Life Insurance Underwriting Guidelines for Foreign Nationals

As the market data for foreign nationals in the U.S. become more prominent by the day, there has also been an increase in the need for more adequate, immediate and long-term personal, family and business financial plans, such as life insurance. Thankfully, the U.S. government allows foreign nationals to own life insurance policy and enjoy several benefits offered by the well-regulated U.S. life insurance market, such as:

  • S. federal income tax-free death benefit
  • Tax-deferred growth of cash values
  • Affordable premium rate
  • Standard coverage for you and your family
  • Hassle-free benefit claims

Due to the above and several other advantages, the foreign national life insurance market in the United States recently witnessed an astronomical growth as the once narrow insurance marketplace was opened up, causing underwriters to show increased interested in dealing with non-U.S. residents. If you are a foreign resident and would like to own life insurance coverage in the U.S., this article guides through the required underwriting process you need to know.

Life Insurance Underwriting Guidelines for Foreign Nationals

Life Insurance Underwriting Guidelines for Foreign Nationals

Before you can buy a policy from most of the U.S. life insurance carriers, you will be required to meet the following conditions:

Life Insurance Underwriting Guidelines for Foreign Nationals


According to the U.S. life insurance law, a life insurance application process must be contracted between a policy provider and a policyholder in a U.S. state or territory. This means you will need to be in the U.S. to apply for, complete and sign the application before other underwriting processes can be initiated. The whole process may take around 6 to 12 weeks; you, therefore, will need to plan your stay in the U.S. accordingly.

Medical Exams

Most life insurance policies available to foreign nationals are offered with a mandatory medical examination, which will help the insurer know your mortality and morbidity rate. The result of the test is one of the significant factors to be used in deciding your insurability and other factors. A life insurance medical exam usually involves blood and urine tests, EKG, and weight and height measurements. Although the exam is just 20 – 30 minutes long, it must be undergone in the U.S. and conducted by a health professional assigned by the insurance company.


Most U.S. life insurance carriers have an age limit for their applicants. Generally, you are expected to be between 25 and 75 years old to be considered for a policy.

Medical Record

Some insurance companies may ask you to present documentation of your most recent medical report within three years. You will need to translate it to English if it is written in a foreign language.

Premium Payment

The premium must be paid in U.S. dollars and drawn from a U.S. bank. The payment must be in compliance with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Anti Money Laundering Acts.

Coverage Amount

The coverage amount limit for foreign nationals may vary depending on the company you are buying from. However, for most companies, the minimum coverage amount is $250,000 while the maximum coverage amount is $20,000,000.

Types of Coverage

There are different types of coverage available, such as term, universal, and whole life insurance.

Required Documents

A copy of your passport, visa, national ID or any other relevant documents will be required. In addition, a Data Verification Report (DVR), and Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs) may be required by some carriers if you have ever been issued a U.S. driver’s license.

Eligible Countries for U.S. Foreign National Life Insurance Coverage

While most foreign citizens, especially those from these countries, are allowed to own life insurance in the U.S., some are forbidden from doing so. This may be due to their countries’ laws or the United States trade restriction. Apart from these trade restrictions, many insurance companies sometimes avoid doing business with aliens from certain countries due to some factors that may be detrimental to their company’s policies. The following are some of the factors that may deny you the chance of owning a life insurance policy in the U.S.:

  • If your country is included in the S. Department of States Travel Warnings
  • If you are from a country experiencing war, conflicts, terrorism, or political unrest
  • If your country is experiencing endemic or epidemic diseases
  • If access to health care is limited or nonexistent in your country
life insurance for foreign nationals with a visa
Why Do J-1 Visa Holders Need Life Insurance

Ties to the U.S

Having strong U.S. ties will boost your chances of qualifying for coverage. You will be required to have at least one meaningful connection to the U.S., which could be any of the following:

  • Having a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse
  • Your immediate family members, such as children, siblings, parents residing in the U.S.
  • Being employed by a U.S.-based company
  • Owning a verifiable bank account in the U.S.
  • Owning verifiable U.S. assets worth a certain amount, depending on the insurer
  • Having a certain percentage of your assets in the U.S.
  • Paying taxes in the U.S.
  • Physical presence in the U.S. for a minimum of a certain number of weeks, or months per year, depending on the insurance company’s policy

Life Insurance Underwriting Guidelines: Country Ratings

As part of the underwriting process, many insurance companies will base your eligibility on the economic or political status of your country of residence or any country you frequently travel to. Your country’s grade will determine the type and quality of the product that will be made available to you. Each grade is assigned a letter in the following way:

“A” Countries: These are the most favored countries that are qualified for the best rates known as preferred best or preferred plus rates just like those offered to U.S. citizens

“B” Countries: These may also qualify for quality rates – up to non-smoker rates

“C” countries: May be eligible for the highest rates like smoker rates, regardless of whether you smoke or not

“D” countries: Regarded as unacceptable countries of residence or travel, and may be ineligible for a policy

Prohibited Country: Countries with regulations that forbid their nationals from buying life insurance outside their territories

Life Insurance Underwriting Guidelines: Country Ratings

Tips for Expediting Your Life Insurance Underwriting Process

To expedite the underwriting process, you should ensure that all the required documents that prove your eligibility are made available at the initial stage. You will also need to work with a licensed insurance agent who will advise and help you get the best coverage after listening to your insurance needs and interest.

How Gold Coast Life Insurance Can Help

Purchasing life insurance for foreign nationals requires a paperwork and a more stringent process. You can, however, still receive the best rate and save a considerable amount of money on your policy if you work with professionals in the industry.

At Gold Coast Life Insurance, we provide foreign nationals of different visa status with the quality coverage most suitable for their immediate and future needs. We operate a highly accommodating platform that guarantees coverage regardless of your health status. Being a high-risk applicant with pre-existing medical conditions is never a barrier with us. You can get your U.S. life insurance policy by simply filling out this free quote.

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