New Zealand BLOG

Unlocking the Benefits of the New Zealand Investor Visa Program

May 21, 2024
investor, new zealand investor visa, investing in new zealand, new zealand business, moving to new zealand

Unlocking the Benefits of the New Zealand Investor Visa Program

Interested in a New Zealand Investor Visa? To qualify for the Active Investor Plus category, a minimum investment of $5-15 million New Zealand dollars is required. Our guide explains the essential criteria, illustrates eligible investments, and walks you through the application process so you can take informed steps towards your investment journey in New Zealand.

I have helped many move to New Zealand through my consulting services over the last 3 years. I have partnered with WorkingIn, who help you get your visa and job sorted if necessary. I love providing insight that I wish I had had when we moved our family 6 to New Zealand in 2013. If you want to learn more about our journey, I share it all on our YouTube channel.

For the latest New Zealand Investor Visa information, visit the New Zealand Immigration Website.

Key Takeaways

  • The New Zealand Investor Visa, particularly the Active Investor Plus category, requires a minimum investment of NZD $5-15 million and offers benefits like access to quality education and healthcare, with flexibility in investment options such as private businesses, managed funds, listed equities, and philanthropy.

  • Investor Visa applicants must satisfy stringent eligibility criteria, including good health, character, and a minimum of three years of recognized business experience, with a commitment to transfer and maintain the invested funds in New Zealand for a minimum of four years. You must also spend at least 117 days in New Zealand, submit proof of investments, including the amount, date, and type, within 18 months, and then send proof again at the third and fourth-year marks.

  • The Investor Visa process involves meeting language requirements, providing a thorough business plan, and potentially long application processing times, but ultimately leads to opportunities for permanent residency and citizenship after fulfilling requisite conditions and time spent in New Zealand.

Understanding the New Zealand Investor Visa

New Zealand immigration, moving to new zealand, new zealand visa

Watch my YouTube video HERE, where I speak with an immigration officer to answer some of the most asked visa questions.

The New Zealand Investor Visa is an attractive route for investors aiming to settle in New Zealand. The visa, which includes the Active Investor Plus category, presents various benefits, including access to world-class education and healthcare systems. It is an enticing prospect for those keen on capitalizing on a robust and expanding economy.

Under the New Zealand Investor Visa umbrella is the Active Investor Plus Visa, demanding a minimum investment of $5-15 million New Zealand dollars. This considerable investment prerequisite guarantees that visa holders substantially bolster New Zealand’s economy, fostering its progress and prosperity. However, investing such a significant amount in a foreign country requires careful consideration, and applicants should acquaint themselves with the prerequisites of the Active Investor Plus visa and New Zealand’s living and investment environment before applying.

Active Investor Plus Visa: A Closer Look

The Active Investor Plus Visa offers an array of investment options, including:

  • Direct investments in a private business (threefold weighting)

  • Managed funds (every dollar invested counts as two dollars towards the investment threshold)

  • Listed equities

  • Philanthropy

Each investment option carries a specific weight in meeting the visa requirements, providing flexibility and choice for the investors.

A minimum investment of NZD $5-15 million is a prerequisite for the Active Investor Plus Visa. Approved applicants should:

  • Transfer these funds to New Zealand within a year

  • Allocate them into acceptable investment channels such as government bonds or deposits in registered banks

  • Once the application is approved and the funds are transferred, the investor must maintain acceptable investments over the stipulated period.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet certain standards to qualify for the Active Investor Plus Visa. This includes:

  • Evidence of good health via a chest x-ray and medical examination

  • Demonstration of good character, devoid of any serious business misconduct or involvement with the Serious Fraud Office

  • Proof of recognized business experience of at least three years.

The applicants should have an investment of NZD $5-15 million ready for acceptable investments over at least four years. The funds should be transferred to a New Zealand bank account and invested within 12 months after the visa approval. The investments can be made under the principal applicant’s name or in a joint account if both investors are included in the residence application.

Investment Opportunities in New Zealand

graph, growth, finance

New Zealand offers a wide range of investment opportunities for investor visa holders. The investments must promote commercial returns and contribute to New Zealand’s economy. This requirement ensures that the investments made by visa holders not only benefit the investors but also contribute to New Zealand’s economic development.

The acceptable investments under the New Zealand Investor Visa include:

  • Bonds (part of the Zealand debt securities market)

  • Equities

  • Property

  • Philanthropic contributions

  • Involvement in angel funds

Investment in new residential property development is permitted, provided the developments have a commercial aim and properties are not purchased for personal use.

Managed Funds

Managed funds are a popular investment option in New Zealand. They offer a professionally managed investment portfolio comprising diverse assets such as equities and bonds. The investors in New Zealand-managed funds own shares in the fund rather than directly owning the underlying assets. The value of these shares, known as the net asset value, changes daily based on the performance of the invested assets.

