  • World War II: September 16, 1940, to July 25, 1947
  • Korean War: June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War: August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975

Peacetime service: To qualify for the VA Home Loan Program for peacetime service, you must have served at least 181 days of continuous active duty during the following periods. Active duty for training doesn’t count.

  • July 26, 1947, to June 26, 1950
  • February 1, 1955, to August 4, 1964
  • May 8, 1975, to September 7, 1980 (enlisted)

May 8, 1975, to September 7, 1980 (enlisted) or October 16, 1981 (officer): If you are a veteran who joined the military for the first time after these dates, you must meet certain minimum active-duty requirements to qualify. You qualify if at least one of the following points applies to your time of service:

  • Completed 24 months of continuous active duty
  • Served the full period (at least 181 days) for which you were ordered or called to active duty from the reserves or National Guard
  • Completed at least 181 days of active duty and were discharged for a hardship or a voluntary early-separation program
  • Were discharged with less than 181 days of service due to an involuntary reduction in force, certain medical conditions, or in some instances, for the convenience of the government

Gulf War service: If you served on active duty during the Gulf War (October 2, 1990, to a date yet to be determined), you’re eligible if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Completed 24 months of continuous active duty
  • Served the full period (at least 90 days) for which you were ordered or called to active duty from the Reserves or National Guard
  • Completed at least 90 days of active duty and were discharged for a hardship or a voluntary early-separation program
  • Were discharged with less than 90 days of service due to an involuntary reduction in force, certain medical conditions, or in some instances, for the convenience of the government
  • 16, 1981 (officer)

Reserves and National Guard: If you have completed a total of six years in the Selected Reserves or National Guard (that means you were a member of an active unit and attended required weekend drills and the annual two-week training), you’re eligible if you

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

If you were discharged in any of these first five categories due to a service-connected disability before you completed the required time, you’re still eligible for the VA Home Loan Program.

If you are an active duty member still serving in the military, you can receive a home loan before you are discharged. You must have served 90 days, but this will change to 181 after an end period for Gulf War service is established.

Active-duty members: If you’re still in the military, you can benefit from the VA Home Loan Program before discharge. To qualify, you must have served at least 90 days. This will change to at least 181 days after the president establishes an end period for Gulf War service.

Spouses: Spouses of certain veterans, including veterans of the Reserves and National Guard, are also eligible to receive a VA Home Loan guarantee. You’re eligible if you are

  • An unmarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability
  • A spouse of a service person missing in action or a prisoner of war

A surviving spouse who remarries upon or after turning 57 and on or after December 16, 2003, retains her eligibility for the VA Home Loan Program. However, a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and upon or after reaching age 57, is not eligible.

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