F1 Visa Employment Authorization - CPT (Internships)



As an F-1 visa holder, you are automatically authorized to work on-campus up to 20 hours during the regular semester, and up to 40 hours during the summer semester. However, you will also be able to work off-campus if you have the employment authorization from the USCIS. There are three type of employment authorization to work off-campus.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Employment Authorization due to Economic Hardship

In this section we will discuss the Curricular Practical Training (CPT)


Related Links
  F1 - CPT (Internships)
  F1 - OPT (Internships/Jobs)
  F1 - Economic Hardship




Definition

Eligibility

Restriction

Part-time CPT v. Full-time CPT

How to obtain a CPT?

Tax and SSN

 

Definition

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment authorization that is available for F-1 visa holder if the employment is an integral part of the academic program the applicant is pursuing. The CPT is granted by your International Student Office.

Example of this type of employment is a “credited” internship (at the end of the internship you will be getting a grade based on your performance during the internship, and this grade will be counted towards your total GPA).

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Eligibility

You are eligible to apply for a CPT if:

  • You are a full-time student for at least one academic year
  • You already got the job offer from the company
  • The employment is an integral part of your academic program, and the type of work that you will be doing is in accordance with your degree

Exception:
If you are a full-time graduate student, and the employment requires your immediate participation, you can be exempt from the one academic year requirement. Please check with your International Student Office or USCIS for more detail

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Restriction

  • Students that are enrolled in English language training only is not eligible for CPT
  • There is no restriction on the maximum time you will spend on CPT. However, if you utilize your CPT for more than one year, you can no longer apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)

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Part-time CPT v. Full-time CPT

Part-time CPT : You are authorized to work maximum 20 hours per week while you are also enroll in classes. Generally part-time CPT is applied for undergraduate student and graduate student in the form of internship.

Full-time CPT : You are authorized to work more than 20 hours per week, and you don’t need to enroll in classes. Generally full-time CPT is applied for PhD candidates in the form of research.

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How to obtain a CPT?

Submit the following documents to your International Student office:

  • Current 1-20 and all of previously issued I-20
  • Passport
  • I-94 form
  • Job offer letter from the potential employer
    It must include:
    • Your job title and your job description
    • Employment information: the start and ending date, the number of hours per week, and the company information
    • Letter from your academic advisor, who is going to supervise your internship

    For internship, it must mention that:

  • You are a full-time student, your anticipated program completion date
  • The course name and the credit hours for the internship
  • How the internship is going to be evaluated and that the grade that you will be getting from the internship is going to be counted towards your total GPA
  • Employment information: the start and ending date, the number of hours per week, and the company information

For research, it must mention that:

  • You are a full-time student, your anticipated program completion date
  • The research is necessary for your thesis / dissertation
  • Employment information: the start and ending date, the number of hours per week, and the company information

Normally you can submit them as early as 3 months before your employment start date and as late as two weeks before your employment start date.

If you satisfy all the requirements for CPT, your International Student office will update your SEVIS record, and give you the up-dated I-20

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Tax and SSN

As an international student you are not eligible for social security benefits. Therefore, you are not required to deduct the social security tax (FICA) from your paycheck while you are working under CPT. However, you should pay the Federal tax, State tax, and City tax. In order to do so, you need to have a Social Security Number.

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