You may NOT begin work until you receive a new I-20 with employment authorization for your specific employer and dates of employment.
Starting work before you are authorized is considered UNAUTHORIZED EMPLOYMENT and will result in the termination of your I-20/visa.
Please remember that CPT is granted on a case-by-case basis each semester. There is no guarantee that CPT will be approved.
DEFINITION: “(i) Curricular practical training. An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.” (https://www.ice.gov/sevis/schools/reg#f)
To be eligible for CPT, student must:
- You must be in valid F-1 visa status.
- You must be registered as a FULL-TIME student in an academic program (Any students enrolled in ESL courses is NOT eligible).
- You must have completed one (1) full academic year in the U.S. at the undergraduate or graduate level. The only exception is if a graduate program REQUIRES immediate participation.
- You must have a job offer letter when you apply.
- CPT is not a back door to employment and should not be used solely as an income source. CPT is academic in nature. YOU SHOULD NOT BE BRIDGING YOUR CPT TO YOUR OPT. Please be aware that bridging may result in issues with your Post-Completion OPT application, STEM OPT, or H1B in the future.
- Your job/internship/volunteer position MUST be directly related to your program of study.
- CPT is only available BEFORE graduation/completion of your program.
- Your CPT must be attached to a course in the semester during which you will be working. Example: if you are doing a summer CPT, you must be enrolled in a summer course. ENROLLMENT IN A COURSE IS REQUIRED. Please consult your academic advisor on which course you should enroll in for CPT.
- CPT must “be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school”
- If you have already completed all degree requirements, you are not eligible for CPT. You cannot delay graduation to apply for CPT as a way to lengthen employment.
- Full-time CPT: working a total of more than 20 hours per week
- A total of 365 days of full-time on CPT makes you INELIGIBLE for OPT.
- Example: working 3 months of full-time CPT each summer break for 4 years = 365 days = ineligible for OPT.
- You must maintain full-time enrollment or have submitted a Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) form for a valid reason
- If you also work on-campus, your TOTAL hours between on and off campus employment must be more than 20 hours per week and less than 40. Example: if your work 15 hours on-campus, you will only be allowed to work 25 hours off-campus.
- Bachelor level students: Full-time CPT is only allowed during summer break, winter break, or in your graduating semester.
- Master level students: Full-time CPT is only allowed during summer break, winter break, or in your graduating semester.
- PhD level students: Full-time CPT is reviewed and authorized on a case by case basis.
- Part-Time CPT: working a total of 20 hours or less per week
- You can apply for CPT even if you have an on-campus job, including research and teaching assistantships.
- You must keep note of your hours. If you also work on-campus, your TOTAL hours between on and off campus employment must be 20 hours or less per week. Example: if your work 5 hours on-campus, you will only be allowed to work 15 hours off-campus.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
- CPT ONLY authorizes you for work in the US.
- If you wish to continue CPT with the same employer the next semester, you will need to submit a new application, updated offer letter, course expectations, etc.
- If you change employers, you MUST submit a new application and inform your ISAO advisor so they can cancel your current CPT and authorize new employment/issue a new I-20
- If any information regarding your employment changes (like if you stop working before your end date), you must contact your advisor so that your SEVIS record can be updated.
- Even if the internship is unpaid, you must apply for CPT work authorization because it is still professional experience
Information & Fact Sheets
- CPT How to Apply
- CPT APPLICATION
- CPT – Volunteering vs. Employment
- Does your employer have questions about hiring you? You can give them this info sheet about employing international students