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Best life insurance for non-US citizens (2024)

Visa and green card holders can still buy life insurance in the U.S. Your policy options will depend on your residency status and type of visa. Lincoln Financial, Prudential, and Transamerica are our top picks for non-U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.

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Headshot of Katherine Murbach

By

Antonio Ruiz-CamachoAssociate Content DirectorAntonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.&Katherine MurbachEditor & Licensed Life Insurance AgentKatherine Murbach is a life insurance and annuities editor, licensed life insurance agent, and former sales associate at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Edited by

Adam MorganAdam MorganEditorial DirectorAdam Morgan is an editorial director at Policygenius who leads the life insurance and annuities team. Previously, he led editorial teams matrixed across multiple financial publications at Red Ventures — including Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Million Mile Secrets, and others. As a journalist, his work has appeared in Esquire, Scientific American, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere.
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Reviewed by

Maria FilindrasMaria FilindrasFinancial AdvisorMaria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

Updated|3 min read

Expert reviewedExpert reviewedThis article has been reviewed by a member of ourFinancial Review Council to ensure all sources, statistics, and claims meet the highest standard for accurate and unbiased advice.Learn more about oureditorial review process.

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

Visa holders, green card holders, and other foreign nationals living in the U.S. are eligible for life insurance coverage.

Each life insurance company has slightly different guidelines for non-U.S. citizens, so it’s helpful to work with an independent broker when buying a policy. This way, they can help you compare guidelines from multiple insurers at the same time.

Key takeaways

  • Green card holders are permanent residents and have the same options for life insurance coverage as U.S. citizens.

  • Many visa holders also have life insurance options. Different insurance companies have differing guidelines around the types of visa they accept.

  • You’ll need to provide documentation to confirm your immigration status. Examples include a visa, Social Security number (SSN), Employment Authorization Document (EAD), or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

  • Expats can’t get a life insurance policy in the U.S. while living abroad.

How non-US citizens can buy life insurance

Non-U.S. citizens will go through the same life insurance application process as citizens will. 

  • First, you’ll complete your application. You’ll fill out some basic information about your health and finances. You may have to complete extra paperwork depending on your immigration status and documentation.

  • Then, you’ll take a medical exam or complete a medical questionnaire. The medical exam is free and resembles an annual visit to your doctor. You may not need an in-person exam if you have few health conditions and risk factors, but your insurance agent will let you know your options based on your overall profile.

  • Last, you’ll wait for the insurer to review your application, which can take up to four to six weeks. After that, you’ll sign your policy documents and pay your first premium to activate your coverage.

At Policygenius, our brokers are licensed in all 50 states and can walk you through the entire life insurance buying process while offering transparent, unbiased advice tailored to your personal situation.

Can green card holders get life insurance?

Green card holders have the same life insurance options as U.S. citizens. Conditional green card holders are eligible for coverage with some insurers, too.

  • If you’re a green card holder, you’ll disclose your permanent resident status during the application process. 

  • You’ll typically provide your green card number along with other standard identifying information, like your Social Security number (SSN) or driver’s license. 

Other than that, most insurance companies will review your application the same as they would for U.S. citizens.

Can visa holders get life insurance?

Many types of visa holders can still get approved for life insurance in the U.S. There are two main categories of visas according to the U.S. State Department — immigrant and non-immigrant visas. [1]

  • More insurance companies tend to offer coverage for people with immigrant visas, because immigrant visas are meant for those who intend to stay in the U.S. permanently. 

  • Non-immigrant visa holders can still get coverage with some insurers, but different companies may have different guidelines for people who are temporarily living in the U.S. for school, work, or otherwise.

  •  Your policy options will ultimately depend on your specific type of visa.

Below are some common examples of immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

Visa category

Common types

Immigrant visas

IR1, CR1, E1, E2, SD, SB

Non-immigrant visas

B-1, B-2, A, H1-B, I, J, F

During the application process, you’ll provide additional information related to your visa status, the purpose of your presence in the U.S., how long you’ve been living in the country, and how long you’re planning to stay.

