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June 21, 2021   /   Andrew Sheaffer

Sources estimate that roughly 200,000 active U.S. military are currently living overseas, plus an additional 80,000 former U.S. military.  With so many eligible VA home loan participants living abroad, we often times hear questions about Program eligibility and the home buying or refinancing process from current military or former military living overseas.  There are many great benefits to VA loans and it’s critical for these individuals to know all of the ins-and-outs of being able to access these benefits.

Here are 3 common questions about the VA loan overseas process answered.

What Is Different About the VA Loan Process While Overseas?

Simply put, not much. Overall, there are very few changes to the process for service members overseas, other than coordinating and interacting with loan officers and real estate agents on different time zones. A prospective borrower is treated the same way as any other service member living in the U.S. seeking a mortgage loan through the Program. Whether a military service member is being transferred back to the U.S. and would like to purchase a home in their new duty station or is remaining overseas and is interested in refinancing a home where their family is living, working with an experienced VA lender can simplify the experience.

Are VA Loan Eligibility Requirements Different While Living Overseas?

No. Regardless of where you are living, in order to be eligible for a VA loan, you or your spouse must meet the basic service requirements set by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE), and satisfy the lender’s credit and income requirements. However, the subject property must be located in the U.S. or one of its territories.

You may be eligible for a VA loan by meeting at least one of the following requirements:

  • You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime; OR
  • You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime; OR
  • You have 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves; OR
  • You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.

How Do I Get A VA Loan Overseas?

The first step to secure a VA loan is to contact a mortgage lender in the U.S. to let them know that you are interested in purchasing or refinancing a home and that you are currently living or serving overseas.  The lender will pull the COE electronically by logging into the VA portal and entering your personal information.  If you already have a home under contract through a real estate agent, then the next step will be to fill out a full VA loan application which the lender can help walk you through.  Since the majority of sales contracts and loan disclosures are handled with e-signatures, it’s very easy to obtain signatures from anywhere in the world.  Once the loan is ready to close and you will not be able to make it back to the U.S. for an in-person closing, you may take advantage of a Power of Attorney through your spouse or trusted individual in the U.S. to sign all closing documents.

Wherever you’re currently at in the world, West Town Bank & Trust is here to make the VA loan overseas process a seamless experience for you.

We will work with you through this incredible resource available to American veterans every step of the way. For more information about VA loans, including complete eligibility requirements, don’t be shy to contact us!

About West Town Bank & Trust

At West Town Bank & Trust, our most important goal is to understand what’s important to you, what’s getting in your way, and what you hope to achieve, so we can help you get there. Since 1922, we’ve been creating long-lasting relationships with our customers based on old-fashioned values and future-thinking ideas.  Whether solutions come from surprisingly innovative tools or trusted products you’re familiar with, our single-focused purpose is your financial well-being.

Whether you’re purchasing your first home or refinancing an adjustable rate mortgage, it’s our commitment to find the most suitable loan program available to you at the lowest rate possible. With hundreds of programs available, let us help you unlock the feeling of home today.