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F-1 Curricular practical training

You must obtain CPT authorization before commencing employment. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations state that Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be directly related to the major and an integral part of an established curriculum.

CPT is defined as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” Thus, CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide work experience in the U.S. in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student’s academic program and an established curriculum, prior to completion of that program.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year before being eligible for CPT.
  • EXCEPTION: for graduate students whose programs require immediate participation in an internship, a practicum, or other employment.
  • It is available only while you are in valid F-1 status and before the completion of your program.
  • If you had a gap in study or a status violation, the one academic year waiting period may need to be recalculated once the student has again obtained valid F-1 status.



  • USU can authorize CPT if it can be clearly documented that the proposed employment is directly related to the major and meets one of the two conditions below:
    • The training employment is required of all degree candidates in the program and is necessary for the awarding of the degree.
      • Included in this category is employment in a required internship or practicum.
      • This requirement must be formally documented in school publications.
    • The training employment will result in the awarding of academic credit.
      • Included in this category is employment for a course specifically designed to award academic credit for an employment experience.
      • In both of these cases, you must register and complete the CPT-related course during the semester that you are working under CPT authorization. For example, if you will be working in the summer, you must register and complete the CPT-related course in the same summer semester.

If CPT is for your last semester, you must have at least one other remaining degree-required course for which to register, in addition to the CPT course unless the CPT course is the degree-required course

Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT

  • During the school year while classes are in session, students are encouraged to engage in CPT on a part-time basis, limited to no more than 20 hours per week however students may engage in full-time CPT 21-40 hours per week.
  • Full-time CPT allows the student to work more than 20 hours per week.
  • If you participate in 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training, you will not be eligible for post-completion optional practical training (OPT).

Students may not engage in CPT during periods of vacation.

How to Apply for CPT?

  • Complete the CPT application
    • The CPT Application form is available from the OIEPS student advisor.
  • Obtain a copy of your official offer letter on company letterhead that is signed by the
    prospective employer.  A photocopy is acceptable.  The letter should include the employer’s name, full address, dates of employment, and duties.
  • As part of your submission, provide the following:
    • Copy of your passport
    • Copy of your I-94 card (front and back if issued paper I-94) or US entry/admission stamp in passport  (if issued electronic I-94)
    • Copy of your official offer letter as described in step 2 above
  • The advisor will submit your application and to the college dean for approval.
  • Once approved the DSO will issue a new I-20 with CPT endorsement.
  • By using the new I-20 with CPT endorsement and a job offer, you will be able to apply for Social Security Number at local Social Security Administration.