Managed funds offer a range of investment strategies, from those targeting aggressive growth to those focusing on generating regular income through conservative assets. The income-producing equities within some managed funds may have a philanthropic impact, as dividends can be reinvested to support charitable causes, contributing to the New Zealand economy. Finance companies play a crucial role in providing these managed funds to investors.

Direct Investments

Direct investments in New Zealand businesses, such as banks, venture capital, or private equity funds, are another viable option for investor visa holders. These investments must involve capital being invested into resident entities in New Zealand that adhere to immigration instructions.

Direct investments support business expansion and fuel economic growth, benefiting local businesses. Growth investment for the purpose of the New Zealand Investor Visa can be structured through trusts or the establishment of a company or limited partnership, provided that no lending of funds to third parties occurs. Business financial statements play a crucial role in assessing the viability of these investments.

Philanthropic Investments

Philanthropic investments refer to contributions made to registered charities or approved not-for-profit organizations within the context of the New Zealand Investor Visa program. These investments are not only financially beneficial but also contribute to the social welfare of New Zealand.

Investor visa applicants can allocate up to 15% of the investment to philanthropic endeavours. Qualified recipients of philanthropic investments include registered charities and approved not-for-profit organizations that meet the criteria set by the New Zealand Investor Visa program.

Navigating New Zealand Taxation Laws

income tax, calculator, accounting

A comprehensive understanding of taxation laws is essential for prospective investors planning to reside in a foreign country. New Zealand’s taxation laws encompass progressive personal income tax rates, peaking at 33%. A key advantage for investor visa holders is the absence of a capital gains tax in New Zealand, which is especially beneficial when selling property as the gains are typically not taxable.

The sale of residential properties may be subject to income tax if sold within the ‘bright-line’ period, a specific timeframe set by New Zealand law. Rental income earned by investor visa holders in New Zealand is taxed at standard income tax rates.

NOTE: New Zealand has no inheritance tax, which can provide financial advantages when inheriting wealth.

Tax Exemptions for New Residents

New Zealand provides a favorable financial environment for new residents, offering several tax exemptions. The country does not levy gift, estate, or wealth taxes, thus ensuring general tax relief for new residents.

Furthermore, new residents with the Active Investor Plus Visa can benefit from a four-year tax exemption on overseas income after their arrival in New Zealand. This exemption can significantly reduce the tax liability for new residents, providing an added financial advantage.

Inherited Money and Property Sales Taxes

In New Zealand, there are no inheritance taxes, so inherited money is not subject to direct taxation upon receipt. However, investor visa holders who inherit property in New Zealand may still be liable for other forms of taxation if they decide to rent out the property or sell it.

While there is no explicit inheritance tax, investor visa holders must report the inherited property in their tax returns if it generates income. Moreover, the Bright-line property rule may apply to investor visa holders, meaning any gains from residential property sold within certain time frames could be taxable.

Family Matters: Including Dependents in Your Visa Application

Illustration of a family with visa application documents

The Active Investor Plus Visa permits the addition of dependents - a spouse, partner, or children up to 24 years old - in the visa application. This provision enables the entire family to relish the perks of residing in New Zealand, such as access to top-notch education and healthcare systems.

However, there are specific rules for including dependents in the visa application. All dependents must be brought to New Zealand within 12 months as per the conditions of the resident visa. Moreover, for included family members aged 16 and over, fulfilling English language requirements is necessary.

Dependent Children

Children are considered dependents if they are 17 or younger or between 18 and 24 without children of their own and financially reliant on an adult. They must provide either one photo if applying online or two for a paper application, alongside a copy of their passport.

Children aged 21-24 are only considered dependents if they are financially reliant on an adult, assessed based on employment status, ability to support themselves, and living arrangements. If separated or divorced, the applicant must provide legal documents proving the right to determine their children’s residency or permission to relocate them to New Zealand.

Other Family Members

Other family members, such as a partner or legal spouse, can be included in the primary applicant’s investor visa application. Evidence of partnership in alignment with immigration policy must be provided to include a partner in the investor visa application.

The partner of an applicant must meet the same health and character requirements as the main applicant to be eligible for inclusion. An expression of interest must be submitted that includes all family members to be considered for the visa. Upon approval of the expression of interest, all included family members must submit individual full visa applications.

Applying for Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Illustration of New Zealand citizenship ceremony

Watch my YouTube video HERE to hear our story of moving to New Zealand and applying for permanent residency.

The Active Investor Plus Visa is more than a temporary residence permit. It lays the groundwork for permanent residency and citizenship, contingent upon fulfilling specific conditions. To qualify for permanent residency under the New Zealand Investor Visa Program, investments in New Zealand worth at least NZD $5-15 million must be maintained for 48 months.

