When Is the VA Funding Fee Paid? Options and Exemptions Explained

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Embarking on the journey of homeownership through a VA loan comes with its unique set of benefits and obligations, one of which is the VA funding fee. This one-time fee is crucial to understand as it affects your overall loan costs. If you’re using a VA loan for your home purchase, you’ll want to know when this fee is due and how it impacts your finances.

The VA funding fee is designed to offset the taxpayers’ cost for the VA Home Loan program, ensuring it remains viable for future veterans. But when exactly is this fee paid, and are there any exceptions? Let’s dive into the specifics of the VA funding fee, including its timing, how it’s calculated, and ways you might be exempt. Knowing these details can save you time and money, making your path to homeownership smoother and more predictable.

Understanding the VA Funding Fee

The VA funding fee, a critical component of your VA loan process, directly influences your home-buying journey, affecting both the total cost and the monthly payments of your mortgage. Primarily used to fund the VA home loan program and ensure its sustainability without relying solely on taxpayer dollars, this fee varies based on several factors including loan type, use of the loan, down payment size, and the borrower’s military category.

When Is the Fee Paid?

Typically, you pay the VA funding fee at closing. However, to reduce out-of-pocket expenses, you have the option to roll this fee into your loan amount. Rolling the fee into your loan means you’ll pay interest on it over the life of your mortgage, slightly increasing your monthly payment but making the upfront cost more manageable. It’s essential to weigh this decision carefully, as it affects your loan’s total cost over time.

How Is the Fee Calculated?

The VA funding fee percentage is calculated based on the loan type – purchase or refinance – your military service category, whether you’re using the benefit for the first time or subsequently, and how much, if any, down payment you’re making. First-time users without a down payment can expect to pay a fee of 2.3% of the loan amount for regular military members, with a slight increase for those in the reserves or National Guard. Subsequent users will see this fee increase to 3.6%. Significantly, making a down payment of 5% or more can reduce this fee.

Potential Exemptions

Not everyone is required to shoulder this fee. Veterans receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities, surviving spouses, and certain other beneficiaries may be exempt from the VA funding fee. Verifying your eligibility for exemption before closing can save a substantial amount, highlighting the importance of understanding your VA loan benefits comprehensively.

When Is the VA Funding Fee Paid?

Following the overview of the VA funding fee’s significance, it’s crucial to know exactly when this fee is due. Typically, the VA funding fee is paid at the time of closing on your home loan. This one-time payment is designed to contribute to the VA Home Loan program, ensuring its continued availability for future veterans. At closing, the fee can either be paid in full in cash or, more commonly, financed as part of your loan amount.

Financing the fee allows you to include it in your overall loan amount, spreading the cost over the life of your mortgage. This option minimizes your upfront costs but slightly increases your monthly mortgage payments and the total amount paid over the term of your loan due to accrued interest.

For those eligible for a VA loan, understanding the timing of the VA funding fee payment is essential. If you prefer not to finance the fee and therefore avoid the additional interest charges, you’ll need to prepare to cover this cost at closing. Keep in mind, the specific amount of the fee depends on your loan type, the size of your down payment, and whether it’s your first time using a VA loan benefit.

Some individuals, such as veterans receiving VA compensation for service-connected disabilities, are exempt from paying the VA funding fee. If you’re eligible for an exemption, you won’t need to worry about this payment at closing.

The importance of planning for the VA funding fee payment cannot be overstated. Whether you choose to finance the fee or pay it upfront, knowing when and how much you need to pay aids in making an informed decision that aligns with your financial situation. Additionally, confirming your eligibility for any exemptions will further streamline your home buying process, allowing for a smoother transition into homeownership.

Determining the Amount of Your VA Funding Fee

Understanding the specific amount of your VA funding fee is crucial, given its influence on your home loan’s overall cost. The fee varies by loan type, applicant’s military service category, and down payment size. Here’s a straightforward guide to help you calculate the fee:

  1. Identify Your Loan Type: VA funding fees differ for home purchases, refinances, and cash-out refinance options. Each loan type has a designated fee percentage.
  2. Determine Your Military Service Category: Your service category—whether Regular Military, Reserves, or National Guard—impacts the percentage of the funding fee.
  3. Consider Your Down Payment: The size of your down payment significantly affects the funding fee percentage. Higher down payments result in lower fees.
  4. First-Time or Subsequent Use: The funding fee slightly increases for borrowers using a VA loan for the second time or more, without a down payment.

