Obtaining a mortgage can be scary and difficult for homebuyers in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We get it. It’s a complicated process, and you probably have lots of questions.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide: To help you understand the mortgage process and avoid the pitfalls many DACA recipients experience along the way.
Whether you’re buying your first home, a second home, or investment property, or if you’re looking to refinance and lower your monthly payments, check out our resources below to find out how to get your loan through our easy online application.
Do all mortgage lenders offer DACA loans?
While it’s true that mortgage rules and regulations have shifted quite a bit in recent years, we’ve got good news! As of 2021, DACA recipients can get a home loan with the same terms and rates as US citizens.
That said, many lenders still don’t offer mortgages to Dreamers. We know this because our customers tell us: they’re often denied by banks just because of their DACA status. But even if a big bank turned you down, rest assured—it’s still possible to achieve your goal of homeownership, and we’re here to help.
Need a DACA loan fast? You’re in the right place. We can get you the home loan you need, just like we’ve done for many other DACA recipients. Through our industry-leading online application process, you can be approved within 1-day and close in as few as ten days. Our quick process is designed to get you the lowest interest rate and closing costs in record time, so you’ll have the loan you need and—best of all—an affordable payment on your home.
Am I eligible for a DACA mortgage?
DACA recipients are eligible for most types of mortgages if they can prove they’re lawful, non-permanent residents of the U.S. In other words, as a Dreamer, you’re eligible for homeownership as long as you have the paperwork showing that you can live and work here legally.
When you apply, you’ll be asked to provide proof of your legal status with copies of a few documents:
- Social Security Card.
- Current Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your EAD card should list C33 under “Category.”
- Previous expired EAD card. This shows your lender that USCIS has a history of renewing your residency status and will continue to renew it in the future.
By providing these documents, you’ll prove you’re eligible for a mortgage in the U.S. But remember that being eligible for a loan and being approved are two different things. Being eligible for a loan doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved, but it’s a crucial first step.
What type of property can I buy with a DACA mortgage?
We work with many DACA participants at NewCastle, so we know firsthand that most Dreamers are young and probably looking to buy their first home. You’re likely interested in buying or refinancing a residential house, condominium, or townhome you plan to live in. Because this is the most common reason DACA members come to us for a loan, we have an impressive record of success regarding single-family home loans at lower rates, saving our customers money each month.
But we also know that every buyer’s situation is different, and we can offer loans for home types that other lenders don’t usually finance for DACA recipients. In addition to single-family homes, we work with eligible Dreamers to provide mortgages on second homes, 2-to-4 unit properties, or even investment properties.
The following chart shows you how much money you'll need for the down payment.
We lend to DACA borrowers in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee looking to buy any of these above home types. If we’re lending in your state, keep in mind our few exceptions: we don’t finance mobile and manufactured homes, commercial properties, or cooperatives.
As you shop for a loan, you’ll notice that your loan type and down-payment requirements differ based on the type of property you’re looking to buy and the loan types you’re eligible to receive. This can all get confusing pretty fast, but we don’t want you to worry about unraveling your mortgage's details.
Our experienced loan officers are happy to walk you through the different home and loan types, down-payment requirements, and how to decide what type of loan is best for you. Whether you’re looking to be pre-approved or already have a property in mind, schedule a free 15-minute call to discuss your best options with our team.
How much will a DACA mortgage cost?
Before you apply, you probably want to know how much your mortgage will cost. Knowing what you should expect financially before diving into a new mortgage makes sense, so we’ve invested in tools that’ll help.
There are two sets of costs you’ll be responsible for with your new mortgage: a payment you’ll make each month to pay off your loan and the cash you need on hand to close on your home.
Your exact monthly payment will depend on a few variables, including the price of your home, the down payment amount, and your loan’s interest rate. But your monthly payment is not the only mortgage cost to keep in mind. When you close on your home, you’ll also need cash up-front to pay closing costs, taxes, and fees. This part of your mortgage often adds up, catching borrowers by surprise.
We don’t want uncertainty about interest rates, monthly payments, or closing costs to stand in the way of your homeownership, so we’ve invested in the tools to help. We believe the home loan process should be as transparent as possible, so we provide our Mortgage Calculator as a free tool to give you all the loan information you need ahead of time.
