Entrepreneur Work Visa

This visa is for people who want to work in their own business in New Zealand. To apply, you’ll need to provide a detailed business plan, have at least NZ $100,000 to invest in your business and be able to claim 120 points on our points scale. If you’re granted this visa, you can buy or set up a business without living here permanently, or as a first step towards New Zealand residence.


12 months in the start-up stage of your visa, then another 24 months once you’ve shown us that you’ve set-up your business

With this visa you can

  • Come to New Zealand to buy or set up your own business.
  • Work in your own business in New Zealand for up to 3 years in total.
  • Include your partner, and dependent children aged 19 and under, in your visa application.

Things to note

  • If your business is in the science or ICT sectors, shows a high level of innovation or export potential, we may consider waiving the NZ $100,000 capital investment requirement.
  • We won’t be able to grant you an Entrepreneur Work Visa if you’ve been made bankrupt or been involved in a business failure in the last 5 years.
  • If you’ve been involved in any kind of business fraud or financial wrongdoing, we won’t be able to grant you a visa.

Fit and proper person

You must be a fit and proper person

You must confirm in the application form that you meet fit and proper person requirements.

To be a fit and proper person, all businesses you have influence over must have complied with all immigration, employment and taxation laws. You must also:

  • have never been investigated by the Serious Fraud Office or the New Zealand police for any offence resulting from business dealings
  • have no convictions for an offence involving dishonesty
  • have never been involved in business fraud or financial impropriety.

We’ll contact you if you need to provide further information.

English language

You must be able to speak English

You can show us you speak English by either providing:

  • an acceptable English language test result
  • evidence you have an English-speaking background
  • evidence you’re a competent user of English for other reasons.

English language test results must be no more than 2 years old.

Minimum capital investment

You must show us that you’re able to make a capital investment of at least NZ $100,000

You must provide evidence you have:

  • the funds and/or assets to make the capital investment outlined in your business plan
  • you have enough money to support yourself and any family who are coming to New Zealand with you, on top of your capital investment.

You must provide evidence that the funds and/or assets you intend to use for your capital investment are:

  • owned by you (or you and your partner)
  • earned or acquired lawfully.

Evidence you own the funds and/or assets to invest may include:

  • bank statements
  • title deeds
  • property valuations
  • share certificates
  • business ownership documents
  • asset valuations.

Evidence you earned or acquired the funds and/or assets lawfully, may include:

  • tax returns or certificates
  • pay slips
  • business financial statements
  • business shareholdings
  • dividends
  • receipts for property sales
  • bank certificates
  • share trading profits
  • evidence of gifted money
  • probate and other evidence of inherited money.

We may waive this requirement for businesses in science, ICT, or other high-value export industries that show a high level of innovation or high growth prospects in the short-term.

Your funds and/or assets can’t be borrowed or have a loan or bond against them.

It’s OK if you invested funds that were gifted to you, as long as they were gifted unconditionally and earned or acquired lawfully.

If you own an investment jointly with someone who isn’t your partner or dependent child, you can nominate the value of your share for your capital investment.

Capital investments exclude:

  • passive or speculative investments, like reserve funds or term deposits
  • items for your own use, like your car, boat or home
  • any salary or wages paid to you or your immediate family
  • residential property investments, unless they’re part of the business plan.

If your nominated funds are already in New Zealand, you must provide evidence that they were originally transferred to New Zealand through the banking system.

Request for a minimum capital investment waiver

For us to consider a capital investment of less than NZ $100,000, you must request a waiver

We’ll only consider waiving the minimum capital investment requirement , if both:

  • your business is in science, ICT or another high-value export sector
  • your business shows a high level of innovation or short-term growth prospects.

For us to consider your business high-value export business, it would need to aim to:

  • create 5 or more jobs for New Zealanders
  • turnover NZ $500,000 in annual exports.

For us to consider your business has an high level of innovation, you would need show us:

  • you’ve discovered new ways to produce more goods or services without increasing the production costs
  • your business is likely to succeed because of your innovation.

If we agree to waive this requirement, you won’t be eligible for any points for capital investment on our points scale.

Entrepreneur points

You must be awarded at least 120 points on our points scale

We may award points for:

  • your age
  • your capital investment
  • your business experience
  • the benefits of your business to New Zealand
  • the location of your business.

You can use our points scale to get an idea of how many points you may be able to claim.

You can also use it to check the evidence you’ll need to provide to support your claims.

Business plan

You must provide a detailed business plan

You must provide a detailed business plan for the business you intend to operate in New Zealand.

Your business plan should be no more than 3 months old when you apply.

If you later want to make a minor change to your business plan, you’ll need to submit a request to us for our approval.

We won’t be able to approve your application, if the purpose of your business is to help people who aren’t New Zealanders enter New Zealand.

Occupational registration

You must have New Zealand occupational registration, if it’s required to run your business in New Zealand

If registration is required, you must provide us with a certified copy of your New Zealand occupational registration.

Business start-up

You must start up your business within 12 months

Once you’ve been granted an Entrepreneur Work Visa, you must start up your business within the first 12 months of your visa.

Towards the end of the 12 months or your ‘start-up’ stage, you’ll need to show us that you’ve:

  • made the capital investment detailed in your business plan
  • taken reasonable steps to set-up or invest in the business detailed in your business plan.

Evidence you’ve invested your capital can include:

  • telegraphic transfers
  • bank statements
  • other documents showing it was transferred to New Zealand through the banking system.

Evidence you’ve taken steps to set-up or invest can include:

  • a certificate of incorporation
  • audited accounts
  • GST records
  • other tax records
  • documents showing you’ve purchased or leased the business site
  • invoices for business equipment and supplies
  • any other documents that show you’re in business, eg employment agreements, bank statements, power bills for your business, sales agreements, contracts to provide products or services.

We may be able to extend the start-up period if you can show us you can set up your business within a specified time.


You must agree to take part in an evaluation of the Entrepreneur Work Visa Category

You must sign a declaration in the ‘Entrepreneur Work Visa Application’ agreeing that you’ll take part in an evaluation of the Entrepreneur Work Visa Category, if we approve your application.

You must also agree to keep us up-to-date with any changes to your contact details for 5 years after we approve your application. This is so we can get in touch about the evaluation.

Immigration costs

Application cost

NZD $ 3,365

This is the fee for Immigration New Zealand to process your application.An immigration levy is payable and is included in the total amount above.



within 16 months

90% of applications are currently completed within this time.