Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is intended to provide work experience in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student's academic program, prior to completion of that program and is a type of off-campus work permission for F-1 international students who want to gain experience in their fields of study. An F–1 student may be authorized 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.
To obtain CPT, a student must:
The Office of International Education will grant permission for CPT after establishing the student's eligibility and reviewing the application materials. The authorization is granted by issuing a new I-20 for the student with the employer's information notated on page three of the document. After the request for CPT is submitted to the Office of International Education, the student will be contacted to schedule an appointment to submit the required documents for the new I-20 to be issued. The I-20 is shown to the employer as evidence of work authorization.
There is no limit to the amount of CPT a student is eligible for; however, if 12 months or more of full-time CPT are used, a student forfeits OPT eligibility. Accrual of part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT. CPT is not available after a student completes a degree program.
Students are eligible for CPT under one of the following two categories and two time periods:
1) Degree Requirement
CPT may be authorized when an internship is a requirement of a degree program (i.e. all students in the program must complete an internship to obtain the degree). Authorization can be for full-time or part-time employment, depending on the academic department's requirement.
2) Course Credit
CPT may be authorized for students who enroll in a course that requires employment to earn a grade, or a course where students design their own research project based on the employment. Enrollment in the course must be concurrent with the employment. Authorization will be granted on a semester-only basis. However, if a student wishes to work for a period longer than the last day of the semester, he or she must enroll in the next available semester before authorization can be extended beyond the current term.
A) Fall and Spring CPT
Employment is limited to part time (20 hrs/week or less) during the fall and spring semesters. However, graduate students who have advanced to candidacy are eligible for full-time employment during the semester as long as the employment is integral to their degree programs and is stated as such in the letters of support from the academic departments.
B) Summer CPT
Full-time (20 hours or more per week) employment is allowed for all continuing students in the summer. If summer is the first or final semester of a student’s degree program, CPT is limited to 20 hours per week Summer CPT can start no earlier than the day after spring semester finals and end no later than the day before classes begin for the fall semester.
Students in English language programs are not eligible for CPT. If the student 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.
To extend CPT beyond the current semester, complete below steps one through four again. An extension of CPT authorization cannot be granted until proof of enrollment is available. Students who are working in the fall term and wish to extend through winter break into the spring term should consult with the Office of International Education.
In general, F-1 students who have been in the U.S. for no more than five different calendar years are exempt from Social Security taxes. You should be sure to bring this to the attention of your employer because many employers are not familiar with this provision of the tax laws. Students in F-1 status are subject to all other taxes that may apply, including federal, state and local. For more information, please consult with a tax professional and/or Publication 519 of the Internal Revenue Service.
F-1 students are responsible for complying with all immigration regulations, including employment regulations. Working without the proper authorization is a serious violation of nonimmigrant status in the U.S. If a student fails to comply, he or she may not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F-1 students and may jeopardize his or her stay in the U.S. Prior to accepting any employment in the US, students should consult with the Office of International Education.