Recently a retired Army reservist inquired about refinancing a first and a second mortgage into a new VA loan. The first question that came up was related to the amount he could borrow. He was happy to know that he could refinance up to 100% of the value of his home and get some money back from the refinance.
The following question however was a little more difficult to answer. It was regarding his eligibility. He was retired from the military after serving 6 years in the reserves, never once serving active duty. Because he hadn’t served active duty, he thought he wasn’t eligible for a VA loan. Of course that isn’t true and my initial answer was yes he was eligible. The Certificate of Eligibility would tell the tale though.
Unfortunately, as is often the case, VA needed further information to provide a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) with full entitlement. This is why the COE should always be the first thing every veteran or service member gets before starting the VA loan process. Quite often, VA will require additional information including proof of service documents.
Below are the minimum VA loan eligibility requirements for current and past Reservists and Guardsmen.
Current Member of the Reserves or Guard with Active Duty Service
Reservists and Guardsmen who have 90 or more days of active duty service during wartime or 181 days during peacetime will need to provide a copy of their DD214 covering the active duty time and reason for separation.
Current Member of the Reserves or Guard With No Active Duty Service
For anyone who has never been called to active duty or their active duty time is less than 90 days during wartime or less than 181 days during peacetime, will need to supply the VA with a copy of a Statement of Service signed by (or by the direction of) the adjutant, personnel officer or commander of your unit.
The Statement of Service document must contain the following:
- Full Name
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Entry Date of Duty
- Total Number of Creditable Years of Service (If the applicant has never served on active duty or has less than the required active duty service time, a minimum of six years of Reserves or National Guard service time is required.)
- Duration of Lost Time
- Name of the Command Providing the Information
Discharged Member of the National Guard With No Active Duty Service Time
Honorably discharged members of the National Guard who did not serve on active duty must produce copies of their NGB Form 22 (Report of Separation and Record of Service) for each period of National Guard service or NGB Form 23 (Retirement Points Accounting) and a proof of the character of service.
Discharged Member of the Reserves With No Active Duty Service Time
Honorably discharged Reservists who did not serve on active duty must send copies of their latest annual retirement points statement and a copy of their discharge certificate.
After you've gathered the required documents and made copies (ALWAYS SEND COPIES!) the next step is applying for your Certificate of Eligibility. This is not necessarily your responsibility. If you are working with a quality VA Loan Specialist, this part of the process can be taken care of for you…and much quicker than doing it yourself.
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