Ask the Underwriter is a regular column for HousingWire's new LendingLife newsletter, addressing real questions asked to, and answered by, professional mortgage underwriter, Dani Hernandez. Read past articles by clicking here.

Question:

I have a borrower who is a DACA recipient. Their Employment Authorization Card was just renewed in February but with all of the uncertainty regarding the DACA Program, is it still possible for them to get a mortgage loan?

Answer:

Yes. The American Dream of homeownership IS still available to DACA recipients!

Despite the fact that “He Who Shall Not Be Named” believes the American Dream may only apply to people born in the United States… Fannie Mae still holds true to the words inscribed on our Lady Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Fannie Mae’s guidelines state:

B2-2-02, Non-U.S. Citizen Borrower Eligibility Requirements

Non-U.S. Citizen Borrower Eligibility Requirements

Fannie Mae purchases and securitizes mortgages made to non-U.S. citizens who are lawful permanent or non-permanent residents of the United States under the same terms that are available to U.S. citizens. Fannie Mae does not specify the precise documentation the lender must obtain to verify that a non–U.S. citizen borrower is legally present in the United States. The lender must make a determination of the non-U.S. citizen’s status based on the circumstances of the individual case, using documentation it deems appropriate. By delivering the mortgage to Fannie Mae, the lender represents and warrants that the non-U.S. citizen borrower is legally present in this country.

Tax Identification Numbers

Fannie Mae requires that each borrower has a valid Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) in addition to meeting existing legal residency and documentation requirements.

What this means for DACA recipients:

If you have an unexpired Employment Authorization Card AND a valid Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, you qualify for a mortgage under the same terms available to a US Citizen. These are the only two items that are required to prove legal residency according to Fannie Mae.

These rules apply to Fannie Mae Conforming Mortgages, so set your borrower up this way. There are FHA Loans and Conforming Loans Securitized by Freddie Mac, that provide financing for DACA recipients as well, however, the rules are more stringent and require additional documentation.

So tell the borrower to get out there! Find that dream home! Get that dream mortgage! And never stop reaching for the stars!

And if anyone tries to get in their way or tell them that this underwriter is incorrect, shoot me an email  - dani@newcastle.loans - and I will personally help you prove they are wrong.