Permanent Residence card B after doing Research


I have lived in Belgium since February 2018 on residence permit card A. I am a non-EU resident. I spent the first 2 years 8 months doing a PhD research full time on a scholarship. Last year, I started working full time in a Belgian company. In February 2023, I would have lived in Belgium for 5 continuous years and worked at the company for 2.5 years. I know that I will not be eligible for unlimited work permit by Feb 2023 since I won't fulfill the 4 years of work requirement by that time.
My question is : can I apply for permanent residence card B?
I am asking because my first 2.8 years was spent doing research which is non-taxable. Will these years be counted towards the attainment of permanent residence card B?

No, you cannot. Card B can only be obtained after five years of work and the study period is NOT counted.

Only Card D (which is better than B as you will be registered in the national registry database) considers the study period (half the period).

So in a nutshell
Four years PhD counts two years of work in case you started work directly without interrupted stay then after three years of work, you can apply for Card D.

Note that at the time of application to Card D, you must be also working either full or part time.

In case you have any interrupted stay then you start to recount again. Also for Card D, you cannot leave Belgium more than 10 months during all your stays before you apply to Card D or 6 months continuously. 
Hope this helps!

Best of luck

Thanks for your swift reply.
If I do the maths for my case,
- 2.8 years spent doing PhD will be counted as 1.4 years of work.
- After my current residence permit A expires, I will have 3 additional years of work making the total years of work 4.4 years. At this point I would have stayed in Belgium for 5.8 years.
- I will need 6 additional months of work to attain 5 years of work before I can  qualify for permanent residence D.
Kindly let me know if my calculation is correct.

Yes, correct plus u must be working when you apply for card D

Thanks a lot for the reply.

@Guest4958357 Hey

Do you mean if you have a one or two months gap while changing jobs won't be an issue for an L card (former D)?

interruptions will affect only the conditions for the B card, Correct?

I have a gap of one month because of renewing my current residence permit.

My second question is, Does Master years counts for the L card (former D)?

Thanks and really appreciate your response.

Kind regards,


Hello Zsa Kyle,

Welcome to 1f600.svg

Unfortunately, you will not be able to get a reply from this person as he/she is no longer a member of this forum.

I suggest you start a new thread on the Belgium forum to ask your questions.

There are a lot of people there to assist you.


Cheryl team