CPT Work Authorization Application

Before submitting a request for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) please review all of the information below.

General Overview

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is practical training authorization with a specific employer for a specific period of time.  The use of the term "internship" in the below instructions refers to any eligible, academically-related practical training opportunity or experience and is not exclusively referring to positions with an 'internship' employment position title. 

Curricular practical training authorizes a student to take part in a practicum, internship, field placement or other academic experience off-campus that is an “integral part of an established curriculum.” More specifically:

  • Before any off-campus practical training begins the student MUST obtain authorization from ISSS in the form of a CPT authorization on the student's I-20.  Authorization may never be backdated and working without authorization is considered a serious violation of status by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • CPT is required for both paid and unpaid academic related practicums, internships and field placements (or other related experience) with an off-campus employer.
    • If you have questions about the difference between volunteering and unpaid experiences, please review our Employment page and select "Volunteering and Unpaid Experiencesfor more information.
  • CPT training must be “an integral part of an established curriculum” and must be “directly related to the student’s major area of study,” as determined and supported by the student’s academic department. 
  • CPT can only be authorized at the same time a student is enrolled in a credit-bearing, internship dedicated course approved by the academic department unless it is a non-credit experience required for all students in the degree program to graduate (as defined in the program curriculum's graduate bulletin) and/or research directly related to a graduate student’s thesis/dissertation (if the student is also enrolled in thesis/dissertation credit).
  • CPT must be completed prior to the completion of the student’s academic program.
  • CPT will be approved for no more than the official length of the term, one term at a time.  A new application will need to be submitted for additional terms or additional days which fall outside the University academic calendar.  For more information, see the term specific policies below.
  • CPT is generally done on a part-time basis (up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session).  Certain qualifications must be met to work more than 20 hours per week.  Please read the Part-time v. Full-time CPT section below for more information.

Before proceeding to the CPT application checklist you must select each title below and read the information carefully.

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.

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 2022: August 22, 2022- December 13, 2022
  • Spring 2023: January 18, 2023- May 10, 2023

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).

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.

CPT Application Checklist

  • Step 1: Carefully review the above instructions and the CPT Request Powerpoint. Contact ISSS if you have any questions about the policies and procedures.
    • You can watch a recording of our most recent live workshop, recorded on June 14, 2022.

  • Step 2: Obtain an official letter from a prospective practical training employer containing the following information:
    • - Specific beginning and end date of the practical training opportunity (remember, CPT is only authorized one term at a time, and the dates of the practical training should fall within the term specific policies).
    • - The hours per week 
    • - The specific duties and responsibilities (these must directly relate to the student's major)
    • - The employer's signature

You will be required to upload the employer letter as part of your EForm submission to ISSS. Here is a sample employer letter you can share with your employer if they need assistance.

Need help with your internship search?  The Office of Career and Professional Development in Science Library G-50 can help with that.

  • Step 3: Share the practical training employment offer with your academic advisor and department chair.  Your academic advisor and department chair must agree that the position directly relates to your major and can be included as part of your curriculum before you to proceed with the CPT request.  If the academic advisor and department chair approve, they will need to indicate the recommended academic reason for the CPT and complete this academic advisor's authorization form.  Both electronic and wet signatures are accepted.  You will be required to upload this PDF with approval as part of your EForm submission to ISSS.
    •  - If you are a graduate student with on-campus employment you also need to get permission from The Graduate School for additional off-campus employment.  Please send the academic advisor authorization form (above) to The Graduate School at [email protected] for this permission, if eligible.  You will be required to upload proof of this permission as part of your EForm submission to ISSS.
  • Step 4: Enroll in the internship-dedicated course recommended by your academic department.  The course enrollment must be for the same term you are requesting CPT authorization for. If you are in a program with a required, non-credit practicum no registration is required, but ISSS may request to see other proof of future term registration if the CPT will occur between terms.  ISSS will not process the EForm without the required course registration.
  • Step 5: Submit the CPT Work Authorization Application EForm and supporting documents to the ISSS Office.  Please allow at least 5-7 business days for processing after a complete request is submitted.
  1. Click here to navigate to the AccessISSS online system.  Login with your UAlbany NetID (ex: AA123456) and password.
  2. Watch this recording to help you navigate to the EForm menu.
  3. Select the "CPT Work Authorization Application Form" from the EForm menu.
  4. This EForm will ask you to upload supporting documents. If you need assistance, please review the File Upload Instructions webpage.
  5. All updates related to your EForm will be communicated over email. Please allow up to 5-7 business days for processing.
  6. If the position is paid and you don't yet have a Social Security Number (SSN), please submit a SSN Status Letter EForm request as well.
  • Step 6: Remember that you may not begin employment until after the CPT is authorized by ISSS and you've received a new I-20 as evidence of this authorization.  For paid practical training opportunities the student should share the I-20 with the employer for I-9 processing.

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this web site/form is provided as a service to international students, faculty and staff at the University at Albany. It does not constitute legal advice. We try to provide useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site or any associated site or form. Neither the University at Albany nor ISSS is responsible for any errors or omissions contained in this website, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel; students may wish to consult an immigration attorney on the specifics of their case as needed.