Work Permit A - Definition

The following information, conditions and legislation were applicable for applies until December 31st, 2018 and thus is everything unusable from January 1st, 2019!
The new legislation, and the associated new conditions and documents, you can find it here: Naar werknemers buitenlandse nationaliteit (vanaf 2019)



Work Permit A can only be granted to foreign workers who have already worked effectively for a certain period of time with a valid Work Permit B. However, for some categories of workers (such as the highly-skilled) the actual employment under Work permit B will not be eligible for a work permit A (see below for exceptions).


Work Permit A is granted to those who, during a period of ten years immediately preceding the application, can prove that they have worked for four years with a Work Permit B and during a legal and uninterrupted stay in the country.

  • this period may be reduced to three years for the nationals of those countries with which Belgium has entered into international treaties or agreements on the employment of workers;
  •  these periods of four years and three years can again be reduced by one year, if the spouse and/or the children of the employee are residing together with him/her legally in Belgium.

Please note: Pursuant to the circular of the Federal Minister of Labour and in application of European Directive 2004/38/EC the term 'husband' must be given the same meaning as that which is included in the legislation on residence (Law of 15 December 1980, Article 40bis §2, first section 1, 1° and 2°).


  • Periods of total incapacity for work as a result of an occupational disease, an accident at work or an accident on the way to or from work and which occurred at a time when the person concerned was regularly employed by an employer established in Belgium, will be equated with periods of employment.
  • Residence will be deemed to be continuous if the interruption between two consecutive periods of residence is no longer than one year or when the absence is the result of compulsory military service, on condition that the person concerned returns to Belgium within sixty days after the completion of their military service.


Persons employed in the following categories of work permit B are not eligible to apply for a work permit A:

  • Specialised technicians;
  • Trainees;
  • Young people working as au pairs;
  • Workers on secondment;
  • Researchers and guest professors at a university, a higher education institution or an officially recognised scientific institution;
  • Highly-skilled workers;
  • Workers who are sent to Belgium in order to follow a training course here;
  • sponsors.

Employees of foreign nationality

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