New Zealand is a wonderful place to retire. Greener and less crowded than the UK, but with a mild climate and shared language and history. So, can you retire to New Zealand? We check out your options. [Please note, all procedures for moving to New Zealand are on hold at the time of writing, February 2021]
Why retire to New Zealand?
Those wanting to be more active will find options galore in New Zealand, whether that’s hiking, sailing, climbing, or simply taking a stroll by a beautiful beach. Also, the food and drink is some of the best in the world. And, if you dream of spending your retirement travelling, New Zealand offers some of the world’s most spectacular sights, plus you’re perfectly placed to explore Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands. Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it, but can anyone just up and retire to New Zealand?
Moving to New Zealand isn’t an impossible dream. Just take it step by step and it’s easy, with the help of our free guide, How to Emigrate
What are my visa options?
For many, the dream situation is to spend the warmer months in the UK, and then hop to the other side of the world to enjoy an endless summer. If this is your plan, and you want to spend six months of the year in the UK and six months in New Zealand, good news – there is no need for you to source a visa.
1. Visitor visa
Why is this? Well, British citizens and passport holders are able to visit New Zealand for a six-month period on a regular visitor visa. There are no restrictions on how many of these you can have in consecutive years. If you can prove that you have enough funds to support yourself, you may be able to your regular visitor visa extended to nine months.
If this sounds perfect, but you want to buy property to spend your time in when on New Zealand soil, be aware that there are new restrictions on the types of property foreigners can buy.
2. Temporary retirement visitor visa
Another option available is a Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa. This will allow you to stay in New Zealand for up to two years. To be eligible, you must be 66 years of age or above, have NZ$750,000 to invest in New Zealand over two years. In addition, you must have a further $500,000 for living expenses during that period, and an annual income of $60,000. A partner can be included in this application, but dependent children cannot. Should your application be successful, you will have three months in which to transfer the investment sum to New Zealand. This visa will set you back NZ$3,200.
After your initial two years on the Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa are up, you will need to reapply for your Temporary Retirement Visa to be renewed. To be successful granted this, you must prove you still meet the original provisions of the visa. The major downside of this specific visa is that it offers very little peace of mind to retirees. For example, the requirements could change, as could your financial situation or health. If this is the case, you will no longer be eligible and will have to leave New Zealand.
For those wishing to retire to New Zealand on a permanent basis, there are two possible ways to secure a visa to New Zealand. Both options require applicants to be ‘of good health and character’, to invest funds in the country and to prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves.
1. Parent category resident visa
If you have an adult child who lives in New Zealand and is willing to sponsor you, you are able to apply for a Parent Retirement Resident Visa. In order to be eligible for this visa you will need to prove you have an annual income of $60,000, plus $1 million to invest over four years, plus an additional $500,000 to live on. Once you’ve completed your four-year investment period, you will automatically become eligible for permanent residency in New Zealand. You can include your partner in this application.
A home in New Zealand can be a wonderful base when visiting relatives. So why not share the cost? Read Buying Abroad with Family to learn how.
If your Parent Retirement Resident Visa application is approved, you will have a 12-month window in which to transfer your investment funds to New Zealand. Obviously, it’s important to invest your money in something you believe in, and something that is likely to provide you with some cash flow moving forwards. Unless you are particularly clued up on where you’d like to invest in New Zealand, you will likely need to visit the country to investigate and discuss your investment opportunities. To do so legally, you will need to apply for a temporary work visa. Your partner can also apply for a work visa, or a standard visitor visa so that they can accompany you.
2. Investor visas
If you wish to retire to New Zealand, but don’t have an adult child in the country, have already passed the age limit of the Skilled Migrant Category (56 years) or you’re just not up for working when you move to New Zealand – there are a couple of options available to you, but you will need a considerable amount of money in the bank.
Don’t spend any money on your move abroad until you’ve read The Currency Guide to Emigration, free to download.
The Entrepreneur Work & Residence Visa pathway is an option, but bear in mind you will have to run your business for a number of years before you are actually able to fully retire. This visa allows you to move to New Zealand to buy or establish a business. You will be able to apply for residency under the Entrepreneur Residence Category after six months or two years.
The Investor 1 category visa requires you to invest NZ$10 million in the country over three years. The Investor Category 2 option requires a lower investment of $2.5 million, but the principal applicant must be under the age of 65 to be eligible.
On a final note, bear in mind that anyone applying for an investment visa must also show that they have travel and/ or health insurance when making the application. Also, it’s worth noting that applying for New Zealand visas can take a while. How long your application takes will depend on how complex the visa you’re applying for is. You will be able to monitor the progress of your application online throughout.
We can help you with the legalities of retiring to New Zealand. Simply let us know what you’re looking for in our enquiry form below, or give us a ring on +44 (0)20 7898 0549, and we will be in touch with guidance and details of recommended experts.