CPT for F-1 Visa Students

 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a structured educational program which combines classroom learning with productive work experience in a field related to a student’s academic program. CPT is available to F-1 students who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis in a U.S. university for at least one academic year. The work experience must be integral to your established curriculum.

Attendance at the CPT Information Session is REQUIRED for those seeking to participate in an internship. You will need to complete this session prior to meeting with an Internship Coordinator.

Click here for the Spring Sample CPT Offer Letter.

Please review the frequently asked questions below and the ISSO’s website.

IT IS UNETHICAL TO CONTINUE TO INTERVIEW FOR POSITIONS ONCE YOU HAVE ACCEPTED AN ASSIGNMENT (whether paid or unpaid).

Frequently Asked Questions About CPT

Are there any fees required to participate in CPT?

Are there any fees required to participate in CPT?

The Career Center does not charge any fees; however, there is a $100 fee assessed by the International Student Services Office every semester in which you are placed in an internship. This fee covers processing costs related to securing the appropriate work authorizations in compliance with USCIS regulations. You are also responsible for paying for tuition and fees associated with the internship class in which you enroll.

Am I eligible for CPT?

Am I eligible for CPT?

You may determine your eligibility by reviewing the Eligibility and Process for Internships and the ISSO CPT webpage.

What is the CPT process?

What is the CPT process?

  1. Update your CometCareers account and upload a resume.

  2. Attend a mandatory CPT Information Session. You will need to register through CometCareers. After this session and your eligibility has been approved, you will be able to search and report your internships through CometCareers.

  3. Search and apply for internships. Review your Career Center resources, attend a Career Event/Workshop and review CometCareers postings.

  4. Accept an offer. Provide the employer with the Sample CPT Offer Letter located in the Resource Library of your CometCareers account. Review the offer carefully before you accept. Once you accept an offer with a company, you are bound to this commitment. You must stop applying and interviewing for other positions immediately.

  5. Report your internship via the “Report an Internship” link in CometCareers. Be sure to upload your Offer Letter as a PDF. This request will be sent to your internship Coordinator for review and may need additional approval from the course professor.

  6. Your Internship Coordinator will contact you to schedule an appointment to complete your paperwork: CPT request to ISSO and course registration. Please allow at least one business day for the ISSO to process your new I-20. The ISSO will email your UTD account when your CPT I-20 is ready to pick up.

  7. Pick up your new I-20 from ISSO and review page three to confirm the details of your CPT employment. Your I-20, pa Begin your internship once your start date arrives. Your authorization is valid only for the dates and employer listed on your I-20.

  8. Read your course syllabus and complete your assignments and follow-up with your professor.

Note - You are only allowed to work in an internship during the dates that are approved on your I-20. Any work outside of those dates can be considered illegal employment and have an impact on your future immigration status.

What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

CPT provides employment or training opportunities for students while they work on a degree. It is an integral part of the curriculum, authorized by the ISSO, and is usually for a period of a semester. OPT provides employment or training opportunities for students after they complete a degree. It is authorized by the U. S. Immigration Service. OPT participants have a number of immigration benefits and requirements. For more immigration information regarding CPT and OPT see the International Student Services Office and plan to attend one of the ISSO OPT workshops.

Can I participate in CPT in my 1st semester back at school after completing OPT?

Can I participate in CPT in my 1st semester back at school after completing OPT?

No. You must complete one semester (fall, spring or summer) and re-establish yourself as a UTD student in good-standing and meet the ISSO guidelines.

Will my CPT time affect my Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation?

Will my CPT time affect my Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation?

If you have more than 364 days of full-time CPT, you lose eligibility for OPT. Please review the ISSO’s CPT limits.

When can I pick up my CPT authorization (on form I-20) and when can I start working?

When can I pick up my CPT authorization (on form I-20) and when can I start working?

Processing time is one business day unless the CPT information is received after 4:00 PM in which case a second day is required. The ISSO will email your UT Dallas account when the CPT I-20 is ready for pickup. Bring a picture ID and pick up the CPT I-20. The authorization is on page three of the I-20. You may begin working once you have your CPT I-20 and the CPT beginning date has arrived. Any work done before CPT is approved is unauthorized employment and a violation of your F-1 status.

If I am doing a CPT extension or a continuing CPT, do I need to be reauthorized?

If I am doing a CPT extension or a continuing CPT, do I need to be reauthorized?

Yes. Turn in your application 10 days or more before your current CPT expires. You may pick up your CPT extension on the same schedule as listed above.

As an F-1 student may I work full-time on a CPT assignment and go to school part-time?

As an F-1 student may I work full-time on a CPT assignment and go to school part-time?

Yes, but you will need authorization. Your offer letter will state the number of hours you are permitted to work. You will be approved for full-time or part-time CPT which will be reflected on your CPT I-20.

If you are participating in a full-time CPT for the majority of the semester (12 weeks or longer), you are able to reduce your enrollment for one semester and still be considered a full time student for immigration and UT Dallas purposes. Please review the ISSO CPT webpage for additional information regarding reduced enrollment.

Can CPT be authorized for either full-time or part-time?

Can CPT be authorized for either full-time or part-time?

CPT may be either full- or part-time. Part-time CPT is limited to 20 hours or less per week. Full-time CPT is anything more than 20 hours per week. Your offer letter will state the number of hours you are permitted to work which will determine whether you are authorized for full-time or part-time CPT.

Do I have to register for a CPT course?

Do I have to register for a CPT course?

Yes, your CPT authorization is based on course credit for your internship or co-op program. If you withdraw from or do not pass your CPT course, you are not authorized to work and you may be in violation of your F-1 status. In addition, if you fail a CPT course, you are no longer eligible for CPT authorization through the UT Dallas ISSO for future semesters.

Do I have to carry a full-time course load when I do CPT?

Do I have to carry a full-time course load when I do CPT?

Part-time CPT requires full-time enrollment at school during any long semester or first semester in a new program.

Full-time CPT that lasts at least 12 weeks is considered full-time enrollment for immigration purposes for one long semester per year. In the next long semester you will be required to carry a standard course-load unless approved for reduced enrollment by the ISSO based on another reason, such as a documented medical illness. Note: Check with your academic program to learn if there are additional enrollment limits.

May I work on campus while doing a CPT?  May I keep my graduate teaching or research assistantship?

May I work on campus while doing a CPT?  May I keep my graduate teaching or research assistantship?

No, you may not work ANY additional job while you are participating in a CPT assignment.

Can I get CPT authorization first and then find a job?

Can I get CPT authorization first and then find a job?

No. CPT work authorization is granted for a specific employer and for a specific period of time, usually corresponding to a semester.