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CPT Curricular Practical Training


If you wish to accept employment off-campus, you should pursue Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of application. CPT employment should not delay completion of your academic program unless your academic program “requires a completion of an internship” from all students in the program.

Students must maintain full-time enrollment during fall and spring CPT. Full-time enrollment is 12 credit hours for undergraduate students, 9 credit hours for graduate students and 6 credit hours for Graduate Biomedical students (after 1st year).

The full-time enrollment requirement means that most students must limit their CPT during the academic year to local jobs or to working for their employer remotely, on a part-time basis (20 hours). In other words, when you as an F-1 student are required to be enrolled fulltime in classes for fall and spring, you cannot complete a fulltime CPT. Fulltime CPT is only available during summer semester.  


Types of CPT: There are two types of CPT: required and optional. Required CPT is available the academic program mandates practical work experience for all students in order to graduate. Optional CPT is work experience directly related to your field of study that is not required.

What is CPT? Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study—paid or unpaid. CPT is authorized by the International Programs.

CPT is an academic experience and is not intended to be used for regular on-going off-campus work. Students should be mindful to keep all records of CPT and the academic work related to CPT, and how that employment is integral to the degree program. Students will need to retain copies of all previous CPT I-20s when applying later for OPT.

Accrual of part-time CPT should not negatively affect eligibility for OPT. While there are no limitations on part-time CPT, high CPT usage can cause DHS to subject records to increase scrutiny when the student applies for OPT, visa applications, or other DHS benefits like H-1B petitions. Other campuses such as UC Berkeley have noted a significant increase in Requests for Evidence for STEM OPT applications and H-1Bs for students with high rates of CPT usage.

“Practical training” can include:

CPT authorization can be:

Students who accumulate 12 months (365 or more days) of full-time CPT authorization, lose their eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).  Part-time CPT authorization, or fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT authorization, does not affect OPT eligibility. Multiple overlapping, part-time CPTs may count as full-time CPT days for OPT eligibility.


Course Credit Requirement

UHV DSO advisors can authorize CPT for an activity that is “integral to your established curriculum,” as allowed by the immigration rules. How do we assess this?

A training activity must be either:

Credit requirement for optional CPT:

Department Adviser/ Academic Advisor Role with CPT

Department advisers must assist with the CPT application to identify internship course credit. Every department and School on campus handles internship credits differently.
Students are responsible for determining how their academic department manages internship credit.

A Department Adviser/ Internship Coordinator may be:

The department adviser/ internships coordinator is responsible for completing the “Adviser Section” of the CPT application on your behalf; this person should be familiar with the student’s degree program and job/internship offer.

Provide your department adviser/internship coordinator with this information before you apply for CPT through International Programs:

How to Apply

Do not start a job or internship until you receive CPT authorization from International Programs (new I-20). Allow 5 business days for completion by International Programs.

Application Overview:

After CPT Approval

CPT Updates (Extensions, Shortens, Etc.): Extension vs. new application

Extension: If the new requested end date is before the start of the next academic semester. For extensions, work with the International Programs on CPT update. You will need to complete a new application and enroll in CPT-credits.

New Application: If the new requested end date overlaps with the next academic semester, this is not an extension. You must submit a CPT application following the items described at How to Apply.

CPT shortened end dates:
If you stop your position early, notify International Programs immediately through email at  You will still be required to register for and earn CPT-related credit according to the application.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?CPT is employment that is an integral part of your major curriculum and allows you to participate in an internship, practicum or cooperative education program. CPT must be required or, if not required, you must receive course credit. CPT is employer specific and must be done before you graduate. OPT is optional for any student who meets the eligibility requirements and you do not need to earn credit. OPT is not employer specific and may be done before or after you graduate.

Do I have to be registered while on CPT?Students 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, depending on degree program requirements, may be considered as full-time students with fewer than 9-credits while on full-time CPT.

I am a brand-new student entering UHV for the Undergraduate or Graduate program on an initial I-20. When Am I eligible to take part in CPT?If you are an international student entering UHV as a brand new student then you must meet UHV one academic year. UHV’s policy on one academic year is fall, spring and summer. Example, if you are entering UHV for the first time in spring, one academic year is the following spring.

