The US Department of Homeland Security regulations state that Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be "an integral part of an established curriculum." Curricular practical training is defiened as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." Therefore, CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide work experience, prior to completion of that program, in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student's academic program.
A student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year before being eligible for CPT. An exception exists for graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A student must be in valid F-1 status and it must occur before the completion of his/her program. English language programs students are not eligible for CPT. A gap in study or a status violation caused by the sudent, may require that the one academic year waiting period would need to be recalculated once the student has again obtained valid F-1 status.
A student would have to establish the following in order to authorize CPT. It must be clearly documented that the proposed employment meets one of the two conditions below.
During the school year there is a limit to no more than 20 hours per week during classes sessions.
During official school breaks and vacations students can engage in full-time CPT. PhD students can engage in
full-time CPT during his /her dissertation. CPT authorization terminates when the student completes the dissertation. Students may work more than 20 hours per week during Full-time CPT.
If a student participates in 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training, s/he will not be eligible for post-completion optional practical training (OPT).
To apply for CPT, you will need to provide your student advisor with the following documents:
If you are eligible and have the documentation requirea student advisor, will authorize CPT by issuing a new I-20. You may begin CPT employment only after you have received the I-20 with your CPT authorization. Note: This work authorization is valid only for the specific employer, location, time period and on a part-time or full-time basis as approved buy the student advisor as evidenced on your I-20 issued for CPT. You will need an extension if you desire to work beyond the date authorized. Failure to do would be a violation of your nonimmigrant student status, and would jeopardize your ability to remain in the US.
If you do not have a Social Security Number , you should apply for a Social Security Number based on the CPT authorization.
F-1 students who have been in the US for less than five different calendar years are exempt from social security taxes. Please notify your employer, as many employers are unfamiliar with this provision of the tax laws. Students in F-1 status are subject to all other taxes that may apply, including federal, state and local. For more information, consult with anaccountant and/or Publication 519 of the Internal Revenue Service (http://www.irs.gov/).
It is a student's responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to F-1 students, including employment and tax regulations. Working without the proper employment authorization is a violation of the F-1 nonimmigrant status. Failure to comply may jeopardize your stay in the US.
The DSO approves Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for students in accordance with the 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i). No employment authorization from USCIS is needed. For assistance the DSO should consult the SEVIS Users Manual for SEVIS process or the SEVP Help Desk at 1-800-892-4829. For unresolved policy issues, send an email to SEVIS.Source@dhs.gov or contact SEVP at (202) 305-2346.