Immigration law is complicated. Life insurance can be complicated, too. Together, they can be really difficult to handle on your own. Quotacy can help non-citizens find coverage.
Here at Quotacy, we’ve helped many people who weren’t US citizens find life insurance to protect their families, and we know how to navigate the application process for non-citizens. Regardless of your citizenship, residency status, or Visa type, the vast majority of the time, we’re able to find you options for life insurance.
As with everything, there are rare situations where we run into roadblocks and can’t find any options, but those are truly rare. Which insurance carrier, what rate class, limits on insurance, those are the types of things that are determined by your unique situation, which we’ll explain further below.
Life Insurance and Non-Citizen IDs
Applying with a Green Card
A green card holder is considered to be a permanent resident of the US. This means that most insurance carriers will have no problems offering them coverage. Green card holders are eligible for best-class rates, and are subject to very few additional hurdles during an application process.
Typically, the only extra step a green card holder will need to take during an application is sending a photocopy of their green card to the carrier to confirm their immigration status.
Applying with a Visa
If you don’t have a green card, many insurance carriers will be able to offer coverage, but you’ll face additional hurdles during your application so that your risk can be more accurately measured.
The first thing that a carrier will want to find out is whether or not you meet their qualifications for being a resident of the US. 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.
To have Substantial Presence in the US, you typically need to have lived in the US 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, on the other hand, requires the applicant to prove that they have resources invested in staying in the US. Most of the time, this means owning property or having assets in the US, like being a home or business owner, for example.
Regardless of whether you’re classified as a resident or non-resident, if you aren’t 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 a copy of your green card or visa documents during your application, and will 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 US.
How Carriers Approve Non-Citizens
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, some carriers 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 an independent agent with experience 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, 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, however, 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, but given how specific their requirements are, it’s wise to have your advisor research your case beforehand to make you can be covered.
Again, if we learn that the carrier you apply with initially can’t insure you, we will let you know and offer other options to get your application back on track quickly with a different carrier.
Photo credit to: Ana Paula Hirama