Many of us think about moving abroad — and for lots of people, retirement is the perfect time to turn this fantasy into a reality. With no need to work, and the rest of your life ahead of you to explore a new country, retiring in a beautiful place like New Zealand is a dream come true.
However, no matter how laid back your lifestyle will be once you’ve landed, the process of moving will probably be anything but relaxing. If you’ve been considering retiring to New Zealand, you may well have questions about emigration. From visas to living costs, there are a lot of factors to think about before deciding to make your move.
If you’re keen to trade in your old 9-5 for 15,000 km of coastline, here’s what you need to know about retiring in New Zealand!
Why consider retiring to New Zealand?
Situated in the Pacific Ocean, and with a population of around 4 million, New Zealand is one of the most breathtaking countries in the world. Its natural scenery includes both snowy mountains and sandy beaches, with plenty of opportunities for you to keep active in the great outdoors.
It should come as no surprise that New Zealand frequently tops lists of the happiest countries. Its residents are healthier, less stressed, and even enjoy longer life expectancies than people in the UK or US!
But what’s the cost of this idyllic lifestyle? Below, we’ll guide you through the different visa options that are available when retiring to New Zealand. It’s also worth talking with a specialist immigration advisor.
What sort of visa will you need?
Anyone retiring to New Zealand from the UK or US will need to apply for a visa. There are a few options when it comes to choosing the most appropriate visa for your move. Your choice will depend on factors including your income, age, and family.
1. Temporary retirement visitor visa
You’re eligible for a Temporary Retirement Visitor visa if you’re aged 66 or above. These visas are valid for two years, during which time you and your partner (if applicable) can travel to New Zealand as often as you like.
To meet the financial terms for this visa, you’ll need to prove that you:
- Can invest NZ$750,000 in New Zealand over the two years of your stay
- Have an additional NZ$500,000 to support yourself
- Will have an income of NZ$60,000 a year
Once your two years are over, you can apply to renew your visa. You’ll only be able to do this if your financial and health status hasn’t changed. If you have developed a health condition or suffered financial losses in the meantime, you might not be eligible.
2. Parent category resident visa
Do you have children who already live in New Zealand? If you’re retiring to New Zealand to be closer to your family, you may be able to apply for a Parent Category Resident visa.
To be eligible for this type of visa, you will need to meet the following criteria:
- You have one or more adult children who are permanent residents of New Zealand and are happy to sponsor you
- You have NZ$1 million which you can invest in New Zealand over the next four years
- You have NZ$500,000 to live on and an ongoing additional income of NZ$60,000
Your Parent Category Resident visa application can cover both you and a partner, but no additional children. Once you four year ‘investment term’ has come to an end — by which time you’ll have invested NZ$1 million — you’ll automatically be eligible for permanent residency status.
3. Investor visas
If you’re dreaming of retiring to New Zealand but don’t have children in the country to sponsor your visa, you have the option of applying for an investor visa. However, you’ll need a significant amount of money in the bank to make this a possibility.
The Entrepreneur Work and Residence visa will allow you to live in New Zealand in order to run a business. This will mean you’ll have to continue working for a few years before retiring fully. At that point, you can apply for permanent residency.
The visa is split into two pathways: Investor 1, which requires an investment of NZ$10 million over three years, and Investor 2, which requires NZ$2.5 million over three years. You must be under 65 years old with valid health and travel insurance in order to apply.
Retiring to New Zealand can be a long and expensive process. However, if you have the funds and a sense of adventure, you could have the chance to live the life you’ve always dreamed of.
Consider making your dream of living abroad a reality by moving to the beautiful country of New Zealand!