To be eligible for a VA loan, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has some basic service requirements, plus you must have a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and then you must satisfy the lender’s credit and income requirements (based on VA guidelines).
Basic Service Requirements
- 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime, OR
- 181 days of active service during peacetime, OR
- 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves, OR
- Spouses service members who have died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability also meet basic service requirements.
Note: There are some exceptions to the above rules. If you do not fit into the above categories and think you may still be eligible, please contact us. We are happy to assist veterans in determining their eligibility.
Your VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
When you apply for a home loan through a VA approved lender, they will most often be able to instantly pull up your COE electronically directly from the VA. You can also apply online for your COE through the VA’s eBenefits portal or via mail with VA Form 26-1880.
The process is usually very quick and only takes minutes but you will need some documents to obtain your COE.
If you are a Veteran or if you have served currently or in the past in the National Guard or Reserves AND been Activated, you need your DD Form 214 (Report of Separation).
If you are currently Active Duty or a Member of National Guard or Reserves (never activated), you will need your Statement of Service.
If you have been discharged from the National Guard and never been Activated, you will need NGB Forms 22 and 23.
If you have been discharged from the Reserves, what you need will depend on your branch of service.
- Army Reserve: DARP Form FM 249-2E or ARPC Form 606-E.
- Navy Reserve: NRPC 1070-124.
- Air Force Reserve: AF 526.
- Marine Corps Reserve: NAVMC HQ509 or NAVMC 798.
- Coast Guard Reserve: CG 4174 or 4175
How can Spouses of Veterans Obtain their COE?
If you are a spouse that is receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits you will need to complete VA Form 26-1817 (Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility – Unmarried Surviving Spouses) and also make sure that you have a copy of the Veteran’s separation paperwork, ( DD Form 214 ). You will need to have a copy of your marriage license and either the Veteran’s death certificate or Report of Casualty.
If you’re not currently receiving those 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. Like those receiving benefits, you will your marriage license and either the Veteran’s death certificate or Report of Casualty.
We are happy to help you with questions about obtaining your COE or accessing your VA Benefits.
What Else Do I Need to be Eligible for a VA Mortgage?
Once you have determined that you are eligible for a loan, there are further requirements to make sure that you have the income, level of current debt, and other requirements to make sure that you can repay the loan. Also, the VA has an appraisal process, which evaluates the value and condition of the home.
The credit and income requirements for these loans are set by the lenders, and not the VA, so they will vary. If you have not started the VA mortgage process and want to access these benefits, give us a call today. We will be happy to connect you with lenders who can assist you with the process.
VA Loan Credit and Income Requirements
The VA does not set a minimum credit score requirement for VA loan eligibility, but lenders typically do. Because of this, VA loan credit score requirements vary by lender, with most lenders typically requiring a minimum 660 mortgage credit score.
In addition to credit score, the VA requires borrowers to maintain a certain amount of income left over each month after all major expenses are paid. The excess is meant to cover typical family needs, such as food, transportation and medical care, and is known as residual income.
By enforcing residual income requirements, the VA increases the chances of its borrowers earning sufficient income to meet all financial obligations, and also ensures borrowers have a cushion in the event of an emergency.
It All Starts with Preapproval!
Give us a call. MilVetHomes can provide you with names of VA lenders who can help you and get through the pre-approval process quickly. While you are not obligated to use a particular lender, by starting this, you will receive your COE and then fill out the loan application including your financial information.