FAQ for CPT
The most frequently asked questions appear below.
- When do I need authorization for CPT?
- What is CPT—Curricular Practical Training?
- When is CPT required and when is it recommended?
- Who is eligible to do CPT?
- How much CPT can I do and still be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
- What must my GPA be?
- Is there a fee for CPT?
- What paperwork is required?
- If I get a new position, or I need to work for an additional period of time do I need to do a new CPT application?
- Can I work on-campus and do CPT?
Q. When do I need authorization for CPT?
A. You must have authorization from ISSC before you begin a paid or unpaid internship or any other form of CPT. As an F-1 student, your employment cannot begin until you receive your SEVIS I-20 with the CPT endorsement.
Any internship, paid or unpaid, must be authorized before you begin the placement!
Beginning CPT without proper authorization is a violation of immigration regulations and will have serious consequences.
Q. What is CPT—Curricular Practical Training?
A. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is defined to be alterative work/study, internship, or cooperative education arranged with the approval of your program, or any type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements. CPT may take place during the academic year and/or in the summer and MUST be undertaken prior to the completion of a course of study. Because USCIS uses a broad definition of employment – any activity for which a student receives a benefit, monetary or otherwise – even unpaid internships require CPT authorization.
Q. When is CPT required and when is it recommended
A. CPT may be required or recommended.
CPT is required when it is a required part of the curriculum; it should be mentioned in the section of the College catalog, which describes the department’s requirements and course offerings. All students in that degree program are required to complete an internship or practicum.
CPT is recommended when it is beneficial for the student to engage in the employment experience but the experience is not necessary for the completion of the degree. A student authorized for recommended CPT is required by current immigration regulations to register for a minimum of 1 college credit, which reflects the CPT placement; the academic department for each semester of the CPT placement, including summer semester, must grant this credit.
A. Students in F-1 status must have been lawfully enrolled in school on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year to become eligible for practical training. CPT must be undertaken prior to the completion of a course of study.
In addition to the lawful requirements, students must also meet certain program requirements:
- An undergraduate student must be eligible to receive academic credit for an internship. Check with your academic department to determine your eligibility.
- Undergraduate Zicklin students, you must be admitted to the Zicklin School of Business.
- Graduate MBA and MS students in the Zicklin School of Business must complete 12 credits to be eligible for CPT.
- All other Graduate students must speak with their department to determine if they have completed enough credits to be eligible for the internship.
Q. How much CPT can I do and still be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
A.. A student that accrues more than 365 days of Full-Time CPT, becomes ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). A student is then essentially forfeiting his/her OPT.
Please Note: The “365-Day Rule” ONLY applies to FULL-Time CPT. You can accrue Part-Time CPT without affecting your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Q. How many hours can I work per week?
A. Undergraduate Students can work up to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring Semesters, and full-time during the annual break. (IMPORTANT: Please read the next FAQ!)
Graduate Students can work part-time(up to 20 hours per week) or full-time during both the Fall and Spring Semesters, and during the annual break. (IMPORTANT: Please read the next FAQ!)
Q. Can I work on-campus and do CPT?
A. If you are authorized to work on-campus and also choose to engage in Practical Training (CPT or Pre-OPT), per ICE regulations the total number of hours for the Practical training and on-campus employment can NOT exceed 20 hours while school is in session. You may work full-time during periods when school is not in session or during your annual break. This rule applies to both graduate and undergraduate students.
A. Graduate students must have at least a 3.0 GPA. For Undergraduate students there is no policy other than maintaining good academic standing.
A. There is no fee to apply for CPT. Processing is done in the ISSC office. Once you have submitted all the required documents, it takes 5 business days to complete the processing of the new SEVIS I-20.
Q. What paperwork is required?
A. The following three (3) items are needed to process an application for CPT:
1. Completed Faculty Advisor CPT Form ( This form is to be completed by Undergraduate Students only)
2. Offer letter from employer on their official letterhead stating:
- The starting and ending dates of the placement
- The number of hours per week (maximum of 20 for Part-Time CPT)
- A brief description of duties to be performed
3. Proof that you have registered and paid for the Internship Course
Once the CPT application is complete, the International Student Service Center will update the SEVIS record and print a copy of the student’s SEVIS I-20, authorizing CPT with that employer only. The SEVIS I-20 will then be given to the student. You must be issued the SEVIS I-20 before commencing employment
Q. If I get a new position, or I need to work for an additional period of time do I need to do a new CPT application?
A. A new application will be required if there is a change of employers or if the employment is to be continued beyond the current ending date. An updated offer letter and an Academic Advisor’s form is required.
Q. Can I work on-campus and do CPT?
A. If you are authorized to work on-campus and also choose to engage in Practical Training (CPT or Pre-OPT), per ICE regulations the total number of hours for the Practical Training and on-campus employment can NOT exceed twenty hours while school is in session. You may work full-time during periods when school is not in session or during your annual break.