Our calculator lets you see and select loans with live interest rates, meaning you see estimated monthly payments and closing costs to the dollar instead of the range of possible interest rates and monthly payments that many online mortgage calculators offer.
Inspired by our customer-first processes, this technology also allows us to offer you lower interest rates, which means lower monthly payments for you. With a loan estimate in hand, you know exactly how much it will cost to buy your house before you even apply for the loan, and you can plan for what’s ahead with peace of mind.
- First, enter basic information, including the estimated purchase price, down payment, and credit score. You'll instantly receive loan options with live interest rates and monthly payments.
- Then, click "Show details" to see the full payment, including the estimated property taxes and insurance.
- Next, view the closing costs. You'll know what to expect and feel confident about buying a home.
Shopping around for a loan, but you can’t seem to get a firm number from other lenders? Do you want to know how much cash it’ll take to go from renting to owning your own home? Take a second to input some basic information about your desired home, and you’ll receive a detailed breakdown of the cost of your mortgage.
Do I qualify for a DACA mortgage?
Once you have your eligibility documents and your desired home all worked out, what happens then? Your next—and most important—step is to apply and be approved for your loan.
These approval requirements are the same for DACA recipients as they are for U.S. citizens: You’ll need to meet the minimum required credit score, prove a history of employment, provide a record of your income, and show that you have enough money to cover the down payment and closing costs. Here’s what that looks like:
- Credit score. Your mortgage lender will run your credit report and review your record of debt repayment as part of your application. For most applicants, different lenders have different score requirements, but we require a minimum score of 580.
Is your score accurate? You probably know your credit score and report from a company like Credit Karma. But these reports aren’t always as specific or accurate as the report your lender will see. When buying a home, having a mortgage lender check your credit report is a good idea. The score and report are good for 120 days, so if you plan to buy a home within the next four months, it’s a good document to keep on hand.
Not sure of your current score? Check for free at our link below!
- Proof of income. To prove you can afford the monthly payments of your new home, you’ll submit a record of your income. Typically lenders want to see copies of your recent pay stubs, W-2 forms, or federal tax return if you’re self-employed to verify you make enough money to qualify for the loan.
- Employment history. To have confidence that you’ll repay your loan, the lender will want to see that your employment and income are both steady and likely to continue. You’ll provide proof that you’re employed as part of your application and establish at least two years of work history at the same or similar jobs
- Proof of assets. Your down payment and closing costs are due up-front, so your lender will want to see that you can afford to pay these costs when you close. Before closing, give the lender copies of your recent bank statements verifying you have enough money to buy the home.
These qualification guidelines are standard for most borrowers across the mortgage industry. We appreciate that Dreamers have different backgrounds and that most DACA recipients are young and just starting. You’ve worked hard, but you might not have a strong credit history, a shorter work history, or may receive income from multiple sources.
Some bigger lenders will hesitate at these conditions, but we don’t want you to worry—this doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t qualify for a home loan.
Our team of experienced lenders is dedicated to helping you get your mortgage. We’ll work with you one-on-one to gather the right information and see if we can finance or refinance your home, even when other lenders have said no.
Here are just a few instances when we’ve been able to secure home loans for Dreamers with more complex qualifying conditions:
Example 1: Marco got a raise.
Marco has worked in retail management for three years and recently received a raise. His hourly wage increased from $16/hour to $21/hour. While other traditional mortgage lenders may use Marco’s average income over the last two years, we used Marco’s new, higher wage to measure his income because he has a proven employment history at his current job.
Example 2: Isobel just started a new career.
Isobel is a teacher who graduated recently and started working two months ago. In her new teaching job, she makes $51,000 annually. While Isobel hasn’t been at her current job for the standard two years, she has an additional three years of experience studying education at the university level. We used her current income on her mortgage application because of her combined years of study and work in the field of education.
Example 3: Alex changed jobs recently.
Alex works in sales but recently changed jobs. He received commission income at both his previous and current jobs. He earned $10,000 in commissions in previous years and $20,000 over the last year. We averaged his commission earnings from his new and old jobs over the last 24 months and used that amount, $15,000, to approve his home loan.