This may include:

  • Your responsibilities in the U.S. Insurance companies want to confirm there’s an interest in staying in the U.S. in order to approve a life insurance policy for a non-U.S. citizen. If you have family, own property, or operate a business in the states, you may have an easier time getting approved for coverage. 

  • How long you’ve lived in the U.S. Insurance companies are more likely to approve you for coverage if you’ve already lived in the U.S. for at least one to two years.

Life insurance requirements for non-US citizens

  1. A U.S. bank account. You’ll need a U.S. bank account in order to pay your policy’s premiums and keep it active.

  2. A U.S. residential address. You’ll list your U.S. address on your application. You have to sign all policy paperwork and complete your medical exam while in the U.S., too.  

  3. A copy of your visa and proper identification. You’ll provide identifying information on your application. Some companies request a photocopy of your visa in addition to the number. 

  4. A foreign resident questionnaire. Some insurers have a separate form on the application for international citizens, with basic questions on health, employment status, and travel history.

  5. State-specific residency forms. Some insurance companies require additional verification of residence through tax documents or a lease. Guidelines also vary by state, but your life insurance agent will let you know if there are any outstanding requirements based on where you live.

Life insurance companies will likely require that any necessary medical exams are performed in the U.S. Additionally, keep in mind that your beneficiary will need access to a U.S. bank account in order to claim the policy proceeds if you pass away.

What factors could prevent you from getting coverage?

Even if a life insurance company accepts applications from certain visa holders, a variety of related factors could prevent you from getting covered.

  1. Country of origin. Insurers can’t accept applications from residents of some countries based on rules set by the U.S. State Department. [2] These restrictions are the same across all companies and are subject to change based on federal regulations.

  2. International regulations. Some foreign countries prohibit citizens from buying life insurance policies outside of their country of origin. Insurers may be unable to sell policies to citizens of those countries regardless of their U.S. visa status.

  3. Residency minimums. Some insurers require that you live in the U.S. from anywhere from one to five years before they’ll approve you for a policy. Alternatively, if you split your time between the U.S. and another country, some insurers require that you spend the majority of your time in the U.S. — but the minimum varies by company.

What are the best types of life insurance for non-US citizens?

The type of life insurance that’s best for you will depend on your financial needs, rather than your residency status. There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance.

  • Term life insurance is one of the most popular and cheapest types of life insurance on the market. It lasts for a set period — usually 10 to 30 years — while you have the most financial responsibilities, like raising children or paying down a mortgage.  If you’re looking for an affordable, easy way to provide a financial safety net for your loved ones in the event of your death, term life is your best choice.

  • Permanent life insurance lasts your entire life and is best suited for people with complex estate planning needs or specific financial circumstances, such as lifelong dependents. Permanent life insurance policies — like whole life insurance — are much more expensive than term life policies because they don’t expire and come with a cash value saving component that grows tax-free over time.

Working with a licensed agent can help you determine which type of life insurance is best for your situation, regardless of your green card or visa status.

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Best life insurance companies for non-US citizens in 2024

Methodology

Why you can trust our picks

Our recommendations are based on internal and external expert analysis, as well as our Policygenius Life Insurance Price Index, which uses real-time data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. When reviewing a life insurance company, our editorial team uses a proprietary scoring rubric with five factors — price, policy details, financial strength, transparency, and customer experience — to assign an unbiased rating between one and five stars. These ratings are also taken into consideration as part of our company recommendations. We don’t get paid for our reviews.

Our reviews and recommendations can help you find a reliable insurer for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you depends on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can support you during the application process to ensure you get the right coverage for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

Read more about our reviews methodology

Best life insurance for green card holders: Lincoln Financial

award icon

2024 Policygenius award winner

Lincoln Financial

Lincoln Financial logo

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.8

AM Best rating 

AM Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

Lincoln Financial offers a diverse array of life insurance policies, including competitive no-med and high-net-worth options.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Affordable rates

  • Good for many existing health conditions, including depression, stroke, and heart conditions

  • Good for marijuana users, including daily users

Cons

  • Term life not available in New York

Our analysis found that Lincoln Financial offers affordable prices and robust coverage to just about every U.S. permanent resident, including green card holders. Although many companies will insure green card holders, Lincoln Financial has some of the fewest stipulations, which can make qualifying for coverage easier.

