Military Service Requirements for VA Loan Eligibility

To obtain a VA home loan you must first request your Certificate of Eligibility. To do this you will need to fill out VA Form 26-1880, available only from the Winston-Salem Eligibility Center. You may qualify for this certificate if you are a Veteran, on active duty, in the guard or reserves, or a military spouse. While this Certificate of Eligibility is necessary to apply for a home loan, it does not guarantee approval. If your service record matches or exceeds the minimum duration requirement in any of the following categories, you are likely eligible for a VA mortgage loan.

Active Duty Personnel:

You are automatically eligible for all VA loans.  A Statement of Service is required to obtain a COE (Certificate of Eligibility).  You can get this from your commanding officer or personnel center.


You are eligible to use your VA loan entitlement if you meet the following requirements.

  • Completed the Military Service requirements **
  • Discharged or released from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable.
ERA Dates Minimum Requirement
WW II 09/16/40 – 07/25/47 90 days
Peacetime 07/26/47 – 06/26/50
02/01/55 – 08/04/64
181 continuous days
Korean 06/27/50 – 01/31/55 90 days
Post-Korean 02/01/55 – 08/04/64 181 continuous days
Vietnam 08/05/64 – 05/07/75 90 days
Post Vietnam 05/08/75 – 09/07/80 181 continuous days
Enlisted 09/08/80 – 08/01/90 2 years
Officers 10/17/81 – 08/01/90 2 years
Persian Gulf 08/02/90 – Undetermined 2 years or period called to active duty, not less than 90 days.

Selected Reserves/National Guard:

Must complete a total of 6 years in the Selected Reserves or National Guard with an honorable discharge. Eligibility under this program expires 9/30/2003 unless extended by Congress.  Request for Certificate of Eligibility (Form 26-1880) must be completed along with the corresponding form:

Army National Guard NGB Form 22 or NGB Form 23
Air National Guard NGB Form 22 or NGB Form 23
Army Reserve DARP Form 249-2-E
Navy Reserve NRPC 1070-124
Air Force Reserve AF 526
USMC Reserve NAVMC 798
Coast Guard Reserve CG-4175

Restoring VA Eligibility

Once you have used your certificate of eligibility for a VA guaranteed mortgage, can you restore it to use again or is it a one time deal? You absolutely can restore it! However you first need to dispose properly of your prior loan that was guaranteed by the VA. That means you need to prove that the earlier loan has been retired with no further life. You can learn much more by locating Chapter Two, Topic Six of the Web Automated Reference Materials System (WARMS) that is published by the VA at The topic begins on page 19 of chapter 6. As with most government programs there are right ways and wrong ways to restore your eligibility so read carefully. It’s not bad.