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Curricular Practical Training

What is Curricular Practical Training?

Curricular practical training, or CPT, is an option available to F-1 students when employment is part of your academic program or when you will receive academic credit for work. This employment may be in the form of an internship, cooperative education job, practicum, or any other work experience that is either required for your degree, as defined in the course catalog, or for which academic credit is awarded.

What determines if I am eligible for CPT?

  1. You must have been in legal status for one academic year (9 consecutive months) in a degree program.
  2. Graduate students may be eligible for CPT in the first year of study.
  3. Undergraduate students are not eligible in their first year of study.
  4. Graduate students are not eligible or permitted to engage in CPT during the quarter they are to take the comprehensive exam or file their thesis/dissertation.
  5. Your employment must be an integral part of your degree program or requirement for a course. This includes independent study for which you will be awarded at least one course credit. You must be registered for the course during the period that you are working under CPT authorization.
  6. Your job offer must be related to your major or field of study.

Does my time doing CPT deduct from the twelve months of OPT?

Time spent doing CPT employment will not be deducted from the twelve months of eligible OPT. However, if you use twelve months or more of full-time curricular practical training, or 24 months of part-time CPT (or a combination of both), you will be ineligible for any OPT in your current degree program.

How do I apply for Curricular Practical Training?

Stop by the IPS office to pick up an application packet and schedule a meeting with the Immigration Counselor. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will bring the forms and documents listed in the application packet to your meeting with the counselor, who will review and process them. All CPT applicants, full-time and part-time, will need to present the counselor with the following documents:

  1. Studentís current I-20 (original);
  2. Studentís passport;
  3. Employment Supplemental Form;
  4. Letter from employer (on official company letterhead) offering the confirmed position and brief description of your duties; and
  5. A letter from your academic advisor or the professor with whom you will be taking the CPT course for credit. NOTE: This letter MUST identify the employer with whom you will work and the beginning and ending date of the CPT.
For more updated list of documents and the necessary forms, please come by IPS and pick up the handouts.

The authorization is noted on page 3 of your I-20 form. You must not continue employment beyond the date authorized.

You may not start work until IPS issues the authorization for CPT on your I-20. We recommend you apply at least two (2) weeks prior to the start date of employment. IPS will not authorize CPT more than eight (8) weeks prior to the start date of employment unless specifically requested by the employer.

What proof of employment authorization do I need to give my employer?

Your I-20 form authorized for CPT on page 3 and a Social Security number are all you will need to provide your employer.

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Last Update: 08/19/2011