Renewal of a Credential After Military Service

A credential, certificate or permit which expires while the holder is on active duty in the armed forces of the United States or a full-time employee of the American Red Cross or the United States Merchant Marine is automatically continued in force to a date six months after honorable discharge, termination of service, or placement on inactive duty. If the credential, certificate or permit expires within six months after the holder honorably leaves such service or has been placed on inactive duty, the document will remain in force until six months after the date of honorable discharge or placed on inactive duty. A credential, certificate or permit need not be renewed while the holder is in active service.

If an individual is employed during the six-month period immediately following his or her discharge or separation, the holder should register his or her document with the county superintendent of schools, presenting evidence of discharge or separation from service as proof of the validity of the credential, certificate or permit.

A renewal application must be submitted within six months after termination of service or placement on inactive duty. The application packet consists of an application form, current fee, verification of any completed renewal requirements [1], and evidence of the dates of active service.

Methods of verifying dates in active service include one of the following:

  1. A photocopy of the original discharge document.

  2. A statement signed by the applicant before a notary public verifying the date of entry into the service and the date of honorably leaving such service or placed on inactive duty.

Note [1]: If the individual was unable to complete renewal requirements within the six-month period allowed by law, Commission staff will renew the credential by appeal.

Relocation to California

California Education Code 44235.5 requires the Commission to waive all application and processing fees for the initial issuance of a teaching credential for an out-of-state applicant who relocates to California due to orders received from a branch of the United States Armed Forces that require the applicant’s spouse to relocate to California. (See Terms and Definitions).

The Commission will expedite the processing of a completed application for the spouse of a military service member who has to relocate to California due to service orders. Applications from military spouses will be processed within seven days of the date that the commission received the application. Note that this expedited processing does not include evaluation of professional fitness. In order to qualify for expedited application processing, the applicant must provide the documentation listed below.

Your Application Packet

Individuals who have completed their professional preparation program outside of California and qualify to apply under this provision may submit their application packet directly to the Commission for their initial teaching credential, including of all of the following items:

  1. Completed application (form 41-4) and, if not previously submitted to the Commission, a completed Live Scan receipt, (form 41-LS). Out-of-state residents must submit two fingerprint cards in lieu of a Live Scan receipt. If submitting fingerprint cards, current fingerprint processing fees must accompany the application packet in addition to the application processing fee. Fingerprint cards may be ordered by sending an email to the Commission at

  2. Official transcripts, letters of experience, verification of completion of the basic skills requirement (if available), photocopies of out-of-state credentials, and performance evaluations as required by the route used to earn the credential. California has three routes for qualifying for out-of-state prepared teachers. Review each of the three routes to determine which route is best for you.

  3. A copy of the movement orders verifying relocation must be submitted with the application packet, including verification of spouse as a dependent.

Note: The fee waiver is limited to the spouse of the individual serving in the United States Armed Services and does not extend to any other family member. Applicants are still required to pay fingerprinting fees and processing fees for any subsequent credential applications. 

Terms and Definitions

The provision for relocating spouses applies to those seeking the following types of teaching credentials:

  • Single Subject (secondary) Teaching Credential: See leaflet CL-560, Single Subject Teaching Credential-Requirements for Teachers Prepared Outside of California.

  • Multiple Subject (elementary) Teaching Credential: See leaflet CL-561, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential-Requirements for Teachers Prepared Outside of California.

  • Special Education Teaching Credential: See leaflet CL-808, Education Specialist Teaching Credential-Requirements for Teachers Prepared Outside of California.

  • Adult Education Teaching Credential: See leaflet CL-697B, Designated Subjects Adult Education Teaching Credentials.

  • Career Technical Education Credential: See leaflet leaflet CL-888, Designated Subjects Career Technical Education Teaching Credential.

California Education Code, Section 44344(b)(3), 44351 and Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 80496.
California Education Code Section 44235.5.

CL-892  September, 2016
Updated August 22, 2023