TAMPA, Fla. — DACA recipient Joshua Contreras has always wanted to own a house and plans to start the process within the year.

“That’s always been a dream and I think it’s always been a dream for anyone. Doesn’t necessarily mean wherever you’re from or legal status, economic background — the dream is always to buy a house,” he said.

What You Need To Know

  • FHA policy changes now allow Dreamers to qualify for loans

  • Previously non-U.S. citizens without lawful residency weren't able to qualify

  • Below is a list of what you need to qualify: 

Until recently, FHA policy kept dreamers like Contreras from qualifying for federally backed mortgages.

That policy changed in January when the agency updated its guidelines.

Until then, wording in the policy kept non-U.S. citizens without lawful residency from these loans.

Loan officer Kenneth Benitez-Aulet says many Dreamers still don’t know of their new options.

He says it’s not being talked about enough, and still hasn’t seen a rise in Dreamers applying for FHA loans.

“They still maybe don’t believe it or they’re still afraid of their situation. There’s a lot of lack of knowledge on how this ownership works,” he said.


  • A valid social security number or qualifying employer I.D.
  • Employment authorization from USCIS.
  • A minimum credit score of 500
  • A debt to income ratio of less than 43 percent

“[It] makes the dream of homeownership, the American dream, a little bit easier,” Benitez-Aulet said.

“Anyone who is willing to buy a house and wants to apply for the FHA loan, it shows a very clear message to Congress and to the President that we Dreamers want to remain in this country and want to build our lives in this country,” Contreras said.