CPT - Curricular Practical Training

CPT - Curricular Practical Training

CPT is any alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or other type of required internship or practicum offered by employers through cooperative agreements with the school. CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum.

In most cases, a prospective employer presents a job offer with a detailed description of duties to be performed. The Designated School Official (DSO) then authorizes CPT employment on student's I-20. Each academic program has its own rules and requirements for CPT - details can be obtained from the school's international students' office.

An F-1 nonimmigrant student may begin CPT after the designated school official (DSO) has authorized CPT on the student's Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.

Work Authorization (EAD Card) is not required for CPT employment and will not be issued by USCIS.


Limits on CPT employment:

Each academic program has its own rules and requirements. For example, some academic programs don't allow CPT during the first semester other programs have different restrictions. Please contact your school's international students' office for further information. Limits on the CPT employment will be annotated on the student's Form I-20.

  • Employment must relate directly to the student's major area of study.
  • CPT must be authorized before the student can begin work.
  • Students can only work during the periods annotated on Form I-20.
  • One year of full-time CPT eliminates a student's eligibility for OPT.


Documents for employer that show employment eligibility:

  • Unexpired foreign passport;
  • Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement for employment; and
  • Form I-94 indicating F-1 nonimmigrant status.

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