Military members are entitled to apply for VA home loans as part of their military benefits. One requirement of the VA loan process is showing proof of service.

VA Home Loans and your DD214

Use your DD214 to show proof of service.

Military members are entitled to apply for VA home loans as part of their military benefits, but unlike some military benefits like healthcare, Service member's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or GI Bill education benefits, VA mortgages are not guaranteed-you must apply for them, have your credit reviewed, and accept the terms offered by your lender and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

One of the requirements of the VA loan process is showing proof of service. Active duty members, Reservists and those in the National Guard must show proof of their status, usually in the form of a copy of the latest set of orders and/or a current military ID card.

Those who have retired or separated from the military must also provide proof of service and the nature of their discharge. This is done with a DD Form 214, which all members get a copy of upon retirement or separation.

Your DD214 is one of the most important documents you have after departing the service. It's just as important as tax documents, marriage certificates or divorce decrees; like these documents the DD214 often gets misplaced, lost, accidentally packed up with household goods during a relocation from overseas or from the last assignment back to the home of record.

If you try to apply for a VA home loan without a DD214, the application process will come to a halt early in the process, because the Department of Veterans Affairs requires not only proof of service, but also proof of the nature of your discharge from the military.

Only those honorably retired or separated may apply for and receive VA home loan benefits. If you don't have a copy of your DD214 when applying for a VA mortgage, you'll be "on hold" until you can provide a copy. If you've done some house hunting and have your eye on a property you like, you risk losing the chance to successfully make an offer and close the deal unless you have a copy of your DD214.

That's why good real estate agents and lenders who know about the VA home loan process recommend applying for a replacement copy of your DD214 when you feel ready to buy your own home. Get your replacement DD214 as soon as possible once you're ready to start house hunting and you won't miss out on the chance to close the deal on the property you want.

If you don't have a copy of your DD214, request a replacement copy as soon as possible from the National Archives at

Requests for replacement DD214 paperwork take up to ten days to process and some people must wait as long as six to eight weeks for a replacement copy to arrive. Send all requests to the National Archives National Personnel Record Center or NPRC. Fax a request to the NPRC at (314) 801 9195 and don't forget to read the instructions for submitting a request before sending any paperwork to the NPRC.

Get detailed instructions for requesting a replacement copy of your DD214 here.