What every foreign national should know about life insurance

foreign national should know about life insurance

Do you find life insurance confusing? Have you wondered are even able to qualify? Well, in this post, we outline everything that a foreign national should know about life insurance. We would touch on the residence, the country of origin, and your options.

Purchasing life insurance is a commitment. You need to know why you are getting the coverage and what you want to accomplish with it. Is your primary objective to replace your income, cover financial expenses or protect your estate.  Once you establish the “why”, you need to focus on how to secure the best coverage for you.

If you have any additional questions or would like more information, just contact us.

Here are the things we would cover:

  • Are you living in the U.S.
  • Country of origin
  • What else are insurance companies looking for
  • Available Options
  • Application process
  • How to speed up the application


Are you living in the US

When we are discussing life insurance for a foreign national, the first thing that comes to mind is: are you living in the U.S. Every company will look at where you live as a major factor when underwriting your application.

For example, if you are a permanent resident and living in the U.S., you could qualify for the best rate offered by the company.

On the other hand, if you are a permanent resident, living outside of the country, or an expat,  you would be subject to further underwriting.

The life insurance carrier would like to know where you are living, how long you are planning to be there, and what you are going to be doing abroad.

Country of origin

What is your country of origin is also a key factor when reviewing life insurance for a foreign national. This is particularly true if you are currently living outside of the U.S. and/or are not a permanent resident or citizen.

There are 2 reasons why the country of origin matters.

* The first one is that there are countries prohibiting their citizens to buy life insurance abroad (in the U.S. for example).

* The second one is there are countries, whose citizens we are not able to offer coverage in some instances. For example, if you are from Zimbabwe and you are not a permanent resident in the U.S., we would not be able to help you. To see if your country of origin is one of these countries, visit Life insurance for non-permanent residents.

 We’ve created separate guides on life insurance for:

What else are insurance companies looking for

Besides the concept of nationality and residency, life insurance companies are looking at a number of other factors when underwriting one’s application for coverage. The most well-known amongst them is your health. Companies will ask about your current medical condition and history. They will ask you questions about your current weight, height, blood pressure, cholesterol, past or recommended surgeries, medications you are taking and etc. Please make sure you have this information available, as it will speed up the application process.

Besides your health, companies are looking at your lifestyle. They want to make that if you are practicing any kind of dangerous activities, you are taking the necessary precautions. Examples of such activities are skydiving, scuba diving, car racing and etc.

Financial need is another thing the life insurance companies are looking for when reviewing one’s application. The purpose of getting life insurance is to make sure that your passing will not impose a financial burden on your loved ones or business. For example, a person making a $40,000 annual salary and no other form of income will be questioned as to why he or she needs $10 million in life insurance.

Available options

Based on your residency (are you living in the U.S.), immigration status (are you a permanent resident, citizen, or non-permanent resident, are you an undocumented immigrant) and your country of origin, the life insurance companies may not offer you all of their products.

For example, some clients are unable to secure global term life insurance. This leaves them only with permanent insurance as an available option. In addition, there also could be a limit on the maximum coverage amount allowed.

If you hold a valid visa in the US, this would also determine the available options. Please review our guides on O-1 visas; and options with H1B visas.

Please contact the office to discuss what types of insurance are available to you based on your particular situation.

Application process

One of the key requirements for purchasing life insurance is that you need to be in the U.S. for the entire application. Typically, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks for a company to approve an application and issue a policy. Please allocate enough time for you to complete the process. There are 3 major steps in applying for coverage:

Quote – in this step we will go over your residency, health, lifestyle, needs, and budget. We would like to tailor the coverage based on your needs and to ensure that we will find the company that looks most favorably in your particular situation.

Application – once you select the coverage and are ready to move forward, we will proceed with the application. To ensure the fastest processing time, we will submit an electronic application to the carrier and schedule a medical exam, if needed. There are carriers that may not require an exam to be completed. In these instances, the company may issue the policy in a matter of days.

Delivery – once the company approves the application, we will get in touch with you and finalize the policy.  During this step, we will go over the information to ensure that there are no changes and schedule a payment. Please keep in mind that all payments must be in U.S. dollars.

How to speed up the application

The best thing you can do to speed up a life insurance application is to have all of your medical information available. Typically, life insurance companies will like to know about any medications you are currently taking or have been prescribed in the past. We want to provide the carrier with a complete list of prescriptions with the application. This will eliminate the need for them to ask you for it later and slow down the process.

In addition, you can contact your medical provider and ask them to supply your medical records to the company. Please contact us, if you live abroad and your records are not in the U.S.

Also, if you are required to complete a medical exam, please schedule it as soon as possible. It will take time for the lab to complete the test and for the life insurance company to review the results.

These are just some of the basic points every foreign national should know about life insurance. The process of getting coverage is not complicated. However, to ensure that you will get the best coverage based on your situation, you need the advice of a licensed professional. Contact the office for a personalized review and assistance in securing the policy for you.