Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Oct 17, 2020

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Life insurance is a topic that can make a lot of people anxious, to say the least. This is especially true whenever there are special circumstances present, such as that concerning life insurance for foreign nationals. The reason so many people become filled with anxiety when they discuss such matters is because they often believe that coverage is either not available at all or that it will be so expensive that even the most well off individuals cannot reasonably afford it.

The truth is, coverage is available in many cases, although there are several steps that are involved. In addition, purchasing life insurance in the United States even when you are a foreign national is far more cost-effective than obtaining it through any other means, at least in most cases. However, it is important to know that some countries do not allow the purchase of insurance in this manner regardless of the individual circumstances.

Therefore, it is essential that you know what the rules and regulations are concerning the country in which you have a permanent address. Aside from that fact, there are a few other things that you need to know before you make any decisions.

What Constitutes a Foreign National?

Essentially, a foreign national is a person who lives somewhere other than the United States, even if they only live there part of the time. In other words, you might be living in the United States and in another country at the same time, but you will be considered a foreign national instead of a United States citizen if you are spending more than three months of the year outside the U.S. In addition, foreign national is a term applied to anyone who is only in the country temporarily or who resides somewhere else but is visiting the United States for an extended period of time.

As you can see, this is a term that encompasses a lot of different situations that people might find themselves in. Furthermore, a person that has lived in the United States at one time but has since moved to another country might also fall into this category. It is vitally important that you work with a company that specializes in helping foreign nationals get insurance coverage or that you find an agent that is skilled at this type of coverage so that you can get the maximum amount of help possible. Otherwise, you might find yourself spinning your wheels, so to speak.

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Why Is Purchasing Coverage As a Foreign National Preferred?

Most people make the decision to purchase coverage in this fashion because it is more cost-effective. In addition, the only insurance companies that typically handle these types of policies are the ones that have a proven track record and are known to stand by their customers through thick and thin. Therefore, you know that you are getting coverage from a reliable company and you are getting it for a fair price when you purchase insurance in this manner.

Finding Coverage

There are different types of coverage that you can purchase. One of the most popular is term life but you can also purchase plans that allow you to borrow cash against a life insurance policy. Many individuals have the misconception that because they are a foreign national, they are not able to borrow cash against their policy but this is usually not the case.

If you have any doubts, it is best that you clear up any questions that you might have while you are shopping around for a policy so you know exactly what you are getting before you actually make the purchase. This is true of any policy, whether you are a foreign national or not.

With that being said, there are some differences when it comes to finding coverage as a foreign national. In most cases, the minimum policy amount is set at $250,000. By the same token, there is typically a maximum amount, usually 20 million dollars. However, there are sometimes exceptions that can be made with regard to the maximum amount of coverage available.

Meeting the Requirements

When it comes to meeting the requirements for this type of policy, you have to be in the country throughout the entire amount of time that you are getting coverage. Because there are so many steps involved, you can count on this taking anywhere between one and two months to complete the process.

In addition, not everyone qualifies for insurance coverage as a foreign national. Those that do qualify include business owners, engineers, executives, scientists and other individuals who typically have high income. The actual approval process is based more on net worth than actual income, so it is important to know where you stand at the time that you are applying for coverage.

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Other Points of Concern

In addition to meeting the above requirements, you will need the last five years worth of your medical records. This is true whether or not you have any actual physical conditions that need to be managed. If you do have them, you will have to prove that they are being successfully managed and that they have been for at least the last five years.

If you don’t have any illnesses, you will have to prove the absence of them for the same amount of time. You must also present your financial records as well as be able to prove that you have legitimate ties to the United States.

If you can meet all of these requirements, it can be extremely beneficial for you to apply for insurance coverage and get life insurance as a foreign national. Otherwise, you will not qualify for insurance through a United States-based company unless you move to the country permanently. However, many individuals do qualify and as such, are able to get comprehensive life insurance protection at a much lower price.

Perhaps the best part about it all is that it gives you the opportunity to have coverage from a reliable source where you don’t have to be as concerned about whether or not the policy will be honored if something happens to you. If your goal is to protect your family in the best way you know how, this possibility far outweighs any other potential benefits that you might experience.