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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is off campus work authorization for employment (whether it is paid or unpaid), such as an internship or practicum, for F-1 international students to receive further training. It is designed to achieve an established academic objective and is directly related to your degree level and major.

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

  • CPT is defined to be an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. This training must be an integral part of an established curriculum. (8 CFR 214.2 (f)(10)(i))
  • CPT is training that is designed to achieve an established academic objective, must be a requirement for a student's program, and be directly related to the student's major field of study.
  • Part-Time CPT

Part-time CPT is considered employment for 20 hours or less

There is no limitation on the length of time you may participate in part-time curricular practical training, but you must be enrolled in school during your training in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.

  • Full-Time CPT

Employment for more than 20 hours per week

While in full-time CPT, you need to be enrolled for classes in order to maintain lawful F-1 status. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in full-time CPT, but if you participate for twelve months or more you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training.

Who is Eligible to Apply for CPT?

  • F-1 students in good academic standing with Tarleton State University, in good legal status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year (Fall and Spring semesters) at a SEVIS approved school.
  • An exception may be made for graduate students who are required to participate in CPT during their first year of study. This means that all participants in an academic program must engage in an internship within the initial year of study.

How to Apply for CPT

You must complete the following steps before the date you wish to start employment. Keep in mind that you cannot lawfully start employment until you have received your new CPT I-20. 

Work permission is only granted for one semester at a time. You must repeat this process each semester you plan to work.

  • Receive an offer for CPT employment
  • Speak with your academic department to see if the employment/internship is an integral part of your academic program
  • Submit the following documents to the International Office:
    • Curricular Practical Training Application form
    • Official job offer letter on company letterhead
      • Job title and description
      • Number of hours being worked
      • Beginning and Ending dates of employment
    • Current I-20 
    • Copy of valid passport
    • I-94

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much CPT am I eligible for?
    • The amount of CPT you can receive is based upon your academic program.
  2. Will the time spent working on CPT affect the time that I receive for OPT?
    • Any time spent working on CPT does not affect the time that you are eligible for in OPT; however, if you engage in 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible to apply for OPT.
  3. Do I need a job offer in order to apply for CPT?
    • Yes. A student authorized for CPT may only be employed by a specific employer, at a specific location and for specific dates as approved by International Programs.
  4. Can I change employers while working on CPT?
    • Yes; however, you will need to submit a new CPT application. A student cannot start working with the new employer until they have received the updated I-20 reflecting the correct CPT information.
  5. When can I start working on my CPT?
    • You can start working with your CPT employer once you have received the I-20 reflecting the CPT authorization and the start dates has begun. The CPT work authorization will be indicated on the second page the I-20.
  6. When should I stop working on my CPT?
    • The end date of your CPT will be reflected on the second page of your I-20. You should stop working on or before this date. If you stop working before this date, please contact your academic department and International Programs so we can update your record accordingly.
  7. Do I have to be register while on CPT?
    • You must maintain F-1 student status, which generally requires full-time registration. Most students are required to register as full-time students while on CPT. In some cases, graduate students may be considered as full-time students with fewer than 9 credit hours per semester while on CPT. 
  8. Can I extend my CPT?
    • You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You may not begin before the start date or continue after the end date. You must apply for an extension with sufficient time to allow enough time for an International Student Advisor to issue you a new CPT authorization before the end date of your current CPT.
  9. Do I need a Social Security number?
    • Yes, you will need a Social Security number in order to legally receive wages from your employer.
  10. Will I receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?
    • No. The CPT authorization on the second page of your I-20 is your proof of employment eligibility and together with your I-94 record may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 required by your employer.
    • If your employer has questions about documentation required for I-9 purposes, refer them USCIS' "I-9 Central" webpage, including the section about International Student with Training Authorization