The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines CPT as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school” further stating that CPT must be “an integral part of an established curriculum”. Therefore CPT must be work experience or practicum directly related to the student’s major area of study serving as a vital part of a student’s education.
CPT may not be available for all majors. Before beginning the application process check with your International Student Advisor to find out if it is available for you.
Note: If you have 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are ineligible for OPT, but part-time CPT is fine and will not stop you from doing OPT.
To be eligible for CPT:
- Student must have lawfully completed one full time academic year of study
- Student must be in status
- Employment must be directly related to the student’s program of study and be a part of an established curriculum
- The training employment of the CPT must be required by the student’s program of study or
- The training employment of the CPT will result in awarded academic credit
To apply for the CPT you must meet with the OGE advisor and bring:
1. Copy of the official offer letter on company letterhead signed by the prospective employer. Letter should include
- Location where employment will take place
- Beginning and ending date of employment
- Number of hours student will work per week
- Student’s position title and duties described in detail which will clearly show duties as fitting the degree requirements
- Supervisor’s name and phone number
2. Copies of current immigration documents
- Unexpired foreign passport
- Form I-20(s)
- Most recent Form I-94
Once your application is reviewed, the OGE advisor will determine your eligibility. If eligible, you will be issued a new Form I-20. Then and only then, may you begin your CPT.
Remember: The issued work authorization is valid for a specific employer, period of time and location which is documented on your new Form I-20. You may not continue working beyond the expiration date indicated on the Form I-20. Working beyond the authorized period of time is a violation of the F-1 nonimmigrant student status and will result in your falling out of status, jeopardizing your ability to continue your studies in the US.
How to Apply
1. Register for the CPT course before applying.
2. Obtain a copy of the official offer letter on company letterhead signed by the prospective employer. Letter should include employer’s full name, address, dates of employment and duties.
3. Fill out the CPT recommendation form
4. Submit a copy of your
- Current Form I-20
- Most recent Form I-94
- Unexpired passport
5. Your preceptor must sign your CPT application form. Meet with your preceptor before applying to make sure you are in good academic standing and that your CPT is directly related to your major area of study. Without the preceptor’s recommendation your CPT application will not be approved.
6. If eligible, the OGE advisor will issue a new Form I-20 and you may begin your CPT employment.
7. You may not continue working beyond the expiration date indicated on the Form I-20. Working beyond the authorized period of time is a violation of your F-1 nonimmigrant student status and will result in your falling out of status, jeopardizing your ability to continue studies in the US.