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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

USCIS regulations make some off-campus employment available to an F-1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one academic year. Such employment must be in the student’s field of study and it must be an integral part of the curriculum or degree. This is considered to be Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT authorization is authorized for a specific employer, dates and job description. For any and all changes in dates and employment, students must reapply for new CPT authorization. Students must also reapply for CPT employment authorization each semester (even if there are no changes to my employment).

For an application and directions, see the “CPT Application” in the Forms & Documents page of the International Student Services Web site.

CPT is divided into two categories:

  1. Required part of degree program: the program requires employment in the field of study to graduate;
  2. Not required part of degree program: training program which is “credit bearing” and an integral part of the academic program (Please note that for “credit bearing” CPT, students must be enrolled during the semester that they are engaged in CPT, credits must count toward degree and/or appear on the student’s transcript).

Part-Time CPT vs. Full-Time CPT

  1. Part time CPT: employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part time CPT. Though there is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part time CPT, you must be simultaneously enrolled full time in classes order to maintain lawful F-1 status.
  2. Full time CPT: employment for more than 20 hours per week, is considered full time CPT. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full time CPT will cancel your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

To be eligible for CPT:

To apply, USCIS and C.W. Post requirements state that students must:

  1. Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one academic year;
  2. Be in lawful F-1 status at the time of applying for CPT and;
  3. Have a job offer

How do I apply for CPT?

STEP 1: Read and review CPT information on the application form.

STEP 2: Seek and receive an employment offer

STEP 3: Obtain an original offer letter from your employer on company letterhead. The letter must include the following:

  • Student Name
  • Employer’s Company Name
  • Company’s complete address
  • CPT start date and CPT end date
  • Number of hours/weeks of work
  • Brief description of the work

STEP 4: Complete CPT Application Form

STEP 5: Bring CPT Recommendation Form to your Advisor to complete. Reminder: Your Advisor must include a copy of the course description as it appears in the C.W. Post Bulletin.

STEP 6: Once you have completed step 1 through 5, contact the ISS office to make an appointment to receive employment approval and a new I-20. If you fail to bring all needed documents (including photocopies), your appointment will be cancelled and rescheduled. *You must submit all documents and receive approval at least two weeks prior to the start date of the internship.

What documents do I need for approval?

Please bring the following to your appointment:

  • Completed CPT Application
  • Completed CPT Recommendation Form & Course Description (completed by your Advisor)
  • Original Employment Offer Letter
  • Copy of official C.W. Post registration indicating CPT eligible course
  • Copy of your current I-20 (first and third page only)

Important Information

You must not begin employment prior to receiving employment authorization. Working off-campus without authorization is a very serious violation of your F-1 status, and it may result in deportation and denial of future immigration benefits. If you make a Designated School Official (DSO) aware that you have worked illegally, the government requires the DSO to report this to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Please be advised that you must always consult with the International Student Services (ISS) Office if you have any questions about your status. The ISS office is located in the lower level of the Post Hall. You can contact us at 516-299-1451 or e-mail iss@cwpost.liu.edu.