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The VA Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program

The VA Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that aims to provide eligible Native American Veterans and their families with affordable home financing options. This initiative, designed to promote homeownership within Native American communities, offers qualified borrowers a wide range of benefits and opportunities.

What is a VA Native American Direct Loan?

The Native American Direct Loan, or NADL, is a VA-backed mortgage program tailored to Native American Veterans and their families. The program is designed to help eligible Native American borrowers access affordable housing on federal trust land, which is land held by the federal government for the benefit of Native American tribes and their members.

In 2022, the NADL program provided 520 loans, totaling nearly $83 million in VA-backed funding.

Am I eligible for a VA Native American Direct Loan?

You may be eligible for a Native American Direct Loan if you are a Veteran of Native American descent or a non-Native American Veteran with a Native American spouse. To qualify, you must also satisfy the VA’s additional eligibility requirements.

VA Native American Direct Loan Requirements

To qualify for an NADL, applicants must meet both the standard VA loan requirements and additional NADL-specific criteria.

Standard VA Loan Requirements

  1. Obtain a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
  2. Meet the financial requirements of your chosen VA lender.
  3. Occupy the VA-backed home as your primary residence.
  4. Satisfy VA minimum property requirements.

Additional NADL Requirements

  1. You or your spouse must be enrolled in a Native American tribe or Alaskan Native village OR be a Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
  2. You or your spouse’s Native American tribal government must have a Memorandum of Understanding with the VA.

A Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, is an agreement between a Native American tribe and the VA that outlines how the VA’s Native American Direct Loan Program will work on the individual tribe’s lands. The VA has currently established MOUs with 111 of the 574 federally-recognized Native American tribes.

During the qualification process, your VA lender will generally ask for additional documentation to confirm your eligibility for the NADL program. These documents may include a certified title status report, lease agreement, proof of tribe membership, Indian Health Service (IHS) report and environmental/archeological survey of the land.

Does every tribe qualify for the NADL program?

Unfortunately, not every tribe is a part of the VA Native American Direct Loan program. Native American tribes must sign MOUs with the VA to qualify. A complete list of approved tribes can be found on the VA website.

Benefits of a VA Native American Direct Loan

The Native American Direct Loan program offers several advantages to borrowers:

Benefit Description
No down payment requirement Unlike many other mortgage options, NADLs do not require a down payment, making homeownership more accessible.
No private mortgage insurance VA borrowers, including NADL borrowers, are exempt from paying PMI, which can lead to significant monthly savings.
Limited closing costs While NADL borrowers must pay the VA funding fee, this loan option still typically offers lower closing costs compared to other home loans.
Competitive interest rates NADLs come with competitive interest rates, providing borrowers with a stable mortgage rate for the entire 30-year loan term.
Access to federal trust land An NADL unlocks the possibility of obtaining a home on federal trust land, which can be of great cultural and practical significance to Native American Veterans and their families.

Potential Uses of an NADL

You can use a VA Native American Direct Loan for various purposes, including:

  • Building a new home
  • Purchasing an existing home
  • Improving your current home
  • Refinancing an existing NADL loan

Keep in mind that all properties under NADL financing must be on federal trust land.

Refinancing with a Native American Direct Loan

Borrowers may also use the VA Native American Direct Loan program to refinance an existing NADL. This allows current homeowners to potentially reduce the interest rate on their existing NADL.

In early 2023, the VA announced they would decrease the interest rate from 6% to 2.5% for participants in the Native American Direct Loan Program and would guarantee this reduced rate until at least March 2025. In this case, borrowers with prior NADLs may have the opportunity to refinance their loan to the current lower rate

How to Get a VA Native American Direct Loan

The process of obtaining an NADL closely mirrors that of a traditional VA home loan. After you confirm your eligibility and obtain your COE, the next step is to reach out to a NADL Coordinator. You can contact a coordinator by phone at 888-349-7541 or by email at These NADL professionals are available for assistance Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET.