VA Loan Eligibility for Members of the Guard and Reserves

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Members of the National Guard, Air National Guard, and Reserves have special VA loan eligibility requirements before they can use the VA Loan to buy a home. But there is much more to qualifying for a VA Loan than simply being eligible. Let’s look at the VA Loan eligibility requirements, including the necessary forms and…

Members of the National Guard, Air National Guard, and Reserves have special VA loan eligibility requirements before they can use the VA Loan to buy a home. But there is much more to qualifying for a VA Loan than simply being eligible. Let’s look at the VA Loan eligibility requirements, including the necessary forms and paperwork you will need before you can apply for a VA Loan.

Guard and Reserve VA Loan Eligibility

National Guard and Reserves VA Loan EligibilityCurrent or former members of the National Guard, Air National Guard, and Reserves are eligible to apply for a VA Loan if they meet one of the following:

  • Served at least 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime.
  • Served at least 181 consecutive days on active duty during peacetime.
  • Completed six years of in-service time with their Guard or Reserve Unit (These must be “Good Years” to qualify).

Note: These requirements are only to be eligible to apply for a VA loan; they do not guarantee your loan will be approved. You still must meet the financial requirements set by the lender.

Proof of Service

After meeting minimum service requirements to be eligible for a VA Loan, servicemembers and veterans must provide the VA with Proof of service so they can acquire a Certificate of Eligibility, which the VA will furnish to the actual lender.

Proof of Service

Members of the Guard and Reserves who have active duty time should have received a DD Form 214 when they were transitioned back to their Guard or Reserve status. Your DD Form 214 should state the total number of days they served on active duty. Here are instructions for getting a copy of your DD 214 if you do not currently have a copy.

If you are currently serving on active duty and have met the service requirements, you can also send a Statement of Service signed by your unit commander, his/her adjutant, or a personnel officer.

A Statement of Service must include the following information:

  • Full name, date of birth, and Social Security Number
  • Date entered into military service
  • Total number of Creditable Years of Service (also known in the Guard and Reserves as “Good Years”)
  • Duration of Lost Time
  • Unit Command information, including name, location, and contact information

Discharged Members of the Guard and Reserves

If you do not meet requirements for time served on active duty, and you are no longer in the Guard or Reserves, then you can send copies of your separation paperwork or other accepted forms. These include:

  • National Guard: 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 proof of the character of service
  • Reserves: Copy of your latest annual retirement points statement and evidence of honorable service.

Once you have your proof of service, you will provide this to the VA, which will issue you a Certificate of Eligibility.

Certificate of Eligibility

A Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) is a requirement for every VA Loan application. Many lenders can now process these forms for you if they have access to the VA Web LGY system. If the lender has access to the system, they may be able to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility in a few minutes. However, the VA may not have all of a servicemembers’ records in their system, and you may apply for the CoE through another method.

  • Apply online: To get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) online, visit the eBenefits portal. If you already have login credentials, click the Login box, and if you need login credentials, please click the Register box and follow the directions on the screen.
  • Apply by Mail: Use VA Form 26-1880, Request for Certificate of Eligibility (pdf). Instructions and the mailing address are on the form.

The turnaround time for a manual request can take anywhere from a couple of days, to a couple of weeks, depending on whether you have your paperwork in order, how backed up the VA is, and other factors. The VA can often rush a CoE if you have the proper documentation. I believe it took less than a week for me to receive my Certificate of Eligibility when I applied for a VA Loan a few years ago.

Current VA Loan Rates

Eligibility Does Not Guarantee a Loan

Meeting the above criteria will establish eligibility to apply for a VA Loan, but it will not guarantee your application will be approved. Lenders look at multiple factors before approving loans, including your income, credit score, debt to income ratio, and other factors. We cover these topics in the following article about getting approved for a VA Loan.

If you are planning on buying a home with a VA Loan, then check out our VA Loan interest rate page which lists current interest rates from a variety of lenders. This will give you an idea of what current interest rates are in your area.

Equal Housing OpportunityEqual Housing Opportunity. The Department of Veterans Affairs affirmatively administers the VA Home Loan Program by assuring that all Veterans are given an equal opportunity to buy homes with VA assistance. Federal law requires all VA Home Loan Program participants – builders, brokers, and lenders offering housing for sale with VA financing – must comply with Fair Housing Laws and may not discriminate based on the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin of the Veteran.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan's writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine (print and online editions), Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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  1. David Sayles says

    I am going through this nightmare right now, My wife and I both served in the Reserves during the 90’s we both filled out commitments and were honorably discharged. We didn’t get monthly or yearly statements on our points and service back then, and even they did provide that…how realistic is it that a 25 yr old will keep those records?

