Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is an employment benefit available to F-1 students. The employment must be an integral part of the curriculum or academic program in order to qualify for CPT. F-1 regulations allow this employment to take the form of an internship, co-op, or practicum that is either required for your degree (as defined in the course catalog) or for which academic credit is awarded.
I-20. A document issued by a college or university certifying that an international student has been admitted to a program of study and has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the U.S. The I-20 is officially titled the "Certificate of Eligibility" because with it, you are "eligible" to apply for an F-1 student visa.
To be eligible for CPT, you must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year, your employment must be an integral part of your degree program or requirement for a course, and your job offer related to your field of study. Additionally, the employment must also meet one of the following three criteria:
- The training employment is required of all degree candidates in the program and is necessary for the awarding of the degree. Included in this category is employment in a required internship or practicum.
- The training employment will result in the awarding of academic credit on the basis of the training experience. Included in this category is employment for a course specifically designed to award academic credit for an employment experience. Also included in this category is employment that will result in the award of at least one course credit for an independent study. In both of these cases you must be registered for the course during the period that you are working.
- PhD Students in dissertation status where the training opportunity is an absolutely necessary component of the student's research - without which the doctoral dissertation cannot be completed - may be authorized to undertake CPT. A letter from the student's dissertation advisor explaining in detail the relationship between the proposed employment and the student's doctoral dissertation research must be provided.
Documents to be Submitted
- CPT Request Form
- Offer of Employment Letter
- Schedule an appointment with ISSS to evaluate your eligibility for CPT.
- If all eligibility requirements are met, submit a completed CPT Request Form. CPT is authorized by ISSS; it does not require approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). A new I-20 will be issued denoting employment authorization on page three. You must not continue employment beyond the date authorized unless you apply and are granted an extension of your permission to work. Any work undertaken after the expiration date of your CPT will be considered unauthorized employment.
- Register for the course that qualified you for CPT in the term in which the employment will take place.
Frequently Asked Questions
“What affect does my CPT have on OPT?”
The time you spend on CPT will not be deducted from the twelve months of allowable OPT unless you use 12 months or more of full-time CPT.
“What is considered part-time?”
Employment for 20 hours or less per week while you are enrolled for classes is considered part-time CPT. The employment authorization page of your I-20 will specify permission to engage in part-time training and you must limit your work to no more than 20 hours per week. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT cumulatively, but you must be simultaneously enrolled as a full-time student in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.
“What is considered full-time training?"
20 hours or more of employment per week is considered full-time CPT, regardless of whether you are enrolled full-time or part-time for classes. The employment authorization page on your I-20 will specify permission to participate in full-time training. If you use twelve months or more of CPT you will not be eligible for OPT.
“Do I need to have a job offer prior to submitting my application?”
Yes. Your CPT authorization will be employer and date specific.
“How can I show my employer that I am authorized to work?”
Your I-20 with CPT authorization should be submitted to your employer.