Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students
For an international student to be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), the work in which the student will engage must be an integral part of the degree program and required for graduation.
- Available only to F-1 visa holders
- Must have been enrolled full-time for at least nine months
- Internship must be a graduation requirement for program of study
- Once you have secured an internship, have your academic coordinator/advisor write a letter that includes: dates of employment, name and address of employer, whether it is full or part-time work, and a description of the employment. The letter should also confirm that the employment in question is required for graduation.
- Visit the Center for Global Education with the internship letter, your unofficial transcripts, a completed I-538 form (available at the Center), and your I-20 ID to receive work authorization.
Frequent Questions about CPT
Q. What is the difference between Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
- CPT is authorized for off-campus work performed before completion of your academic program. OPT can be authorized for off-campus work before or after completion of your academic program.
- F-1 visa holders have a maximum of 12 months of OPT available to them during any uninterrupted stay in F-1 status. The amount of CPT is not limited by the immigration regulations.
- CPT must fall into one of the three categories of eligibility listed above. You can work anywhere within your academic field on OPT.
- CPT is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Students who have received one year or more of full-time CPT are NOT eligible for OPT. Part-time curricular practical training (20 hours or less a week) is not counted toward the one-year threshold at which the student loses eligibility for Optional Practical Training.
Q. When can I start working on CPT?
A. You are allowed to work during the time authorized by the Center for Global Education on the back of your I-20 ID. You do not need to receive direct authorization from DHS.
Q. Once I start working, will taxes be taken out of my paycheck?
A. There are three kinds of tax in the U.S.: federal, state, and Social Security/Medicare. You will have federal and state tax taken out of your paycheck. Social Security/Medicare taxes should not be withheld while you are on CPT unless you are considered a resident alien for tax purposes. For further information, please see IRS Publication 519, page 42, Chapter 8.