You must obtain CPT authorization before commencing employment.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations state that Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be directly related to the major and an integral part of an established curriculum.
CPT is defined as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” Thus, CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide work experience in the U.S. in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student’s academic program and an established curriculum, prior to completion of that program.
- You must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year before being eligible for CPT.
- EXCEPTION: for graduate students whose programs require immediate participation in an internship, a practicum, or other employment.
- It is available only while you are in valid F-1 status and before the completion of your program.
- If you had a gap in study or a status violation, the one academic year waiting period may need to be recalculated once the student has again obtained valid F-1 status.
The International Student Office (ISO) can authorize CPT if it can be clearly documented that the proposed employment meets the following conditions:
- 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 student has met eligibility requirements of their program to participate in CPT.
- The employment is directly related to the program of study.
Full Time vs. Part Time
- Part-Time Training
- 20 or less hours per week
- Full-Time Training
- 21 to 40 hours per week
Important Application Considerations
- If you are eligible and have the documentation required for CPT, a P/DSO will authorize CPT by issuing an updated I-20, and you will receive an email when it is ready.
- Submit your CPT application a minimum of one (1) week in advance of your scheduled start date.
- You may engage in CPT employment only after you have received the I-20 with your CPT authorization from ISO. This work authorization is valid only for the specific employer, location, time period and on a part-time or full-time basis as approved and recorded by a P/DSO as evidenced on your I-20 issued for CPT.
- You must not continue employment beyond the date authorized unless you apply and are granted an extension of your permission to work. To do so would be a violation of your non-immigrant student status, and such violation would jeopardize your ability to remain in the US.