Articles and news about VA loans and HUD requirements. VA loans are a great way to buy a home with no down payment.

How Long do I have to Serve in the Military to Qualify for a VA Loan?

VA home loans are one of the benefits Americans receive from the government for serving their country in the U.S. military. When many new recruits enlist, chances are they aren’t thinking about VA loans; the GI Bill is often the first thing a newcomer learns about VA benefits, so that’s what they concentrate on. Sooner or later they learn about VA home loans and they start thinking about a whole new set of possibilities.

Like many other benefits, VA loans have requirements the recruit must fulfill before they can be considered eligible. Did you know that those serving in the National Guard or in the Reserves have a minimum duty requirement? The Department of Veterans Affairs requires those in the Guard and Reserves to complete six years of honorable service before applying for VA loan eligibility.

That applies for people still serving in the Guard or Reserves AND those who have separated.

For Guard and Reserve members who have retired, the minimum service requirements set down by the VA have obviously been fulfilled. In these cases, the VA simply requires an NGB Form 22 (Report of Separation and Record of Service) or the NGB Form 23 (Retirement Points Accounting) plus proof of the nature of the discharge.

A discharged member of the Selected Reserve who has never been activated for federal service needs a copy of the most recent annual retirement points statement and evidence of honorable service.

Those in the Guard or Reserves who were activated for federal service should furnish a copy of their DD Form 214.

For active duty service members, the requirements are a bit different. According to VA requirements, current service members must furnish a current statement of service including the date active duty began, plus a signature indicating the approval of the unit commander. But when can they actually accomplish this? That’s the subject of the next blog post.

About Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association.

5 Responses to How Long do I have to Serve in the Military to Qualify for a VA Loan?

  1. Pingback: VA Loans: Is There a Minimum Time in Uniform Requirement For Active Duty Members |

  2. reese brandt says:

    I was kn marine corps july 1 76 to nov 76 discharged with hon.Can I get any benefits.

    • Joe Wallace says:

      Hi Reese, which benefits are you specifically asking about? Your best bet for general VA benefit information is to go to or call your local VA office.

  3. Lee Conway says:

    My son served for 20 months in the US Army. Of that time he was in Germany 1 year and 1 month (2005-207). Can he qualify for a VA home loan?

    • Joe Wallace says:

      In most cases there is a two-year, 24 month requirement, but you should contact the VA at 1-800 827 1000 to see if any exceptions apply in this particular case.

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