F-1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training)

Curricular Practical Training is authorization for employment that is an integral part of the established curriculum of your degree program. CPT is not available to all F-1 students because it is dependent on the academic requirements of your program.

Application Process
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Degree Program Criteria

According to F-1 regulations, your program must meet one of the following criteria:

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F-1 Student Eligibility

You must be:

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Before You Apply

* You can be full-time during the summer vacation period if you will be continuing in the fall. However, you are limited to part-time in the summer if:
1) your program has a required summer term OR
2) you are completing degree requirements in the summer term

† If you use 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are no longer eligible for post-completion OPT.

CPT based on:

  • an elective/practicum course is generally authorized for dates within the semester
  • a requirement that is not attached to a course has more flexibility in the dates 

You will need to submit a new application if you change employers or need to extend the time.

CPT time is not deducted from the amount of OPT allowed after graduation, unless you are authorized for 12 months or more of full-time CPT.  If you have been authorized for 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are no longer eligible for OPT.

Apply at least 10 business days before your requested start date. CPT cannot be authorized retroactively, so plan ahead!

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How to Apply

CPT Timeline

Before you gather your documents:

Register for the course if this internship is tied to a specific course. Be sure to register for the course before you submit your application to us.

If you had CPT authorized the previous semester, check SSOL to make sure the grade has been posted.

Step 1

Gather your documents

Step 2

Log in to Compass with your UNI and password to submit your application.

Please click the appropriate link below:

Not sure of your campus? Check our campus school list.
Need help using Compass? Learn more on our Compass User Guide.

Step 3

We will contact you

Allow up to 10 business days for us to review and process your application. We will notify you by email when your new I-20 with CPT authorization is ready to be picked up. 

Step 4

Review, sign and date your new I-20

Your CPT authorization is on page 2. Use this I-20 for travel. The travel signature on page 2 is valid for 12 months or until your program end date, whichever is earlier. 

Keep all previously issued I-20s. You may need them in the future.

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After You Have Your CPT I-20

Apply here. If you do not already have an SSN, you are now eligible to apply for one up to 30 days before your CPT employment start date. 

You can't start employment before the CPT start date printed on your I-20.

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What to Show Your Employer for an I-9 

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

You may be eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training.

Unfortunately no. You can apply for CPT only if your academic program meets the criteria.

Eligibility is based solely on the curriculum of a degree program. If your school of enrollment doesn’t have an internship requirement or have an elective course that awards academic credit toward your degree, you are not eligible.

No, you cannot work during a leave of absence. You need to be a currently registered student making normal progress toward your degree to engage in CPT.