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The Best Life Insurance for Non-US Citizens

By Eric Lindholm | Expert reviewed by Jeremy Hallett, CLU
By Eric Lindholm
Expert reviewed by Jeremy Hallett, CLU
November 18, 2020
Our goal is to educate and advise on life insurance options, so you can feel confident in making the right choice, whether that’s through Quotacy or somewhere else. To ensure we provide accurate and trustworthy information, our writers follow strict editorial standards.

Can non-U.S. citizens buy life insurance?

The good news is that just because you’re not a US citizen doesn’t mean you can’t buy life insurance. Many non-US citizens are able to find the coverage they need for protecting their family’s financial future and some may even qualify for best-class rates.

Can I get life insurance if I’m not a U.S. citizen?

Yes, you can get approved for life insurance in the United States even if you’re not a citizen, as long as you have the proper documentation.

As with everything, there are some situations where there may be roadblocks. Your citizenship status may affect which life insurance companies will be able to offer coverage and what additional information is needed to get a policy.

However, with the help of the following information and the support of a Quotacy agent, finding affordable life insurance can be easier than you think.

How much does life insurance for a non-US citizen cost?

There are a number of factors that determine the cost of life insurance, but your best chance of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy. Brokers are not tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market.

Some life insurance companies are more lenient with certain documentation than others. Your Quotacy agent can help you find the right life insurance at the best price possible and will be there to navigate you through the application process.

Pricing Example of Life Insurance for Non-U.S. Citizen

A healthy 40-year-old male (non-smoker) applies for a 20-year $1,000,000 term life insurance policy. He’s from India and now lives in the U.S. with a H1B visa.

His original offer from Life Insurance Company A is for $105.05 per month.

His Quotacy agent shopped his case and they switched him to Life Insurance Company B who is more lenient with visas.

He is approved and accepts an offer from Company B for $67.30 per month.

There are some instances where coverage options may not be available, but we do everything we can to get life insurance for all our customers.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

Comparison shop prices on custom coverage amounts from the nation’s top carriers with Quotacy.

Life Insurance and Non-Citizen IDs

When applying for life insurance as a non-US citizen, the application process will depend on the type of ID/documentation that verifies your legal status in America. Here are the ins and outs you need to know.

Most Common Types of Non-Citizen ID

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Green Card
Green card holders will encounter very few roadblocks and may qualify for best-class rates.

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Most Visa Types
Visa holders will often see additional steps and some carriers will not be able to offer coverage.

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Student Visas
Because most student visas are temporary, many carriers are hesitant to offer coverage.

Applying with a Green Card

A green card holder is considered to be a permanent resident of the USA. This means that most insurance carriers will have no problems offering coverage. Plus, green card holders are eligible for best class rates, and are subject to very few additional hurdles during the application process to get life insurance.

Typically, the only extra step a green card holder will need to take is sending a photocopy of their green card to the insurance company to confirm their immigration status.

Applying with a Visa

If you’re a visa holder, you will still have options as many life insurance carriers will be able to offer coverage. However, you will face additional hurdles during the application process so that your risk can be more accurately measured.

The first step in order to get life insurance with a visa, is to help a carrier find out whether or not you meet their qualifications for being a resident of the USA.

Different carriers have different ways that they judge whether someone is a resident, but most of the time, they rely on either Substantial Presence or Significant Interest, or both.

Substantial Presence: To have Substantial presence in the USA, you typically need to have lived in the USA for at least one year. Some carriers require up to five years of Significant Presence in order to offer best-class rates, but one or two years is the industry standard.

Significant Interest: Significant interest requires the applicant to prove that they have resources invested in staying in the USA. Most of the time, this means owning property or having assets in the USA, like being a home or business owner, for example.

Regardless of whether you’re classified as a resident or non-resident, if you are not a naturalized US citizen, there are a few pieces of additional paperwork that carriers require in order to issue a policy.

Most often, a carrier will ask for you to include a copy of your green card or visa documents with your application. They will also require you to submit a W-8 or W-9 tax form in order to gather information about your home country and your financial information in the USA.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes for non-U.S. citizens

How Carriers Approve Non-Citizens

How Carriers See Applicants

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ID Type

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Substantial Presence

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Approved Countries

Most life insurance carriers judge whether or not they can offer life insurance coverage based combinations of these criteria.

1: ID Type

Most carriers separate the people they are able to serve based on the type of visa an applicant has. For example, there are some carriers that are able to offer life insurance to students from abroad who are studying in America with an F-class Visa, but most cannot.

Additionally, some carriers will only insure US Citizens or permanent residents – if you don’t have your green card or your citizenship, they can’t offer coverage.

If this happens, it pays to have a life insurance broker (like Quotacy) with experience in underwriting non-citizens. During your application, if we learn that a carrier can’t insure you based on your visa status, we’ll search for another carrier who can.

2: Substantial Presence

As we talked about earlier, for most life insurance carriers, one year of residence is enough to show substantial presence, but some carriers require up to 5 years of residence.

If you’ve been in the US for less than a year, carriers consider you to be a Non-Resident, even if you plan to apply for your visa soon. A non-resident can still be approved by a few carriers, and may even get best-class offers.

However, the carrier will often set certain limits on how much coverage a non-resident can get, and may require more paperwork to issue their approval. If you’ve been in the US for less than a year, talk to an agent and ask about your options.

