The complete guide to buying property in New Zealand as a Brit, including the latest NZ property prices.
Dreaming of retiring to New Zealand? It’s a popular choice for UK retirees, thanks to its shared language, friendly atmosphere and of course, breathtaking natural scenery.
Before you can settle into your new post-work lifestyle in New Zealand though, you’ll need to look into getting a visa.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting a New Zealand retirement visa. This includes what types of visa are available for UK retirees, how to apply and of course, how much it costs.
We’ll even throw in a handy tip to help manage your relocation costs, and your money in general when you arrive in New Zealand.
Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can send money back and forth between the UK and NZ for low fees and the real exchange rate. You can spend like a local using a linked debit card, which automatically converts the currency to NZD for you at a great exchange rate - without any need to convert GBP beforehand.
But more on this later. First, let’s explore the types of New Zealand retirement visas available for UK residents.
There are two main visa options for UK retirees wanting to start a new post-work life in New Zealand. These are a temporary retirement visa, and a more permanent New Zealand immigration retirement visa if you have an adult child who is a NZ citizen or resident.
Let’s take a closer look at the details for each.
This retirement visa is available for people willing to invest money in New Zealand, for a length of stay of up to two years. However, you can apply for another temporary retirement visa once this two years is up.
You’ll need to meet strict criteria to get this visa, including¹:
- Being 66 years old or over.
- Keeping at least 750,000 NZD (around 390,000 GBP) invested in acceptable investments in New Zealand for the full period of two years
- Having a further 500,000 NZD to live on and an annual income of 60,000 NZD, although you can’t work during your time in New Zealand (but you can study for up to three months a year²)
- Having acceptable travel and/or health insurance during your stay.
You can travel in and out of the country with this visa, and you can include your partner in your application. However, you can’t bring dependent children with you.
Another useful thing to note with the New Zealand Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa is that you’ll need to investigate investment opportunities before you move there. To do this, you can apply for a standard 3-month multiple entry visa.
If you have an adult child who is a permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand, this is the retirement visa for you. It allows you to live in New Zealand permanently, to join your family and enjoy retirement in the country. But if you want to, you can also work and/or study, and you can bring your partner with you.
However, there are conditions you’ll need to meet. These include the following:
- Invest 1 million NZD (around 520,000 GBP) over 4 years
- After this 4 year period, you’ll be eligible to apply for permanent residence
- An annual income of 60,000 NZD, plus 500,000 NZD to live on.
With this visa, you can travel in and out of the country for the first 2 years of the 4-year investment period. Once you’re a permanent resident, you can travel the world restriction-free.
If you meet the requirements for either visa, the next step is to get your documents in order and get ready to apply at a New Zealand visa application receiving centre. You can find more details on receiving centres here.
To apply for either visa, you’ll need to provide the following supporting documents along with your completed application form³:
- Proof of ID - including a passport, birth certificate and recent photos of yourself
- Evidence of your adult child’s citizenship or residency status, plus your relationship to the sponsoring child (for the Parent Retirement Resident Visa)
- Proof that you have the required amount of money to invest, live on and annual income - such as bank statements or property valuations
- Evidence that your partner also meets the requirements for the visa (if applicable)
- Proof of good health - this requires undergoing a medical examination and chest x-ray
- Evidence of good character - you’ll need to get a police certificate from the UK.
The processing time for a Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa for New Zealand is around 39 days⁴.
It’s much longer for a Parent Retirement Resident Visa, with most applications processed within 21 months⁴.
When you apply for either retirement visa, you’ll need to pay a fee for the application to be processed. It’s important to note that this is non-refundable, so you won’t get your money back if your application is declined.
For the Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa, the fees is 3,366 NZD⁴. For the Parent Retirement Resident Visa, it’s 3,720 NZD⁴.
Ready to apply for your New Zealand retirement visa? Hold fire for just a moment before paying, as it’s a smart idea to find the best way to pay in New Zealand Dollars.
You can pay your visa fees through debit or credit card. But if you use your bank-issued card, you could pay high foreign transaction fees and get a poor exchange rate to convert your money from GBP to NZD.
Avoid all of that by opening a multi-currency account with Wise and using your linked debit card to pay your New Zealand visa fee. Not only does it not charge any foreign transaction fees, but it’ll automatically convert the currency for you at the time of payment, using the fairest exchange rate you can get. There’s only a tiny fee to convert the currency, and you don’t have to do a thing.
You can also use your secure Wise account and card to handle other relocation expenses, such as sending money to NZ to pay for accommodation for only a small transfer fee. And once you’re there, you can enjoy contactless spending in NZD using the very same card from the moment you land. There’s no need to get a new one or convert any currency.
So, that’s pretty much it - everything you need to know about applying for a New Zealand retirement visa.
If you have a child who’s an NZ citizen or resident, the Parent Retirement Resident Visa is the natural choice. For everyone else, there’s the temporary visa, although you will need to renew this every few years.
Good luck and enjoy your well-earned retirement in beautiful New Zealand!
Sources used for this article:
- New Zealand Immigration - temporary retirement visitor visa
- New Zealand Immigration - conditions
- New Zealand Immigration - parent retirement resident visa
- New Zealand Immigration - fees, decision times and where to apply
Sources checked on 15th April 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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