Wealthy individuals and investors who would like residency in one of the safest countries in the world should consider the New Zealand Golden Visa.
New Zealand has been welcoming investors through golden visa programs over the years. In fact, they had two programs, the Investor 1 and Investor 2 visas previously. These have since been replaced with the newly introduced Active Investor Plus Visa.
The initially granted residence permit can transform into permanent residency in four years if the investment is maintained during this period.
The New Zealand Golden Visa offers applicants and their family members a safe haven in a beautiful and thriving country by granting residency. However, the investment is a steep one.
Applicants must invest a minimum of $15 million NZD (approximately $9.4 million USD) in the government-approved categories to be eligible for the New Zealand Golden Visa.
Unlike other golden visa programs, the New Zealand Golden Visa does not allow applicants to invest in property to qualify.
The residence permit can eventually turn into citizenship through naturalization after the necessary amount of time and meeting the specific eligibility requirements.
The New Zealand Golden Visa is an ideal opportunity for retirees and wealthy individuals looking to diversify both their investments and their lifestyle.
Having a permanent residency in one of the most secure countries in the world can provide ease of mind when planning for the future.
In this article, we’ll discuss the eligibility requirements, investment opportunities, and how to apply for the New Zealand Golden Visa.
What is a Golden Visa?
Before we dive into the details of the New Zealand Golden Visa, or Active Investor Plus visa, we should first define what a golden visa is exactly.
A golden visa is a type of investor visa offered by countries looking to boost their economies in exchange for either permanent residency or direct citizenship.
Sometimes these investments include property, business development, national funds, or donations directly to the country.
Golden visas are ideal for retirees, entrepreneurs, and wealthy individuals in search of broadening and diversifying their investments and their lifestyles.
Benefits of the New Zealand Active Investor Plus Visa
Along with obtaining permanent residency in New Zealand, there is a long list of other benefits that come with the New Zealand Golden Visa.
Applicants of the New Zealand Golden Visa can include their spouses and children under the age of 24.
This means family members will obtain residency and the right to life, work, and study in New Zealand.
It’s the perfect opportunity to set your family up for excellent lifestyle options and broadening their experiences.
Low Minimum Stay Requirement
During the entire four-year residence permit term, New Zealand Golden Visa holders must be physically present in the country for at least 117 days.
That’s just 30 days per year.
English is the Official Language
Investors coming from the United States, Canada, and the UK, will often feel very comfortable with relocating to New Zealand because the official language is English.
However, this is also an excellent opportunity for investors from non-English-speaking countries. They can improve their English, and their children can have more one-on-one exposure to the language through daily interactions and studying.
Path to Citizenship
While the initial residence permit is valid for just four years, obtaining the New Zealand Golden Visa does put you on a path to citizenship.
After four years of maintaining the investment, visa holders may apply for permanent residency.
After a total of five years living in New Zealand and being present in the country for at least 240 days each year, residents can apply for citizenship through naturalization.
One of the Most Secure Countries
New Zealand has been ranked as one of the safest, most secure, and least corrupt countries in the world.
This can be extremely refreshing for those coming from more problematic countries with high crime rates and corrupt governments. In a fast-paced world, New Zealand could be a peaceful option for many families.
Who is Eligible for the New Zealand Golden Visa?
There are more requirements to meet than just making the necessary investment to be eligible for the New Zealand Golden Visa.
Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be in good health
- Be a good person of character
- Must speak English
- Prove your financial funds and status
All-in-all, you must be a fit person who has never been involved in tax evasion or business fraud.
Of course, you must also make the qualifying investment to apply for the New Zealand Golden Visa.
New Zealand Golden Visa Investment Options
The qualifying investment for the New Zealand Golden Visa must total $15 million NZD or the weighted equivalent. Depending on the investment, $1 NZD could hold more value and be double or triple.
The investment must also be made in New Zealand’s currency, which means transferring the funds to a local bank before investing.
It’s also important to note that applicants do not have to make the full investment upfront. Once the government has pre-approved the visa, applicants have six months to make their initial investment.
Within the first 18 months of residency, a total of at least $7.5 million NZD must be invested. An additional $7.5 million NZD must be invested by the end of 36 months. These investments must be held until the end of the 48-month term.
New Zealand offers four investment options for golden visa applicants.
When investing in approved listed equities to apply for the New Zealand Golden Visa, the value of your $1 NZD stays true. $1 will equal $1.
There is also a maximum investment of $7.5 million NZD in the listed equities.
Listed equities include publicly traded companies on the New Zealand Stock Exchange and can provide a valuable return on investment.
