New Zealand Citizenship by Investment

The legislation on immigration in New Zealand prescribes several ways of becoming a citizen of this country. One of the options available for foreigners is the New Zealand citizenship by investment, which is addressed solely to foreign businessmen willing to respect certain investment criteria.

It must be noted that the law related to immigration grants the right to have dual citizenship, which can provide numerous advantages, but this can be done as long as the national law of the country where the person is already a citizen allows the option of maintaining the first citizenship after obtaining the new one, and this applies to the New Zealand citizenship by investment as well. You can refer to our immigration lawyer in New Zealand for in-depth advice on the application process.

How can one obtain New Zealand citizenship by investment?

From the beginning, investors should be aware that New Zealand does not have an immigration program which grants a fast and simple access to citizenship, even though, generally, high net-worth investors can benefit from simpler rules compared to other categories of foreigners. However, foreign investors must also receive a New Zealand residence permit.

Thus, those who want to migrate to New Zealand for investment purposes can access one of the two basic programs addressed to investors, the Investor 1 (or the Investor Plus Visa) and the Investor 2 (known as the Investor Visa). The application conditions are presented by the New Zealand Immigration Office, but you can obtain in-depth information on such steps from our immigration lawyer as well.

Both of the visa programs can be used as a way to gain the New Zealand citizenship by investment, but in order to do so, the applicant must spend a specific period of time in this country, in order to first satisfy the residency requirements (which represent the first step in acquiring New Zealand citizenship). Below, you can observe the basic requirements:

• the Investor 1 program requires a basic investment of NZ $10 million concluded in a period of 3 years;
• the Investor 2 program needs only NZ $3 invested in a period of 4 years;
• the Investor 2 program requires the investor to spend at least 146 days in New Zealand – the requirement applies to the last 3 years of the 4 years necessary for the investment, or a total of 438 days in the 4 years;
• the same program imposes a maximum age criteria – the applicant can have maximum 65 years old at the moment when the application is made and he or she must have a proven business experience of at least 3 years;
• the Investor 1 program imposes a much shorter period of time spent here, of only 44 days per year in the last 2 years of the 3 years program.

What are the advantages of the Investor 1 Visa in New Zealand?

The most important advantage of the Investor 1 Visa program in New Zealand is that it can provide a direct access to obtaining the citizenship, if this is something that the investor will want. However, prior to getting to this point, the investor will benefit from other important aspects. Firstly, this visa represents a way to migrate to New Zealand on an indefinite basis. It grants the right to live here on a permanent basis, work here and even study in this country.

This visa type also allows the possibility of bringing in New Zealand close family members, such as the spouse and the family’s children with an age below 24 years old. The family can be included in the visa application form, but they will receive separate visas.

Under this visa type, the investor can immigrate to New Zealand by bringing various personal assets, such as a car, a boat or various household items, from small to large objects, without paying customs charges that can apply in certain situations for various goods.

The foreign businessman can freely travel to and from New Zealand, but the visa must be kept in the passport. Provided that the passport will expire, its holder will have to obligation to apply for a transfer of the visa on the new passport in order to maintain the right to free travel.

As a general rule, this visa grants the opportunity to travel to and from New Zealand just as a regular resident in the first two years of investment. If in the following years, the person will be able to maintain the requirements of his or her investment in accordance with the visa requirements, then the right to travel freely will also be maintained, for other two additional years.

The visa holder can become a permanent resident of New Zealand after 3 years of investment, as long as the investment is successful and in accordance with the minimum requirements that must be met under this visa type. From here, one can also start the New Zealand citizenship by investment stage, which can be presented by our lawyer.

Does the Entrepreneur Work Visa grant the right to New Zealand citizenship?

The Entrepreneur Work Visa is another type of visa program that is addressed for those interested in investments in New Zealand. However, this visa stream is much different than the Investor 1 and the Investor 2 programs, as the minimum investment threshold is of only NZ $100,000.

Still, businessmen who are interested in this program should be aware that the investment can be done only in certain economic sectors, such as IT, science or one of the export sectors that is of high value for the New Zealand economy. This visa program allows the right to migrate to New Zealand with other family members.

The New Zealand citizenship by investment is bound by starting the investment in the first 12 months after the arrival in the country (meaning, after the visa was issued), but the citizenship will not be obtained any sooner than after 5 years of residency in this country.

The entrepreneur who is interested in the New Zealand citizenship by investment will have to apply for another type of visa after three years of investment which will grant the right to permanent residency. The businessmen will need to obtain the Entrepreneur Resident Visa, a document that is issued as a permanent residence permit.

In this case, the legislation on immigration to New Zealand stipulates that if the businessman wants to become a citizen, then he or she should comply with minimum requirements, such as having a permanent home in this country, knowing the local culture and values, participate in the New Zealand citizenship interview and so on.

An important aspect that should be known by all foreigners is that investors who want to obtain the New Zealand citizenship by investment will not be required to renounce their previous citizenship, as having a dual citizenship is recognized under the local law.

A point based system will apply for those who want to obtain any of the business/investor visas presented in this article. However, the Investor 1 and the Investor 2 programs are capped at a limited number of visas awarded per year, and the ranking will be made based on the points obtained by the applicants.

In the case of the Entrepreneur Work Visa, the applicant will be eligible if he or she has at least 120 points, awarded on specific aspects that are of interest for the New Zealand immigration authorities, such as the age of the applicant, the minimum investment made in the local economy, the person’s experience in the business sector that is of relevance for the applicant, the way in which the respective investment will be beneficial for the New Zealand economy and society and others.

What are the basic requirements for New Zealand citizenship?

A person who wants to apply for the New Zealand citizenship by investment or by other legal options has to comply with a set of requirements that can demonstrate the fact that the respective person has the necessary traits for becoming a citizen. Although each legal pathway to citizenship in this country can have different requirements, there are some basic conditions applicable to all foreigners.

For instance, one has to have basic English capabilities – both in writing and speaking, as this is the national language in New Zealand. Typically, a person applying for the New Zealand citizenship by investment will have to provide documents showing the language proficiency, as stated by the New Zealand Government. The person must also have obtained a New Zealand residence permit.

Such documents can refer to school certificates, reference letter, language certificates recognized at a global level, such as the International English Language Testing System and other forms that can be recognized in this country. After this, the person must make sure that he or she meets the good character requirements, which refer to a set of traits that show the lack of offences or crimes.

Persons applying for the New Zealand citizenship by investment may also need to provide a police clearance from their home country or, if they have lived in a foreign country, from the respective police office in that country. Besides these, one must prepare specific papers and in the case of the citizenship by investment, one must prepare a business report as well.

Our immigration lawyer in New Zealand can present the full list of documents the applicant must prepare in this case, and can provide information on the fees the applicant has to pay with the local institutions. All documents, photographs, identity papers and other required information will be submitted with the standard application form required for New Zealand citizenship by investment. For additional information, we invite you to contact our lawyer.