Eligibility for a VA and CalVet Home Loan

The Eligibility requirements for a CalVet and VA home loan can be confusing because different rules are applied based on which qualifying wartime or peacetime period you served in.  Generally speaking, nearly every Honorably Discharged Veteran wanting to purchase real estate in California can apply for either program.


The first thing you need to know is whether or not the VA will guaranty your future loan.  This is easily discovered by ordering a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility.  The VA requires that Servicemembers and Veterans be discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and/or meet certain service requirements (these vary between VA and CalVet).  To successfully complete this, the following service documentation would be needed:

Discharged from Regular Active Duty – DD214 – The required copy will show the Character of Service (item 24) and the Narrative Reason for Separation (item 28).

Still serving on Regular Active Duty – A Statement of Service signed by the adjutant, personnel officer, or commander of your unit or higher headquarters. The form should list your full name, social security number, and provide dates of service on your current active duty period, as well as the duration of any time lost. Some lenders also prefer to see that you are currently serving “honorably”.

Current National Guard or Reserve member who has never been activated to Federal service – A Statement of Service signed by the adjutant, personnel officer or commander of your unit or higher headquarters. The form should list your full name, Social Security Number, Date of birth, Entry date on duty, the total number of creditable years of service, the duration of any lost time and the name of the command providing the information.

Discharged member of the National Guard who has never been activated to Federal service – 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.

Discharged member of the Selected Reserve who has never been activated to Federal service – Copy of your latest annual retirement points statement and evidence of honorable service

Applying for the COE is fairly painless. We have access to the Web LGY system, a secure, internet-based application which can issue an online COE in a matter of seconds. On rare occasions, when the VA does not have the appropriate documentation in their records, the COE is not automatic. 7 to 10 business days may be required for a more hands-on approach by the VA.

To further clarify Eligibility based on service you must meet the requirements below:

StatusQualifying Wartime and Peacetime PeriodsQualifying Active Duty DatesMinimum Active Duty Service Requirement
VeteranWWII9/16/1940 - 7/25/194790 total days
Post-WWII7/26/1947 - 6/26/1950181 continuous days
Korean War6/27/1950 - 1/31/195590 total days
Post-Korean War2/1/1955 - 8/4/1964181 continuous days
Vietnam War8/5/1964 - 5/7/1975 *For Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, the beginning date is 2/28/196190 total days
Post-Vietnam War5/8/1975 - 9/7/1980 *The ending date for officers is 10/16/1981181 continuous days
24-month rule9/8/1980 - 8/1/1990 *The beginning date for officers is 10/17/198124 continuous months,
The full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty
Gulf War8/2/1990 - Present24 continuous months,
The full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty
Currently On Active DutyAnyAny90 continuous days
National Guard & Reserve MemberGulf War8/2/1990 - Present90 days of active service
Six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard, AND

Were discharged honorably, OR
Were placed on the retired list, OR
Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable, OR
Continue to serve in the Selected Reserve


No matter where you entered the military in the United States, as long as you are wanting to purchase, and occupy as the owner, a home in California as your primary residence, you qualify for CalVet and VA financing.



Your FICO score and credit history are an important part of the application process and determine your “credit worthiness”. Although CalVet does not currently have a stated minimum FICO score requirement, they will still closely examine your credit report to determine the lending risk.

Remember, the VA guarantees your loan, but you are not necessarily entitled to the funds. Based on your payment history on things such as credit cards, automobiles, student loans or personal loans, an assessment will be made as to your ability to repay debt on time.

Negative factors such as collection accounts and charge-offs will lower your credit scores and increase the risk of lending. It is almost always a good idea to resolve your negative credit issues prior to applying for the loan.

VA Loans are underwritten in a similar fashion, however, most VA lenders require a 620 or 640 minimum FICO score in order to proceed. More and more, lenders are easing their credit rules and lowering the minimum score requirement. You might qualify with a 600, but it’s always a great idea to start the loan application with the best score possible.

If you have additional questions or seek clarification, please call us today at 800-734-5572. We’re looking forward to helping you move step-by-step through the process.

You can also Apply Online using our free loan application. We always strive to contact you within 24-48 hours.