North Central College - Naperville, IL

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization directly related to an F-1 student’s academic program for which the work counts toward course credit. According to immigration regulations, the work performed has to be in the student's major field of study. The purpose is to allow students to engage in internships, practicums or cooperative education programs, if necessary for their academic program, or to earn credit toward their program.

CPT is granted by the International Student Advisor and does not require adjutication from United Sates Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Curricular Practical Training Eligibility:

  • The student must be in valid F-1 status at the time of application and have been in full-time student status for one academic year preceding the CPT application. Graduate students whose programs require immediate participation in internship/practical training may apply at any time.
  • The work must be necessary to fulfill course/class requirements. In other words, it must be required of all students taking the course, not just related to a course. The course must be an integral part of the established curriculum, (i.e., it must be required for the degree program or earning credit for the degree program).
  • You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT because the authorization is employer specific.
  • CPT is first recommended by the Undergraduate/Graduate Advisor, and then authorized by the International Student Advisor.
  • You must be authorized for CPT by the International Student Advisor in the Office of International Programs before beginning any employment.
  • Working prior to obtaining authorization could result in a loss of your F-1 status.
  • The number of hours you are allowed to work while on CPT is determined by your internship program requirements.
  • Part-time CPT authorization is 20 hours per week or less.
  • Full-time CPT is 21 hours per week or more.
  • You may use as much CPT authorization as is required for your degree program.
  • However, if you accumulate 12 months or more of full-time CPT authorization, you are not eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization. (EXAMPLE: If you have been authorized for a total of 11 months full-time CPT, you would still be eligible to apply for OPT.)
  • Part-time CPT does not affect OPT in any way.
  • Curricular Practical Training authorization on Page 3 of your I-20 is your proof to accept employment. Therefore, your I-20 and I-94 may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 that all U.S. employers are required by law to complete within three days of the start of employment.
  • If you change employers during your internship you must apply for a new period of 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 working after the end date. If you expect that you will need to work past your end date, you must have an extension of CPT authorized by the International Student Advisor before you can continue working past the CPT end date on your I-20.
  • Employment is defined as “any type of work performed or services provided in exchange of money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, or for any other benefit.”

To Apply:

Schedule an appointment with Jesus Velasco, International Student Advisor, and bring the following:

Passport, Form I-94, Visa, Form I-20 (original)

CPT Advisor Recommendation Form (below) which contains:

  • For graduate students: verification signature from your Graduate Advisor; for undergraduate students: verification signature from your Undergraduate Advisor, or Internship Coordinator
  • A description of the program (internship or cooperative education program)
  • Name and course number of the internship or research course for which you will be earning credit, name of the supervising professor and the semester in which the course credit will be earned
  • Name,address, and supervisor of the company/institution where you will be working
  • Beginning and ending dates of employment and the hours per week to be worked
  • Letter from the employer (on letterhead paper and signed by employer) describing the work to be performed, including the starting and ending dates of employment, salary, and the employer's address.


[CPT Academic Advisor's Form]

[Example Offer Letter of Employment]