    The VA is asking for documentation of my service. I requested all the DOD has on file, and of course what the VA wants isn’t in there. I am at a loss as to how I can access my available benefits beyond a VA id card or VET on my driver’s license which obviously don’t help with getting the COE.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David,

      I don’t have a firm answer here, other than to contact your branch of the military, or the National Archives. The National Archives should maintain service records. You might also be able to contact DFAS to see if they have copies of old pay records, which could be parsed to show a member’s service dates. Beyond that, I’m not sure what you can do.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  2. Dale says

    With all do respect Ryan, I have been a Mortgage Banker for the past 24yrs , so by telling all these poeple to just contact the VA to get their COE is not even close to actual advice. I am assuming that most of the people on here are asking because they tried to obtain a VA loan and the lender was unable to obtain their COE. In many cases it is because the person was in the reserves and do not have copies of their 6 yrs of point statements and obtaing them is next to impossible. If you are older then like 65, and don’t have either your point statements or their DD214, then they must either order it through a company for about an$80 fee, but again for the older Vets, there was a major fire in St. Lois in the early 70’s that destroyed hundred of thousands of Vets records and trying to get those records recreated is next to impossible. I can not tell you how many eligible Vets can not take advantage of their VA benefits just because of how poor the record keeping is and how long it takes to retrieve the docs if by some miracle they still have the Veterans records. The whole process is a mess. Even if the National archives has your records, the process of ordering them and receiving them takes at least 3-6 months.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Thank you for your feedback, Dale.

      Admittedly, my situation is different, as I separated from active duty in 2006. I am aware of these difficulties in obtaining copies of proof of military service. However, I originally wrote this article well before I had the background I have now. I will look at addressing this topic in this article, and in future articles.

      Again, your feedback is appreciated.

  3. Anthony Western says

    I was in the TN National Guard from sept. 14 2010 to sept. 13 2016
    my NGB-23 form says i have a total of 214 AD points and a total of 613 points for retirement. and a total of 6 good years if im reading it right.
    my question is will this qualify me for my COE so i can get my VA loan?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Anthony, Yes, it appears as though your service should qualify for a COE. You can verify this through the VA website or by contacting their customer service department.

      A VA Approved lender can also assist you in obtaining your COE.

      Best wishes on your home search, and thank you for your service!

  4. Gerry Velona says

    I was in the Guard from 1955-1961. I’ve applied for a VA Home loan Re-fi. They are asking my mortgage broker for my retirement points history statement. I have never received such a statement. Does anyone know where to get this? I have been all over the internet trying to locate it, but keep running into a brick wall. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gerry, You will most likely need to contact your state National Guard Bureau to see if they have records, or the National Archives in St. Louis. One of these organizations should have a copy of your records, which should include a point summary. If not, they may be able to point you in the right direction.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  5. ANNAMARIE BERMUDEZ says

    I received my NGB Form 23, I’m still waiting for my NGB 22 Form. I have 9 months of Inactive Guard out of my 6 year contract. My total points are 494. Do I have enough “good years” to qualify for the home loan?

  6. tom gallagher says

    Please help me I served six years in active reserve it says I’m thirteen days short of six years I belive there dates are wrong this is on a dd214 now I’m trying to get letter of separation is it possible that it has correct dates and if not what can I do I’ve been trying for three years

  7. Jeremy says

    I served 5 years and 8 months in the reserves but got an honorable discharge. I was discharged because I could not pass my PT test due to bone spurs in my shoulder from a civilian traffic accident. I tried to get a profile but was told by the army doctors that bone spurs don’t effect my ability to perform push ups. Is there anything I can do to still qualify.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jeremy, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a good answer here. This is something you would need to take up with the VA. The normal rule is 6 years of service, unless you have enough active duty time (I believe this excludes training).

      I also recommend verifying the amount of time on your paperwork. It may be possible that you have time listed on your paperwork that takes you through 6 years of service, depending on your enlistment dates, actual separation date, etc. It never hurts to double check.

      Finally, consider visiting the VA or a veterans service organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, etc. They all have trained counselors that offer free benefits counseling. They may be able to help you with this or potentially other benefits.

  8. Chris says

    I am looking to qualify for the VA eligibility and my question relates to the last comment about good years while in the reserves. I am currently in drilling status in my unit having only 4 “good” years and 2 “bad” years where I was unable to drill or RST/make up, however I do have as part of those 4 good years 2 of them being mobilized active duty which would bring my total retirement points to close to 1000 for the six years and wanted to ask if I would be eligible for VA loan privileges because of my retirement points.

  9. Austin says

    Hello,

    I see that you say National Guard can only qualify with six “good” years or years eligible for retirement pay. I just went through this process and the VA went by the box on my NGB 22 titled “years for pay” (6) not “years for retired pay” (5). Not sure if this is new information for you. I just wanted to share my experience. Thanks.