3: Approved Countries List

Some carriers are much more specific in their underwriting. Many carriers have limits on who they can insure based not only on your visa status, but on your home country as well.

Carriers that approve people based on their home country may be able to offer you best-class rates. However, given how specific their requirements are, it’s wise to have your broker research your case beforehand to make sure you can be covered.

There are countries that don’t allow their citizens to buy life insurance outside of their home country. However, this list is short so it’s typically not an issue. Laws can and do change.

Again, if we learn that the carrier you initially apply with can’t offer you coverage, we will let you know and offer other options to get your application back on track quickly with a different carrier.

Life insurance is essential for protecting your family’s future, especially if they rely on your income. If you’d like to see what life insurance options are available or need help deciding what coverage is right for you, we’d love to help.

Feel free to get in touch with us or run an anonymous life insurance quote online.

Watch the Life Insurance for Non-US Citizens Video


  1. Alora

    I am from Myanmar studying in the US , can I get life insurance?

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Student visas are tougher because they are very temporary. Many carriers won’t accept them.

      Are you planning on staying in the U.S. permanently after your schooling is done? If so, you may be able to find a carrier to offer you coverage. Work with a broker who can shop your case around to the different insurers. You can get quotes and start by applying online here.

  2. Aranmolate Rasheed

    I will like to make inquiry on doing a life insurance for myself and cover for my children and wife.
    I am a Nigerian and will like to know the monthly cover that my children $2 million dollars each.
    I am 44 years old and I am a Plastic Surgeon working in Nigeria.

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Aranmolate, reach out to a life insurance company in Nigeria. Non-U.S. residents can get life insurance in the U.S. but you need to have a valid and legal long-term interest in the U.S. And the application, phone interview, and medical exam must be completed in the U.S.

  3. Kenneth Jones

    I am a citizen of the United States but I would like to buy insurance for my brother who is not a citizen of the United States. In fact he does not live in this country. He lives in Barbados. Is that possible?

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Kenneth, people who are not U.S. citizens need to meet other requirements. Being that your brother lives in Barbados, he would not qualify. Non-U.S. citizens looking to have life insurance in the U.S. need to have lived here for a certain amount of time and have ties to this country such as owning a home or business. In addition, he would need a Social Security Number and be on U.S. soil when signing forms and partaking in the life insurance medical exam. He should look into buying life insurance in Barbados.

  4. Ella Starr

    How helpful that you mention the factors that go into the cost of insurance. I want to start a new business this summer. I will find a good visa business plan writer service locally.

  5. Mario Bonilla

    Hello Natasha I have lived in the United States since 2 1/2 years old and am a permanent resident green card holder, I am 61 years of age , can I apply for life insurance if I misplaced my green card but have proof that my new green card is currently being processed, an approved application with a receipt number from USCIS? Thank you, Mario Bonilla

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Mario, you shouldn’t have an issue getting approved for life insurance coverage. Feel free to apply here and our agents will help you get approved.

  6. Debashish Mukherjee

    I am a work permit holder and asylum seeker. I am in USA for 4+ years now. I have CDL and own a truck too. Can I get life insurance for self and family?

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Debashish! You may be able to qualify for coverage, but we need more information. I recommend that you apply online and answer our citizenship questions in full in the application. Our agents will then review and help you through the process if you’re eligible. Apply online here: https://www.quotacy.com/life-insurance-quotes/

  7. Grace

    Hi there! I have twin girls 16 years of age and are US citizen but I am not, I would like to get a life
    insurance for them, how will I go about it? Currently I am still processing my papers thru an immigration lawyer to get my green card, looking forward to your advise. Thanks!

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Grace, there are a few things I want to address. First, you can get life insurance on your 16 year old daughters, but only permanent life insurance. Term life insurance is not an option for minor children. Second, insurance companies want you to have life insurance on yourself before you buy insurance on your daughters. Do you have life insurance? If not, you need to cross this to-do off first. Third, a Green Card is helpful but a Visa is all you need to apply. You don’t have to wait until your Green Card process is complete.

      We can help you get life insurance on yourself and your daughters. Contact us directly and an advisor can help you determine the steps that need to be taken.


    I live and work in Nigeria, Can i buy a life insurance in USA

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Do you have any financial interest here in the United States? Such as a property owner? Or are you a dual citizen? You’ll need to meet certain qualifications to be eligible to buy life insurance in the U.S. if you are not a resident here.

  9. antuan


    I live in mexico city, and im mexican working for a global USAcompany.

    Can you tell me if i can buy a life insurance policy?



    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hello Antuan, you can apply for life insurance in Mexico. But to buy a policy here in the United States, you need to live in the U.S. for at least 6 months out the year in order to qualify for coverage through our insurance companies. Premiums would also need to be paid via a U.S. bank account and applications and other forms would need to be signed on U.S. soil.

  10. Paul

    Thank you for the article. I have a question not addressed in the article.

    I stay in the USA on green card and have a term life insurance: 15 years remaining. I might give up my green card in a few years and go back to my country, South Korea. What will happen to the term life insurance? I am willing to continue to pay the premium if not invalidated? If it remains valid, will the premium remain the same or will it go up based on non-resident?

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Paul, if you decide not to renew your green card and move back to South Korea, you can keep your term policy active for those remaining 15 years. If you have level term with fixed premiums, the premium amount will not change because of your move. However, the premiums will still need to be paid from a U.S. bank account.


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