United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as employment which is an integral part of the established curriculum, including: “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” [8 CFR 214.2 (f)(10)(i)].
CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of application. CPT is approved by the ISS. CPT does not require USCIS authorization, so the processing time is minimal. If CPT is approved, USCIS will be notified via SEVIS. Students will receive an updated Form I-20 with the CPT notation. If you wish to pursue CPT another time, you will need to complete a new application and register for the appropriate course for that term. It is important to be aware that 12 months or more of full time CPT will cancel your eligibility for OPT.
There are 2 types of CPT
- Required part of the program– the program requires employment in the field of study to graduate.
- Non-required part of the program – the practical experience is for credit and directly related to your field of study. You must be enrolled in a “CPT approved course” like the CPT Winter Study Course following the summer internship experience. CPT Winter Study does not take the place of the required Winter Study course.
- Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one academic year.
- In certain circumstances transfer students may count time spent at their previous institution towards the one academic year requirement. Please ask the Assistant Dean of International Student Services if you have questions.
- Be in lawful F-1 status at the time of applying for CPT.
- Have a job offer.
Submit the following to ISS
- A description of how the internship is related to your field of study
- A copy of the job offer letter you obtained from the employer. The job offer letter must include the following information on company letterhead:
- Your name
- Company’s name
- A statement of the job offer
- The number of hours to be worked [or full or part-time specified]
- The start and end date of the employment