Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment authorization for F-1 students to work in an internship, co-op, or practicum that is directly related to their major field of study. The purpose of CPT is to apply the knowledge and skills you gain in the classroom to practical work experience.
CPT is a benefit of maintaining your F-1 student visa status. CPT is not a separate visa category and does not require “sponsorship” from an employer. You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT. CPT is only available before you complete your degree program and should not be used as a means to extend your SEVIS program end date/degree completion.
CPT must be pre-authorized by a Designated School Official (DSO). If your request is approved, the DSO will issue you a new I-20 showing the CPT authorization on page 2. You must have CPT authorization before you can start your internship/co-op/practicum. CPT authorization is typically granted for one semester at a time. You must be enrolled for the semester that you plan to do your CPT experience before you submit your completed CPT application to the DSO unless your practical training is required by your degree program with no course enrollment.
It may take up to 15 business days for the DSO to evaluate your CPT request. Please submit your request as early as possible and ensure that your materials are complete and accurately filled out. Please be advised that if the Designated School Official needs to reach out to you for additional information, the request may take additional time. We advise you to plan ahead and pick a start date that allows for this processing time.
The DSO requires documentation from your Academic Advisor and the ENC Registrar as part of your CPT application. You must include, at a minimum:
Course enrollment in a CPT course is required (generally 1-3 credits). Talk to your academic/faculty advisor and career services for possible CPT course enrollment options and permission to enroll. The option for the elective must be listed for your major in the ENC course catalog.
Potential consequences of accepting a paid or unpaid practical training opportunity without proper authorization may include:
If you find that you have violated your F-1 status, meet with an ENC DSO as quickly as possible. The ENC DSO will review your options to correct your F-1 status.
A degree-seeking F-1 student who:
To apply for CPT authorization, you must complete the following steps:
You may be approved for CPT multiple times during your degree program. At all times, you must continue to make satisfactory progress toward completing your degree program. You must also meet the CPT eligibility requirements each time you request authorization.
If you are authorized for 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are not eligible for post-completion OPT (at the same degree level). Please click here for the regulations.
Accumulating part-time CPT generally does not affect your eligibility for post-completion OPT. However, please know that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will review an OPT applicant’s entire CPT history when determining OPT eligibility.
Part-time and full-time practical training is defined by immigration as:
Your CPT must be authorized for either part-time or full-time. If there will be a change in the number of hours per week you work that will change your part-time or full-time authorization, you must have new CPT authorization before you change your work schedule. A change in part-time/full-time CPT authorization requires a new CPT application.
You must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time and be physically present on campus in order to maintain lawful F-1 status during fall and spring semesters.
CPT is typically authorized one semester at a time and is based on confirmation of your enrollment in a CPT course or your major's/program's required practical training experience.
Before you may start your practical training experience, you must have an I-20 with valid CPT authorization dates.
If you need to shorten the dates of your CPT authorization, email the DSO with your request and confirmation of the new dates from your employer and academic/faculty/career advisor. It is not possible to change your CPT dates after your CPT authorization has ended.
CPT and on-campus employment are separate authorizations. You may have an on-campus job and CPT authorization at the same time. You are eligible for employment authorization as long as you maintain your F-1 status.
Remember, you are required to maintain valid F-1 status, including full-time enrollment during the fall and spring semesters. As an F-1 student, your primary purpose in the U.S. is to earn a degree. On-campus employment and CPT are benefits of maintaining your F-1 status, so it is important to prioritize your studies. If you are considering a combination of CPT and on-campus employment that totals more than 20 hours per week, please understand it is likely to negatively impact your academic progress, so proceed cautiously. We encourage you to consider your wellness and work-life balance as you determine which employment opportunities you wish to pursue.
We recommend that you consult with your employing department(s) and other funding sources for additional rules that may limit your work hours.
During the authorized dates of your CPT, you must:
Stop working on the end date of your CPT authorization on page 2 of your CPT I-20.
You do not need a new I-20 at the end of CPT. The I-20 is still valid until the program end date on page 1, as long as you continue to maintain your full-time enrollment.
After the end date of your CPT authorization, you must:
You are required to file taxes on any taxable income earned.