    • Chris says

      Hey Austin,I am looking to qualify for the VA eligibility and my question relates to the last comment about good years while in the army reserves. I am currently in drilling status in my unit having only 4 “good” years and 2 “bad” years where I was unable to drill or RST/make up because of school, however I do have as part of those 4 good years 2 of them being mobilized active duty which would bring my total retirement points to close to 1000 for the six years and wanted to ask if I would be eligible for VA loan privileges because I have enough retirement points….it sounds like based on your comment that I would because they base it off of “years of pay” not needing 6 years of “retired pay”. Please let me know and the process you followed because I’m looking to follow in your footsteps thanks Austin

      • Dan says

        Im in a similar situation. “6 years of pay” and “3 years of retired pay”. Wonder if i am elegible as well

  10. Mike says

    Hello,
    I was AF reserve but served over 7.5 months (over 181 days continuous) active duty according to my DD 214. Do I still need to submit a form 526? How many points are they looking for? If I’m reading mine correctly it has me at 329 and an honorable discharge.
    Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mike, Thank you for contacting me. I believe you can can submit a DD Form 214 to satisfy the eligibility requirement. Just contact the VA to verify. You will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE).

      As for the Points – it’s not the number of Points that matters. Guard and Reserve members just need to have 6 Good Years to be eligible for a VA Loan (A Good Year requires a minimum of 50 Points per year, plus satisfactory service). Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

    • Jamie Santore says

      Can you please let me know how to go about getting these items so I can get a VA mortgage loan. I am not sure who to call or if it can be done on line. The lender did get my DD214 already but says they still need this below and I have to get it they cannot.

      Provide the following documents do the VA can process your Certificate of Eligibility

      A. Retirement Point Statement and evidence of Honorable Character of Services

      B. National Guard – NGB 22

      C. Statement of Service Letter

  11. andy decker says

    How many points do you need to qualify for a COE? I am obtaining my points record now, but want to know before I apply if I will have enough points to qualify

  12. Jim Dyer says

    I had two good enlistments in the Ohio National Guard and on my third had to be discharged on a hardship. I only received an NGB Form 22 for the last enlistment which was under honorable but did receive an NGB Form 23B which shows 9 good years. Will my previous two enlistments of 9 years qualify me for a VA loan?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jim, Thank you for contacting me. I believe you only need to serve 6 good years to qualify for a VA Loan. So you should be good to go. I would contact the VA to verify. They will be able to confirm, as well as give you a Certificate of Eligibility, which you will need in order to obtain a VA Loan. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  13. jonathan says

    Hello Ryan, can I obtain a certificate of eligibility if I served two years in the reserve. I was medically discharged due to a preexisting injury. I received a 0 percent rating. According to the Marines, I could not complete my obligation; however, I received an honorable discharge. Is there anything I can do?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jonathan, Thank you for contacting me. You have a unique situation and I don’t know the answer. I recommend contacting the VA to see if you are eligible to receive a VA Certificate of Eligibility. They will be able to give you this information and provide a COE if you are eligible. I wish you the best with this, and thank you for your service!

  14. israel Martinez says

    I served for 4 years in the National Guard in Puerto Rico, and 2 years in the reserve in Illinois. How do i obtain a military point statement that I need as proof of service?

  15. Henry Clarin says

    Where can I get my NGB22 and NGB23 forms? I was a member of the Wisconsin National Gaurd from 1993-1999 and I am trying to apply for a VA loan.
    Thank you,
    Henry

  16. Shawna says

    My husband has 6 years active duty and 2 years reserves. from 7/29/1996-7/28/2002 active and 7/29/2002-7/28/2004 reserves. We applied for Certificate of Eligibility, they told him he doesn’t have enough points. We don’t know who to contact now, he has honorable discharge. He filled out and faxed over the 180 form Request Pertaining to Military Records. This is for the state of CT, he was out of Norwich, they are no longer in that location. Hoping we have made all the right steps at this point, we already have a house picked out, on deposit and we have done our inspections. We didn’t think this was going to be a issues, but looking like it is. Please help. Thank you Shawna

      • Carl Berglund says

        I have been going nuts trying to get an eligibility certificate for a VA loan. I served 3 years in the Illinois National Guard then transferred to an Army Reserve unit in Wisconsin for another 3 years. This was from 1968 to 1974 so trying to assemble the necessary forms has been problematic. I finally got a Retirement Points statement from the Army Human Resources Command. This is a grid that shows Non-Active Duty points and Active Duty points for 6 years. I thought I was home free, but the VA says that one of the years shows 15 points for non-active duty but total points of 0 so that year doesn’t count and I only have 5 years of eligible service. I cannot understand this. Why wouldn’t it count? I did not have any issues of any kind, I have an Honorable Discharge, a letter that says reason for discharge is completion of my military obligation. Is there any way to find out why this would be? It could be a typo or something as simple as that but being this old I feel I have no way to find out. Any thoughts or ideas on how I could proceed?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Carl, Thank you for contacting me. I would ask the VA what the criteria is for a qualifying year of service. If they follow the military definition of a qualifying year, then it would need to be 50 or more points in a year to qualify as a “Good Year.”

        That is the only thing that comes to mind from reading this. I hope this points you in the right direction.

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