As a non-U.S. resident, getting life insurance in the United States isn’t impossible, but it is much more difficult and your options for coverage will be limited.
One of the main reasons for this is it poses higher risks to life insurance carriers, especially if you’ve come from one of a few specific countries.
The majority of non-U.S. residents will be able to find quality life insurance from the United States, but only as long as they meet certain requirements.
Below is all the information you need if you’re shopping for life insurance as a non-U.S. resident or foreign national.
Table of Contents
- Who Is Considered a Non-U.S. Resident?
- Life Insurance for Canadian Citizens
- Life Insurance for Mexican Citizens
- Other Countries Whose Residents Can Get a U.S. Life Insurance Policy
- Countries Whose Residents Cannot Get U.S. Life Insurance Policies
- Life Insurance Requirements for Non-U.S. Residents
- What About Visa Holders, Green Card Holders, and Permanent Residents?
- Other Things to Consider
- What Is the Application and Approval Process Like?
The best place to start in your search for life insurance for non-U.S. residents is a definition of who exactly is a non-U.S. resident.
The definition of a non-U.S. resident is slightly different when it comes to life insurance coverage than it is for other situations.
You’re considered a non-U.S. resident for life insurance purposes if you don’t have a full-time, permanent U.S. residence, or live outside of the United States for more than 3 months out of the year.
This means even those who are U.S. citizens, but have moved out of the country and visit the United States for less than 3 months total each year, are still considered non-U.S. residents.
Other examples are those who expect to live in the United States for only a short period of time, such as while attending school or working a short-term job.
A factor which helps you gain status if you’re a non-U.S. resident, at least in the eyes of life insurance companies, is having close personal ties with the United States.
These close personal ties (also known as minimum contacts) might be in the form of immediate family living in the U.S. or possibly owning real estate or having business interests on U.S. soil.
A brokerage account or bank account in the United States would also be considered minimum contact with the country.
It’s much easier for Canadian citizens who meet non-U.S. residence status to receive life insurance than it is for citizens of many other countries.
In fact, most non-U.S. resident Canadian citizens will be able to find life insurance in the United States with a little patience and plenty of research.
Most of the major life insurance companies will be able to offer coverage, as long as you meet their minimum requirements.
The only exceptions are for residents of the following Canadian Provinces:
- British Columbia
Due to stricter insurance regulations, locals of these regions can only get life insurance in their country of residence and are not eligible for a U.S. policy.
Non-U.S. residents who are citizens of Mexico, especially if they live in certain cities, are also considered prime candidates for U.S. life insurance eligibility.
The Mexican cities that are usually considered approved residences include:
- Ciudad Juárez
- Mexico City
- Puerto Vallarta
- San Miguel de Allende
- San Pedro Garza Garcia
Though Mexican citizens who reside in these cities are considered most leniently for life insurance, any U.S. resident who lives in Mexico as a Mexican citizen can usually find quality life insurance in the United States. Just expect a little extra work.
In addition to Canada and Mexico, the residents of several other countries have a relatively easy to moderate time purchasing life insurance in the United States.
Though these countries change up their insurance regulations on occasion, the current list includes:
- Dominican Republic
- Hong Kong
- Marshall Islands
- Netherlands Antilles
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Maarten
- South Africa
- South Korea
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks & Caicos
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Of course, specific eligibility depends on more than just the country you reside in.
Unfortunately, residents living in certain countries aren’t eligible for life insurance in the U.S. These countries have more strict insurance regulations, or pose too high of a risk for American insurers to consider an approval.
Countries whose residents cannot get life insurance outside of the country they live in include:
Note there are sometimes ways to get around these regulations. For instance, if you’re not a full-time resident of the country, you can often still qualify for life insurance in the United States.
Additional countries whose residents cannot currently buy life insurance in the United States, mostly due to unmeasured risk profiles, include:
Other reasons residents of these countries can’t buy U.S. life insurance are due to government restrictions put in place by either the United States or the country itself.
In addition to the regulations put in place by foreign governments on their citizens and residents, the United States also has certain regulations put in place for non-U.S. residents seeking life insurance.
These life insurance requirements include:
- Completing the life insurance application in the U.S.
- Taking the medical exam in the U.S.
- Staying in the U.S. while the policy is being approved
- Paying premiums from a U.S. bank account
If you’re approved for coverage, the completed policy must be mailed to you at a U.S. address in the same state in which you originally applied for life insurance.
Most life insurance companies also require you to have some form of long-term ties to the United States, such as owning property or a business, maintaining bank accounts or investment accounts, and paying taxes in the U.S.
Life insurance is easier if you’re a visa holder, green card holder, or permanent resident.
The main factor your insurance underwriter will look at is how long you’ve been living in the United States.
In general, they want to see you’ve been here for 6 months or longer, though some companies may suggest more.
However, the longer you’re consecutively within the United States, the better. Visa holders, green card holders, and permanent residents who have been living here the longest will have the easiest time finding life insurance.
Another important factor is your future plans. Life insurance companies want to know whether you plan to stay in the country or if your plans will change in the future.
Even if you plan a vacation outside the United States of America, the insurance provider will want to know this information!
That’s why those who are most set on living in the United States have the best chance at qualifying for life insurance.
These people pose the least amount of risk to providers.
There’s a lot of information to digest when it comes to buying life insurance for non-U.S. residents.
Some important details to keep in mind include the minimum policy limit for non-U.S. residents—typically, $250,000. Also, 70 years old is the maximum age for the issuance of full policies.
Haven Life, for example, started offering coverage to non-U.S. Citizens, as of July 17, 2018.
Those who are currently active in the military or government of a foreign country are generally not eligible for life insurance in the United States.
Finally, it’s essential you maintain an ongoing health record. Some life insurance providers require you to update your health exam at least every three years.
The life insurance application process for non-U.S. residents is almost always lengthy and time-consuming.
You must fill out the application forms while residing within the United States. You will also have to wait for approval and have the policy mailed to you at a U.S. address.
A few of the individual steps of the life insurance application process include:
- Complete a W-8 form
- Submit medical records from a U.S. medical exam
- Complete any required diagnostic tests
Above all, the most important thing to do on your application is to remain honest. Be completely upfront and transparent on your application.
Don’t try to stretch the truth or disguise anything. Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal, any inaccuracies could lead to a denial of coverage.
Remember, life insurance companies thoroughly check each application for inaccurate information and misinformation.