Information for Military Applicants and Licensees

Expedited Licensure for Former Military Members and Spouses/Domestic Partners

If you are a former member of the United States Armed Forces (including California National Guard and Space Force) and received an honorable discharge, or the spouse or domestic partner of a current, active duty member of the United States Armed Forces, your application for CPA licensure will be reviewed on an expedited basis.

Former Military Personnel

Please include a copy of your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214, and evidence of honorable discharge with your application. Former military personnel are subject to the same licensure requirements (education, examination, and experience) as any other person. Experience you received in the military under the supervision of a licensed CPA (or individual practicing public accounting under a comparable authority) may be applicable toward your licensure requirements.

Uniform CPA Exam Fee Reimbursement

If you are a Veteran or service member and you qualify for the GI Bill, Veterans Affairs may reimburse your testing fees. For information regarding this benefit, please contact Veterans Affairs by phone at (888) 442-4551. If you have hearing loss, please call TTY: 711.

Spouses or Domestic Partners of Active Duty Military Personnel

Do you already hold a valid license, or comparable authority, to practice public accounting in another U.S. state or territory? If yes, and your spouse or domestic partner is an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States and is assigned to a duty station in California, your application will receive an expedited review and the application processing fee and initial license fee may be waived.

Please include the following with your licensure application:

  • A written statement and evidence of your relationship satisfactory to the CBA (e.g. a copy of your marriage certificate or certified declaration/registration of domestic partnership filed with the Secretary of State); the CBA may consider other forms of evidence
  • A copy of the military orders establishing that individual’s duty station in California

Licensees Engaged in Active Military Duty

If you hold a current and valid California CPA license and are called to active military duty in the United States Armed Forces (including California National Guard), your continuing education (CE) and renewal fee requirements will be waived upon your request. The temporary waiver of those requirements is only available during the time you are on active duty.

California law offers two similar options: Military Waiver and Military Inactive Status. Both options allow for your CE and renewal fee requirements to be placed on hold for the length of your active duty status. During this time period, you may not provide public accounting services to the public. In addition, CBA staff will automatically renew your license (at no cost to you) if it requires renewal during your active duty. After your period of active military duty ends, you must inform the CBA, complete any required CE and pay a $280 renewal fee.

The differences between the Military Waiver and Military Inactive status are described below.

Military Waiver

If on a Military Waiver, you may provide public accounting services only if required by your active duty military service.

To obtain a Military Waiver, please make a request in writing and include documentation that substantiates your active duty service (e.g. copy of military orders or Leave and Earnings Statements) and whether you plan to practice public accounting while on active duty.

Military Inactive Status

While on Military Inactive status, you may not perform public accounting service of any kind.

To obtain Military Inactive status, please submit an Application for Military Inactive Status Form to the CBA and include documentation that substantiates your active duty service (e.g. copy of military orders or Leave and Earnings Statements).

Returning to Civilian Life

After your active duty ends, you must do all the following:

  • Notify the CBA in writing that your active duty has ended. Include evidence of your discharge date and whether you plan to resume practicing public accountancy
  • Complete any required CE
  • Comply with peer review reporting requirements (only for Military Inactive Status, not Military Waiver)
  • Pay a $280 renewal fee (waived if this would occur within 12 months of your next renewal date)


If on a Military Waiver, the law requires you to complete the above requirements within six months after the end of your active duty. In addition, once you receive notice of your discharge date, you must inform the CBA within 60 days of receiving that notice.

If on Military Inactive Status, you have up to 12 months after your active duty ends to complete the above. Licensees may request an extension of the deadline to complete CE or an exception to certain CE requirements. Contact the CBA License Renewal staff at or (916) 561-1702 for assistance.

Professional License Portability and State Registration for Servicemembers and their Spouses

A CPA whose principal place of business is not in California and who has a valid and current license, certificate, or permit to practice public accountancy from another state may, subject to conditions and limitations, engage in the practice of public accountancy in California under a practice privilege without obtaining a California license or noticing the California Board of Accountancy.

Additionally, the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) authorizes service members or their spouses who currently hold a valid license in good standing in another state, district, or territory to practice in California within the same profession or vocation, if they relocate to California because of military orders. For further information and to register for the SCRA, please visit

Please note, it is advised that individuals contact the California Board of Accountancy for further information about the SCRA option given they may already have practice privilege rights.