Understanding VA Funding Fee: Costs, Exemptions & Payment Options

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Navigating the world of VA loans can feel like decoding a complex puzzle, especially when it comes to understanding the VA funding fee. This one-time payment is crucial for veterans and service members looking to buy or refinance their homes through the VA loan program. It’s designed to offset the taxpayer’s cost, ensuring the program continues to run for future generations of military homebuyers without requiring any down payment.

But how much is the VA funding fee, and who’s required to pay it? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might hope, with the fee varying based on several factors, including the type of loan, the amount of down payment, and whether it’s your first time using a VA loan benefit. Let’s dive into the specifics, ensuring you’re equipped with the knowledge to navigate your home buying journey with confidence.

Understanding the VA Funding Fee

The VA funding fee, integral to obtaining a VA loan, directly influences your financial responsibilities when purchasing or refinancing a home through this program. This fee helps fund the VA loan program, ensuring its continuation for other veterans and service members. It’s vital to grasp how much you’re expected to pay and under what circumstances, as this can significantly impact your overall loan cost.

Fee Percentage and Factors Influencing Its Amount

The VA funding fee varies, primarily hinging on three key factors: the loan type, the size of your down payment, and whether you’re a first-time or subsequent VA loan user. Generally, first-time users can expect to pay a lower funding fee compared to those using the VA loan benefit again. The fee percentage ranges from 2.3% to 3.6% of the loan amount, with higher down payments resulting in lower fees.

Specifics Based on Loan Type and Use

  • First-Time Use: For a no-down-payment loan, expect a fee of 2.3% of the loan amount. A down payment of 5% to 9.9% reduces this to 1.65%, while 10% or more drops the fee to 1.4%.
  • Subsequent Use: The fee for subsequent users starts at 3.6% for no down payment and follows a similar reduction with higher down payments.

Exemptions and Reductions

Certain individuals, including recipients of VA disability compensation and surviving spouses of Veterans who died in service or from service-connected conditions, are exempt from paying the VA funding fee. Additionally, there are cases where the fee may be reduced or refunded under specific conditions, offering some financial relief to eligible veterans and service members.


Your understanding of the VA funding fee’s structure and the factors influencing its amount is crucial in budgeting for a home purchase or refinance through the VA loan program. By familiarizing yourself with the fee percentages, possible exemptions, and reductions, you’ll be better equipped to manage the financial aspects of obtaining a VA loan.

Determining How Much the VA Funding Fee Is

The VA funding fee, a vital component of your VA loan, varies based on several factors, including the type of loan, your military service type, down payment size, and whether it’s your first time using the benefit or a subsequent use. Calculating this fee accurately is crucial for budgeting effectively when applying for a VA loan.

Type of Loan and Service

  • Purchase and Construction Loans: For most first-time users without a down payment, the fee is 2.3% of the loan amount. Subsequent users pay 3.6%.
  • Cash-Out Refinance Loans: The fee remains the same at 2.3% for first-time users and 3.6% for subsequent uses, mirroring purchase loans.
  • IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan): Also known as a Streamline Refinance, charges a fee of 0.5% across the board.

Down Payment Impact

Increasing your down payment decreases the funding fee percentage. Specifically:

  • A down payment of 5% but less than 10% reduces the fee to 1.65% for first-time users.
  • A down payment of 10% or more lowers it further to 1.4%.

Exemptions and Discounts

Certain individuals are exempt from paying the VA funding fee, namely:

  • Veterans receiving VA compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • Surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-related disabilities.

Calculating Your VA Funding Fee

To calculate your exact VA funding fee, consider your loan amount, applicable percentage based on the factors above, and whether you qualify for any exemptions. For a $200,000 loan with no down payment and a 2.3% fee, for instance, you’d owe $4,600. If you are eligible for an exemption, this fee could be waived entirely, significantly impacting your financial planning for a home purchase or refinance.

Understanding these nuances ensures you’re prepared for the costs associated with a VA loan, allowing for accurate budgeting and financial planning in your home buying or refinancing journey.

Calculating Your VA Funding Fee

Calculating your VA funding fee involves understanding the precise percentage applied based on your specific circumstances, including the type of VA loan, your down payment size, and whether it’s your first time using the VA loan benefit or a subsequent use. The fee’s purpose is to reduce the loan’s cost to taxpayers, ensuring the longevity of the VA loan program.

