Beach in New Zealand

If you want to retire to New Zealand, it’s time to consider your New Zealand retirement visa options! With an abundance of natural beauty, the promise of a stable future, an excellent standard of living, top-notch healthcare, and more. There’s no doubt New Zealand is one of the best countries to spend your golden years in.

Beach in New Zealand

New Zealand offers multiple visa programs tailored to suit the needs of retirees. Your visa options depend on various factors including:

  • Your length of stay.
  • If you have children in New Zealand.
  • You intend to work in the country. 

Our New Zealand retirement visa guide outlines the best visa programs for retirees to make relocation easier.

Visas for Retiring in New Zealand – Overview 

Getting the right visa is a prerequisite to retiring in New Zealand. The country offers multiple visa options, including two main retirement categories.

  • Parent Category – This is for retirees whose child is a resident or citizen of New Zealand. Under the Parent Policy, your child can support your visa application to obtain a resident visa. This visa will allow parents to live in New Zealand indefinitely. 
  • Temporary Retirement Category – If you don’t have any children in New Zealand, you might have to turn to the Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa. This requires you to be 66 years or older and demands an investment of NZ$750,000 plus NZ$500,000 as settlement funds. This visa allows you to stay in New Zealand for up to two years. While the stay can be extended by applying for another temporary retirement visa, it may not be the best long-term solution.

How to Retire in New Zealand 

Let’s dive into the New Zealand retirement visa categories to find what’s best for you.

Case 1: You have a child who is a Resident or Citizen of New Zealand 

If you have a child who is a citizen or resident of New Zealand, you can qualify for a temporary or resident visa. You have the following options:

Option 1: The Parent Resident Visa

The Parent Resident Visa is available for those who have an adult child resident or citizen in New Zealand. The child could sponsor your residence in the country. This category is open to both legal guardians and grandparents (and their partners) and allows you to live, work, and study in New Zealand.

To apply, the New Zealand immigration office demands an expression of interest first. Then, if you meet the requirements, you may be invited to apply for permanent residence. It’s important to note that this visa category has a cap of 1,000 applicants per year. Furthermore, you aren’t eligible for this visa if you have dependent children.

The main requirement of this visa is a guaranteed minimum income from the sponsor or the sponsor and their partner. This minimum income requirement is based on the New Zealand median income, which is updated each year. This requirement means that the sponsorship amount is subject to change.

As of February 2020, the sponsorship requirements are:

No. of SponsorsNo. of ParentsSponsor’s Required Income
1 sponsor1 parentNZD $106,080
(2 x NZ median salary)
1 sponsor2 parentsNZD $159,120
(3 x NZ median salary)
2 Sponsors1 parentNZD $159,120
(3 x NZ median salary)
2 Sponsors2 parentsNZD $212,160
(4 x NZ median salary)
New Zealand Retirement Visa Sponsorship Requirments 2022

For the updated minimum income requirement, simply calculate the sponsor income based on the current New Zealand median income. 

Note (May 2022): Due to COVID-19, selections for expressions of interest are suspended until further notice.

Option 2: The Parent Retirement Resident Visa

The parent retirement resident visa is also available to those with adult children who are residents or citizens of New Zealand. Similar to the parent resident visa, this visa allows you to work, study, and permanently live in New Zealand. After finishing the four-year investment period, you can apply for permanent residence in New Zealand.

Here are some main requirements for eligibility:

  • An annual income of NZ $60,000 
  • NZ $1 million to invest for four years
  • NZ$500,000 as maintenance funds
A couple who have recently retired to New Zealand looking happy.

Option 3: The Parent and Grandparent Visitor Visa (3-year visa)

The parent and grandparent visitor visa is a temporary visa that allows multiple entries into New Zealand for up to 6 months. The visa allows a total stay of 18 months in three years. This visa is for you if you want to travel in and out of New Zealand regularly. You can use it to visit your grandchildren and children in the country. 

You can include your partner in the application, but dependent children will have to apply for separate visas. This visa can only be applied for when you’re offshore. Naturally, this is not a permanent solution and doesn’t allow you to live in the country indefinitely. 

Case 2: You Don’t have a child who is a Resident or Citizen of New Zealand

The Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa

The Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa is for those who don’t have any children who are residents or citizens of New Zealand. The visa allows you to stay in the country temporarily for a period of up to two years. You can include your partner in the visa, but dependent children are not included.

Here are some important requirements for the visa:

  • Applicants must be 66 years or older 
  • Earn an annual income of NZ $60,000
  • Invest NZ$750,000 in New Zealand for two years
  • Keep NZ$500,000 as maintenance funds
  • Health or travel insurance 

Some limitations of the visa include:

  • You cannot work in New Zealand.
  • If you are studying, your course can be up to three months.
  • You must leave the country before the visa expires.

If you want to extend your stay on this visa, you can apply for another Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa before it expires. Technically, you can keep renewing the visa perpetually as long as you meet the requirements. So, you’ll need to prove that you maintained your insurance and investment for two years. However, this may not be the best long-term solution. This is because the government might choose to end the visa program at any time, leaving you without any safety net.

Alternative Retirement Visa Options for New Zealand 

If none of the above visa programs apply in your case, you can retire in New Zealand as an investor or an entrepreneur. 

  • Entrepreneur Visa – This visa is for retirees willing to run a business in New Zealand for some years before retiring.
  • Investor 1 Category Visa – This visa can be your first step to obtaining residency in New Zealand if you are an investor. You must have NZ $10 million to invest in New Zealand for three years before you get a residence. 
  • Investor 2 Category Visa – This visa is only available to those below the age of sixty-five. It’s for experienced business people who can invest NZ$3 million over four years. The application process includes an expression of interest that must be accepted for residence.

Retire in New Zealand with the Right Visa Now!

The fantastic opportunities, laid-back lifestyle, and exquisite views of New Zealand are calling your name! 

New Zealand could be your first choice if you’re looking for the best retirement spot for English speakers. The cost of living means that it suits those with a sizable income or funds to spare. The first step to residing and retiring in New Zealand is to apply for the right retirement visa. 

Finding the right visa can be a challenge with ever-changing rules and regulations. Connect with our network of immigration lawyers who offer expert consultation to simplify the process!

Cloudy Sunrise at Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand
Cloudy Sunrise at Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

FAQs about Retiring in New Zealand

Can retired US citizens move to New Zealand?

Yes, retired US citizens will find New Zealand to be the perfect retirement destination. This is due to its modern infrastructure, similar culture, English-speaking inhabitants, and much more. Expats retiring to New Zealand from the USA have two options. You can either opt for a three-month temporary visitor visa or a permanent residency visa. Your best option depends on if you have children in New Zealand or not.

How much money do you need to retire in New Zealand?

The scenic landscapes, excellent healthcare, and high standard of living in New Zealand come at a steep price. The country has a higher cost of living than the US. Its Temporary Retirement Visitor Visa requires you to have US$524,835 for investment and US$349,890 for living expenses.

What is the best place to retire in New Zealand?

The best places to retire in New Zealand include:
– Auckland
– Wellington 
– Hamilton
– Napier 
– Christchurch
– Queenstown

One Comment

  1. I can’t find clarification on the one million investment required for the parent visa in New Zealand. Can mutual funds held by an American advisor be transferred to a New Zealand advisor or do they need to be liquidated first? Any insight would be appreciated.

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