How overseas companies set up as a NZ business

If your company is incorporated in another country, including Australia

You need to reserve your company's name and gather other information before you apply to register your overseas company as a New Zealand business on our Overseas Register.

1. Reserve your company's name

The name you reserve must be exactly the same as the name you've registered in the country where your company is incorporated.

It costs $10 (plus GST) to reserve a company name online and you need to have a RealMe login and an online services account to do this.

Australian companies

If your company is incorporated in Australia, you can enter your Australian Company Number (ACN) to retrieve the name from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) register. This ensures that the name is exactly the same. You can also see the directors' details and company addresses — these can help you confirm that you've chosen the right company.

2. Gather information for your application

When you apply, you'll be asked to provide information about your company's incorporation and its New Zealand operations. 

Contact details

Provide addresses in New Zealand for:

  • your principal place of business
  • the person authorised to accept service — that is accept legal documents, and
  • communications — we use this to contact you.

You must also provide an email address for your company so we can contact you. It's optional to give us a contact phone number.

Date you started business

Enter the date your company started carrying on business in New Zealand. You must register with us within 10 working days of starting your business activities.

Annual return filing month

All overseas companies registered in New Zealand must file an annual return with us. When you register, you can choose the month that you want to file your annual return but please note that you can't file an annual return in December or January.

Balance date and financial statements

As part of the registration process, you need to choose a balance date for your company. Your New Zealand business must have the same balance date as the rest of the company.

Only large companies incorporated overseas need to submit audited financial statements every year to us.

Certificate of Incorporation

You need to provide a certified copy of your Certificate of Incorporation, or the equivalent document, from the country where you're currently incorporated. When you upload this as part of your application, you need to tell us which country issued it.

Australian companies

Companies incorporated in Australia don't need to provide a Certificate of Incorporation.

Director details

You must provide contact and other details for your company's current directors, including their:

  • full legal name
  • residential address
  • email address
  • phone numbers — landline, mobile and fax numbers.

Australian companies

Companies incorporated in Australia don't need to supply details of their directors. They're supplied to us by ASIC. 

Shareholding details aren't required

Shareholder details of overseas companies are not held on our Overseas Register.

Your company constitution

When you apply, you must upload a certified copy of your company's constitution. If the documents aren't in English, you must provide a certified translation.

Australian companies

If your company is incorporated in Australia, as part of the online registration process, ASIC sends a copy of your constitution to us.

3. Make an application

After you receive confirmation of your company's name reservation, you can register your company online. It costs $130 (plus GST) to register an overseas company.

4. Processing your application

If your registration is accepted, we send you a Certificate of Registration. Your company will then appear on our Overseas Register.

Register an Australian company Register an overseas company (not Australian)

All help topics

Before you start a company 5 guides

Get an overview of how companies are structured, find out about the company records you need to keep, and what's involved when you incorporate with and report to the Companies Office.

Shares and shareholders 7 guides

When you incorporate, you must provide details of all company shares and shareholders. As changes occur, you must update this information on your own share register and in your company's annual return.

Company directors 7 guides

Directors have responsibilities to their company and shareholders, and under the Companies Act 1993. You must register all your directors with the Companies Office and they must sign a consent form.​

Filing annual returns 8 guides

Find out about filing an annual return — the information you need to update, how to change your filing month or request a time extension — and what happens if you don't file your annual return by the due date.

Complying with the law 11 guides

Restoring a company to the register 4 guides

Only some companies can be reinstated to the Companies Register once they've been removed. Find out who can apply, what evidence to provide and if you should apply to the Registrar or the High Court.

Managing your online account 8 guides