Within the specified 48-month investment period, resident visa holders are required to:

  • Spend at least 117 days in New Zealand

  • Submit proof of their investments, including the amount, date, and type, within 18 months

  • Submit proof of their investments again at the third and fourth-year marks

Applicants for permanent residency must be fit and proper people who follow these requirements.

Once the investment conditions have been satisfied over the 48-month period, individuals can apply for a New Zealand permanent resident visa, which allows indefinite travel in and out of New Zealand as long as the visa is maintained in a valid passport.

Permanent Residency Requirements

To apply for permanent residency, investors must have maintained their investment for at least two years and demonstrate considerable time spent in New Zealand. Demonstrating commitment to New Zealand, such as having a permanent home, is essential when applying for permanent residency.

Applicants for permanent residency must provide evidence of relationships with partners and dependent children and meet health, character, and identity requirements. Conditional residency visa holders must spend at least 117 days in New Zealand over the 4-year investment period. Following the 48-month investment period, with all conditions met, investors can apply for the lifting of visa conditions and seek permanent residency.

Acquiring Citizenship

The Active Investor Plus Visa Program allows successful applicants to acquire New Zealand citizenship. To be eligible for citizenship as an investor visa holder, individuals must complete at least five years of residence in New Zealand.

After the required residency period, investors holding the visa may be eligible to apply for citizenship. Residing in New Zealand for at least five years is a critical step toward applying for New Zealand citizenship under the Active Investor Plus Visa Program.

The Application Process: From Start to Finish

The application procedure for the New Zealand Investor Visa is multi-step. It necessitates the following:

  1. Proof of identity (e.g., a passport)

  2. Substantiation of investment funds and ownership

  3. Submission of a comprehensive business plan alongside the visa application.

The application process includes the following steps:

  1. Fill out the application form completely and accurately.

  2. Pay the required non-refundable application fee upon submission.

  3. Additional fees for immigration advisers or translators, if used, are to be borne by the applicant.

  4. Once the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by Immigration New Zealand.

  5. Additional information may be requested before making a final decision.

Preparing Your Application

In preparing for the investor visa application, there are a few requirements that applicants must meet. For one, applicants must satisfy English language requirements with a minimum IELTS score of 5 for the Active Investor Plus Visa. This is a critical requirement, as it ensures that the applicant will be able to communicate effectively in New Zealand’s primary language.

In addition, businesses in New Zealand seeking inclusion as investment options for the Investor Visa must apply for and receive an acceptable investment letter from NZTE. This letter is essential, as it signifies that the business is qualified and acceptable for investment under the Investor Visa program.

Submitting Your Application

The investor visa application is typically completed online. This makes the process more convenient and accessible for applicants, who can submit their applications from anywhere in the world. A licensed immigration advisor can help you submit the investor visa application. Their expertise can be invaluable in ensuring that the application is properly filled out and that all necessary documents are included.

I've partnered with Working In, the top immigration company in New Zealand, to help you secure your New Zealand visa!

Once the application is submitted, it goes through a review process by Immigration New Zealand. It takes approximately eight to nine months to process the investor visa application. This processing time may vary depending on individual circumstances. This may seem like a long time, but ensuring that all applications are thoroughly reviewed and that only qualified individuals are granted the visa is necessary.

Summary

The New Zealand Investor Visa, particularly the Active Investor Plus category, offers a unique opportunity for investors worldwide. It provides a pathway to residency and potential citizenship in a country known for its robust economy and high standard of living. The visa allows for a range of investment options, provides tax advantages, and permits the inclusion of dependents in the application. The application process, while thorough, is clearly laid out and can be navigated with some due diligence and, if needed, assistance from immigration professionals. In short, the New Zealand Investor Visa serves as a golden ticket for those who seek to invest in the security of a stable, thriving economy while enjoying the benefits of residing in one of the world’s most beautiful countries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum investment required for the Active Investor Plus Visa?

The minimum investment required for the Active Investor Plus Visa is NZD 5-15 million.

What are the acceptable investments for the New Zealand Investor Visa?

The acceptable investments for the New Zealand Investor Visa include bonds, equities, property, philanthropic contributions, and involvement in angel funds. These are key areas to consider when planning your investment for the visa application.

What are the tax benefits for new residents in New Zealand?

New residents in New Zealand can benefit from a four-year tax exemption on overseas income, and the country does not impose gift, estate, or wealth taxes, making it an attractive option for new residents looking to settle in.

Who can be included as dependents in the investor visa application?

You can include your spouse or partner and children up to 24 years old as dependents in the investor visa application. This allows your immediate family to be included in your application for the investor visa.

What is the process to acquire citizenship through the Active Investor Plus Visa Program?

To acquire citizenship through the Active Investor Plus Visa Program in New Zealand, individuals must complete a minimum of five years of residence in the country before being eligible to apply for citizenship.

SUBSCRIBE TO LEARN MORE

I send out weekly emails to update you on all that is happening in New Zealand!

 

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.