Are you born outside of the United States? Well, you are not alone. According to US Census, nearly 13% of the population is foreign-born and almost 1 in every 4 children under 18 have at least one foreign-born parent. The numbers are increasing and speaking for themselves. Therefore, we felt the need to create a special guide for life insurance for foreign nationals and expats. We want to be the resource for people born outside of the U.S. who are inquiring about life insurance.
In this post, we will go over why a foreign national might need life insurance, the basic requirements, products available and much more. So, please take a couple of minutes to go over the information.
If you have a specific question or would like us to go over your personal situation, please reach out us. You can contact us via phone, e-mail or leave us a comment.
What we will cover
- Country of residence
- Why life insurance for foreign nationals makes sense
- Basic requirements when it comes to life insurance for foreign nationals or non-permanent residents
- Available products and coverage amounts
- Payment options
- Travel plans
- Naming foreign national as a beneficiary to your life insurance
- Helpful information to consider
This is one of the first things we would like to go over. Due to global economics, government’s policies and world events, your country of residence matters. There are 2 reasons for it:
- Insurance companies do not offer coverage to permanent full-time residents of certain countries due to current U.S. legal restrictions.
As of June 2017, these countries are: Balkans, Belarus, Burma, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe.
- Certain countries do not allow their permanent full-time residents to purchase life insurance outside of the country.
As of June 2017, these countries are: Argentina, the Bahamas, Belgium, the Canary Islands, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saipan, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts & Nevis, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.S. Virgin Islands, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, and Venezuela
Due to their unique characteristics, China, Mexico, and the Philippines fall into a special category and have different guidelines. You can review the dedicated post we’ve created for the citizens of each country by clicking on the county’s name.
We would like to point out that either of the lists of countries can change at any time. We would do our best to keep it up to date. You can also check the United States State Department travel warning list.
Why life insurance for foreign nationals makes sense
After we establish your country of residency, we would move over to uncovering your needs for life insurance in the U.S. or with other words: “Why you are looking into securing a life insurance policy?”
We believe that the question “why” is very important when it comes to life insurance. The answer varies from person to person, but it is fundamental in choosing the right product for one’s needs.
However, when it comes to life insurance for foreign national, the list of reasons to look into life insurance may be a bit different. Below are just some of the instances when a person born outside of U.S. may want to look into getting some life insurance coverage:
◊ Living in the U.S. – If you are currently residing in the U.S and are permanent resident or citizen, you could qualify for the best rating offered by the insurer.
◊ Have a home and/or business in the U.S. – If you own a home in U.S. and/or run a business here, the chances are you have financial ties and responsibilities. The right life insurance can be a perfect tool to help you plan your finances.
◊ Married to a U.S. citizen – In other words, if you have family in the U.S., life insurance could help you protect them and ensure that they will have financial stability should something happen to you. (Please keep in mind that there are different tax rules when one of the spouses is a foreign national).
Life insurance is a very powerful financial tool. It has many benefits and the peace of mind that you are doing the best you can to protect what’s matter to you the most.
Basic requirements when it comes to life insurance for foreign nationals or non-permanent residents
The reality is that not everyone can qualify to purchase life insurance in the U.S. Besides the health and lifestyle eligibility, a foreign national needs to meet additional criteria in order to obtain life insurance in the United States. Below is a list of the basic requirements foreign nationals need to meet, prior to securing coverage:
- Be present in the United States during the process – there are no exceptions to this rule. An individual needs to be present in the country during the 4 steps of getting life insurance:
- Medical Examination, if applicable
Please keep in mind that a typical underwriting process can take anywhere between 4-8 weeks. You need to plan accordingly.
2. You have to have a reason or need to purchase life insurance in the United States – basically, you need to be able to answer the question: “Why getting life insurance in the U.S. makes financial sense?”
Life insurance companies are looking for financial ties to the country. Below are some of the most common examples that can fulfill the substantial contact requirement:
- Be in the United States for a purpose other than getting life insurance coverage
- Own a real estate property in the U.S.
- Have a systematic ongoing business, requiring visits to the country
- Are married to a U.S. citizen
- Work for a U.S. company in the county.
If you meet one or more of the criteria listed above, it could mean that you meet the requirement for financial ties to the country.
To sum up:
There are 2 basic requirements for a foreign national to secure life insurance in the U.S.:
- Be in the country during the process
- Have financial ties to the United States.
Available products and coverage amounts
We can’t emphasize enough how unique everyone’s situation is. The majority of the life insurance coverage options that are available to U.S. residents could also be available to foreign nationals and non-U.S. residents.
Term policy – it provides life insurance coverage for a specific duration of the selected term. It can be 10, 20, 30 years. This type of policy offers the highest amount of coverage for the least amount of premium. However, once the term is up, the policy will change into a renewable term and the premiums will skyrocket. Term policies do not build cash value.
Permanent policy – currently, there are different products available that fall into this category. The main characteristic of a permanent policy is that it provides a lifetime of coverage. It also can build cash value. The biggest drawback is that the premiums are more expensive compared to the term products.
There are instances where life insurance companies can offer only permanent policy and term may not be available for you. Please let us review your situation and advise you of your options.
Available policy limits:
Many carriers require a minimum of $250,000 coverage for foreign nationals. Please keep in mind if you apply for coverage higher than $1,000,000, the life insurance company may require additional financial information.
The premium must be paid in U.S. dollars and drawn on a bank account in the U.S.
All premium payments must comply with applicable OFAC and Anti Money Laundering procedures.
Life insurance companies would like to know about any future travel plans to foreign countries. Please be prepared to provide:
- duration of travel
- the reason (work or pleasure)
- countries you are planning to visit.
Companies will review the information and could possibly deny an application if they believe that there is an additional risk. Some of the things they are looking out for are the risk or terrorism, the possibility of health hazards such as epidemics or famine, and the quality of medical care available.
Naming foreign national as a beneficiary to your life insurance
We get this question A LOT. People would like to know if they can name a foreign national as a beneficiary to their U.S. life insurance. The answer to this question is yes. However, there are several things that you have to consider. We’ve dedicated a separate article on the topic.
Helpful information to consider
* You must be in the US for a purpose other than to purchase insurance.
* Certain occupations are not acceptable. Such as missionaries, politicians, foreign government employees and etc.
* You would be required to submit a copy of your passport, I-94, W-9, and/or visa. If a visa is not available, an explanation is required along with another valid U.S. Government-issued picture I.D
* Copies of financial documents. It’s a good idea to have copies of U.S. bank statements, U.S. property deeds, and U.S. brokerage/investment account statements.
* Medical records from your country of residence may be required. They need to be translated into English. Contact us for more information.
If you currently do not have a Social Security Number and/or your visa status has expired, we have a guaranteed issue option you might want to consider.
Thank you for taking the time to go over this guide. Should you have any additional questions, just leave them in the comment section below or send us an e-mail at email@example.com. We are looking forward to working with you!