CPT (Curricular Practical Training)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for international students is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study—paid or unpaid. CPT is authorized by the ISS office. “Practical training” can include Employment and Internship experience (paid or unpaid).

CPT Authorization Requirements

CPT Application Overview:

1. Confirm eligibility for CPT.
2. Find a job/internship offer.
3. Coordinate with your student adviser (Billur Cohen, [email protected]) to ensure your new employment or internship has all of the necessary information to complete the “Adviser” section of the CPT application.
4. Allow 2 – 3 weeks for the DSO to process your application.


CPT authorization can be:

    • Part-time (20 hours per week or less) when class is in session
    • Full-time (more than 20 hours per week) in the Summer, but students still need to register for Summer courses

Students on CPT must not exceed 11 months! Students who accumulate 12 months (365 or more days) of full-time CPT authorization lose their eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Part-time CPT authorization, or fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT authorization, does not affect OPT eligibility. Multiple overlapping, part-time CPTs will count as full-time CPT days for OPT eligibility.


    • Be in lawful full-time F-1 status for at least one academic year (two full semesters, including final exams week) .
    • Be in good academic standing with the university.
    • CPT must be an integral part of your program of study.
    • CPT must be related to a specific academic course.
    • Mentora College (ESL Students) students are not eligible for CPT.
    • Visiting exchange students are not eligible for CPT.
    • Contact your BAU academic adviser (Billur Cohen, [email protected]) directly to confirm your eligibility.

Document Checklist:

1. CPT Authorization Form
2. CPT Cooperative Agreement Form
3. Job Offer and Employer Contract
4. Copy of Passport, Visa, and I-94
5. Employment Letter on company letterhead with:

–Employment location and start date
–Job title
–Description of Job Duties
–Part-time/Full-time work status and number of hours per week

NOTE: This is not your offer letter

After CPT Approval:

    • Review your CPT authorization (printed on page 2 of your new I-20).
    • You cannot begin work until your CPT has been approved and the CPT start date printed on your I-20 has been reached.
    • Notify DSO of any changes, such as ending the training position early, not doing the job, etc.
    • If your CPT position is paid, use your new I-20 with CPT approval, together with your passport and I-94 record, as proof of your eligibility to work. These documents may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 that all U.S. employers are required to complete.

IMPORTANT: CPT form and offer letter must indicate your start and end date.

Requirements during CPT Period:

    • Remain a full-time enrolled student throughout your CPT period, except Summer, unless summer is your last semester of studies.
    • Your I-20 must remain valid throughout the period of authorized CPT.
    • Submit weekly reports to your academic adviser. Contact Billur Cohen [email protected] directly for details.
    • University representative will visit the student CPT workplace to verify if they are working.

OPT (Optional Practical Training)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for hands-on work experience (work authorization) related to the academic field of study.

OPT Authorization Requirements

OPT Application Overview:

1. Confirm eligibility for OPT.
2. Coordinate with your student adviser (Billur Cohen, [email protected]) to ensure you have all required documents to apply for your OPT Authorization .
3. Follow up with your application to the USCIS until you receive the NOA (Note of Action) followed with your EAD (Employment Authorization Document) after that.
4. Allow 3 months to process your application.

Types of OPT:

OPT authorization can be:

    • Pre-Completion: OPT used while you are still enrolled in your course of study, before your program end date, is called “pre-completion” OPT. Pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12 months of OPT eligibility, and most students prefer to save OPT for after program completion. You may start the OPT application process up to 90 days before your requested employment start date.
    • Post-Completion: OPT authorization that begins after completion of your academic program is called “post-completion” OPT. This is the most common type of OPT. Post-completion OPT is full-time, and it can begin:

After you complete your degree or exchange program
–After you complete all course requirements for your degree, excluding thesis or equivalent


    • You are currently in F-1 status.
    • You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year (Two semesters, including final exams’ weeks) or will complete one academic year by the date the OPT approval begins.
    • You have not been authorized for a total of 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Multiple overlapping, part-time CPTs would count toward this limit; otherwise, part-time CPT does not affect OPT.
    • You do not need a job offer first; you can apply for the 12-month OPT authorization without a job offer.
    • You have not previously completed 12 months of OPT at the same degree level.
    • You are eligible for 12 months of full-time OPT per academic level, when changing to a higher educational level. For example, you may apply for 12 months of OPT after completing a bachelor’s degree and then another 12 months after completing a master’s degree.
    • Contact your BAU academic adviser (Billur Cohen, [email protected]) directly to confirm your eligibility.

Document Checklist:

1. Original Form G-1145 to allow USCIS to notify you when they accept your application (not a copy).
2. Original Form I-765 (from your ISSO OPT I-20 application), signed in dark blue or black ink only (not a copy). Must include all pages of I-765, even if pages are blank.
3. $410 USCIS fee payable by:
–Recommended method: Personal check from a U.S. checking account or bank check, or money order, payable to the “Department of Homeland Security”. Write “USCIS I-765” in the memo line, OR
–Credit card via Form G-1450. Must use U.S. credit card and U.S. billing address, and sign the form. If using as a debit card, make sure your account has sufficient funds!
4. A copy of your signed and dated OPT I-20. Please be sure to sign and date your I-20. Send a copy, not the original which you can use for Travel During OPT.
5. Copies of all previously-issued I-20(s). If you have lost any I-20s, please include a short explanation. You may edit this sample letter.
6. Copy of your Passport Identification page (valid 6 months into the future).
7. Copy of your F-1 entry visa (Canadians are exempt). If you changed your status to F-1 in the U.S. and don’t have a visa, include your Change of Status approval notice.
8. Copy of your most recent I-94 arrival record (click “Get Most Recent I-94” at
9. Two U.S. passport style photos using standards from the Department of State website and be aware that:
a) photos cannot be more than 30 days old when you send the application
b) you should write your name on the back of each photo in pencil
c) you can take your photos at UPS Stores (603 West 115th Street & 42 Tiemann Place), among other places
10. Photocopy of both sides of any previously issued EAD card(s)
11. Copy of official transcript (Pre-Completion OPT ONLY)

During the Post-Completion OPT Period:

You should be employed at least 20 hours per week in activities directly related to your major. Regardless of your job title or how the position is classified, such as an “intern,” “temp,” “freelance contractor,” etc.

Multiple employers: you may work in your field of study for more than one employer.

Employment in your field of study through an agency or consulting firm.

Volunteer service: you may work as a volunteer or unpaid intern in your field of study, as long as this does not violate any labor laws.

Requirements during OPT:

    • OPT authorizes employment/practical training that is related to your major area of study and commensurate with your level of education.
    • OPT does NOT authorize employment unrelated to your major area of study.
    • If you work in a job unrelated to your major area of study, or that does not meet the government’s requirements for your type of OPT you are in violation of your F-1 status. Immigration and Customs Enforcement can terminate a student’s F-1 SEVIS record if a student works in a position unrelated to their studies. A terminated SEVIS record cancels OPT authorization and invalidates F-1 status in the U.S.

*For more information or to arrange a visit, please contact the Career Counselor at [email protected]

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