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International On Campus

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows you to engage in an internship or job that fulfills a requirement for practical and/or field experience in your major field of study. It allows you to be employed in a supervised, temporary position.

Training is an integral part of an established curriculum.

You must have prior authorization before receiving any academic credit for an internship or engaging in any paid or unpaid internship.

CPT can be authorized for part-time (less than 20 hours per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week).

Eligibility

To be eligible for CPT, you must meet ALL of the following conditions:

  • In lawful F-1 status
  • Enrolled full-time at WSU for 1 full academic year before your proposed CPT start date (If you are a graduate student enrolled in a program that requires immediate participation in CPT, you are exempted from this requirement.)
  • Continuing your enrollment as a student during your CPT (Full-time CPT may count as a full course of study.)
  • Majoring in a field of study that has internship/research credits available for your proposed CPT internship or employment
  • Offered a job

Academic Enrollment Requirement

You must enroll in academic credits for each term in which you participate in CPT. This includes the summer term.

  • Undergraduate Students: One credit minimum per semester of CPT internship. HBM students should speak to an Global Services advisor regarding this policy.
  • Graduate Students: Two credit minimum per semester of CPT internship, research, or thesis work

Not Eligible for CPT?

If you are not eligible for CPT, you may be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Talk with a Global Services advisor about OPT opportunities.

How to Apply for CPT

Advisors in the WSU Office of International Programs authorize CPT, not the U.S. Government. You must apply and receive authorization before starting CPT. Once you submit your application to Global Services, allow up to seven business days for it to be processed.

1

Check That you Meet all Eligibility Criteria

Contact a Global Services advisor with questions.

In addition, ask your academic advisor if internships or field experience are available in your program. Be sure that available internships meet program requirements.

2

Complete and Submit the Forms in myPassport

Ask your academic advisor to complete the Academic Advisor Recommendation form.

Have your employer complete the Employment Confirmation form or write a letter verifying your CPT job. You may submit a job offer letter instead of the employment confirmation form as long as the letter includes all the information requested on the confirmation form.

3

Pick up a New I-20

After you submit a complete packet, an international student advisor will review your request and will contact you by email with any additional questions or with the decision on your application.  If your request is approved, Global Services will contact you after your CPT is authorized in SEVIS.

4

Start Your CPT

You have authorization to work only at the employer and for the period specified on Page 2 of your new I-20. If you wish to change employers or extend your CPT, you must obtain a new authorization in advance.

CPT and OPT comparison

CPT—Curricular Practical Training: Enables F-1 students to engage in off-campus employment or an internship that is integral to completion of their academic program.
OPT—Optional Practical Training: Enables eligible F-1 students to engage in employment or internships within their major area of study.

When do you participate?

CPT: After completing at least one full academic year, but before finishing your degree program.
OPT: Most often after completion of a degree program or graduate course work, but may be during a program as well.

Eligibility

You must be enrolled full-time under lawful F-1 status for one full academic year prior to training.

Graduate students whose program requires immediate participation in training are exempt from the one-year prior enrollment requirement.

CPT

  • Requires a job offer.
  • You are authorized to work for a specific employer only.
  • 12 months of full-time CPT makes you ineligible for OPT at the same educational level.
  • CPT must be an integral part of your program of study.

OPT

  • Graduate students who have completed all required courses are eligible to start OPT.
  • Does not require a job offer.
  • Your work authorization is not employer-specific.
  • Maximum of 12 months of full-time work.
  • You must apply before completing your academic program.

Enrollment Requirements

CPT

Part-time employment (up to 20 hours per week):

  • Full-time enrollment is required during the academic year.

Full-time employment (more than 20 hours per week):

  • Enrollment part-time or full-time.
  • Minimum credits determined by your academic department.

OPT

Graduate student pre-completion OPT

  • Employment may be part-time or full-time (Part-time authorization will apply to the 12-month limit at 1.5 times the full-time rate)
  • Enrollment is not required for immigration purposes

Post-completion OPT

  • Full-time employment only
  • Enrollment is not required
  • If enrolled in courses, enrollment should be limited to part-time

Applications

CPT

Apply for CPT through the WSU Office of International Programs. Processing time is about one week. There are no fees.

Upon approval, you will be issued a CPT I-20 form.

Your academic department will:

  • determine whether CPT is an integral part of your academic program
  • determine enrollment requirements (examples: internship course, research credits)
  • recommend CPT

WSU Office of International Programs will:

  • verify your eligibility
  • if a program does not have a required internship, determine on a case-by-case basis whether CPT is appropriate
  • authorize CPT in SEVIS

OPT

Apply for OPT through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Processing may take up to three months. There is a $380 fee (subject to change).

Upon approval, you will be issued an Employment Authorization Document.

Your academic program will:

  • verify completion of all required courses for the program (for graduate student pre-completion OPT)
  • verify your expected program completion date (for post-completion OPT)

WSU Office of International Programs will:

  • verify your eligibility
  • recommend OPT in SEVIS

How CPT can Affect OPT Eligibility

Full-Time CPT

12 or more months of full-time CPT makes you ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the same educational level.

Part-Time CPT

Part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for post-completion OPT.

Washington State University