Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an alternative to work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by employers through cooperative agreements with the school that an F-1 student is enrolled in.
An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO at the institution to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum.
In order for a student to be eligible to participate in a Curricular Practical Training program, the student must first meet the following criteria established by the USCIS:
- The student must be a full-time student for at least one academic year, normally 8-9 consecutive months (unless a graduate student in a special program);
- Training must be related to the course of study;
- Training must not be for English language training;
- A job offer is required to apply; and
- The student must submit the CPT request to the DSO of the institution and follow the internal procedures established by the DSO.
Furthermore, a student who has been awarded curricular practical training may be granted the training on a part-time or full-time basis. Those who work on a part-time basis are only allowed to work for 20 hours or fewer; those who are on a full-time basis, they are allowed to work 20 hours or more per week. [8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(10)(i)]If a student as obtained one year or more of full time CPT, then post-completion training is not available.
However, exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.
To grant authorization for a student to engage in curricular practical training, a DSO at a SEVIS school will update the student's record in SEVIS as being authorized for curricular practical training that is directly related to the student's major area of study. The DSO will indicate whether the training is full-time or part-time, the employer and location, and the employment start and end date. The DSO will then print a copy of the employment page of the SEVIS Form I-20 indicating that curricular practical training has been approved. The DSO must sign, date, and return the SEVIS Form I-20 to the student prior to the student's commencement of employment.
Generally, participation in a CPT provides an F-1 student the opportunity to gain work experience and to find a potential future employer.
For more information about F-1 visas, please click on one of the following links:
Application Requirements for an F-1 Visa
Gaining F-1 status after obtaining an F-1 visa
Changing to F-1 Status While in the United States
Eligibility Requirements for a Change of Status to F-1 Status in the United States
Maintaining valid F-1 status
F-1 Student’s Change of Name and/or Address
Transfer of School
Transfer of Major
Time limitation of F-1 Status
Extension of F-1 Status
F-1 Status reinstatement
Employment Opportunities That Do Not Require Explicit USCIS Approval
Employment Opportunities That Require Explicit USCIS approval
Optional Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training
Change of Status from F-1 to H-1B
Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Immigrant Status
The Spouse and/or Children of an F-1 Student
Attorney and filing fees
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about F-1 Visas/Statuses
The Impact of I-140 Filing on F-1 Students
Special Rules for Certain Border Commuter Students