Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or "internship", is a temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study listed on your I-20. "Practical training" can include employment or internship experience (paid or unpaid). CPT is authorized by the Immigration Services for Student & Scholar (ISSS) office in accordance with F-1 regulations.
CPT may be part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). If you accumulate more than 11 months of full-time CPT authorization, you lose your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT), another type of employment authorization for F-1 students. Part-time CPT, and fewer than 11 months of full-time CPT authorization, does not affect your OPT eligibility.
Curricular Practical Training is intended to be an important element of an educational program. It is not to be seen or used as a convenient means to circumvent employment restrictions.
CPT is employer specific. Authorization is documented through SEVIS, the federal government data base, for a specific employer at a specific location for a specified period of time.
You may be eligible for CPT if you:
Please note: "An academic year" for students on the semester calendar is 9 months. “An academic year” for students on the trimester calendar, is two consecutive trimesters.
CPT or “internship” is a temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study listed on your I-20. CPT is employer specific and must be done before you graduate.
OPT is optional and is offered so graduating students may seek employment with a company based in the United States after they have completed their program. OPT is not employer specific; however you will need to acquire a position related to your major field of study listed on your I-20.
You must maintain F-1 student status, which generally requires full-time registration.
You may use up to 11 months of CPT without affecting your OPT eligibility. Using more than 11 months will make you ineligible for OPT. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT in any way.
You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT since the authorization is for a specific employer.
You can change within the limits of part-time or full-time. For example, you may change from 10 hours per week to 15 hours per week without a new authorization. However, if you change from part-time to full-time (or vice versa) you must request a new authorization.
Additionally, you will not be able to change your hours from part time to full time until the following term when your GPA can be confirmed.
Since CPT is employer specific you must apply for a new CPT authorization before you work for the new employer.
You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You may not begin before the start date or continue after the end date. You must apply for an extension in sufficient time to allow your ISSS adviser to issue a new CPT authorization before you can continue beyond the end date of your current CPT.
Yes, you will need a Social Security number in order to receive payment from your employer.
In general, as an F-1 student you will be exempt from Social Security (FICA) taxes for your first five years in the U.S. as long as you continue to declare nonresident status for tax purposes.
Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home government, your earnings as an F-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and employers are required to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. For more information on taxes, consult the Internal Revenue Service.
No. The CPT authorization on page 3 of your I-20 is your proof of employment eligibility and together with your I-94 card may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 required by your employer.