Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training
Day 1 CPT are university programs that allow students to utilize CPT and work alongside their studies from the first day of their program (Day 1 CPT). These programs must meet certain requirements.
These requirements include
- The student’s job must be related to the program of study
- An internship or work experience is an integral part of the school’s established curriculum
- The Designated Schools Official (DSO) must approve and authorize CPT in SEVIS
- Students must have a full course of study this could be six to nine graduate credits depending on the university policy
Day 1 CPT programs are great for working professionals to further their education.
However, students do need to be aware that using CPT for more than one year while being on full-time employment (more than 20 hours per week) eliminates their eligibility for OPT after they graduate.
For further information, on regulations and policy, visit the SEVIS Help hub here.
Many Day 1 CPT universities offer programs in a Hybrid format with a mix of online and in-person coursework.
CPT or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a way for international F1 visa holders to receive hands on training in a job or internship related to the student’s program of study.
CPT authorization must be approved by a university Designated School Official (DSO), and the job or internship must relate to the program of study.
Find out more about accredited CPT universities here.
The application process for CPT usually depends on the university.
Typically students need to:
Work with their DSO (designated school official) and make sure their program allows the use of CPT.
Some programs don’t allow CPT during the semester or only allow part time CPT.
To apply students typically need to complete a cooperative agreement signed by their employer and submit it to the university. Students will also need to submit a job description showing their role and the job/internship
- Ensure the university program is structured in a way that employment/internships are an integral part of the degree
- Ensure that your job/internship is related to the program
- Ensure that your employer has a formal agreement with the university
- The university DSO will need to approve your CPT and include CPT details on your I-20 form
- You will need to renew CPT on a term-by-term basis or at a minimum of annually
Day 1 CPT programs are often structured in a hybrid format where students are required to come to campus only a few times each semester with other coursework being completed online.
Each university program varies slightly but the on-campus sessions are usually held over weekends.
All international students on F-1 visa are required to take a full course of study each semester, but the hybrid format allows flexibility for students.
Yes, however if you utilize more than 12 months of full-time CPT (i.e., more than 20 hours per week), you would be ineligible for OPT at that same level following completion of the degree.
Once the student’s application for CPT is reviewed and approved, the DSO must sign, date and return the I-20 showing the CPT to the student.
Only once the updated I-20 is received may the student commence CPT. CPT can NOT start before the start of the student’s program.
Maybe. This depends on the structure of each university program. Some programs do require students to take an extra course alongside their CPT course each semester. Other programs require some form of work experience throughout the entire program.
Per the regulations CPT can be:
- A requirement for the award of the degree; or
- For course credit, either required or elective.
At the postgraduate level, as determined by university policy and certified by the DSO, many universities designate six to nine credits as a full graduate load.
Yes, if the hybrid courses require a student’s physical attendance for “classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class” they will not be considered online. Attendance for all class activity, whether online or in person, should be closely monitored by the university and enforced pursuant to a written attendance policy to ensure all F-1 students maintain status.
Yes, students are eligible to apply for an H1-B while enrolled in Day 1 CPT programs. It is also important that students maintain their F-1 status, including:
- Obtaining the proper I-20 prior to commencement of CPT
- Knowing what to do in the event of extending or changing the CPT end date
- Changing employers
- Requesting to switch from full-time to part-time (or vice versa)
- Maintaining documentation about hours worked, etc.
- Ensuring the student’s CPT compliance will allow the student to respond confidently and thoroughly to any request for information that may arise as part of an application for a non-immigrant worker’s visa
No. F-1 visa holders are required to be enrolled in full time study as designated by the University. Typically for graduate programs this is six to nine credits depending on university policy. International students can enroll in one fully online course and apply those credits to the full course of study, but only one course can be fully online. The other course needs to be fully in-person or hybrid with sufficient on campus coursework with mandatory attendance.
There has been some exception to this due to COVID constraints for recent semesters in 2020 and the start of 2021.
Maybe, students may receive an RFE when applying for their H1-B regardless of enrolling in a Day 1 CPT program.
If you are enrolled in a Day 1 CPT program and live further from campus, you should ensure you keep copies of all travel documents to campus for weekend sessions, obtain attendance records and make sure the university program and policy is clear and approved to offer CPT.
Make sure you have CPT cooperative agreements with your employer and school and can show how your job relates to the program and why you are studying the program to further your career.
Students looking to apply university curriculum in an internship or work environment. There are many benefits to be able to show work experience alongside your educational background.
CPT also allows students to start working before they graduate from their degree. There is a short window post-graduation to utilize OPT (60 days).
As long as you do not use full time CPT (20 hours a week or more) of CPT for 12 months or more, then no, it will not affect your OPT.
Part-time CPT is defined as 20 hour or less and there is no limitation on how many months of this you can do.
Full-time CPT is defined as anything over 20 hours per week. There is no limit on the number of hours per week you can work under full-time CPT unless defined by your university. If you use 12 months or more of full time CPT you are then ineligible for OPT but there is no limit set on total months of CPT.
This will depend on your university, but typically will be good for the length of the term/semester. CPT must be renewed at a minimum of once each year, and at many universities is renewed each semester.
Before you start working you must be approved by your university’s DSO with an I-20 listing your CPT details such as full or part-time CPT. CPT can not start before the start of your program.
No, as long as your employer continues to sponsor you and you maintain your H1B status, you can study full/part time and continue working under your H1B visa. If you lose your H1B sponsorship you can apply for a change of status to an F1 student visa, but you can not work under CPT until your change of status and CPT application are approved.
You need to get accepted by a university you plan on attending and complete the necessary admissions process to obtain an I-20.
After being accepted and receiving your I-20 you will need to complete the form I-539. You will need to show financial evidence, your I-901 SEVIS fee and a copy of form I-94, your passport and any immigration documents you have.
This can take anywhere from 3 months up to a year. You can look up current processing times at the link below for Form I-539.
For more information, refer the USCIS guide here.