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 $1,000,000, 20-year 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.
Just looking for a ballpark price on life insurance?
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
Green card holders will encounter very few roadblocks and may qualify for best-class rates.
Most Visa Types
Visa holders will often see additional steps and some carriers will not be able to offer coverage.
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.
How Carriers Approve Non-Citizens
How Carriers See Applicants
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.
Knowing What to Know
We understand learning the ins and outs of life insurance can be tedious. To help you find additional information relevant to your situation, here are related articles that people like you found valuable.
- A Guide to Life Insurance for Non-U.S. Citizens
- Life Insurance for Non-U.S. Residents
- Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Buy Life Insurance
- Life Insurance Buyer’s Guide
Watch the Life Insurance for Non-US Citizens Video
Listen to the video transcript
Read the video transcript
Welcome to Quotacy’s Q&A Friday where we answer your life insurance questions. Quotacy is an online life insurance agency where you can get life insurance on your terms.
I’m Jeanna and I’m Natasha.
Today’s question is: Can a non-U.S. citizen buy life insurance?
Yes, you can get approved for life insurance in the United States even if you are not a citizen but you’ll need the proper documentation. When we say proper documentation at minimum you’ll need a Social Security number, and a green card or valid visa.
Not all insurance companies evaluate applicants in the same way. Nor do they have the same requirements. For example, while a few life insurance companies may approve an applicant with a student visa, most do not.
In addition to providing proof of identification, most life insurance companies need to see substantial presence and significant interest.
Physical presence in the U.S. for a specified period of time.
Evidence of plans to stay in the U.S. long term.
Substantial presence means you have to show you have been living in the U.S. for a certain length of time. Some insurance companies require you to have lived continuously in the U.S. for five years while another company may only require one year.
Significant interest means showing that you intend to stay in the U.S. For example, owning a house or business are common examples of intent.
There is an extra step in the approval process if you have a visa versus a green card.
With a green card, it doesn’t matter which country you’re originally from; however, with a visa, your country of origin does matter. It matters because some countries have laws in place prohibiting the purchase of a life insurance policy outside an individual’s country of origin.
There are a few other things to note if you are not a U.S. citizen and you’re applying for life insurance in the U.S.
- You will need to pay your premiums with a U.S. account. Money orders aren’t accepted.
- You will need to be physically in the U.S. when the policy is approved and mailed to you. Future mailings, such as premium notices, also require a U.S. mailing address.
- The life insurance policy’s death benefit will be paid out in U.S. funds.
Because each life insurance company has different requirements when it comes to approving applications of non-U.S. citizens, your best chances of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy. Brokers aren’t tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market advocating on your behalf. Some life insurance companies are more lenient than others and your Quotacy agent can help you find the best coverage.
» Compare: Term life insurance quotes
If you have any questions about life insurance make sure to leave us a comment. Otherwise, tune in next week when we answer the question can I get life insurance if I’m unemployed? Bye!
About the writer
Eric started in Quotacy's sales department, but moved to marketing after helping hundreds of people through their life insurance buying journey. Aside from writing about buying life insurance, he also edits Quotacy's monthly newsletter, runs our YouTube channel and produces Real Life, our podcast. Eric lives in Minneapolis, where his coworkers are trying to convince him to take his humor into the spotlight. Connect with him on LinkedIn.