Complete guide to CPT for International students

CPT for international students

Complete guide to CPT for International students

Curriculum Practical Training or CPT for international students is a part of the degree curriculum in which a student is registered, which directs them to complete an internship along with their study to earn the required credits. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), “CPT is any alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or other type of required internship or practicum offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” This program helps the students to attain some industrial exposure along with their study by working part-time or full-time. The mode of employment can be on-campus or off-campus. Also, the CPT for international student has the provision to work remotely if the employer authorizes. A full-time CPT is when you enroll for employment that requires you to work more than 20 hours per week. But, if you have already enrolled in a Full-time CPT for more than 12 months, you will not be eligible to apply for an OPT (Optional Practical Training). A Part-time CPT requires less than 20 hours of employment per week. The main distinction between a Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) and an Optional Practical Training (OPT) is that unlike OPT, CPT is mandatory for the students to complete the course. CPT can only be completed during the period of your degree term. Even though most universities allow students to work only after the completion of two successive semesters, there are some universities in the USA offering Day 1 CPT. A day 1 CPT internship providing colleges allow students to take part in an internship or work as soon as they start their academic year.

Regulations around CPT for international students

The following are the eligibility criteria to enroll for a CPT internship.

  • The applicant should be enrolled for a full-time course and has completed two consecutive semesters. A course can only be considered as a full-time course if it consists of a minimum of 12 credit hours for undergraduate students, 9 credit hours for graduate students, and 6 credit hours for Graduate Student Instructors and Graduate Student Research Assistants.
  • The applicant must be in the F1 status/ non-immigrant status at the time of application.
  • The applicant must have an active job offer related to his/her major of study at the time of enrollment. The job offer should have the appropriate work description and work location specified.
  • The applicant must not be enrolled in any intensive English language programs.
  • The applicant must be enrolled in a course that requires them to attend an internship in order to earn credits.

You can officially apply for the CPT within 90 days from the end of your first year. The following are the documents required to apply for a Curriculum Practical Training/CPT for international students.

  • CPT authorization request form
  • Academic advisor recommendation form for CPT
  • Detailed training description from the employer
  • Copy of current I-20 and Form I-94

The processing time for the approval of a CPT is around two weeks. An intimation through e-mail will be provided when your application gets approved. You are permitted to work (whether paid or unpaid) only after the approval of your CPT I-20. CPT internship start date and end date will be mentioned in the approved CPT I-20 form. You are eligible to work only during the period mentioned in the CPT form. is a one-stop application portal.  You don’t need to apply through the university websites. With just a few clicks you can send your application to multiple universities in USA, Canada, and Australia using  Our service is 100% free for students.

**We can not guarantee the accuracy or validity of the information posted in this blog. The information mentioned in this blog is purely for information purposes and should not be construed as legal advice what so ever. is only an educational consultant/recruitment agency/platform connecting students with the universities and is not responsible for any immigration related matters. Please read our terms for full disclosures.