Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
USCIS defines "curricular practical training" as employment which is an integral or important part of your curriculum, and that it is either required for your degree or you receive academic credit for the employment experience. These stipulations must be printed in the University of Miami Bulletin applicable to your degree program.
(A) Employment Which Is a Required Part
of Your Degree Program.
If (1) you are a graduate student, (2) you are maintaining lawful F-1 status, and (3) the proposed employment is a required part of your studies, you may apply for permission to engage in CPT whenever your program requires your participation, even if it is immediately upon beginning your studies. Undergraduate students must have completed one academic year of full-time study, be in lawful F-1 status at the time they submit their application and continue to maintain valid F-1 status in order to be eligible for any form of CPT.
(B) Employment Which Is Not a Required Part
of your Degree Program.
In order to be eligible to apply for permission to work in a job which is not a required part of your study program, but for which you will receive academic credit (i.e., at least one credit in an internship course), you must (1) be in lawful F-1 status at the time you submit your application and continue to maintain valid F-1 status, and (2) you have been enrolled in valid, lawful status as a full-time student for at least one full academic year directly preceding your application. This applies to both graduate and undergraduate students.
The F-1 regulations are very clear on who qualifies for off-campus employment authorization and who does not. Students in exchange programs and students in special/executive programs (i.e. Global Executive MBA, Higher Education Leadership), do not qualify for any type of off-campus paid employment before or after their studies (with the exception of Internship with an International Organization Employment for exchange students) since they do not meet the eligibility requirements for these Immigration benefits.
Exchange program students
: In order to qualify for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT), a student must complete one full academic year (excluding time spent in F-1 status in Intensive English Programs) in F-1 status. In the case of CPT and pre-completion OPT, a student must be returning to study in the U.S. after employment. In the case of post-completion OPT, a student must receive a U.S. degree. Exchange Students are not eligible for employment at the end of their exchange year because they are neither returning to study in the U.S. after the employment, nor will they receive a U.S. degree.
Special/Executive program students
: In order to qualify for off-campus employment, a student must complete one full academic year (excluding time spent in F-1 status in Intensive English Programs) in F-1 status. Special/Executive program students are not eligible for employment upon completion of their degree because they will not have completed one full academic year
in F-1 status.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time Curricular Practical Training
Part-Time Training. While you are enrolled for classes, you may be employed for 20 hours or less per week; this is considered "part time" curricular practical training. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part time CPT but you must be simultaneously enrolled in order to maintain lawful F 1 status.
Full-Time Training. Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered "full time" CPT. Full-time CPT is only possible during summer vacation unless your degree requires you to complete a full-time internship during fall and/or spring semesters. In the latter case, you may be eligible to engage in full-time CPT during fall and/or spring semesters as well. Please note that CPT for which you receive academic credit (i.e., at least one credit in an internship course) requires enrollment, even during the summer. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in full time CPT but if you participate for 12 months or more, you will not be eligible for optional practical training (see next paragraph).
Curricular Practical Training and Eligibility Requirements for Optional Practical Training
It is important that you understand that if you participate in 12 months or more of "full time" CPT, you lose eligibility to apply for 12 months of optional practical training.
Application and Authorization Procedures
The following documents are needed for application for CPT:
- CPT Request Form
- Letter from academic advisor with the specifics of the employment and stating that it is either part-time or full-time and either required or a for-credit option of your degree program (see sample)
- Proof of enrollment for at least one internship credit (only for students applying for curricular practical training based on internship credits, and not a required part of their degree program).
- SEVIS Form I-20 (signed by student on page 1)
- Form I-94
- Certificate of Completion of ISSS' online employment session
Authorization for CPT is granted by ISSS and noted on page three of the SEVIS Form I-20.
You may not begin employment before you have authorization, and you must end employment on the date noted. To begin early or continue past the ending date constitutes illegal employment.
Authorization dates for Curricular Practical Training are based on the Academic Calendar.
If you are engaged in CPT for academic credit during fall or spring semesters, the dates of employment are the same as the beginning and ending dates of the course. However, during the summer, students who register for a CPT internship course for the first summer session will be given authorization for the entire summer if their professor deems the additional time to be necessary for project completion. Please keep in mind that CPT which is not required for your degree must carry at least one academic internship credit.