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F-1 Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a work authorization that allows F-1 students to participate in academically required off-campus training, paid or unpaid, that is directly related to their major of study. CPT is an academic benefit, therefore, the internship must be required or considered an integral part of a student’s degree program.

The basics Heading link

Steps to request CPT authorization on your I-20 Heading link

A successful CPT authorization request involves you, your academic department, your training host (i.e. employer), and the Office of International Services. CPT authorizations are ultimately granted by a Designated School Official (DSO) within OIS and do not require an outside application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). OIS processing time for a complete and accurate CPT authorization request is approximately three to five business days.

Working off-campus (paid or unpaid) prior to receiving appropriate authorization on your I-20 is a violation of status which can have a significant negative impact on your ability to continue studying in the U.S.

  1. Meet with your academic advisor to discuss your program’s requirement for a practical training experience. During this conversation, you should confirm whether your program requires a training experience (e.g. internship, practicum, fieldwork, clinical rotation, etc.) for graduation or if there is a course within the written curriculum for which academic credit can be earned for such an experience. If you and your advisor cannot identify an academic requirement for off-campus training within your program’s curriculum, unfortunately, CPT authorization may not be possible.
  2. Secure an offer from a training host and discuss a realistic start date. Under the advisement of your academic department or career center, interview for a training experience (internships, fieldwork, practicum, clinical rotation, etc.) related to your major. While interviewing, you can explain that you are eligible to work in the U.S. under CPT authorization (assuming you meet all eligibility requirements) and that the start and end dates of the training should fall within the academic term. Generally speaking, you should allow yourself at minimum two weeks from receiving the offer to complete all necessary CPT paperwork and obtain the final authorization on your I-20.
  3. Submit the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) E-Form in myOIS. The e-form will ask you for details on your secured training experience including the location, proposed start and end date, and contact information for our training supervisor. It will also ask for information on the academic department representative who will confirm how the training experience connects to your program’s curriculum and the course for which you will register.
  4. Register for the corresponding course. You must register for the course identified by your academic advisor in step three before the CPT authorization can be granted.
  5. Correct and resubmit your CPT E-Form, if needed. CPT is not a simple request and many students will need to make corrections based on the OIS advisor’s feedback before receiving final authorization on their Form I-20. Please monitor your email closely and respond promptly to any communications you receive from OIS.
  6. Collect and sign your new I-20. When the CPT request is complete, OIS will contact you with options for receiving your new I-20 reflecting your authorized training location and dates. You may now begin your off-campus training experience, on or after the start date listed on your I-20.

Help with landing the training experience Heading link

Help with completing the CPT request Heading link

While not required, you may find it helpful to discuss your CPT plans, timeline, and the application process with an OIS advisor prior to submitting your request. Make an appointment via iAdvise or email your question to to get connected.

If you have already submitted your CPT request, please allow 3-5 business days for processing. While OIS does process all requests based on a first-in, first-out approach, we do take your proposed CPT start date into consideration and will do our best to meet that start date, if at all possible. That said, OIS does not offer expedited processing on CPT requests. Additionally, repeated phone calls and emails checking on the status of your request only takes advisor’s time away from processing your case.

FAQs Heading link

Here are some frequently asked questions about CPT.