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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is available to F-1 students where the practical training is related to the student's field of study and is an integral part of an established curriculum. While the immigration regulations lay out the basic criteria for OPT, eligibility and employment options for CPT differ from school to school.

Who is eligible for Curricular Practical Training?

To be eligible for CPT, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. You must have completed one academic year of full-time study in valid F-1 student status. Graduate students may be eligible for CPT before completing one academic year if the degree program requires immediate participation in an internship.
  2. You must have an offer of employment for work that qualifies for CPT.
  3. You must be able to demonstrate through formal documentation that the employment is required for the degree program or a specific course. If the employment is required for a course, you must document that you will receive academic credit.

According to immigration regulations, to qualify for CPT the employment must be either:

  1. Employment that is required by the degree program on CPT is available where the employment is a required part of the degree program for all students, regardless of whether academic credit is awarded. The requirement must be formally documented.
  2. Employment that is required by a course for academic credit on CPT is available where the employment is required by a specific course for academic credit. The requirement must be formally documented in the course catalog. The course must be taken for academic credit during the same term that the employment takes place.

Applying for Curricular Practical Training:

To apply for CPT, you must receive authorization from the Office of Visa and Immigration Services (OVIS). OVIS will review your request and evaluate your eligibility for CPT. If you meet all the eligibility requirements the CPT request will be approved and you will be issued a new Form I-20 with the CPT endorsement. This will allow you to begin the CPT employment.

Please be aware that you must not continue employment beyond the date authorized on the Form I-20 unless you request and are granted an extension of permission to work. Employment after the expiration date of your CPT is unauthorized employment and a violation of immigration status.

To submit your CPT request, please complete the  CPT request form

The CPT form must be completed and signed by you and by the appropriate academic advisor, supervising faculty or Registrar. Please return the completed, signed form to the Office of Visa and Immigration Services along with the following:
  1. Copy of employment offer letter;
  2. A copy of the front and back of your most recent I-94 card (if you entered the U.S. by land), or a copy of your most recent admission stamp and Form I-94 print-out (if you entered by land or sea).  You can access and print your electronic Form I-94 here

Please allow sufficient time for review and processing of your CPT request. We recommend submitting your request at least one to two weeks prior to the begin date of your internship to allow for CPT processing.

CPT Employment Duration and Compensation

Students may engage in part-time CPT (20 hours or less per week) during the academic term or full-time CPT during a vacation term. Please be aware though, that if you work for 12 months or more in full-time CPT you will no longer be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation.

There is no restriction on compensation during CPT.

Last Updated: 5/1/13