Before applying for a DACA mortgage
Now that you know what to expect, you’re ready to apply for your loan or pre-approval. As a DACA recipient, remember that no matter the lender, it’s important to ask the loan officer if the bank will approve borrowers with DACA status. By asking ahead of time, you have a better chance of avoiding problems later.
Still, many Dreamers begin the home loan process through a bigger lender only to be denied within weeks or days of the closing date. This more traditional approach to the mortgage process can be rigid and slow, resulting in higher rates and surprise roadblocks that keep you from closing on your home. But if the bank says no, check with a different lender—one denial doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be denied everywhere.
Too often, we hear stories about DACA recipients losing their dream homes because of a last-minute denial from the bank. That’s one reason we’ve made it easy for you to apply and be approved for a loan online, in record time, and at competitively low rates.
Don’t lose out on your home because of your DACA status. Let NewCastle get you a faster, cheaper loan and leave you confident in your new knowledge as a homebuyer.
Through our streamlined, web-optimized process, borrowers in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee can be approved in 1 day and close in as few as ten days. Our customers can back us up on this one—we know how to get your loan quickly.
NewCastle has invested in a team of experts and industry-leading technology so that we can save you money on your loan, too. We offer lower rates and closing costs than many bigger lenders, which means you have a lower monthly payment. Want proof? See our tool for live interest rates, payments, and fees.
And while faster, cheaper mortgages are central to our business, our biggest goal is to clarify the mortgage process and support our community of homebuyers.
As a DACA recipient, you may have additional questions about buying a home, and we’re here to help. No need to spend hours of your time reading and trying to interpret the ins and outs of home loans—we’ll walk you through the mortgage process and explain every step. Our team is dedicated to ensuring you feel supported throughout your homebuying process, and we’ll keep you informed at every step.
We’re committed to helping Dreamers achieve homeownership and know we can make it happen. Check out some of the stories behind previous DACA participants who received mortgages through NewCastle:
Get approved for a DACA mortgage, Step-by-Step.
Are you unsure what your next steps are or if you’re ready to apply? That depends on where you are in your home-buying process.
We recommend applying immediately if you have a home you want to buy and need the loan to close the deal. You don’t want to lose out on the perfect home, which maximizes our time to close.
If you want to buy a house but want to make sure you can get the loan first, we get it. That’s a smart way to ensure your home-buying process goes smoothly. Apply below to be pre-approved and to give yourself a competitive edge when it’s time to make an offer.
Our pre-approval process will pre-qualify you, so you know exactly what to expect for your desired loan amount, then give you a pre-approval letter you can give to your real estate agent. Having this letter as part of your offer will let the seller know that you’re serious about your offer, that you can get the loan, and that you’ll close quickly.
Either way, we want to make your mortgage experience as easy as possible, and we’re here for you—no matter where you are in the process.
Follow our 3-step closing plan to get approved or pre-approved quickly:
1. Apply online.
Fill out our online application to start the process. Be sure to answer the question about Your Citizenship Status correctly: Non-Permanent Resident Alien.
The application will give you an auto-generated approval in about 15 minutes, automatically:
- Check your credit.
- Sync with your bank to import your bank statements.
- Allow you to choose a loan, the precise interest rate for your loan, and your monthly payment.
2. Get an Approved Buyer Cert within one day.
NewCastle’s Approved Buyer Cert is a real mortgage loan approval, and you can get one quickly and easily online, even before you shop for a home. Here’s what this step looks like:
- Upload your documents to our secure Loan Dashboard.
- Our loan underwriter verifies your info and confirms that you meet the loan eligibility requirements.
- Lock in a low interest rate and payment.
3. Close in 10 days.
You’ll work closely with our team as we get everything ready to close your loan:
- Talk with one of our home loan experts so that we can help you set a realistic closing date.
- We will process your documents, commit to your mortgage, and prepare to close within ten days.
- Close your loan, move into your new home, and move on to the exciting parts of homeownership.
Let’s get your questions answered.
We want to make the home-buying process for DACA recipients as easy as possible. Have questions or want more info before you apply? Schedule a free 15-minute call with me, and we’ll get your questions answered.
You can also reach out to our team via email or share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.