Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, allows international students to get involved in paid internships and receive employment training. Students have the option of working full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time (less than or exactly 20 hours per week), earning US dollars while gaining experience in the field of their choice.
Students who want assistance finding a paid job on or off campus can take advantage of the CPT Work Study programs. If you are still not sure about how CPT works, you can have a look at the following article. In this article, experts at EZInterviews tried to answer some of the top frequently asked questions about the topic.
Top CPT FAQs for International Students
1. What is CPT (Curricular Practical Training)?
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an F-1 off-campus permit for positions, both paid and unpaid, directly related to the principal area of study specified on Page 1 of Form I-20. CPT can be used to authorize a variety of positions, including employment, internships, fellowships, practicums, and so on.
2. What are the requirements for a CPT?
The post must be an integral element of the student’s academic program. During the semester in which the CPT is approved, the student must enroll in a related course. The job should have a clear connection to the student’s major field of study. The student must continue to hold a valid F-1 visa.
3. Can a student apply for OPT if they have previously participated in CPT?
Yes. The OPT program is open to students who have not finished more than 12 months of full-time CPT at the same level.
4. Do I need a job offer to apply?
Yes. Only particular positions at specific locations and times within US organizations are eligible for CPT authorization. The offer letter must be provided on official letterhead and include a brief job description, employment start and end dates, hours per week, and supervisor information.
5. Is there an hour limit for CPT?
Your total work/internship hours during mandatory academic terms, including paid and unpaid work both on and off campus, might not exceed 20 hours per week. Keep in mind that this is a weekly maximum rather than an average.
6. Do I need to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for CPT?
No, the Office of International Student Services and the student’s advisor should both approve CPT.
7. Does CPT affect my eligibility for Optional Practical Training?
A student’s eligibility for OPT is not affected as long as they don’t take part in full-time CPT for more than 12 months.
8. What is a Cooperative Practical Training Agreement?
The Cooperative Practical Training Agreement is a contract between Saint Peter’s University and employers who offer CPT-qualified positions to F-1 students enrolled in the executive MS Data Science and Business Analytics (Professional Hybrid) programs. According to the agreement, you, the supervisor, acknowledge that the student’s internship or practical training with your company is subject to the following conditions:
- The position must be a crucial component of the student’s academic program.
- It is required that the job be directly relevant to the student’s major field of study.
- The student’s employment may only work within the approved CPT dates as mentioned on the I-20.
- The work has to be done at the designated job site.
- The student may work up to 20 hours per week if they are granted part-time CPT.
- Even if a student is not working more than 20 hours per week while being approved for full-time CPT (more than 20 hours per week), the experience will still be considered “full-time” for immigration reporting purposes (and may have an effect on the student’s eligibility for post-degree OPT).
- To ensure that the I-20 is updated when the student’s part-time or full-time status changes, the student must submit written confirmation of the change from the employer (with the effective date for the change). No revisions may be made prior to the date stated on the updated I-20.
- The student must continue to hold a valid F-1 visa.
- The student must continue to pursue a complete course of study, and taking part in CPT cannot stop the student from finishing their selected academic course of study on time.
9. When and how must a student renew CPT?
Each academic year, CPT must be renewed. The completion of the CPT renewal form serves as proof that a student is continuing with an internship or other practical training program that has been approved and has been recognized as an important factor in the student’s chosen course of study. Students and their practical training supervisors acknowledge with this renewal form that they are continuing their collaborative, practical training agreement with Saint Peter’s University.
10. How does an F1 student apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)?
Students can only apply for an SSN if they have a job offer letter and permission to work. Please be aware that F-2 dependents are not allowed to get an SSN. The student must be in the US and submit an application to the local SSN office no earlier than 30 days before to the start date of employment as indicated on their form I-20 in order to be eligible. The I-20 form and employment letter must be submitted with the application by the student.
11. How long can a student work when participating in CPT?
Students can work on CPT full-time or part-time. Although there is no time limit on how long a student can continue in CPT, they are not eligible for OPT if they have completed 11 months and 29 days or more of full-time CPT. Participation in part-time CPT and OPT is not limited.
12. Do international students need work authorization before being hired?
No, international students must acquire a work permit before they start working for pay—not before they are offered a job. In fact, F-1 students who wish to participate in CPT must have a formal employment offer.
Remember that your CPT must be work training required to finish a degree program. CPT is not a requirement for all degree programs, but it is frequently seen in practical courses like business and engineering, where students can learn more by applying their knowledge in the real world.
For more information about CPT, other visas, or US immigration topics in general, you can visit EZInterviews, the interview question and answer portal, to browse, ask and seek answers from industry experts.
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