Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined by the immigration service as employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum. It is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, or cooperative education arranged with the approval of your program, or any type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements. CPT may take place during the academic year and/or in the summer but not after completion of a course of study.
You must have authorization from CIP before you begin a paid or unpaid internship or any other form of curricular practical training. As an F-1 student your employment cannot begin until you receive your SEVIS I-20 with the curricular practical training endorsement. Beginning curricular practical training without proper authorization is a violation of immigration regulations and will have serious consequences.
CPT may be required or recommended. This is decided by the stated requirements of an academic degree. CPT is required when it is a required part of the curriculum; it should be mentioned in the section of the University catalog, which describes the department's requirements and course offerings. All students in that degree program are required to complete an internship or practicum.
CPT is recommended when it is beneficial for the student to engage in the employment experience but the experience is NOT necessary for the completion of the degree. A student authorized for recommended CPT is required by current immigration regulations to register for a minimum of 1 college credit which reflects the CPT placement; this credit must be granted by the academic department for each semester of the CPT placement, including the summer semester.
Students in F-1 status must have been lawfully enrolled in school on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year before becoming eligible for practical training. The academic year in-status requirement is waived for students enrolled in graduate studies which require immediate participation in curricular practical training. However there are no programs that fit this description at St. Joe’s.
Students who complete 12 or more months of full-time curricular practical training will be ineligible for optional practical training. To continue to be eligible for OPT you will want to make sure to do 364 days or less of full-time CPT.
There is no fee to apply for curricular practical training. Processing is done in the CIP office. Once you have submitted all the required documents, it takes a few days to complete the processing of the new I-20.
The following three items are needed to process an application for curricular practical training:
- A job offer letter from your employer on their official letterhead: The letter needs to include the starting and ending dates of the placement, the number of hours per week of employments, a brief description of duties to be performed.
- A letter from your Academic Advisor recommending Curricular Practical Training.
- A copy of the registration for the appropriate CPT course.
Once the curricular practical training application is complete, the Center for International Programs will update the SEVIS record and print a copy of the student's SEVIS I-20, authorizing curricular practical training with that employer only. The SEVIS I-20 will be given to the student. You must have the SEVIS I-20 in hand prior to commencing the employment.
It is important to note that CPT is job specific. A new application will be required if there is a change of employers or if the employment is to be continued beyond the current ending date. An updated offer letter, an updated Academic Advisor's letter, and a new course registration are required.