Purchase of foreign school service credit
Credit for service performed as an employee of certain public educational institutions located outside of the United States and its territories. To qualify, the service must have been performed for a public educational institution that receives a portion of its funding from any foreign or domestic public source and provides a level of education comparable to kindergarten through 12th grade.
To purchase foreign school service credit, submit a completed form for each former foreign retirement system or foreign school employer.
You must certify you agree to forfeit all rights to the benefits under your former retirement system before you can purchase the service credit with CalSTRS. Service credit cannot be purchased if you are receiving, or are eligible to receive a benefit for this service in another public retirement system. The completed forms must include the proper certification from your former retirement systems, former employers, or both, where applicable.
No. You may purchase all or a portion of your available service credit at any time prior to retirement.
Yes. You must request to purchase service credit prior to your retirement date by notifying CalSTRS in writing by sending a completed Out-of-State or Foreign School Service Credit Certification form.
We recommend you remain in contact with CalSTRS if you have difficulty obtaining verification. This will ensure your eligibility to complete the purchase after you have retired.
- Review your certification.
- Verify your eligibility.
- Determine how much service you may purchase.
- Calculate your cost.
- Send you a billing statement.
The billing statement includes information regarding how you may pay for your purchase.
Yes. CalSTRS can accept rollovers from most qualified U.S. retirement plans.
However, CalSTRS cannot accept rollovers from:
- Coverdell Education Savings Accounts
- Directly transferred, post-tax funds
Information and instructions for rollovers will be on the back of your billing statement.
You cannot have monies from foreign plans directly transferred to CalSTRS (per Internal Revenue Code sections 402(c)(8)(A) and 401(a); Treasury Regulation section 1.401-1(a)(3)(i)).
CalSTRS can only accept funds directly from domestic plans organized in the United States. If the funds can be transferred to you, you can send your post-tax payment to CalSTRS. We recommend you speak to a tax advisor before withdrawing funds from a foreign plan for the potential foreign and U.S. tax consequences.
U.S. Department of State Service
Yes, if you are a CalSTRS Defined Benefit member and can provide proper verification of the service you performed.
Submit a written request on your Out-of-State or Foreign School Service Credit Certification form directly to the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) at the following address:
DoDEA Human Resources Center Records Mgmt Unit – 6th Floor
4040 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1634
You may also call DoDEA at (703) 588-3987 for any questions regarding submitting your request.
Allow 10 – 14 days for processing.
If it has been more than a year since you performed your foreign school service, please send your request to:
National Archives and Records Administration
National Personnel Records Center - Civilian Personnel Records
111 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, MO 63118
Peace Corps Service
Peace Corps service is not considered foreign school service credit. However, Peace Corps service is considered permissive service credit and can be purchased as provided under Section 22803 of the Education Code.
By using the appropriate CalSTRS Out-of-State or Foreign School Service Credit Certification form, translation should not be a concern.
If you are unable to have the proper forms completed, any documents in a foreign language must be accompanied with a certified (notarized) English translation. If a copy of a document is used, it must include the statement that it is a true and accurate copy.
No. It is your responsibility to provide verification of your foreign service. Requests received without complete and clear verification will be returned to you.
Send all pertinent documents (contracts, etc.) to CalSTRS. If we cannot determine your eligibility from those documents, you will not be able to purchase foreign school service credit.
Yes, foreign school service credit will qualify for all of CalSTRS benefit enhancements you are eligible to receive.
Yes. However, to be eligible to apply for a CalSTRS service retirement benefit, you must have 36 months of annual compensation earnable performed in California.
Service performed outside California cannot be used to meet this requirement.
No. To be eligible for disability benefits, you must have earned five years of service credit in CalSTRS-covered employment.