Long stay in Ghent: A card

Are you a third-country national studying in Ghent for longer than 90 days? All about the application, conditions and renewal of your A card

Before arriving in Belgium, apply for a visa D at the competent Belgian diplomatic post.

Upon arrival in Belgium, you must apply for registration ('domiciliation') with the municipality. You will be registered in the National Register and receive an A card.


Do you have a main residence in France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany or the UK? Then you can also choose to apply for an appendix 33. With an appendix 33, you will not be registered in the National Register. You can read more on the page of the appendix 33.

When to apply for an A card?

The registration procedure takes time and the A card cannot be issued immediately. It is therefore best to start the registration procedure as soon as possible.

It is also important to arrange housing in advance. If you do not have a residential address for at least one month, the registration procedure will be postponed.

Clearly mark your name and surname on your doorbell and mailbox to make the housing inspection by the neighbourhood inspector go smoothly. If you are staying in an official student home, the neighbourhood inspector will not visit you. 

How to apply for the A card?

Apply within eight working days using the e-form. Follow all the steps in the form to complete the application.

You will be asked to upload a scan of the passport, D visa, a certificate of enrolment from the Belgian educational institution and proof of sufficient means of subsistence - in Dutch (grant, Annex 32, etc.). You will receive a confirmation e-mail when we have received your form in good order.

What do you bring to your appointment at the counter?

  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa D
  • Enrolment certificate from an educational establishment in Belgium
  • Proof of sufficient means of subsistence (grant, charge, blocked account certificate, etc.)
  • 1 recent passport photo that meets the legal quality criteria
  • Personal invitation e-mail
  • 27 euros (cash or bancontact)
  • Health insurance
  • Optional: a sworn translated birth certificate (if required, with legalisation or apostille)

Pick up A card

After a positive residency check by the neighbourhood inspector, you will be invited via e-mail for registration at the counter and application for your A card.

The A card is a biometric card: fingerprints are taken and you put a digital signature when applying for the card. When you collect the card, fingerprints are taken again to check whether the person who came to apply for the card is the same as the one collecting it.

The delivery time of the A card is 2 to 3 weeks (exceptionally longer). An urgent procedure (€124) shortens the deadline to 1 to 2 working days. You will receive a temporary, paper residence document (Annex 15) during this waiting period.

Once you have received the pin/puk codes by post, you can collect the A card at the place where the card was requested. Make an online appointment to collect the residence card.

You bring this with you:

  • Provisional residence document (attachment 15)
  • Pin/puk codes

How long is the A card valid?

The residence card is valid for a maximum of 1 year (usually until the end of the academic year: 31 October), provided you continue to meet the residence requirements. The validity period of the A card may be shorter in case of a shorter study period or a shorter duration of the scholarship or blocked bank account.

PhD students can obtain an A card for the duration of the scholarship with a maximum of 2 years. For this, the student needs the following additional documents:

  • A certificate of scholarship or blocked account through the educational institution, valid for a longer period of time
  • A certificate of enrolment (indicating doctoral studies) for the current academic year.

Renew A card

Apply for a new A card using the e-form at least 15 calendar days before the expiry date of the current A card. The date of submission of the e-form counts as the date of application.

You will need this:
Collect the following documents to upload in the e-form:

  • A card from the previous academic year
  • Valid passport
  • Enrolment certificate from an educational institution in Belgium for new academic year
  • Proof of sufficient means of subsistence for new academic year (scholarship, escrow account, Schedule 32, etc.)
  • Health insurance for all medical costs (valid for long stays in Belgium)
  • Proof of examination results from previous academic year (list of examinations and/or explanation by the educational institution why no or pro forma participation in examination(s)). This does not apply to PhD students.
  • Proof of study progress ('credits'-form to be obtained from the educational institute with possible advice on study progress). This does not apply for PhD students.

After processing the e-form, you will be invited to apply for the A card. At your appointment, bring all necessary original documents.

What if you move?

Report any change of address (in Dutch) immediately to  Migration or a service centre (even if the residence card is still valid). If you do not report it, the municipality must delete the student from the foreigners' register. Such deletion renders the residence card invalid and may lead to the loss of the right of residence.