Following the completion of one full academic year as a full-time student, those holding F-1 status may apply for the benefit of obtaining practical experience in their field of study. Because the F-1 student may perform duties for which a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident would normally be paid, the Code of Federal Regulations allows the F-1 student to be paid, as well, as long as the practical training for which the student has been authorized complies with all other regulatory requirements.
If the practical training for which they wish to apply is a) part of an internship course required of all students in the student’s educational program, b) the student will register for and receive academic credit for the training, c) the training directly contributes to the student’s thesis or dissertation research, or d) the student’s school has entered into a cooperative agreement with the organization providing the training, the practical training is considered part of the student’s academic curriculum and is known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT). This form of practical training, because it is so closely tied to the student’s program of study, is authorized directly by ISSS. CPT is only available during the student’s program of study and requires a specific placement position.
ISSS strongly suggests submission of a CPT request at least two weeks prior to the proposed employment start date to ensure timely processing. Authorization for CPT will be granted for one semester or summer term per request. If a student wishes to extend the period of authorization, a new request with new supporting documentation must be submitted.
Curricular Practical Training may be part time or full time. Part-time CPT is defined as 20 hours or less per week. Full-time CPT is any training that exceeds 20 hours per week. Note: If a student accumulates 12 months or more of full-time CPT, the student will lose eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) at this degree level.
• A completed CPT Request Form
• A copy of the 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.
Note: If your application requires additional documentation or if any of the above-mentioned documents are missing or incomplete, processing delays may occur. Again, ISSS strongly suggests submission of a CPT request at least two weeks prior to the proposed employment start date to ensure timely processing (authorization cannot be backdated). Engaging in employment prior to receiving ISSS authorization (on form I-20) constitutes a violation of the non-immigrant status.