VA Mortgage Basics

What are VA Loans?

VA loans are insured by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and provide highly competitive terms for former or active military members. Borrowers must meet minimum qualifications including VA eligibility in order to receive financing.

VA Loan Requirements

  • Down Payment: None required.
  • Credit Score: Typically 620 or greater.
  • Debt Requirement: Generally not to exceed 41%, but varies.
  • Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV): Up to 100% financing available.
  • VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) required.
  • Loan Limit (max allowable loan amount): Depends on borrower VA Entitlement (determined when borrower requests VA COE) and region.
  • No Mortgage Insurance (MI) required.
  • Property purchased must be an owner occupied, primary residence (no second home, investment, or commercial properties).

VA Eligibility

Borrowers are eligible if they have:

  • Served 90 days minimum during wartime.
  • Served 180 days minimum during peacetime.

Other eligible groups

  • Un-remarried surviving spouses or spouses of POW or MIA service person.
  • Service personnel on active duty (181 days minimum, or 90 if served during Gulf War).
  • Selected Reserves and National Guard with 6 years of minimum service in an active unit, unless discharged for disability connected to service.
  • Specific United States citizens who have served in the military of a government allied with the United States during WWII.
  • Public Health Service officers, cadets of the United States Military, Air Force, Or Coast Guard Academy.
  • Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy.
  • Officers of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
  • Merchant seaman with WWII Service.

Dishonorably discharged veterans are not eligible.

VA COEs may be requested online by visiting or speaking with a VA-approved lender who can determine eligibility.