Life Insurance for Non-U.S. Citizens
The best life insurance for non-U.S. residents, foreign nationals, green card and visa holders.
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Can non-U.S. citizens buy life insurance?
Yes, you can get approved for life insurance in the United States even if you are not a U.S. citizen, as long as you have the proper documentation. At minimum you’ll need a Social Security number. Most insurance companies will also require a green card or valid visa. In addition, most life insurance companies need to see substantial presence and significant interest.
For substantial presence you need to show that you have been living in the U.S. for a certain length of time. Some life insurance companies require you to have lived continuously in the U.S. for five years while another life insurance company may only require one year.
For significant interest you need to show that you have ties to the U.S. which would correlate with you making an effort to stay here. Examples include:
- Owning a home or business in the U.S.
- Owning real estate in the U.S.
- U.S. investments or assets
- Immediate family living in the U.S.
- Married to a U.S. citizen who resides in the U.S.
- Verifiable U.S. tax liability that will support the need for insurance
These requirements vary by insurance company. Quotacy works with multiple top-rated life insurance companies and will ensure you’re matched with the best company to give you the best chances at being approved for an affordable life insurance policy.
My spouse is not a U.S. citizen; can I get life insurance on him/her?
If you’re a U.S. citizen and you want to purchase life insurance on your non-U.S. citizen spouse, the requirements are the same as if your spouse was purchasing it on him or herself.
At minimum your spouse will need a Social Security number. Most insurance companies also require a green card or valid visa. Life insurance companies also need to see substantial presence and significant interest, but for a non-U.S. citizen this is easier to prove considering the marriage to a U.S. citizen.
» Compare: Term life insurance quotes on your spouse
I am a student in the U.S., can I get life insurance?
Most insurance companies will not approve coverage on a non-U.S. citizen if they only have a temporary visa. A student visa is a temporary visa.
However, there are a few carriers that are more lenient with student visas and more willing to offer coverage as long as the applicant has a Social Security number and plans to stay in the U.S. permanently. 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.
What exactly is a non-U.S. resident?
For life insurance purposes, a non-resident is someone who:
- Spends more than six months a year outside of the U.S. The applicant may also maintain dual residences in the U.S. and another country.
- Visits the U.S. for business or pleasure but maintains permanent residence outside of the U.S.
- Does not declare full time, permanent U.S. residence.
- A person who is an immigrant from a foreign country, residing in the U.S. with intent to stay, but who does not have a green card and has been in the U.S. for less than one year.
Can a non-U.S. resident get life insurance?
Yes, non-U.S. residents can get life insurance in the U.S. if the applicant has 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.
To be considered for life insurance coverage, they must demonstrate a regular travel pattern to the U.S. and meet at least one of the following eligibility requirements:
- Own liquid or non-liquid U.S. assets (e.g. insurance policies, property, accounts, U.S.-issued credit card);
- Have immediate family residing legally in the U.S.;
- Be employed by or have ownership in a U.S.-domiciled company;
- Have ownership in a U.S.-domiciled trust or other legal entity.
Another aspect taken into consideration is the applicant’s country of residence. Not all countries are considered eligible for coverage.
Not all countries are considered eligible for coverage. A country may be ineligible if:
- It’s listed on the U.S. State Department travel warning list
- It’s at war or at risk of political instability, terrorism, or uprising
- It’s experiencing a famine, endemic, epidemic, or pandemic disease
- It has non-existent or limited medical care
Being a resident of an ineligible country would make you ineligible for life insurance coverage in the U.S.
Most foreign nationals and non-U.S. residents applying for life insurance are:
- Business owners, corporate executives or high net worth individuals who conduct business in the U.S.
- Owners of U.S. property or U.S. assets that are subject to estate taxes
- Individuals who are here for work for a period of time (e.g. educators, engineers, medical professionals, technicians)
- Spouse of a U.S. citizen
Can I get life insurance if I’m not a U.S. citizen?
What type of visas can get life insurance?
There are many different types of visas and not all life insurance companies accept as many as others.
The more commonly accepted ones are:
- E – employer sponsored immigrant visa
- H1B – temporary work visa for someone in a specialty occupation
- K – nonimmigrant visa for a fiancé/e of a U.S. citizen
- L – temporary work visa for an intracompany transferee
- O – temporary work visa for someone with extraordinary ability or achievement
- TN and TD – visas for Canadian and Mexican NAFTA workers
B-1 (temporary business visitor visa) and F, J, or M student visas are typically not accepted, but some life insurance companies will make exceptions. Quotacy works with many top-rated life insurance companies and, as an independent broker, we can shop your case and match you with the best option.
What life insurance options are available to me?
There are both term and permanent life insurance options available to eligible non-U.S. residents and non-U.S. citizens. However, some life insurance companies do have restrictions. For example, some companies might only offer permanent products to non-U.S. citizens, and not term life insurance. This is another reason why working with Quotacy can be beneficial since we have contracts with multiple top-rated life insurance companies and can shop your case.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is simply a type of life insurance that lasts for a specific period of time called a term. If you die within that specific period of time, the life insurance company pays a death benefit to your beneficiaries. Term life insurance is the least expensive way to purchase life insurance coverage.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life (WL) insurance is designed to last your entire life, often has fixed premiums, and accumulates a cash value over time. In general, whole life insurance is the most comprehensive and fully featured type of permanent coverage. This means that it typically has the highest premiums as well. A whole life policy can earn dividends, has policy loan options, and withdrawal options.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal Life (UL) insurance is another common type of permanent life insurance. It trades some of the value growth benefits of a whole life insurance policy in exchange for more flexible payment plans and a lower price.
