Following the completion of one full academic year as a full-time student in F-1 status, you may apply for the benefit of obtaining practical experience in your field of study. Because you may perform duties for which a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident would normally be paid, the Code of Federal Regulations allows you to be paid as well, as long as your practical training complies with all other regulatory requirements. (Note: If you re-enter the U.S. using a new SEVIS record following the termination of a previous record for whatever reason, you must complete an additional full academic year of full-time study in order to become eligible for CPT.)
If the practical training you want to apply for a) is part of an internship course required by your educational program, b) offers you academic credit for the training, c) contributes directly to your thesis or dissertation research, or d) is provided by an organization with which your school has entered into a cooperative agreement, the practical training is considered part of your academic curriculum and is known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT). This form of practical training, because it is so closely tied to your program of study, is authorized directly by ISSS. CPT is only available during your program of study and requires a specific placement position. CPT that fulfills the requirements for a specific course may begin only after the course has begun and must end prior to the end of the course.
You should submit a CPT request at least two weeks prior to your proposed employment start date to ensure timely processing.
CPT may be part time or full time. Part-time CPT is defined as 20 hours or fewer per week. Full-time CPT is any training that exceeds 20 hours per week. Note: If you accumulate 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you will lose eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) at this degree level.
• Completed CPT request (via ISSS Link)
• Written offer of employment on the company’s official letterhead signed by the prospective supervisor or hiring manager. The letter must include the employer’s name, the beginning and ending dates of the employment, the number of hours per week, the address of the employment site, the position title and a description of the position. (This letter will be scanned and uploaded via ISSS Link as part of the request process.)
Note: If your application requires additional documentation or if any of the above-mentioned documents are missing or incomplete, processing delays may occur.
Engaging in employment prior to receiving ISSS authorization (on form I-20) constitutes a violation of the non-immigrant status.