Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary employment option available to F-1 students where the practical training employment is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum or academic program. This employment may be an internship, a cooperative education job, a practicum, or any other work experience that is either required for your degree or for which academic credits is rewarded. Eligible students can obtain part-time (20 hours or less per week) or full-time (over 20 hours) CPT during spring or fall semesters or in vacation periods. Students must apply for CPT before the completion of educational objective. Eligible students must maintain full-time status during the training.
- Students must be in good academic standing and valid F-1 status for at least a full academic year.
- Graduate students in their first year of study may be eligible for CPT if required immediate CPT by their departments. Undergraduates are not eligible in their first year of study.
- You must have not previously engaged in 1 year or more of full-time CPT
- You have a job offer for an internship from a specific employer. Employment offer must be directly related to you major field of study.
- You must be registered in an internship course.
Application and Authorization Procedure:
- Contact the Cooperative Education Office (Ph: 908 737 4114 Office: W 402B) and complete their application procedures. See application here.
- Schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor. And don't forget to bring the following documents to the appointment.
- Your valid passport (valid for at least 6 months) and I-94 card
- Your original SEVIS I-20 form and all previous I-20
- A letter from your academic department confirming that the practical training is either recommended or required, and that it is an integral part of the department's curriculum.
- Proof of registration for the CPT credits
- A letter from your employer which states the duties of the job, beginning and ending date of your employment, and supervisor's name, title, address and phone number.
- Bring a confirmation of eligibility for co-op from the Cooperative Education Office indicating approval of each condition stated in the letter from the employer.
Note: The authorization is noted by the International Student Service (ISS) on the back of your I-20 form. You must not continue employment beyond the date authorized unless you apply and are granted an extension of your permission to work.
Q: Will the time used for Curricular Practical training be deducted from the twelve months of Optional Practical training (OPT)?
A: The time spent on CPT will not be deducted from the 12 months of allowable OPT unless students use 12 months or more of full-time CPT.
Q: Do I need to apply for a U.S. Social Security Number for curricular practical training?
A: Yes, if you plan to work in the U.S. you will need a valid Social Security Number. ISS can provide with instructions on how to apply for a Social Security Number.
Q: When can I start working?
A: You can only begin working when you receive the Curricular Practical Training endorsement on your I-20. Any work that takes place before the endorsement or after expiration date indicated on your I-20 are unauthorized employment.
Q: Can I work for different employers?
A: No. You are not eligible to change employers unless authorized by USCIS.
Q: Can I apply for CPT even if my academic department does not offer any?
A: Unfortunately, no. CPT is directly linked to the curriculum of your academic department. Since your academic department does not offer any internship, practicum of Co-Op, you may not be able to purse a CPT employment.