If you’re a non-permanent resident, however, we suggest you consider other options. Lincoln Financial doesn’t extend life insurance coverage to visa holders.

Best life insurance for visa holders: Prudential

award icon

2024 Policygenius award winner

Prudential

Prudential logo

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starEmpty gray star

4.1

AM Best rating 

AM Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

With nearly four million policyholders and 150 years to its name, Prudential offers competitive coverage options for seniors, as well as people with some of the most common medical conditions, including asthma, depression, and fibromyalgia.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Good for people over 60

  • More flexible income requirements than some other insurers

  • Considers applicants with a variety of immigration statuses (visas and green cards)

Cons

  • Younger applicants will likely find better prices elsewhere

Prudential is one of the best life insurance options for visa holders. The company accepts life insurance applications from many different kinds of visa holders, as long as they’ve been a U.S. resident for over one year. Prudential works with most types of visa and special status holders, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

Our analysis found that life insurance applications involving some types of visas are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so it’s still best to connect with a licensed agent to get personalized advice.

Best life insurance for immigrants to the US: Transamerica

Transamerica

Transamerica logo

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.6

AM Best rating 

AM Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-medical-exam option

Why we chose itchevron icon

Transamerica is one of the oldest and largest life insurance companies, with over 12 million active accounts today. It offers affordable rates for almost every age, and you can even skip the medical exam if you fall under a certain age or coverage amount.

Pros and conschevron icon

Pros

  • Competitive rates for term life insurance

  • No-medical-exam available for qualifying applicants, including smokers and people between 60 and 70, which is rare

  • One of the fastest turnaround times in the industry for traditionally underwritten term policies

Cons

  • Term life not available in New York

  • Not a good option for people with a history of cancer, alcohol abuse, or asthma

Transamerica is our top pick for a wide array of immigrants shopping for life insurance in the U.S., including people who don’t have an SSN or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). However, keep in mind that additional restrictions may apply and eligibility will be largely determined by your personal situation.

Comparing the best life insurance companies for non-US citizens

Insurer

Policygenius rating

AM Best rating

Best for

Lincoln Financial

4.8/5 ★

A

Green card holders

Transamerica

4.6/5 ★

A

Immigrants, students

Prudential

4.1/5 ★

A+

Visa holders

Learn more about the best life insurance companies of 2024

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What happens to your life insurance policy if you move abroad?

  • If you’re a U.S. citizen and already have a life insurance policy, your coverage will stay active as long as you keep paying the premiums. When you apply, most insurance companies require you to disclose international travel plans within the next two years. If you don’t have plans to move immediately after your policy goes into effect, your coverage shouldn’t be impacted.

  • If you’re an expat and want to buy life insurance in the U.S., you’ll have a harder time getting approved. Insurers require applicants to sign and complete their policy paperwork in the U.S. Some companies are more flexible if you’re currently in the U.S. but split your time living in another country, or if you have a high global net worth.

Learn more about buying life insurance abroad

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of oureditorial standards.

  1. U.S. Department of State

    . "

    What is a U.S. Visa?

    ." Accessed March 28, 2024.

  2. U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs

    . "

    High-Risk Area Travelers

    ." Accessed March 28, 2024.

Authors

Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

Katherine Murbach is a life insurance and annuities editor, licensed life insurance agent, and former sales associate at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Editor

Adam Morgan is an editorial director at Policygenius who leads the life insurance and annuities team. Previously, he led editorial teams matrixed across multiple financial publications at Red Ventures — including Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Million Mile Secrets, and others. As a journalist, his work has appeared in Esquire, Scientific American, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere.

Expert reviewer

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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