Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a benefit of the F visa status that is meant to serve as a continuation of the student’s program of study in a work environment.
- Only F-1 students who have been in continuous, lawful status for a period of 9 months (2 semesters) or more are eligible to receive a period of CPT. An exception to this rule applies to graduate students whose program requires that they engage in CPT prior to the one-year mark.
- WFU requires that all students who engage in CPT obtain consent from their academic advisor asserting that the proposed training is an integral part of the student’s academic program of study. This includes having the advisor review the employment offer letter to ensure the training is integral.
- WFU requires that in order to approve CPT, the internship/practical training must be either:
- Required for the student’s major area of study in order to receive their degree (i.e. all students enrolled in the program must complete an internship in order to receive that particular degree) OR
- Receive course credit in the form of an internship class, or an independent study (if the latter, the student’s advisor must also submit a course description demonstrating the academic expectations of the student as it pertains to the practical training opportunity).
- A NOTE ABOUT SUMMER INTERNSHIPS: If you have a summer internship you would like to participate in, please note:
- You will need to enroll in a summer course in order to participate in an internship over the summer. This also means you will need to pay tuition for the summer course.
- The internship course must be at least 1 credit hour to qualify for “full time” enrollment over the summer term for Undergraduate Students. Graduate Students must check with their College to determine what is considered full time in summer for their program.
- You must have a faculty advisor or professor who will supervise your internship experience (via the course) for the duration of your internship.
CPT Application Process
Approval for CPT is granted by ISS (Immigration Services and Support).
Step 1: Obtain an offer of employment. Make sure the offer letter is signed on official letterhead from the employer. Submit your letter and supplemental documentation by uploading them in the online application (e.g. emails from your recruiter, printout of original job description from employer or application website).
The letter and supplemental documentation must contain the following:
- Brief description of employment
- Contact information of employer representative
- Address of place where the student will be working
- Estimated number of hours per week
- Employment start date
- Employment end date
Step 2: Meet with your academic advisor prior to requesting the CPT Recommendation, a requirement of the CPT Application. In order for your application to be processed by ISS the advisor must confirm that the proposed employment is integral to your course of study and that course credit will be earned upon successful completion of the curricular training (or that an internship component is required for all students pursuing the degree).
Step 3: Once the application is reviewed, processed, and approved by ISS an updated I-20 form will be issued page 2 of the new I-20 will include:
- CPT Approval
- CPT Start and End Dates
- CPT Employment Location
Note: ISS will not process your request until your student schedule reflects course registration and all required information is included in your application.
- All CPT approvals will have a start and ending date, which will be listed on page 2 of Form I-20.
- A student is not allowed to begin work prior to the start date. Employment must end on the end date listed on the I-20.
- Employment that occurs outside of the authorized dates is considered unauthorized employment.
CPT allows for an F-1 student to pursue off-campus employment with a designated employer. The employer’s name and address will be printed on page 2 of the Form I-20.
- The student is not allowed to work for an employer who is not listed on the I-20.
- If more than one employer is required, the student must have a separate CPT application and approval form for each employer.
An F-1 student is allowed to change employers during the course of the CPT period, but the new employer and approved employment dates must be designated on the I-20.
A new CPT application (see below for application requirements) is required to change employers. Justification will need to be provided by both the student’s academic advisor as to how the new opportunity better enables the student to gain practical experience in their field of study.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT
- There is no limit on the amount of time an F-1 student can perform part-time CPT.
- Students approved for part-time CPT allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week.
- Part-time CPT has no effect on Optional Practical Training (OPT) eligibility.
- Students can work over 20 hours per week while performing full-time CPT.
- A student who works more than one year (365 days) using full-time CPT is ineligible to receive Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- An F-1 student who is approved for a period of CPT while school is in session is required to remain enrolled on a full-time basis during the course of the employment.
- Students pursuing CPT during the summer break must be enrolled in an internship/independent study course unless the opportunity is required for all students pursuing the degree.