Determining the Fee Percentage

The VA funding fee percentage varies, mainly depending on three factors:

  • Type of Loan: Whether you’re obtaining a purchase loan or doing a refinance impacts the fee.
  • Down Payment Size: A larger down payment decreases the fee percentage.
  • First or Subsequent Use: First-time users typically pay a lower fee than those using the VA loan benefit again.

For purchase loans, the fee can range from 2.3% of the loan amount for first-time users with no down payment to 1.65% for subsequent users putting down 10% or more. Refinance loans have different rates, with a standard 2.3% for the Cash-Out Refinance for first-time users.

Fee Calculation Example

To calculate the funding fee, multiply the loan amount by the fee percentage applicable to your situation. For instance, if you’re a first-time user purchasing a home with no down payment on a $200,000 loan, your fee would be:

  • $200,000 x 2.3% = $4,600

Funding Fee Exemptions

Not everyone is required to pay the VA funding fee. Veterans receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities, surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-connected disabilities, and active-duty service members who have received the Purple Heart are exempt.

Accurately calculating your VA funding fee is essential for budgeting effectively in your home buying or refinancing journey. This calculation ensures you’re fully prepared for the financial aspects of using the VA loan benefit.

Exemptions and Reductions

In navigating the VA loan program, identifying potential exemptions and reductions to the VA funding fee can significantly affect your financial planning. Certain individuals are exempt from paying this fee altogether. If you’re a veteran receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities, a surviving spouse of a veteran who died in service or from a service-connected disability, or an active-duty service member who has received a Purple Heart, you’re not required to pay the funding fee. Confirming your eligibility for these exemptions can save you a substantial amount of money.

Additionally, the VA offers reductions in funding fees for borrowers who make a down payment. Increasing your down payment can lower the fee percentage, thereby reducing the overall amount you owe. For example, making a 5% down payment reduces the funding fee for first-time users of the VA loan from 2.3% to 1.65% of the loan amount. A 10% or more down payment further decreases the fee to 1.4%.

Reservists and National Guard members typically face a slightly higher funding fee than their regular military counterparts. However, the same reductions apply if they choose to make a down payment.

Understanding these exemptions and reductions is crucial for making the most out of the VA loan program. By knowing what fees you might face and which ones you can avoid or reduce, you’re better equipped to plan your finances effectively. Always consult the VA or a VA-approved lender to confirm your eligibility for exemptions and to understand how much you can save with a down payment. Doing so ensures that you’re not missing out on potential savings, making your home purchase or refinance more affordable.

How to Pay the VA Funding Fee

After understanding the importance of the VA funding fee and how it varies, knowing how to pay it becomes your next step. The VA funding fee can be handled in several ways, ensuring flexibility for veterans and service members.

Rolling the Fee into Your Loan

Rolling the fee into your loan amount is the most common method. This approach means you don’t have to pay the fee upfront in cash. Instead, the VA funding fee is added to your total loan balance, spreading the cost over the life of your mortgage. While convenient, remember this increases your monthly payments and the total interest paid over the loan term.

Paying Upfront

If you prefer not to increase your loan amount, you have the option to pay the VA funding fee upfront at closing. This method requires you to have the funds available at the time, but it saves you from paying interest on the fee amount throughout the loan’s life.

Seeking Assistance Programs

Several states offer assistance programs for veterans, which might help in covering the cost of the VA funding fee. These programs can provide grants or loans to veterans, making the home buying process more affordable. Research and reach out to your state’s veteran affairs office or a VA-approved lender to explore available options.

Paying the VA funding fee is a critical step in the loan process, but there are options to manage it effectively. Whether rolling the fee into your loan, paying it upfront, or seeking assistance programs, you have the flexibility to choose the method that best suits your financial situation. Remember, the goal is to make home ownership attainable while honoring the service of veterans and active-duty military members.


Navigating the VA funding fee doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right knowledge about how your loan type and down payment size affect the fee, coupled with an understanding of the exemptions and payment options available, you’re well-equipped to make the most out of your VA loan benefits. Remember, this fee is there to make home ownership more accessible for you as a veteran or active-duty service member, honoring your service by helping you achieve your dream of home ownership. By carefully planning and utilizing the resources at your disposal, you can effectively manage the VA funding fee and move one step closer to securing your new home.


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