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VA Loan Eligibility for Guard/Reserve Members

In order for members of the Guard and Reserve to get a VA home loan, they must apply for a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to establish they have served enough time in the Guard/Reserves to qualify for the benefit.

There are two basic categories of Guard/Reserve service. Category A is for members of the National Guard or Reservists who have served on active duty. Category B is for those who have never been called up to active duty.

VA loan rules say Guard/Reserve members are eligible for a VA loan when the following circumstances apply:

“If you are not otherwise eligible and you have completed a total of 6 years in the Selected Reserves or National Guard (member of an active unit, attended required weekend drills and 2-week active duty for training) and

  1. Were discharged with an honorable discharge, or
  2. Were placed on the retired list, or
  3. Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable service, or
  4. Continue to serve in the Selected Reserves

 

Individuals who completed less than 6 years may be eligible if discharged for a service-connected disability.”

If you have served the minimum required time, you must apply for a VA Certificate of Eligibility. Here are the application guidelines for Category A and Category B:

Category A:  Reservists/National Guard Members Who Have Served on Active Duty

You can get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in one of three ways:

  1. Apply online.  You can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility online, at thislinktothemilitaryse-benefitsportal.  Login or create a login the Register box and follow the directions on the screen. Those who need help with this process should call the VA eBenefits Help Desk at 1-800-983-0937 Monday through Friday, 8am to 8pm EST.

 

  1. Apply with help from a lender.  In most situations your loan officer can help you get your COE fairly quickly. Ask the lender what paperwork you’ll need to bring with you to start the process.
  1. Apply by mail by filling outVAForm 26-1880 and mailing it to the address shown on the form. If you can’t print the form, call the VA at 1-888-768-2132 and follow the voice prompts for eligibility. The VA form will be mailed to you.

 

Basic “proof of service” paperwork required Category A service members includes a copy of your DD Form 214, which shows the nature of your military discharge from active duty service. Guard/Reserve members who served on active duty will have a DD Form 214 as a result of their discharge.

Category B:  Reservists and National Guard Members Who Have Never Served on Active Duty

The guidelines for Category B military members of the National Guard or Reserves who have never served on active duty are identical to the requirements for Category A. The difference for category B members comes with the requirements for proof of service. Those who have not served on active duty will not have a DD Form 214; Category B service members must furnish the following proofs of service with their application for a VA COE:

A Statement of service signed by (or by the direction of) the adjutant, personnel officer or commander of your unit or headquarters.

This statement of service must show:

The applicant’s full name
Social Security Number
Date of birth
Entry date on duty
The total number of creditable years of service
The duration of any lost time
The name of the military command providing the information

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