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F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Last updated 13-Mar-2018

General Information

Some F-1 students are eligible for practical training. There are two types of F-1 practical training: curricular practical training (CPT) and optional practical training (OPT).

Type of Practical Training Distinction
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Training relates directly to the student’s major area of study.
  • Training is an integral part of the school’s established curriculum.
  • Designated school official (DSO) authorized CPT in SEVIS, and the authorization prints on the student’s Form I-20.
  • Occurs before the student’s program end date on the Form I-20.
  • Authorization is for one specific employer and for a specific period of time.
  • Student must secure the training opportunity before CPT can be authorized.
  • Student can have more than one CPT authorization at the same time.
  • One year of full-time CPT eliminates a student’s eligibility for OPT.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Training relates directly to the student’s major area of study.
  • DSO recommends OPT in SEVIS.
  • Student does not have to secure training before the DSO can recommend OPT.
  • Authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), and the student is issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
  • Allows the student to work for any employer, as long as the training relates to the student’s major course of study
  • Can occur before or after the student’s program end date.
  • Periods of OPT cannot overlap.
  • Students are eligible for an additional 12 months of OPT authorization, when they change to a higher educational level.

This article focuses on CPT.

Pay attention to an important point 

The following articles on the SEVIS Help Hub provide useful information about student employment:

Regulations and Policy

Complex rules apply to CPT because the training opportunity must comply with both:

  • Federal regulations
  • School policies regarding internships, experiential learning, etc.

Designated school officials must understand the following federal regulations and policy guidance to determine if a student qualifies for CPT:

Regulatory or policy resources 

Regulations applicable to CPT:

Eligibility

A DSO can authorize CPT for an F-1 student enrolled at an SEVP-certified college, university, conservatory, or seminary if the student:

  • Has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least a full academic year.
    Note: An exception exists for students in graduate studies whose programs require earlier training.
  • Is not studying English as a second language.
  • Has secured a training position.

CPT Process Overview

step Player Action
1 Student
  • Requests CPT using the school’s established processes.
2 DSO
  • Reviews request and determines student’s eligibility for CPT.
3 DSO
  • Authorizes CPT in SEVIS for a specific employer.
  • Prints and signs Form I-20 with CPT authorization.
4 Student
  • Begins work on or after the CPT start date.

Note: The student cannot start work prior to the start date. All work must end by the CPT end date.

 

Authorize CPT

To authorize curricular practical training:

1. Go to the Student Information page.

2. Click CPT Employment Authorization in the Employment/Training section of the links on the left-hand side of the page. The CPT Employment page opens.

3. Click New CPT Employment. The Add CPT Employment page opens.

4. Complete the following fields:

  • Employment Start Date: Enter the date the CPT training is to begin. Format MM/DD/YYYY. This is a required field.

 CPT Start Date must be on or after the date that CPT is authorized in SEVIS. Students cannot legally work before CPT is authorized in SEVIS.

  • Employment End Date: Enter the date the CPT training will end. Format MM/DD/YYYY. This is a required field.
  • Full Time/Part Time: Indicate whether the training is full or part time. This is a required field.
    • Full Time: Over 20 hours per week
    • Part Time: No more than 20 hours

 DSOs must authorize CPT either on a part-time or full-time basis, in accordance to the school policies. When school is in session, the student must maintain a full course of study even when CPT is authorized.

  • Employer Name: Enter the name of the company or organizations where the training will take place. This is a required field.
  • Employer Address: Enter the address where the training will take place. This is a required field.
  • Explain how the employment is curricular: Describe how the training is an integral part of the established curriculum. These comments display on the Employment Information page. This is a required field. (250 character limit)
  • Employment Remarks: Enter any optional remarks about the employment. These comments display on the Current Request/Authorizations page. (250 character limit)
  • Student Remarks: Enter any remarks about the training. These remarks print on the Form I-20. They also display on the Student Information page until they are overwritten in the future. (1,000 character limit)

Note: SEVIS displays any comments previously entered for the student. You can choose to retain those comments, add new comments to them, or completely overwrite those comments.

5. Click one of the following: Add Employment, Reset Values, or Cancel.

  • Add Employment: Adds the CPT authorization to the student record. An Update Successful page opens. Select either Return to Employment List or Print I-20:

  • Return to Employment List: Returns to the CPT Employment page.
  • Print I-20: Prints the Form I-20 with the CPT authorization on page two.
    • Reset Values: Clears any values you entered.
    • Cancel: returns you to the CPT Employment page without authorizing CPT.

Cancel CPT

DSOs can cancel curricular practical training before the CPT start date. After the CPT start date, the DSO can only edit the authorization to shorten the CPT end date.

To cancel CPT for a student:

1. Go to the CPT Employment page.

2. Click Cancel in the Command column for the CPT authorization you want to remove. The Cancel CPT Employment page opens.

3. Review the information. Click either Cancel Employment or Return.

  • Cancel Employment: Cancels the CPT authorization. An Update Successful page opens. Click either Return to Employment List or Print I-20:
    • Return to Employment List: Opens the CPT Employment page.
    • Print I-20: Prints the Form I-20.
  • Return: Takes you back to the CPT Employment page without canceling CPT.

Note: SEVIS continues to display canceled CPT authorizations. They are part of the history of actions taken on the student’s record.

 

Edit CPT

DSOs can edit CPT authorizations to defer, update, or shorten the authorization. To edit CPT:

1. Go to the CPT Employment page.

2. Click Edit next to the CPT authorization you want to update. The Edit CPT Employment page opens.

3. Update the field(s) that needs to be edited.

4. Click Update Employment, Reset Values, or Cancel.

Any changes made to CPT authorization display in Event History.

View CPT Information

DSOs can view CPT information in four different locations in the student’s record:

1. Student List: Students with Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Accessed from Student Lists page.
2. Employment Information page: Accessed from Student Information page.
3. Current Requests/Authorization Details page: Accessed from Student Information page.
4. Event History page: Accessed from Student Information page.

Student List: Students With Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

This student list allows DSOs to find students with active or future CPT authorizations quickly. A student with multiple CPT authorizations will appear on the list more than once.

 

Employment Information Page

SEVIS displays CPT authorizations on the Employment Information page.

 

Current Requests/Authorization Details Page

The Current Requests/Authorization Details page displays information on current and future CPT authorizations only.

 

Student Event History

SEVIS captures and displays the history of CPT authorizations in the student’s Event History.

Icon Guide

See the SEVIS Help Icons on the SEVIS Help Hub for a quick-reference of the icons used in this user guide.