Many of our 30,000 visitors per month are Non-U.S. Residents, visiting from India, Australia, England and other countries in Europe primarily, I suppose because these are the English speaking countries.
The question I am asked most frequently is, “Can you sell life insurance to me if I’m not a U.S. citizen and don’t live in the United States?”
YES, we can…in most countries.
There are some obvious countries that life insurance companies would be wary of in the Middle East, but even there, you can get insurance depending on where you live. I recently received a request for insurance from a woman in Israel. The key here is that she didn’t live in a hot zone for dangerous activity and I was able to find a couple carriers who would make offers to her.
Quick Guide to Purchasing Life Insurance for Non-US Residents
- What is a Non -US Resident?
- Countries Whose Residents We Can’t Help
- Requirements to Purchase US Life Insurance for Foreign Nationals
- How to Speed Up Approval Time
- Getting Started
At this point you may be wondering who qualifies as a non-US Resident.
Per Prudential’s “Non-U.S. Resident Highlighter”, a Non-U.S. resident is defined as: Individuals who do not have a full-time permanent U.S. residence or reside outside of the U.S. for 3 months or more annually. Citizenship is not a determining factor in defining a Non-U.S. Resident.
For underwriting purposes, a non-U.S. Resident is defined as an individual who:
- spends more than 3 months per year outside of the United States;
- visits the U.S. for business or pleasure but maintains permanent residence outside of the U.S. An example may be a U.S. citizen, who has moved to Germany but returns to the U.S. periodically to visit family;
- is expected to reside in the U.S. on a temporary basis. An example may be an exchange student or individual here for business, professional or educational training;
- resides in the U.S. on a part-time basis only. An example may be a Swedish citizen who owns a home in Sweden and lives in the U.S. for 3 months per year for business purposes.
Please note there are some countries who prevent their citizens from purchasing life insurance outside of their country of residence.
These include, but are not limited to:
- and Venezuela
However, if you aren’t a citizen and are not a full-time resident of one of these countries, it may still be possible to purchase U.S. life insurance.
In some other countries, there are either legal or governmental restrictions preventing us from selling life insurance to their residents, or the risk is simply too high in the country to offer life insurance.
The following countries fall into this category:
- North Korea
- and Sudan
If you are a resident of most other countries and are willing to visit the U.S. for the application, exam and to stay here for the delivery of the life insurance, we can probably find you a policy. Three countries for which we have had great success in finding policies for non-U.S. citizens are Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico (U.S. Territory).
- Must complete insurance application in the U.S.
- Must take medical exam in the U.S. (Medical records may be retrieved from your home country in most cases, but it’s helpful if you can bring them.)
- Must still be in the U.S. when the policy is approved and mailed to you. The policy must be mailed to a U.S. address in the same state where you applied.
- You must have some sort of ties to the U.S., such as family here or business. You generally can’t just take a “vacation” to the U.S. to buy life insurance.
The only requirement to buy life insurance in the U.S. is that the applicant must be present in the U.S. to fill out the application and take the medical exam. It’s okay if you’re a foreign national and just here on vacation, provided that you have some sort of ties to the U.S. Being present for the application and medical exam are a must. Most insurance companies require you to purchase a minimum of $250,000 of coverage, but all policy options are available to you, including term life insurance, universal life, or whole life insurance.
Since some of you may not be able to stay in the U.S. for a full six weeks, here is how you can expedite the approval process and increase your odds of securing a US life insurance policy.
1. Complete a W-8 Form.
With every application we submit from a foreign resident, the insurance company almost always asks for a W-8 tax form.
We need to be sure that this form is sent in with the application so that the insurance company doesn’t have to come back to ask for it, which will hold up the underwriting process.
2. Submit your Medical Records with the Application.
By far the longest stage of underwriting is waiting to receive medical records.
Even when we write somebody here in the U.S., this can take several weeks, depending on how quickly the medical facility is able to get the records out.
You can imagine that when you’re dealing with a medical facility in a foreign country, this can be even more difficult and take much longer, especially if they don’t speak English. That being said, there is a way around this.
Call your doctor and request your own records for the last five years and bring them with you to the States when you apply for coverage. Please note this step must be coordinated with us prior to your arrival.
We have to inform the insurance company that you are considering applying for coverage when you’re here. Special permission has to be obtained allowing you to bring and submit your records for expedited approval, rather the insurance company ordering them, which is their preferred way to access records.
This way we potentially cut out weeks of waiting before an underwriter can even start to evaluate your case.
3. Complete All Outstanding Tests Prior to Arrival.
Outstanding diagnostic tests is another thing that may hold up underwriting once your medical records are received.
If a significant test has been recommended, most insurance companies will not make an offer of insurance until that follow-up exam or diagnostic test has been completed.
This could ruin our plan to get you covered while you are here in the U.S., forcing you to get additional medical attention that we just don’t have time to do.
Be sure to call your doctor several weeks or even months prior to arriving in the U.S. and ask them if you have any outstanding physical diagnostic tests or any other recommendations.
4. Be Honest On your Application.
I can’t stress this one enough. Be completely honest and admit to everything on your application, even if you don’t think it’s a big deal.
The insurance company does not like to see answers on your application contradict notes found in your medical records.
It also is time consuming for the underwriter to have to write to us for clarification of any questions on the application, so be truthful and very detailed with your answers on the application.
Taking extra time can save us weeks on connection with the approval process.
The bottom line is you need to call us at 877-443-9467 with any questions you may have connected to your application for life insurance as a foreign national.
We will research your case and help you every step of the way. This process can be expedited to make it as painless as possible and we will help you to develop a gameplan that will meet your individual needs.*Written by Chris Huntley. Huntley Wealth Insurance and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.