Here are general percentages to give you an idea, subject to change based on VA’s guidelines:

  • No down payment for first-time use by Regular Military incurs a fee of 2.3% of the loan amount.
  • A down payment of 5% or more but less than 10% reduces the fee to 1.65%.
  • For down payments of 10% or more, the fee drops to 1.4%.

Reserves and National Guard members typically pay a fee 0.25% higher than that for Regular Military under similar conditions.

It’s essential to verify these percentages with current VA funding fee charts or consult a VA loan specialist, as these figures can adjust over time.

After calculating your expected fee, plan its payment accordingly. If you’re exempt from the fee, ensure to provide the necessary documentation to your lender to avoid charges.

By accurately determining the fee and integrating it into your financial planning, you’ll navigate the path to homeownership with more confidence and less financial strain.

Exemptions and Reductions

Understanding exemptions and reductions to the VA funding fee can significantly benefit your financial planning for homeownership. The VA exempts certain individuals from paying this fee as part of its efforts to assist veterans and service members.

Who Qualifies for Exemptions

  • Veterans receiving VA disability compensation for service-connected disabilities are exempt from the VA funding fee. This exemption also extends to those entitled to receive disability compensation but who receive retirement pay instead.
  • Surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-connected disabilities are also exempt. This ensures that surviving spouses can access VA loan benefits without the additional financial burden of the funding fee.

Reductions Based on Down Payment

While some borrowers are exempt, others can enjoy reduced VA funding fee rates by making larger down payments.

  • A down payment of 5% but less than 10% reduces the funding fee for both first-time and subsequent use.
  • Making a down payment of 10% or more offers the lowest funding fee rate, significantly lowering your overall loan costs.

Determining Your Eligibility

To determine if you qualify for an exemption or reduction, you’ll need to provide specific documentation during the loan application process. Veterans and service members can submit evidence of their service-connected disabilities or other qualifying factors, while surviving spouses must provide documentation proving their status.

Navigating the exemptions and reductions of the VA funding fee needn’t be complex. By understanding these benefits, you’ll be better positioned to save on your home purchase while taking full advantage of the VA loan program’s offerings. Remember, checking your eligibility early helps in effectively planning your homeownership journey, ensuring you’re aware of potential savings right from the start.

Financing the VA Funding Fee

When considering a VA loan for your home purchase, understanding how to finance the VA funding fee is essential. This fee, necessary for most borrowers using a VA loan, supports the program’s continuation and is a critical part of your loan’s cost. You have two primary options for financing the VA funding fee: paying it upfront at closing or incorporating it into your loan amount.

Paying the fee upfront is straightforward. At closing, you pay the fee along with other closing costs, such as appraisal fees and title insurance. This method doesn’t increase your loan balance or monthly mortgage payments but requires having the cash available at the time of purchase.

Alternatively, rolling the fee into your loan amount spreads its cost over the life of the loan. This choice eliminates the need for upfront payment, making the initial cost of purchasing a home more manageable. However, it increases both your loan balance and the overall interest paid over the life of your mortgage.

For eligible veterans and service members, the VA funding fee percentage varies based on the loan type, down payment size, and whether it’s your first time using a VA loan benefit. First-time users without a down payment pay a higher fee compared to those making a down payment of 5% or more. Subsequent use of the VA loan benefit involves a slightly higher fee percentage.

To ensure you’re making an informed decision, consider both the short- and long-term financial impacts of how you finance the VA funding fee. If you’re able to pay the fee upfront, you could save on interest over time. But, if upfront costs are a concern, rolling the fee into your loan can help make homeownership more immediately attainable.

Remember, certain individuals, like veterans receiving VA disability compensation and surviving spouses of veterans who died in service, are exempt from paying the VA funding fee. Confirm your eligibility for any exemptions with your lender during the loan application process to potentially save thousands of dollars.


Understanding when and how to pay your VA funding fee is crucial in the home buying process. Whether you choose to pay it upfront or roll it into your loan, remember that your decision affects your financial future. Take advantage of any exemptions you may qualify for, as these can significantly reduce your overall expenses. Always provide the necessary documentation to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible. By making informed decisions about your VA funding fee, you’re not just buying a home; you’re investing smartly in your future.


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