To qualify for CPT, the student must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:
- The student must have been enrolled full-time for one full academic year (a Fall and Spring semester) immediately prior to the employment/internship. Full-time enrollment is defined as 12 credits for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students.
- The student must be in active F-1 status and continuing to make progress towards a degree. F-1 CPT may only be authorized if the student is still actively pursuing a degree; CPT cannot be authorized after all degree program requirements are met.
- The student must have an official letter offering an internship placement or other qualifying practical training employment from an employer or organization. This letter should specify the name and address of the employer or organization, the duties and responsibilities of the position (which must directly relate to a student's major), the number of hours per week the student will work, and the beginning and ending dates of the employment or internship.
- The student must be recommended to participate in CPT by the student's academic advisor, department chair, and any other required officials.
- The internship or other qualifying practical training employment must be directly related to the student’s major.
- The student must enroll for the appropriate internship, independent/directed study or dissertation/thesis credit during the term which they are requesting CPT. This advanced registration is required before CPT may be authorized for a term.
- The student must obtain authorization from the Designated School Official at International Student and Scholar Services on page 2 of the SEVIS I-20 prior to commencing employment. CPT does not require adjudication by USCIS-DHS to be authorized, but CPT must be authorized on a student's I-20 before the practical training employment begins. CPT authorization may never be backdated and therefore student's may only begin work after the I-20 authorization for CPT has been issued.
- Students who already hold an on-campus position must request an Additional Service Authorization from The Graduate School.
- CPT authorization is temporary and limited. Students are only authorized to work for the specific employer, dates, and hours per week (part-time or full-time) listed on page 2 of the student's I-20.
Fall & Spring Term CPT
CPT may be authorized during Fall or Spring term if the student meets all eligibility requirements during the term requested and receives approval from ISSS for the CPT training. In most cases, CPT occurring during Fall or Spring term is part-time (20 hours per week or less) unless the student meets the limited eligibility requirements for full-time CPT (see section below).
Certain academic programs may allow a student to apply for CPT work authorization for multiple terms. Each term will be treated as a new and separate request, and all eligibility and application requirements must be met each term a student requests CPT authorization.
If a student is applying for Fall or Spring term CPT the student is expected to complete the CPT during the term dates as defined by the academic calendar (i.e. the dates of training may occur between the first day of classes and last day of final exams). If a student's training must occur outside that date range the student should contact ISSS for case-by-case assistance.
Below are the time frames for CPT authorization for upcoming terms:
- Fall 2023: August 21, 2023- December 12, 2023
- Spring 2024: January 17, 2024- May 8, 2024
Summer Term CPT
Summer is considered an academic term for CPT application purposes. Therefore, students are required to demonstrate summer term internship-dedicated course registration in order to engage in summer term CPT. Students must register for acceptable academic credit during the summer session in which they are requesting the CPT to take place. Exceptions to the summer term internship-course enrollment requirement for CPT authorization include:
- Students in an academic program that requires a non-credit internship, field-work placement or practicum for graduation in the program's published curriculum
- Students registered for eligible dissertation or thesis credits (e.g. 899) during the prior spring and/or following fall semester may devote those credits to the summer term if the internship/practical training requested is directly related to that student's dissertation research
- If there is a circumstance where a student's academic programs can not offer appropriate summer term academic credit for summer CPT, the student should consult ISSS and their academic department for case-by-case assistance
CPT Between Terms & Wintersession CPT
International students with approved CPT for fall, spring, or summer term may qualify for an extension of CPT, including permission for full-time employment, between terms (defined here as the time frame between the official end of one term and the official beginning of another term). This includes the winteresession. During these between term periods in most cases eligible international students do not need to enroll for additional academic credit, but they must demonstrate advanced registration for the upcoming term as evidence of their continuing student status.
Part-time CPT is defined as 20 or less hours per week of employment. Full-time CPT is defined as more than 20 hours per week of employment.
During the Fall and Spring term, most students are only eligible for part-time CPT.
Use of full-time CPT for more than one year (12 months) eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Students should consider this when planning out future CPT usage. Use of part-time CPT does not generally affect eligibility for OPT.
Students may be eligible for full-time CPT over break/vacation terms (i.e. summer term or wintersession).
Under normal circumstances full-time CPT may be available to students who are in their final semester of coursework but only if they are registered for no more than 9 credits.
Graduate students in their thesis or dissertation period may be eligible for full–time CPT if their work is directly related to their thesis/dissertation and the student has academic departmental support.