Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students

CPT is an off-campus work authorization for any type of work or internship position which enhances your studies.

Federal immigration regulations require the work or internship experience to directly relate to your academic field of studies. There is no time limit, though students accumulating 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training (CPT) are ineligible for post-completion practical training (OPT). Part-time CPT will have no effect on your eligibility for OPT.

Before you begin any type of off-campus work or internship (paid or unpaid), you must apply for and receive CPT authorization. CPT is authorized for a specific employer for a specific amount of time and can only be used prior to completion of studies, while you are enrolled as a student.

CPT Requirements

  • You must have already found a job before you can apply for CPT.
  • The job, internship or practical experience is a requirement or an integral part of your degree program and you are granted course credit.
  • You must complete one academic year of studies to qualify for CPT, if the internship of practical experience is not a requirement of your degree program, but is an integral part of your degree program.
  • You are required to register for a related course throughout your CPT (or equivalent time period during the summer).
  • You must show that you are making “satisfactory progress” towards your degree.

Please remember that you may not start working until approval is annotated on your I-20.

CPT Application Steps

Your application for CPT authorization must be submitted to the Office of International Students at least 2 weeks before your employment begins and needs to contain the followings:

  1. A letter from your employer stating the number of hours per week you will be working and a brief description of your job responsibilities (a general statement or list of your responsibilities is sufficient).
  2. A letter from your academic advisor or department chair (on department letterhead) showing your intent to engage in CPT. Your advisor also has to state if practical experience/training is a required or optional part of your major, list the course (title & number) you will be enrolled in during your CPT, mention the exact dates of the requested CPT, recommend if it should be full time or part time CPT and the name of employer with complete mailing address. The advisor has to mention as well how the student’s progress will be evaluated during his/her CPT.

You are not authorized to begin work until you receive your new I-20 for CPT!

You cannot use CPT as a way to begin a job before your OPT is approved!