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Business Visas for New Zealand

New Zealand offers various temporary or permanent residence visa options for foreign citizens looking to start a business or invest funds in the country.

For immigration advice regarding whether you need a Business Visa in New Zealand, which visa option will be most suitable in your circumstances, or how to apply, message us online or call today, on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to speak to our legal team.

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    Introduction to New Zealand Business Visas

    New Zealand’s stable and thriving economy attracts entrepreneurs and investors worldwide, many of whom also consider settling down in the country permanently. There are several Business and Investor Visa options available in New Zealand for immigrants and a short-term Business Visa for foreign nationals wishing to engage in business activities in the country for less than 90 days.

    Depending on your requirements, you may choose the visa option most suitable to your circumstances. However, remember that the New Zealand Business and Investor Visa guidelines, policies and procedures are quite complex, and the visa requirements may vary depending on your situation, e.g. nationality, employment status, residence status, intended business activities in the country, etc.

    You may want to consider hiring an immigration lawyer with the required knowledge and expertise while planning to apply for a Business Visa in New Zealand. Speak with one of our expert immigration advisers today at +44 (0)333 305 9375.

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    Types of New Zealand Business Visas and Requirements

    Eight different types of visas in New Zealand allow foreign nationals to run a business or invest their funds, seven of which are long-term visas ranging from a two-year stay to permanent residence.

    Business Visitor Visa

    Foreign nationals travelling to the country for less than 90 days may apply for a Business Visitor Visa unless they are from visa-waiver countries for New Zealand. A Business Visitor Visa in New Zealand allows you to sell/buy goods and services, attend business meetings or negotiations to set up, expand or wind up a business, carry out an official trade mission (which must be recognised by the New Zealand government), or to engage in any business activities with the authorised representatives of an overseas company, body or person.

    Foreign nationals from visa-waiver countries will not need a visa to engage in business activities in New Zealand for less than three months. However, they must apply for and obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) before travelling to the country. To apply for this visa, you must prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay in New Zealand, or your employer will fund you.

    Entrepreneur Work Visa

    An Entrepreneur Work Visa allows experienced immigrants to work in their own business in New Zealand for up to three years, including an initial 12-month stage to set up the business. After the initial start-up phase, you can stay in the country for another 24 months if you demonstrate that you have successfully set up your business in New Zealand. If your business continues to be successful, you may apply for residence in New Zealand after two years.

    Apart from having a sound business plan and being able to claim 120 points on the New Zealand immigration authorities’ points scale, you must make a capital investment of NZD 100,000 to apply for an Entrepreneur Work Visa.

    The capital investment requirement may be waived if your proposed business is in the science or ICT sectors and shows high innovation or export potential.

    This visa will not, however, be granted to individuals who have been declared bankrupt or involved in a business failure in the past five years. Immigrants convicted of business fraud or financial wrongdoing will also not qualify.

    Entrepreneur Resident Visa

    If you have worked in your own business in New Zealand for at least six months or operated a business for up to two years on a visa that allows self-employment, you may be eligible to apply for an Entrepreneur Resident Visa.

    Foreign nationals holding this visa can live, study, and work or run their own business in New Zealand permanently.

    Self-employed foreign nationals may also apply after less than two years of being self-employed in New Zealand if they have an Entrepreneur Work Visa, have made a capital investment of at least NZD 500,000, and have created a minimum of three new jobs in the country.

    Global Impact Work Visa

    Foreign investors, start-up founders or visionary entrepreneurs, who have been selected for the Edmund Hillary Fellowship to create and support innovative ventures in the country, may apply for a Global Impact Work Visa to live, work and study in New Zealand for up to 36 months.

    Although the Edmund Hillary Fellowship applications are closed now, immigrants already accepted into the fellowship may apply for the Global Impact Work Visa.

    Global Impact Permanent Residence Visa

    After residing in New Zealand for 30 months on a Global Impact Work Visa and maintaining the support from the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, foreign nationals may apply for permanent residence in the country by obtaining a Global Impact Permanent Residence Visa to live, work, and study in New Zealand for an indefinite period.

    Active Investor Plus Visa

    Foreign nationals with at least NZD 15 million or its weighted equivalent in available assets or funds may be eligible to apply for an Active Investor Plus Visa to live, work and invest in New Zealand. Once their visa application is accepted, they must transfer and invest the asset or funds in New Zealand within six months.

