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Student and DSO discuss CPT requirements

Read these Curricular Practical Training Reminders

July 3, 2019

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is aware of recent delays in processing optional practical training (OPT) authorization requests. While SEVP understands that SEVP-certified schools want to determine solutions to assist international students, please keep in mind that curricular practical training (CPT) must be an integral part of an existing curriculum and must be implemented in accordance with federal regulations. Therefore, we are providing reminders to clarify the requirements of those existing regulations.

There are two types of practical training available to F-1 students: CPT and OPT. CPT is an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education or other type of required practicum that a sponsoring employer offers through agreements with a student’s college or university.

Here’s what students and school officials need to know about CPT: 

  • Occurs before a student’s program end date on the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”
  • Must relate directly to the student’s major area of study and be an integral part of the school’s established curriculum. Can be full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time. 
  • A student’s designated school official (DSO) authorizes CPT in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  • Students must secure the training opportunity before CPT can be authorized.
  • One year or more of full-time CPT eliminates students’ OPT eligibility at the same educational level.
  • Student can have more than one CPT authorization at the same time. However, CPT authorization is needed for each employer and each time period.
  • CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or letter from the employer.

For case-specific questions, please contact the SEVP Response Center. Download the new Curricular Practical Training Fact Sheet on for more information.

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