Business Visitors - Do I need a Visa?

If you are visiting New Zealand for three months or less, and you are from a visa waiver country (see link below for a list of visa waiver countries), you will not need to apply for a visitor visa before arriving in New Zealand as long as the purpose of the visit is for a 'lawful purpose'.

 You will be considered to be coming to New Zealand for a lawful purpose if:

 a.         You are coming to New Zealand for such purposes as:

•           Holidaying;

•           Sightseeing;

•           Family and social visits;

•           Amateur sport;

•           Business consultation;

•           Medical treatment;

•           Guest of government visit;

•           Marrying in New Zealand.

b.         You are not intending to undertake employment (which also covers self-employment), or a course of study or training, with the exception of short-term study.

Business visitors who are not considered to be undertaking employment include the following:


  • Representatives on official trade missions recognised by the New Zealand Government;
  • Sales representatives of overseas companies in New Zealand for a period or periods no longer than a total of 3 months in any calendar year;
  • Overseas buyers of New Zealand goods or services for a period or periods of longer than a total of 3 months in any calendar year;
  • People undertaking business consultations or negotiations in New Zealand on establishing, expanding, or winding up any business enterprise in New Zealand, or carrying on any business in New Zealand, and involving the authorised representatives of any overseas company, body or person for a period or periods no longer than a total of 3 months in any calendar year.


Business visitors who need to be in New Zealand for longer than 3 months in any one year, and all other business visitors, must apply for a work visa.

On arrival in New Zealand you will be asked to provide:

  • Travel tickets or evidence of onward travel arrangements, and
  • Evidence of funds for maintenance.

The burden of proof rests with you to prove you are a 'bona fide applicant' intending a temporary stay in New Zealand.

A bona fide applicant for temporary entry is defined as a person who genuinely intends a temporary stay in New Zealand for a lawful purpose; and

  • In the opinion of an immigration officer is not likely:
    • To remain in New Zealand unlawfully; or
    • To breach the conditions of any visa granted; or
    • To be unable to leave or be deported from New Zealand.

Evidence of genuine intent and lawful purpose may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Any information or submissions showing that the applicant has a legitimate need to spend time in New Zealand for a specific period; and
  • Any documents or submissions showing that the applicant meets the requirements of the immigration instructions relevant to the type of temporary entry class visa or entry permission applied for.

When visiting New Zealand as a business visitor I recommend carrying evidence that you are a bona fide business visitor. Evidence could include such things as:

  • A recent letter from your accountant confirming your business activities and experience;
  • Confirmation of your residence (proof of address);
  • Evidence of funds - overseas bank statements showing business accounts and account balances;
  • Gold card or similar; and
  • Emails from a New Zealand business which refer to any planned meetings/business consultations.

Please note if you improperly classify your proposed activities you risk being offside of New Zealand immigration laws, which could jeopardise your chances of returning to New Zealand even for a holiday.

Therefore, make sure you are:

  • Prepared
  • Upfront with immigration about the reasons for your visit.

Visa waiver countries: 

Written by Michelle Carabine at 16:00




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