Center for International Education


Holloway Hall
Salisbury University - Center for International Education

F-1 Visa Status

Employment Options

Practical Training: CPT Frequently Asked Questions

Q:    I just started my studies in the US.  Am I eligible to start Curricular Practical Training         right away?

A:    Most likely not.  You need to be in F-1 status and enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one

full academic year before becoming eligible for practical training.  Only those graduate students are eligible to star CPT in their first semester if the CPT is required of all students in their academic program. 


Q:    When am I eligible to apply for CPT if I transfer from another US school?

A:    You will be eligible once you have been enrolled in F-1 status for at least one full academic year; this may be cumulative at both institutions.


Q:    I found a very good internship opportunity.  May I start work next week?

A:    No.  You must first have authorization from the international student advisor before you begin paid or unpaid internship or any other form of Curricular Practical Training.  You need to get a new SEVIS I-20 issues by the international student advisor which is endorsed with CPT authorization before you begin the internship


Q:    How long may I work on CPT?

A:    CPT can be approved for part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (over 20 hours).  There is no regulatory limit on either the number of times or length of time a student may engage in either part or full-time Curricular Practical Training.  This will be governed by the nature of the training and the requirement of the student's program.  The regulations do not prohibit multiple, concurrent CPT employers.


Q:    May I complete full time CPT and still be eligible for OPT?

A:    Students who complete 12 or more months of full-time CPT become ineligible for OPT.  Use of part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT.  To continue to be eligible for OPT you will want to make sure to complete 364 days or less of full-time CPT.


Q:    How long may I work on CPT?

A:    This depends on the specific period granted by the international student advisor.  It may be granted by the international student advisor in increments of no more than one year, or until expected date of employment completion, which ever is shorter.  No cumulative maximum, except that it can only be approved before completion of the academic objective.  Please see question and answer above for additional information.


Q:    Who can be my employer during CPT?

A:    Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorder by the international student advisor in SEVIS.


Q:    I heard that Curricular Practical Training is any off-campus job.  Is that true?

A:    No.  USCIS defines CPT as an employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum.  It includes alternative work/study, internship or cooperative education arranged with the approval of your academic 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/winter and MUST be undertaken and completed prior to the completion of the course of study.


Q:    What if I get a new job in my area of studies? Do I need to apply again?

A:    Yes.  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 and updated Certificate of Completion of Studies form are required.


Q:    Is CPT usually required or is it only recommended?

A:    USCIS interprets CPT in two ways.  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 University catalog in the description of the department's requirements for all students.  CPT is recommended when it is beneficial for the student to engage in the employment experience but that 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/winter sessions.


Q:    Is there a fee for CPT?

A:    No fee is required with a CPT application.  It is processes and approved by the international student advisor.