VA loans

VA Loans For Overseas Homes: A Reader Question

January 10, 2019

VA Loans For Overseas Homes: A Reader Question

A reader asks, “I never used my veteran home loan and want to move out of the country to Central America, namely Panama.”

“Is there any way I can use the certificate there? It will be a primary home if I can do it, and still keep the one in AZ. I entered Army in CA.  Never used those benefits at all. ANY HELP???”

The Department of Veterans Affairs answers this question in Chapter Three of the VA Lender’s Handbook in a section titled “Eligible Geographic Locations for the Secured Property”. According to VA loan rules, the answer to this reader question is simply, “No”.

Here’s what the VA loan rulebook says specifically:

“Real property securing a VA-guaranteed loan must be located in the United States, its territories, or possessions (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands).” All other locations are ineligible for a VA home loan.

This makes sense when you view the VA loan program as a whole–the program is designed, authorized, and administered under U.S. law. The VA cannot enforce its regulations for overseas homes and has no way to protect the borrower.

Many military members find themselves stationed overseas and choose to remain in the host country after their tour of duty is over and they retire or separate from the military, but the VA cannot guarantee loans in these areas unless they are in the list mentioned above. Borrowers interested in home loans in foreign countries must negotiate their loans with lenders in that country.

Do you have questions about VA home loans? Ask us in the comments section.


  1. Godofredo

    I want to buy a home for $250,000 the only payment I have is my car which I pay 359.87 a month. Now I am estimating my house payment will be $1423.75 with maint. fee. My income is $3114.00 which $1423 is social Security and $395 compensation. No taxes are taken out of these two incomes. I also calcutated my debt to income ratio and it is .57 with Excellent Credit. I have left after mortgage and car payment (Residual Income) $1331.00 will I still be able to purchase with VA. I live in Puerto Rico. Thank you.

  • Joe Wallace

    Have you considered getting pre-qualified for a VA loan? Doing so can give you a very good idea about your borrowing power if you're ready to commit to the process of buying a home. You can pre-qualify at (a private company and not a government agency.)

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