Acceptable investments: investor visas

If you are applying for an Investor 1 or 2 Resident Visa you must invest your money in an acceptable investment.

What makes an investment acceptable

If we approve your application for an investor visa, you have 12 months to transfer your funds to New Zealand and invest in an acceptable investment.

Transferring investment funds

Managing your acceptable investments

Acceptable investments must:

  • be able to make a commercial return
  • be invested in New Zealand
  • be invested in New Zealand dollars
  • be invested in legal enterprises or managed funds
  • have the potential to contribute to New Zealand's economy
  • not be for your personal use, for example, your home, boat or car.

Investments must be in bonds, equities, property or other investments.

Bonds can be:

  • issued by the New Zealand Government or local authorities
  • issued by New Zealand firms traded on the New Zealand Debt Securities Market (NZDX)
  • issued by New Zealand firms with at least a BBB- or equivalent rating from an internationally recognised credit rating agency, for example, Standard and Poor's
  • issued by New Zealand registered banks
  • in finance companies.

Equity can be:

  • in New Zealand firms — these can be public or private
  • in New Zealand registered banks
  • eligible New Zealand venture capital funds.

Property can be:

  • residential property development
  • commercial property.

Other investments can be:

  • philanthropic investment
  • angel funds or networks’ investments.

Trusts, companies and limited partnerships

Establishing a trust

You can hold your acceptable investments in a trust if you are the principal applicant and:

  • you are the sole trustee
  • you, your partner or dependent children included in the application are the only trustees
  • one of these options, along with a professional trustee.

We cannot accept your trust if you have a corporate trustee.

Establishing a company or limited partnership

You can establish a company or limited partnership for your investment funds.

You cannot lend funds in a company or limited partnership to a third party.

Who can make an acceptable investment

You can make acceptable investments under:

  • your name, as the principal applicant, or
  • a joint account, for example a husband and wife, as long as both investors are included in the residence application.

Types of acceptable investments

We accept 5 types of investments.

New Zealand companies owned by overseas companies

A New Zealand company that is wholly owned by an overseas company may be an acceptable investment.

You need to provide us with information about the New Zealand company, including what it does, where your funds would be used, and how you would transfer your funds.

You must provide evidence, including:

  • where the funds are going
  • that the company is a legitimate NZ business entity
  • that the company has genuine use for funds.

The investment must be in the form of equity in the New Zealand company.

Residential property

We consider a residential property development to be an acceptable investment if:

  • it is a new development, and not a renovation or extension to an existing residential property
  • the development has the necessary approvals and consents
  • the purpose of the development is to make a commercial return on the open market — it must not be for you, your family or friends to live in.

You must provide us with:

  • a business plan for the residential development project
  • a contract from builders and other subcontractors
  • all relevant consents from the local authorities
  • the schedule of payments, if funds are going to be paid over a period of time
  • a timeline of completion including any marketing plans.

You cannot include any funds used to pay for the costs of regulatory approvals or consents as part of your acceptable investment.

Purchasing an existing residential property for rental purposes is not an acceptable investment.

Commercial property

Commercial property is an acceptable investment if:

  • the property is not residential or for domestic use
  • the property is used for business purposes, in that it is
    • capable of a commercial return, and
    • not held for future use with no specific plans for development
  • the purpose of the commercial property investments is to make a commercial return on the open market
  • neither you, your family, relatives, nor anyone associated with you lives in the development.

If it is a new development, regulatory authorities, for example the council or territorial authority, must have approved the property and given any required consents.

Commercial property can include empty land if you or the developer has submitted development plans to regulatory authorities and work has started.

Philanthropic investment

Philanthropic investments can make up 15% of your acceptable investments.

We consider a philanthropic investment to be acceptable if we are satisfied it is genuine and is in:

  • a registered charity with Inland Revenue donee status and at least 2 years of annual returns, or
  • a not-for-profit organisation approved by the INZ Business Migration Visa Operations Manager, which provides social, cultural or economic benefits.

Evidence that a philanthropic investment is genuine may include:

  • the length of time the entity has been operating, and
  • the entity’s constitutional arrangement, and
  • the entity’s track record.

Growth investments

Growth investments are acceptable investments, except for:

  • bonds, and
  • philanthropic investments.

For the purpose of growth investments, convertible notes are considered to be bonds.

Managed funds and growth investments

For managed funds, we consider what types of investments the fund manages to determine the proportion of growth investment.

For example, a fund that places half of its funds into bonds and the other half into shares would be recognised as having a 50% investment in growth-orientated funds.

Claiming points for growth investments

When you apply you must say if you wish to claim points for growth investments. This makes you eligible for:

  • priority processing for both Investor 1 and Investor 2 visas
  • reductions in investment amount and time.

If you do not indicate this in your application, you may not get these benefits.

Investor 1 Resident Visa applicants

If you invest a minimum of NZD $2.5 million in growth investments you must spend 88 days in New Zealand over the 3-year investment period.

Investor 2 Resident Visa applicants

If you invest a minimum of NZD $750,000 in growth investments you must spend a minimum of 438 days in New Zealand over 4 years from when you:

  • first arrived in New Zealand as a resident, or
  • were granted a resident visa while in New Zealand.

You may also qualify for 20 bonus points.

If you invest a minimum of NZD $1.5 million you will qualify for a reduction of NZD $0.5 million from your nominated funds of NZD $3 million.

Getting financial advice

We do not provide financial advice about where you should invest your funds. However, we can review your proposed investment and provide general advice about its acceptability.

You must make sure that any financial advice you receive is from a financial adviser who is authorised by the Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand.

Managing your acceptable investments