Can you get life insurance with a work visa?

In this post, we will answer an extremely common question we receive. Can you get life insurance with a work visa? We would also list the requirements to secure coverage and the necessary steps.

Table of contents

Many professionals are coming to the United States to pursue the “American Dream”. They are purchasing homes here and starting a family and it is no wonder that many of them are considering the benefits of a US-issued life insurance policy.

Prior to diving into the article, we would like to share that we are life insurance brokers specializing in finding coverage for foreign nationals. We have almost 2 decades of experience and work with over 20+ highly-rated insurance companies. Our goal is to match you with a company that will offer you not only the best value but the easiest approval process as well.

Can you get life insurance on a work visa?

It is only appropriate to state this here and answer the main question. As you probably have guessed: Yes, it is possible to have US-issued life insurance with a work visa. However, you need to meet certain requirements and also apply with the right company. 

This is a good time to mention that not every company will view your status similarly. Many carriers, to this day, will underwrite your visa before looking at your health and lifestyle. In other words, you may be the healthiest individual and check every one of their boxes, but if you do not have the visa they are looking for, you will be declined immediately.

This is where working with a broker comes in handy. He or she will do the shopping for you and ensure you are only applying with an insurance provider that will consider you.

Life insruance on a work visa complete guide and 4 easy steps

What are the requirements to get life insurance if you are a non-citizen?

In this part, we would list the things companies are looking for when reviewing your life insurance application.

Hold a work visa:

There are many different types of work visas and it really depends on what kind of work permit you hold. We have tried to cover some of the most common work visas in the US. If you hold any other type of visa, simply reach out to us for clarification.

  • H1B visa –  Temporary workers with special merit/ability

This is a very common type of visa. In 2023 alone, there are over 400K registrations for people trying to secure an H1B visa during the lottery. We have created special guides on:

Life insurance with H1B visa

Options for  life insurance with an H1B visa

  • TN/TD visa – Mexican/Canadian professionals under NAFTA

TN and TD visas are also considered and approved by carriers when looking into life insurance policies. For additional information on this particular visa, you can review: Life Insurance with a TN visa

  • O visa – Worker with extraordinary ability 

O-visas are not approved by every carrier. If you hold an O-visa and you want to know your options, simply reach out to us or check out: Life insurance with an O-visa

Other visas that can be considered 

In addition to these articles, we have created a guide on how to buy life insurance coverage for foreign nationals. It is very comprehensive and it covers everything, from requirements to processes and options.

How long have you been in the US?

This is one of the first questions companies have when reviewing your application. They would like to know how long have you been in the US. This will determine the carrier options.

Please note, they take this seriously. We had an instance, where the company rejected our client’s application because she was 10 days short to meet the requirement. We had to withdraw the application and submit a new one literally 10 days later!!

  • Less than 1 year – this is when you will have very limited to almost no options for coverage. As of the day we are creating this article, you will have a chance at approval for a term policy if you have been in the US longer than 8 months.

If you have been in the US less than 8 months, you might qualify for permanent insurance, if you meet other substantial presence requirements. Under these additional requirements, the companies are looking at your country of origin, financial ties to the US, and your global net worth. 

  • Between 1-3 years – you will have several companies to choose from when it comes to life insurance.

This will be a good time to mention that some carriers may offer you term life insurance with a work visa but at a standard health class.

What does this mean?

Well, there are multiple health classes you can qualify for based on your health and medical history. Companies consider average health in a “standard category”. If you are healthier than the average person your age, they will offer a better health class, such as preferred or preferred best (different companies have different categories and names).

On the other hand, if you have a pre-existing condition, the company may offer insurance at what we call “table rating”. In other words, at a higher rate than the average rate.

  • Between 3-5 years – you will have more companies that open up for coverage that you can choose from
  • Over 5 years – every company that is acceptive of your visa type will consider coverage. 

Have an SSN and a US bank account

Most carriers will ask for your Social Security Number. This will be a good time to mention that, in certain scenarios, ITIN will be acceptable for some companies. Here is more comprehensive information on life insurance with ITIN.

Be able to obtain medical records

Companies rely on the results of your medical exam, as well as any data they can obtain when requesting your prescription report, MIB check and etc. However, if you are new to the US, there may not be enough information coded for you and they could request a copy of your medical records from your home country.

This part can be a bit tricky because you would need to be the one to get the records. If they are not in English, you would have to get them translated as well. Some companies may pay up to $250 to reimburse for the cost of translation. 

We have noticed that securing medical records, here in the US or internationally, is the biggest delay in an insurance application. 

Otherwise, qualify for coverage

Even if you meet all of the requirements listed above, you still need to qualify for life insurance. In other words, your health and lifestyle need to meet the insurance requirements.

Process of getting life insurance with a work visa

Reach out to an agent specializing in life insurance for foreign nationals. This could be the difference between getting your application approved or declined

Get a quote

During this step, it is crucial to ask questions and to make sure you are selecting coverage that addresses your needs. It is important to take the time and make sure you get the coverage you need. This is the time to discuss the amount of coverage, what the policy covers, and any questions you might have when it comes to immigration status.

Typically, you will have several companies you can select from. Please note, not every company will offer you coverage, and not every company will offer you the best class possible. 

This is a good time to mention that when reviewing your options, you may consider life insurance with living benefits. This is a type of life insurance that you do not have to die to use, and it is available to visa holders as well.

Apply for coverage as a non-US citizen or green card holder

After you and your agent go over the available options and you feel confident in the product, the next step is to apply. The different carriers have different steps they would need you to take and the application process can be slightly different.

For example, with some companies, you will be required to complete a medical exam as a non-US citizen or permanent resident, while with others, you are eligible for no medical exam life insurance.

In addition, some companies would require the application to be completed via a video call (such as Zoom, google meet, etc). The idea behind it is for us to see you and verify you are the person applying.

Please note that, as a visa holder, obtaining life insurance may require a few additional forms that the companies may need. For example, it is common for one carrier to ask for your current visa notice and the original visa that was stamped on your passport (even if it’s expired).

Each application process is different, however, generally, it can take anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks. We have outlined several mistakes some visa holders make during the application process.

Application approval

This is the third step in securing life insurance with a work visa. The approval can come with the exact rate and terms described by the agent during the quote phase or different. It is possible for life insurance companies to approve your application “better than applied”. In other words, your actual premium will be less than originally quoted. 

In other instances, your application can be approved “other than applied”. This means that your rate could be higher than originally quoted.

After the application approval (whether is the same rate or different than quoted), you will have 3 courses of action:

  • Accept the company offer and move forward with the policy
  • Decline the company offer and withdraw your application
  • Modify your original application. You can lower the coverage and/or the duration of the plan.

Please note that in some instances, you are able to increase the coverage, however, the increase needs to be approved by the underwriting team.

Placing in force

This is the last step in the application process. The companies will put the policy package together and send it to you to review and accept. Please take a moment to review the policy, ask any questions you might have, and notify the agent/carrier of any mistakes.  

In conclusion,

Life insurance with a work visa is possible IF you are working with the right agency. The key takeaway is that not every company will approve coverage and not all approvals will be the same. Different carriers have different processes and available options for non-US citizens.

We hope you find this helpful. Should you need any additional information or would like us to take a look at your personal situation, simply reach out to us.

Thank you!