Curricular Practical Training in F-1 Status
Definition: Curricular practical training (CPT) is employment pursuant to an internship requirement or internship elective which is an integral part of the established curriculum of your school, which will be counted towards completion of your degree.
to engage in CPT: You must be a degree candidate who has been
in lawful status for at least one academic year. You must have been offered
a specific training opportunity that must fall into one of the following
Restrictions: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations do not place an absolute limit on the amount of CPT you may utilize. However, if you engage in one year or more of full-time CPT, you will lose your eligibility to engage in Optional Practical Training.
CPT is always part-time during the academic year (maximum of 20 hrs/wk) unless the student is engaged in doctoral dissertation research and has completed all degree requirements except the dissertation. CPT may be full-time during the annual vacation.
CPT taken with academic year coursework should, as with all other courses, be approved at the beginning of the semester in which the course is taken. In no case will the ISSO approve CPT for employment that begins later than 7 weeks prior to the end of classes. Your school may require an earlier start date. The CPT must also be completed during the same semester.
CPT taken without coursework does not sustain F-1 nonimmigrant status, except in the case of doctoral students. If you are a Master's Degree student in your final semester, you must take at least 3 credits of coursework (or more, depending on your school's policy) along with the CPT.
Do not begin CPT employment until after your SEVIS record has been updated by an ISSO adviser and a SEVIS I-20 has been printed with approved employment indicated on it, and you have picked it up. The endorsement will indicate the precise details of the authorized training, including the name and location of the employer, the specific dates of the training period, and whether it is full-time or part-time.
Submit the following documentation to the ISSO as early as possible before you wish to begin employment. The ISSO recommendation requires 10 working days and you should make every effort to apply in a timely manner. If this internship is tied to a specific course, you must register for the course before you apply for CPT and must apply for curricular practical training before or during the normal registration
The International Students and Scholars Office staff will:
We encourage you to contact an adviser at the ISSO if you have questions. Students whose immigration documents were processed by the International Affairs Office at the Columbia University Medical Center should contact the IAO for specific procedures.
Last Reviewed: 09 February 2015 Last
modified: 09 February 2015