Process, Requirements and Eligibility for an Entrepreneur Visa

Will you be able to apply for a business visa under Entrepreneur Policy?

How does this visa process work and what are the requirements?


The Entrepreneur Work Visa

This is a three year work visa consisting of two stages, the Start-up stage and the Balance stage. 

Start-up stage

Once your Entrepreneur Work Visa has been approved by Immigration New Zealand, you will be given an initial visa for 12 months which will enable you to travel to New Zealand and buy or establish your business.

After 12 months you will have to demonstrate that you have commenced the business operation as stated in your business plan.

Within the validity of your start-up stage visa, you will have to convince a business migration specialist at Immigration New Zealand that the investment capital for the proposed business has been transferred to New Zealand through the banking system from you bank account as stated in your business plan. 
You will also have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the business migration specialist that you have taken reasonable steps to establish the business as set out in your approved business plan. 

Acceptable evidence for having started your business can be

  • documents showing the set up of your business
  • documents showing the purchase or lease for the business site
  • invoices for equipment and supplies
  • employment agreements
  • bank statements

Balance stage

The remaining 24 months of your three year Entrepreneur Work Visa are called Balance stage.

You will be granted this visa once the Business Migration Branch is satisfied that you have taken all necessary steps as described above. 

The Entrepreneur Residence Visa

To secure your residence status in New Zealand you will have to apply for an Entrepreneur Residence Visa on completion of your Entrepreneur Work Visa stage.


The Requirements for an Entrepreneur Work Visa:

Investment capital

You must be able to invest a minimum of NZ$100,000 in your proposed business and you have to demonstrate that these funds are owned by you or by you and your partner. If you own the funds with your partner, your partner must support your application and the business. 

Investment funds cannot be borrowed. You will have to provide evidence that they have been earned or acquired legally. 

In some cases the minimum capital investment requirement can be waived. However, only members of the management team at the Business Migration Branch are entitled to make that decision. 

A waiver can be considered if your proposed business is in science, ICT, or other export areas, which will bring a high level of innovation to New Zealand and have short term high growth prospects.

Minimum points 

You must reach a minimum of 120 points on the points scale of this policy and demonstrate to the satisfaction of a business immigration specialist why you should be awarded the points you have claimed in your application. 

The point scale reflects likely success of your proposed business and its value to New Zealand. 

Check for yourself whether you will be able to claim a minimum of 120 points.

Points for Business Experience (can be awarded in only one category)

Relevant Self Employment


10 years +


5 years +


3 years +


OR: Other Self Employment


10 years +


5 years +


3 years +


OR: Relevant Senior Management Experience


10 years +


5 years +


Points for Benefit to New Zealand (can be awarded in up to two categories)

New full time employment creation

10 plus new full time positions for New Zealand citizens or residents   80
5 new full time positions for New Zealand citizens or residents     50
3 new full time positions for New Zealand citizens or residents     30
2 new full time positions for New Zealand citizens or residents     20
1 new full time position for New Zealand citizen or resident         10


Points for approved export business (based on annual turnover)

NZ$ 1,000,000 plus turnover 80
NZ$   750,000 plus turnover 60
NZ$   500,000 plus turnover 40
NZ$   400,000 plus turnover 30
NZ$   300,000 plus turnover 20
NZ$   200,000 plus turnover 10


Points for unique or new products or services to New Zealand 

A credible business proposal that provides unique or new products or services to New Zealand or to a particular region. 30

 Points for Capital Investment (excluding working capital) 

NZ$ 1,000,000  80
NZ$   750,000  60
NZ$   500,000  50
NZ$   400,000  30
NZ$   300,000  20
NZ$   200,000  10
NZ$ under 200,000   0

Points for Age 

24 and under 15
25-29 20
30-39 20
40-49 20
50-59 10
60 and over  0

 Bonus Points 

Business outside Auckland    40


The Business Plan

You will have to submit a comprehensive and convincing business plan to the Business Branch at Immigration New Zealand, which will be very carefully examined by the business experts of the branch. 

The business plan must be no older than three months and it must contain all the necessary evidence to explain and support your proposed business. It constitutes the core of your Entrepreneur Visa application and great care needs to be taken to cover all necessary aspects to ensure that your application satisfies immigration requirements.  

Your business plan must cover all financial aspects of your future business, including evidence of sufficient investment and maintenance funds, a cash flow forecast etc.
You will have to demonstrate that you have undertaken comprehensive market research in New Zealand and that you have the business experience required for running a business in that specific area.
In your business plan you will also have to build a convincing argument that your business is going to contribute to New Zealand`s economic growth by enabling experienced business people to grow or establish high growth and innovative businesses with export potential.

Health, character and English language requirements must also be met. 

Ask our Business and Investor Migration Expert

If you want to find out more about establishing your own business in New Zealand, contact Dr. Carsten Hallwass, the Business and Investor Migration Adviser at NZIC.

Ask Dr.Carsten Hallwass for a Free Assessment