Applicants may also invest, or make a donation, of up to $7.5 million NZD to an approved philanthropic fund in New Zealand.
The value of $1 NZD stays true to its original value.
New Zealand Golden Visa applicants may also invest in approved managed funds. There is no limit to the amount they can invest.
The weight of $1 NZD is also double when invested in managed funds. So, investors would only need to invest $7.5 million NZD in managed funds to satisfy the investment requirement of $15 million NZD.
These managed funds include venture capital and private equities that could show a great return on the investment.
When choosing the direct investment route, investors will have a triple weight to their $1 NZD. So, they will only have to invest $5 million NZD to satisfy the investment requirement.
Direct investments, such as in private businesses and business development, could prove to be one of the most beneficial and financially rewarding investment options when applying for the Active Investor Plus visa.
How to Apply for the New Zealand Golden Visa
The application process for the New Zealand Golden Visa is fairly simple and done right online.
It’s important to note that the application process can differ depending on your passport’s nationality and where you are applying from.
For the sake of this article, we will review the steps to apply as someone with a US passport and apply from within the US.
Step 1: Submit Residence Application
Applicants will submit their residence application online through New Zealand’s official immigration website.
Along with the application, you will need to submit the following documents:
- Copy of passport
- Passport photos
- Evidence of nominated funds
- Health check (chest x-ray and medical examination)
- Criminal background checks
- Proof of relationship with spouse and dependents (if applicable)
Your spouse and dependents must also submit copies of their passports and passport photos.
You can find the residence application for the New Zealand Golden Visa here.
There is also a $7,780 NZD application fee that must be paid upon submitting your documents. This fee is non-refundable.
Step 2: Receive Approval in Principle
Immigration officials will review your documents and request any other information from you.
If your application is approved, you will receive approval in principle. This means you can move forward with your investment.
Step 3: Make Your Investment
Once you have received approval in principle, you have six months to make your first investment of the total $7.5 million NZD (or the weighted equivalent) in the first 18 months of your visa.
Before making the investment, you must transfer your funds to a New Zealand bank. The investment must be made in the NZD currency.
After making the investment, you must provide documentation with proof of the investment and show that the funds came from the stated accounts on your application.
Step 4: Receive Residence Permit
After proving you have made your initial investment, you will receive your residence permit.
As mentioned previously, you have 18 months to invest $7.5 million NZD and 36 months to invest the total $15 million NZD (or its equivalent) in the qualified funds.
Immigration officials will check up periodically to ensure you are meeting the investment requirements and maintaining them for at least 48 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
While seemingly straightforward, golden visas come with a lot of questions about the application process and investment requirements. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about the New Zealand Golden Visa.
Does the Active Investor Plus visa lead to citizenship?
Yes, after legally living in New Zealand for five years and spending 240 days out of the year in the country, you may qualify for citizenship through naturalization.
There are additional processes, applications, and exams to pass to achieve New Zealand citizenship.
Do I have to speak English to apply for the New Zealand Golden Visa?
Yes, one of the eligibility requirements is that you must speak English.
Can I apply with my family for the New Zealand Golden Visa?
Yes, you may include your spouse and dependents younger than 24 on your Active Investor Plus visa application. They will receive the same benefits as the main applicant and have the right to reside, work, and study in New Zealand.
Do I have to invest in NZD when applying for the New Zealand Golden Visa?
Yes, you must make your investment using the local currency.
You can view the latest currency exchange rate here.
Can I invest in property to qualify for the New Zealand Golden Visa?
No, property investment is not one of the qualified investment opportunities for the Active Investor Plus visa. You can invest in philanthropy, listed equities, managed funds, or direct investment.
How long does the application process take?
It can take around five months to process your New Zealand Golden Visa application.
How long do I have to maintain my investments for the New Zealand Golden Visa?
You must maintain your investments for at least 48 months to remain eligible for the New Zealand Golden Visa.
How many days do I have to stay in New Zealand?
To maintain residency with the New Zealand Golden Visa, you must be present for at least 117 days out of the four-year visa term.
However, if you wish to apply for citizenship, you must be present for at least 240 days every year for five years.
Should I use an immigration lawyer to apply for the New Zealand Golden Visa?
While it is not mandatory to hire an immigration lawyer to apply for the New Zealand Golden Visa, it’s always a good idea to have professional assistance.
Relocating to a new foreign country while investing millions could be overwhelming and a lot to handle. Working with an immigration lawyer will give you peace of mind knowing someone is in your corner working on your behalf to get you the right investment and visa.