Curricular Practical Training—CPT FAQs
I heard that Curricular Practical Training is any off-campus job. Is that true?
No. USCIS defines curricular practical training (CPT) as an employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum. It includes alternative work/study, internship, or cooperative education arranged with the approval of your academic program, or any type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements. CPT may take place during the academic year and/or in the summer and MUST be undertaken and completed prior to the completion of a course of study.
I found a very good internship opportunity. Can I start working next week?
No. You must have authorization from the IPS advisor before you begin a paid or unpaid internship or any other form of curricular practical training. You need to get a new SEVIS I-20 issued by the IPS immigration advisor which is endorsed with curricular practical training authorization before your start working on your internship.
Is CPT usually required or is it only recommended?
USCIS interprets CPT in two ways. CPT may be required or recommended. This is decided by the stated requirements of an academic degree. CPT is required when it is a required part of the curriculum; it should be mentioned in the University catalog in the description of the department's requirements for all students.
CPT is recommended when it is beneficial for the student to engage in the employment experience but the experience is NOT necessary for the completion of the degree. A student authorized for recommended CPT is required by current immigration regulations to register for a minimum of 1 college credit which reflects the CPT placement; this credit must be granted by the academic department for each semester of the CPT placement, including the summer semester.
I just started my studies at MTU. Am I eligible to do curricular practical training right away?
You need to be in F-1 status and enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year before becoming eligible for practical training. Graduate students are eligible to start CPT in their first semester if the CPT is required of all students in their academic programs.
Can I do full-time CPT and still be eligible for OPT?
Students who complete 12 or more months of full-time curricular practical training (CPT) will be ineligible for OPT. To continue to be eligible for OPT you will want to make sure to do 364 days or less of full-time CPT.
Is there a fee for CPT?
No fee is required with a CPT application submitted to the IPS advisor. CPT is processed and approved at the IPS office.
What paperwork do I need to apply for the CPT?
You need to complete and submit all items listed in the CPT checklist.
What if I get a new job in my area of studies? Do I need to apply again?
Yes. A new application will be required if there is a change of employers or if the employment is to be continued beyond the current ending date. An updated offer letter and an updated Academic Advisor's form are required.