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
A Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL) policy is arguably the simplest type of permanent life insurance. It’s also typically the least expensive type of permanent life insurance. When you buy a GUL plan, you get a policy with a set face amount and regular payment. As long as you continue to pay the premium on time, your rate and death benefit are locked in and guaranteed to stay the same.
Indexed Universal Life Insurance
An Indexed Universal Life (IUL) insurance policy functions similarly to a standard universal life policy, except that it accumulates value through investments in a stock market index rather than the typical low-risk investments that most dividend-paying policies use to grow. It also offers premium flexibility.
The benefit of using an IUL policy as opposed to simply investing in an index yourself is that there is a guaranteed 0% floor for your investment risk. If the stock market doesn’t perform well, your policy won’t lose value, it just won’t grow.
The downside is that if you purchase your IUL in a strong market, the policy actually caps the amount of money it can accumulate—typically at around 10%-15%. And its growth isn’t something you can count on 100%. Because the price isn’t guaranteed, there is the possibility that a long streak of poor market activity could raise your premium and make your policy become unaffordable.
Does immigration status affect life insurance pricing?
Yes, your immigration status can move you from being treated as a foreign resident to a U.S. citizen. Permanent residents and green card holders can obtain life insurance more easily with less hoops to jump.
Is life insurance valid if you move abroad?
If you have plans to move abroad at the time you apply for life insurance, the life insurance company may opt to decline you coverage and you’d be advisable to buy a policy once you’re in your new country.
If you buy a life insurance policy and years later end up relocating to a new country, your policy will still be valid as long as you keep paying the premiums. Note: To make a claim, your beneficiaries will need to send in a death certificate that is in English and the process may take a bit longer.
Not sure how much term life insurance you need?
Why is life insurance important for non-U.S. citizens and visa holders?
Life insurance is important for anyone that has a family to protect. If you’re unable to purchase the type of life insurance product you want or at a price you’re comfortable with, buy what’s available to you now and then shop again once you can be treated as a U.S. resident. When you have people who depend on you and your income, don’t wait to buy life insurance.
What if I move back to my home country after I purchase my life insurance?
If you have plans to move back to your home country, it’s likely that the insurance company may opt to decline you coverage and you’d be advisable to buy a policy once you’re back in your home country.
If you did not have these plans when you purchased your life insurance policy it will still be valid if you move back to your home country as long as you keep paying the premiums. Note: To make a claim, your beneficiaries will need to send in a death certificate that is in English and the process may take a bit longer.
Questions? Talk with our experienced advisors.
Country classifications and limitations
Green Card Holders, who now live in the USA permanently
Green card holders are considered permanent residents of the United States. Applicants with green cards will have many options when buying life insurance. Green card holders are underwritten as any other U.S. citizen by most life insurance companies.
New Immigrant, who very recently got the Green Card
If you have a green card, you’re considered a U.S. resident. However, most life insurance companies will want to see that you have already been living in the U.S. at least a year before approving coverage. Regardless of your residency status (whether visa or green card holder), you must have lived in the U.S. for at least one full year before you will be able to qualify for coverage.
Countries that don’t allow life insurance outside of the country
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. Your Quotacy agent will inform you if coverage isn’t an option because of your home country.
Restricted countries when applying for life insurance
The life expectancy of individuals who spend a significant amount of time outside the U.S. may be affected by the conditions of the countries they frequent. Therefore, life insurance underwriters generally take into account the increased mortality risks that may be presented by applicants traveling to certain countries.
Restricted countries vary by life insurance companies depending on their claims history and current risk acceptance. If you’re a frequent traveler to a restricted country, you may not be eligible for coverage. But as of February 2020, the following countries are deemed unacceptable for travel by most insurers:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- China (due to coronavirus outbreak)
- Gaza Strip
- North Korea
When is the best time to buy life insurance?
The best time to buy life insurance is as soon as you need it. The younger and healthier you are, the more affordable the life insurance policy is. You never know what tomorrow will bring, so the sooner you can provide financial protection for your loved ones, the better.
If you’re currently unable to purchase the type of life insurance product you want or at a price you’re comfortable with because of your citizenship, buy what’s available to you now and then shop again once you can be treated as a U.S. resident. When you have people who depend on you and your income, don’t wait to buy life insurance.
Quotacy is a life insurance broker than can help you find coverage. Brokers are not tied to one insurance company, but have contracts with multiple top-rated life insurance companies. Your Quotacy agent will review your case and whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, they will shop around and match you with the insurance company that will treat your individual situation best. Quotacy can’t guarantee that we will find you coverage, but we will try our hardest.
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Helpful Advice for Those Who Are Not U.S. Citizens
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