Auckland night view

Are you interested in New Zealand citizenship by investment? Getting NZ citizenship and a New Zealand passport is extremely desirable for many property investors. It can make life and business in NZ a lot easier. However, it can undoubtedly be quite challenging. But don’t worry! We promise to provide you with the ultimate checklist on getting NZ citizenship by investment. If you want to know how to get New Zealand citizenship through buying property for rent, read on. Below we will talk about:

  • how to apply for citizenship in New Zealand and how to get citizenship in New Zealand as an investor;
  • how to get a New Zealand passport as a foreign investor;
  • the requirements for New Zealand citizenship for foreign property investors.

Foreign property investors: the current numbers

There are many reasons why foreign investors believe that New Zealand property is an attractive asset. Three major ones are:

To learn more about the latest property tax changes, watch the highly informative video below:

The value of total foreign investment in New Zealand, including investment into property, was $429.2 billion in 2019 – a trend that continues to rise upward. Major source countries of investment are Hong Kong, China, the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

According to Statistics NZ, 720 residential properties were purchased by overseas buyers in 2019 and 672 in 2020. Most of the buying and selling activity was located in the Auckland region, where foreign investors purchased 348 residential properties in 2020 alone. That was followed by Christchurch (69 purchases), Otago (54 purchases), and Waikato (27 purchases).

While getting citizenship is not as simple as sending in an application one day and then having a New Zealand citizenship ceremony the next, it is certainly possible, and it becomes easier after residing there for 5 years. Once you fulfil your New Zealand citizenship requirements, you can try to apply for a passport.

Famous people having NZ citizenship

While there are many famous NZ nationals (e.g. Russell Crowe, Lorde, Peter Jackson, and others), there are not that many famous foreigners who have managed to get NZ citizenship as it is quite a complex process! One notable example of an individual who managed to do so, however, is billionaire Peter Thiel who became an NZ citizen in 2011 after heavily investing in land and property in Lake Wanaka and other areas.


NZ citizenship: official information

There are 3 main types of New Zealand citizenship: by birth, by descent, and by grant. If you want to apply for a New Zealand passport, you must be a citizen. In other words, to apply for a New Zealand passport, you must go through the process of applying for New Zealand citizenship first.

When it comes to dual citizenship: New Zealand allows it, while some other countries do not.

Foreign Property Investors can apply for citizenship in New Zealand by grant, based on their investments.

The difference between a New Zealand resident and a New Zealand citizen is that an NZ resident is legally and permanently allowed to live in the country but does not have all of the rights and privileges of a New Zealand citizen. This includes getting a New Zealand passport, which comes after getting citizenship in New Zealand. As a New Zealand citizen, one can also represent the country officially in sports, receive educational scholarships, and subsidised healthcare. If you have been a resident of NZ for five years and meet certain conditions, you can apply for New Zealand citizenship.

New Zealand passport

There is no direct and immediate ‘citizenship by investment’ programme in New Zealand. For getting New Zealand citizenship, foreign investors can apply for the following two options depending on what applies to their situation.

Investor categories

There are several investor categories in New Zealand. Here is what they entail:

New Zealand investment property

Investment property requirements

Here, we will outline the general requirements for investments in New Zealand, in order for them to be considered acceptable. They must be:

  • able to make a commercial return, i.e. be able to make a profit
  • located in New Zealand
  • invested in the local currency, i.e. New Zealand dollars
  • invested in legal enterprises or managed funds (i.e. bonds, equities, property, or other)
  • able to contribute meaningfully to New Zealand’s economy
  • not meant for your personal use

In this article, we focus on investing in residential property only. And so, below, we will talk about what makes a residential property an acceptable investment. A residential property development is deemed to be an acceptable investment if:

  • it is new and not a renovation or extension of an existing residential property
  • it has received all the necessary approvals and consents
  • its purpose is to make a commercial return on the market (meaning you and your friends or family must not live there)

In your New Zealand citizenship application, you are going to have to be able to provide the government with the following in order to be able to proceed with your investment: