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National Guard VA Loan Eligibility

Thousands of National Guard members are eligible for the VA loan program, and new legislation is expanding eligibility to even more guardsmen and women around the country.

Published on July 8, 2021

The National Guard is the second-largest branch of the U.S. military, with more than 330,000 members nationwide. Despite these vast numbers, few guardsmen and women use their VA loan benefit — a valuable tool that can make buying a home easier and more affordable.

More than 100,000 guard members served during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 50,000 guardsmen becoming newly eligible for the VA loan. The Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act is to thank for this newly expanded eligibility. If you or your spouse is enlisted in the National Guard, here’s what you need to know about qualifying for a VA home loan.

Can the National Guard Get a VA Loan?

Yes, the national guard is eligible for a VA loan as long as they meet the necessary service requirements.

VA Loan National Guard Requirements

National Guard members have been eligible for VA loans for some time, but the recently passed Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act expanded those benefits. Now, according to the NGAUS, around 52,000 guardsmen and women will be newly eligible to qualify for these mortgages.

Guardsmen and Reservist VA loan eligibility are based on service. In order to be eligible for a VA loan, you must first meet the following service requirements:

Minimum Active-Duty Service Requirement for VA Loan

Time of Service: Between Aug 2, 1990, and present

  • Must have completed 90 days of active-duty service

Time of Service: Any time period
Six years in the Guard or Selected Reserve and one of the following must be true to you:

  • Were honorably discharged
  • Were placed on the retired list
  • Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after honorable service
  • Continue to serve in the Selected Reserve
  • (NEW) Title 10 service for at least 90 Days OR
  • (NEW) Title 32 service under sections 316, 502, 503, 504, and 505 for at least 90 days with at least one period of service lasting more than 30 days

In addition to meeting service requirements, National Guard applicants must also meet the below requirements for credit and income.

Credit Requirements

The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t have set credit score requirements for VA mortgages, though individual lenders do. These vary from one company to the next, but for the most part, you can expect to need at least a 640 credit score to qualify.

Income Requirements

Similarly, there are also no hard income requirements for VA loans. Lenders do, however, consider your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which indicates how much of your monthly income is taken up by existing debts. You’ll generally want to have a DTI of 41% or less. A higher debt-to-income ratio could make it more difficult to qualify for a VA loan.

Getting Your Certificate of Eligibility in the National Guard

To apply for a VA loan, you’ll need to obtain your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Your COE shows your eligibility for the program, as well as your maximum loan entitlement.

To obtain your COE, you’ll need to fill out a DD-214 form, get a statement of service signed by your commander, or request an NGB-22 statement for each period of service. See more details in our guide to getting your COE in the National Guard.

Generally speaking, you can expect it to take anywhere from four to six weeks to receive your COE, so make sure to plan ahead. Your VA lender can also help you apply for and obtain your COE, and it may even speed up the process.

The bottom line

Does the National Guard qualify for a VA loan? Absolutely. National Guardsmen and women are eligible for the VA loan benefit just as other military members are. These loans require no down payment, come with no monthly mortgage insurance, and offer low fixed interest rates.

Our Lender
Veterans United Home Loans is a VA approved lender; Mortgage Research Center, LLC – NMLS #1907 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Not affiliated with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs or any government agency. Not available in NV. 1400 Veterans United Dr., Columbia, MO 65203. Equal Housing Lender
START HERE: $0 Down VA Home Loans
Our Lender
Veterans United Home Loans is a VA approved lender; Mortgage Research Center, LLC – NMLS #1907 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). Not affiliated with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs or any government agency. Not available in NV. 1400 Veterans United Dr., Columbia, MO 65203. Equal Housing Lender