    After residing in New Zealand on this visa for at least four years, they may be able to apply for permanent residence if they continue to keep their funds in the country.

    Parent Retirement Resident Visa

    Parents whose adult child is a citizen or resident in New Zealand may apply for a Parent Retirement Resident Visa provided they meet the annual income and investment requirements.

    They must have an annual income of NZD 60,000 and NZD 1 million to invest in the country for four years. In addition, they must possess NZD 500,000 to live on.

    Once their visa application is accepted by New Zealand immigration authorities, the visa applicants will have 12 months to transfer their investment funds to the country. A Parent Retirement Resident Visa holder may be eligible to apply for permanent residence after four years if they keep their funds invested in New Zealand.

    Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa

    Foreign nationals aged 66 years or more may apply for a Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa to stay in New Zealand for up to two years, provided they invest NZD 750,000 in the country, have an annual income of at least NZD 60,000 and possess an additional NZD 500,000 to live on.

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      Application Process and Requirements for a New Zealand Business Visa

      You can apply online for most visas via the New Zealand government website or submit an online application. Applicants must submit evidence to demonstrate they meet the criteria for each visa type.

      Generally speaking, a New Zealand business visa required documents include:

      • Recent passport photos
      • Valid passport or any other acceptable ID
      • Proof of good health, e.g. chest x-ray, medical examination report etc.
      • No criminal record certificate if you are 17 or more
      • Proof of relationship if you are including your spouse and children in your application, e.g. marriage and birth certificates
      • Proof of income and funds, including capital investment where applicable
      • Return or onward travel ticket for Business Visitor Visa
      • Business and/or investment-related documentary evidence, as applicable
      • Health insurance
      • No business fraud or financial impropriety
      • English language requirement, where applicable
      • Entrepreneur points, where applicable
      • Occupational registration, where applicable

      New Zealand Business Visa Cost

      The required fees for each category of New Zealand business visas as of February 2024 are as follows:

      Visa Type Fees
      Business Visitor Visa NZD 211
      Entrepreneur Work Visa NZD 3920
      Entrepreneur Resident Visa NZD 6860
      Global Impact Work Visa NZD 860
      Global Impact Permanent Residence Visa NZD 4240
      Active Investor Plus Visa NZD 7900
      Parent Retirement Resident Visa NZD 5260
      Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa NZD 3790
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      New Zealand Business Visa Processing Time

      The New Zealand business visa processing time varies depending on your chosen visa option and the applicant’s immigration circumstances. While a Business Visitor Visa application typically takes two weeks to be processed, a Parent Retirement Resident Visa application processing may take up to 31 months.

      Moreover, while the New Zealand immigration authorities’ website provides a timeline for each business visa category, please note that it also mentions that only 80% of visa applications are processed within their respective timelines. So, for the remaining 20%, the processing time may increase due to several factors.

      For example, if your local New Zealand embassy or consulate needs to run further verification of your documents depending on your circumstances, the visa processing time will go up in your case.

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        How Can Total Law Help?

        New Zealand business and investor visa policies are intricate. The visa requirements and application process may vary depending on your nationality and the place of your visa application. It is, therefore, recommended to seek professional immigration advice if you wish to come to New Zealand for business or investment purposes, especially for a longer term.

        If you are looking for expert advice and/or legal help regarding arranging for a New Zealand business visa, our immigration advisers can guide you throughout the process. In addition, our document and application checking service package offers a thorough assessment to confirm that your documents and application align with the guidelines set by New Zealand immigration authorities.

        Call Total Law today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to speak with one of our legal team members.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  You may include your spouse/partner and dependent children in your New Zealand business visa application for the following visa categories:

                  • Business Visitor Visa
                  • Entrepreneur Work Visa
                  • Entrepreneur Resident Visa
                  • Global Impact Permanent Residence Visa
                  • Active Investor Plus Visa
                  • Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa (spouse/partner only)
                  • Parent Retirement Resident Visa (spouse/partner only)

                  For a Global Impact Work Visa, you will not be able to include your spouse/partner or dependent children in your visa application. However, they may be able to apply for New Zealand family visas based on their relationship with you, provided they meet the health and character requirements.

                  Foreign nationals holding a work visa with open work conditions can be self-employed in New Zealand. However, if you are looking to start a business or invest in New Zealand, you must choose from the various options discussed in this article as suitable in your circumstances.