I am not a brand new student to UHV, but I took leave of absence returned home and I am now entering UHV on a new I-20/ new SEVIS ID. When do I become eligible for CPT?Unfortunately, since you departed the U.S. you must meet the UHV one academic year in order to be eligible for CPT.

As a SEVIS transfer undergraduate or graduate student my course work was transferred to UHV then am I immediately eligible for CPT?Yes, if you are a SEVIS transfer student and course work you completed at SEVIS Transfer-OUT campus is transferred over to UHV in to your degree plan then yes you are eligible to start your CPT as long as you have met the one year (12 months) legal F-1 status in the U.S.
Same academic program or SEVIS out institution course work transferred to the UHV degree plan. Pre-requisites cannot be counted for CPT authorization.

However, if a student leaves the United States and returns on a new Initial Form I-20 with new SEVIS ID (in lieu of an actual transfer in SEVIS), the student cannot count the time spent studying at a previous school.

SEVIS transfer as a brand new Graduate or Undergraduate student; can I take part in CPT?Immigration regulations clearly states that SEVIS transfer students can enroll in CPT if they meet legal F-1 status for 12 months. However, if you are entering for a new academic level (such as you were a bachelor’s degree student now transferring to UHV as a graduate student then we strongly recommend that you complete at least one semester (graduate course work, not pre-requisite course work) at UHV as a graduate student before requesting CPT. SEVIS transfer undergraduate students can apply for CPT as long as they have maintained legal F-1 status for 12 months and course work you completed at SEVIS Transfer-out campus must transfer over to your degree plan at UHV. ESL programs, Kaplan Test center program students are not eligible for CPT until one academic year is met at UHV. One academic year means fall, spring and summer. If you enrolled in spring term, then it is summer, fall and spring.

Does CPT usage affect OPT eligibility?Students may use as much CPT as is required for their degree program. However, when authorized for a total of 12 months of full-time CPT, students are not eligible for OPT. Multiple overlapping, part-time CPTs may count toward this limit; otherwise, part-time CPT does not affect OPT.

Do I need to have a job to apply for CPT?Students must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT since the authorization is for a specific employer.

Can I change the number of hours I work?Students may change within the limits of part-time or full-time. For example, students may change from 10 hours per week to 15 hours per week without a new authorization. However, students who want to change from part-time to full-time (or vice versa) must request a new authorization.

Can I change employers?Since CPT is employer specific, students must apply for a new CPT authorization before you work for the new employer.

Can I extend my CPT?Students are authorized for specific dates of employment on their I-20. Students may not begin before the start date or continue after the end date. Students must apply for an extension with sufficient time to allow the assigned International Programs adviser to issue a new CPT authorization before continuing beyond the end date of the current CPT.

Do I need a Social Security number?Maybe, students will need a Social Security Number in order to receive payment from an employer if CPT is paid. If CPT is unpaid then you are not required to apply for a Social Security Number and you may use your Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) if you have one assigned to you.

Will I be required to pay Social Security and other taxes?In general, F-1 students are generally exempt from Social Security (FICA) taxes for the first five years in the U.S. as long as the student continues to declare nonresident status for tax purposes.

Unless the student qualifies under a tax treaty between the U.S. and their home government, earnings as an F-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes, and employers are required to withhold those taxes from paychecks. For more information on taxes, consult the Internal Revenue Service.

Will I receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?The CPT authorization on page 2 of the I-20 is proof of employment eligibility and together with the I-94 record may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 required by an employer.

If an employer has questions about documentation required for I-9 purposes, please refer them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ “I-9 Central” webpage, including the section about international students with training authorization.

Do I need to maintain UHS Health Insurance if I am completing CPT for the summer semester?Yes, if your CPT is in the U.S. and you are in the U.S. then yes. If you are completing the CPT out of the U.S. and you are residing out of the U.S. then no, but work with International Programs when you should return to the U.S. and how your health insurance will apply.If your CPT is during fall and spring then you are required to have UHS insurance.

Immigration Resources:

Updated 04/14/2021