Veterans with active duty service (who were not dishonorably discharged) during World War II and later periods are eligible for VA loan benefits. World War II (September 16, 1940 to July 25, 1947), Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955), and Vietnam era (August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975) veterans must have at least 90 days of service.
Veterans and active duty military personnel who served during peacetime must have had more than 180 days of active service. Veterans of enlisted service starting after September 7, 1980, or officers with service beginning after October 16,1981, must in most cases have served at least 2 years.
The VA does not require that you have a certain credit score in order for approval. The actual mortgage lenders, however, are allowed to set their own standards for VA loan requirements.
Changing economic conditions and increased losses due to loan defaults have motivated lenders to limit who they will lend to.
Since early 2010, most VA lenders in the U.S. have tightened their lending and credit score requirements, making home financing harder to come by for those with credit issues or other criteria that makes their loan more risky.
As a result, getting a loan without a down payment is more difficult, though one of the few remaining options for 100% financing is a VA loan. Major lending groups have generally resolved to set the minimum credit score requirement at 620.
To learn more about this, our article Credit Score Requirements For VA Mortgages is a great place to start.
There are three specific pieces of documentation a lender will need to determine your eligibility:
- A DD214 for discharged veterans.
- A statement of service for active military personnel.
- A certificate of eligibility (COE) to determine you have VA entitlement.
Because each lender has different qualifying guidelines, the next step is to contact your lender to find out if you meet their VA loan requirements such as minimum FICO/credit scores, debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, and find out what your county’s maximum loan amount is.
Your VA lender can help you attain your certificate of eligibility on your behalf.
Lastly, if you have either had a divorce, filed bankruptcy, or had a previous home go into foreclosure, you are not immediately disqualified from a VA loan, although there are some additional restrictions.
You can find more information regarding these topics in our articles titled Divorce And VA Loan Eligibility, Does A Bankruptcy Mean I Can’t Get A VA Loan? and Can I Get A VA Loan If I’ve Had A Recent Foreclosure?