F-1 Curricular Practical Training

Following the completion of one full academic year as a full-time student, if you currently hold F-1 status, you may apply for the benefit of obtaining practical experience to fulfill a curricular requirement. 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 required of all students in your program of study, b) fulfills the requirements of a course for which you will receive academic credit, c) contributes directly to your thesis or dissertation research, or d) is provided by an organization with which your school has previously entered into a cooperative educational 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 forms a part of 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.

Required Documentation

• A completed CPT request (via ISSS Link)

• A written offer of training/employment on the company’s official letterhead signed by the prospective supervisor or hiring manager. The letter must include:

  1. The organization’s name and full address (including zip code) of the exact location of your internship
  2. The exact beginning and ending dates of the internship
  3. The number of hours per week you are expected to work
  4. The title and a brief description of the position you will fill

(This letter will be scanned and uploaded via ISSS Link as part of the request process.)

Note: If the employer provides only a standard hiring letter that does not include all the required information, you must request an additional letter from your supervisor that does include the required information. Upload the offer letter and the secondary letter together.


  1. Check the quick links to the right to learn more about the procedures required by your program in order for the academic advisor or dean to approve CPT.
  2. Submit the CPT e-form request (and scanned copy of position offer letter) via ISSS Link.
  3. Your academic program will confirm that the position that you wish to accept fulfills a curricular requirement.
  4. Your international student advisor will review the request, determine eligibility, and process your request within five business days.
  5. You will receive notification via email when the I-20 is available for your signature and pickup.
  6. Bring the original employment offer letter along with your immigration documents to ISSS when you come to pick up your new form I-20.

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 your non-immigrant status.