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International Student Resources: CPT For Employers

This is a libguide with resources for international students at Eastern Nazarene College

CPT Information for Employers

FAQs for Employers of Students on CPT

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization for international students with F-1 visa status. Eligible students may seek authorization 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 they are gaining in the classroom to practical work experience in the U.S.

Does CPT require visa sponsorship?  No, CPT is not a separate visa category and does not require “sponsorship” from an employer. However, the student must have a practical training offer from the employer before they can apply for CPT authorization. A template letter can be found below.

Does CPT require payment?  CPT is for both paid and unpaid experiences. Remuneration of any kind constitutes payment for immigration purposes. This includes free or reduced-cost housing, parking, meals, etc. Be mindful of Department of Labor criteria for internships and volunteer positions.

Who authorizes CPT?  CPT is authorized by a Designated School Official (DSO) at Eastern Nazarene College. Please note that it may take the DSO up to 15 business days to review and approve a student’s CPT request.

A student must have CPT authorization before they can start their practical training experience. CPT authorization is typically granted for one semester at a time because authorization is contingent on enrollment in a specific course.  The student may reapply for CPT authorization.

What do I need to do to hire a student on CPT?  Once an F-1 student has accepted an offer from your company or organization, they will need an offer letter that provides specific information. The offer letter will become a key piece of documentation for the student's CPT Application. Please refer to the following section for more information about the offer letter and a template you can use.

What does CPT authorization look like?  CPT authorization is noted on an F-1 student’s I-20 form on page 2 (of 3 pages total). The employer should review the original I-20 document and verify the authorization dates and details.  The student must keep the original document for their permanent immigration records.

Completing the CPT Offer Letter

Student information:  Include the student's full legal name and address the letter to the student. 

Official name of employing organization:  The name used here will appear on the student’s official authorization. Typically, it should match the employer’s business or organization name used on the I-9 or EIN documentation.

Physical address of the work location:  This address refers to the place where the student will report to work each day. However, this may sometimes differ from the employer’s business or organization address used for I-9 or EIN documentation.

If these addresses differ, put the address where the student will be physically located. Although only the city and state will print on the student's employment authorization document, the entire address is reported through the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You can attach a supplemental document on your letterhead confirming the address at which the student is expected to report for work.

Indicate whether or not the student will be working remotely. Follow the same instructions above if the student will be working remotely.

Supervisor Information:  The name and contact information of the student’s direct supervisor will remain on file.

Requested dates of employment:  Exact start and end dates are required. The dates are typically contingent on specific course enrollment and therefore align roughly with the dates of the semester.

Note that these are the requested start and end dates. A student must have an I-20 with valid CPT authorization in order to start working. CPT review and processing can take up to 15 business days.

Authorized CPT dates may be able to be shortened or extended with the permission of the student, employer, and the student’s academic/faculty/career advisor and DSO approval.

Average hours per week:  CPT must be authorized for either part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week).  Some students may be restricted to the number of hours per week they can be authorized to work.

If there will be a change in the number of hours per week the student is expected to work that will mean a change to part- time or full-time status, a new CPT application must be submitted to the DSO for review and approval before the change of hours takes place.

Position details:  The position title and -- most importantly -- the position description must be directly related to the student’s major (not a minor or certificate). Attach additional pages on letterhead as needed.

Signature:  The name, title, and signature of a person authorized to hire or supervise an individual for practical training is required. Acceptable signatures include an authorized digital signature or physical signature on a paper form that has been scanned/emailed. The DSO will accept an emailed letter from the employer’s/trainer’s email address.

Return the complete letter to the student.  The student is responsible for submitting a completed CPT application form to the DSO for review and processing.

CPT Offer Letter Template Example