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If you live and work in the United States on an H-1B Visa, you may wonder if you can get life insurance here.

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After all, your livelihood is here in the United States; why wouldn’t you protect it with life insurance, right?

The good news is that you may be able to buy life insurance while you’re here on a work visa. The bad news is not everyone is eligible. Here’s everything you must know.

Can H-1B Visa Holders get Life Insurance?

H-1B visa holders can get life insurance in some situations. Some countries restrict it (more on that below), and the US restricts people from certain countries from buying life insurance here. But, if you live in a country that’s on the ‘allowed list,’ you can get either term or permanent life insurance here in the United States.

What are the Requirements for H-1B Visa Holders to get Life Insurance?

H-1B visa holders have similar requirements to get life insurance as US citizens have. You must prove you aren’t at a high risk of premature death and that you can afford the premiums. But, as an H-1B visa holder, there are a few more requirements you must meet:

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  • You must have an address in the United States. If you work here, you have to live somewhere, so you need a permanent address to share with the life insurance company to qualify.
  • You must prove you will be in the US for a while. It helps if you have a history of being in the United States for several years already. This shows stability and your need/desire to be here in the US.
  • You must be able to prove your country of origin, and it must not be on the ‘restricted list.’
  • You must have a US bank account. All premiums must be paid in US dollars and be paid on time.
  • You must be present in the US throughout the process to undergo the medical exam and complete the policy.

Can you get Life Insurance if you’re not a US Citizen?

You don’t have to be a US citizen to get a life insurance policy, but you need an identifying number. If you don’t have a social security number, you’ll need an ITIN number. Many insurance companies issue life insurance policies with just an ITIN.

Do you have to be a resident to get life insurance?

You don’t have to live in the United States permanently to get life insurance here, but you must prove you make an income in the United States and that you have a financial interest here. If you raise a family in the US, it’s the easiest way to prove you have a financial interest, but if you don’t, but you can prove you have property here or other obligations, you can usually get a policy.

What Countries Don’t Allow H-1B Visa Holders to get Life Insurance?

Like we said above, not all countries allow visa holders to get life insurance and the US restricts citizens of certain countries from getting it too. Most people from high-risk countries, like Croatia, Cambodia, Iraq, and Haiti, cannot get life insurance in the United States due to restrictions here in the US.

However, some countries also don’t allow their citizens to get life insurance in the US. This includes residents of Japan, France, Greece, Poland, and Switzerland, among others. The regulations constantly change, so always check first.

What Type of Life Insurance can H-1B Visa Holders Buy?

H-1B visa holders can get both term and permanent life insurance. It depends on what you can afford, what you want to insure, and your qualifying factors.

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Term life insurance for H-1B visa holders is the least expensive to carry, but it’s only good for a specific term – like 10 or 20 years. Permanent life insurance lasts for your lifetime but is more expensive because it usually has a cash value. A portion of your premium goes to the death benefit, like term life insurance, but the remainder goes to your cash value which you can use while you’re alive.

It’s best to weigh your options and talk with an insurance broker to decide which option suits your financial needs the most.

How to Buy Life Insurance with an H-1B Visa

To buy life insurance with an H-1B visa, you’ll do the following:

1. Complete a life insurance application

On the application, you’ll provide your personal details along with your medical information. The application asks questions about your lifestyle, employment, and health history.

It’s important to be 100% honest on the application. If you don’t put accurate information and the insurance company finds out, it could void your policy and leave your beneficiaries with nothing.

2. Undergo a medical exam

Most life insurance policies require a medical exam. The paramedical exam is quick – usually 30 minutes or less and checks your vitals, takes blood tests and requires a urine sample. The life insurance companies check for detectors of chronic or debilitating diseases that could cause premature death.

3. Answer questions in an interview

man over phone

You may have to undergo an interview over the phone. They’ll ask questions about your health history and your family’s health history during the interview. Be ready to answer specific questions about any hospitalizations or illnesses you’ve had in the past.

4. Name your beneficiaries

Make sure you name beneficiaries right away when you get approved. You can usually change them at any time, but you should name someone right away to ensure your proceeds go to the right people.

5. Pay your premium

You’ll pay your first month’s premium upfront if you’re approved. You must then read the policy documents and accept them before they become active.

It’s essential to pay your premiums on time. Most policies have a 30-day grace period, but if you miss your payment beyond that, it could cause your policy to be canceled.

What Happens if you Move Back Home after Buying Life Insurance in the US?

Like we said above, honesty is of utmost importance with life insurance. As long as you were honest about your employment and intentions to stay in the United States, your policy will remain intact if you move back home IF the following occur:

  • You keep making your premium payments
  • You pay your premiums in US dollars

This is only the case if you are past the contestability period and/or the insurance company doesn’t find a reason to contest your policy. If you die abroad, your beneficiaries will still receive the intended payout.

Final Thoughts

You can buy life insurance if you’re an H-1B visa holder, but only if you meet specific requirements – just like if you were a US citizen.

Most importantly, you cannot live in one of the restricted countries, but you must also meet the health and financial requirements. But, if you can prove stability in the US and that someone here relies on you financially, you can buy life insurance in the US to protect those you love.