International CPT

Curricular Practical Training(CPT)

Purpose of CPT

Curricular practical training (CPT) is designed to make it possible for F-1 students to fulfill specific work requirements for an established degree program. Required internships, practicum and other work requirements that are listed in the West Texas A&M University catalog are examples of such programs.

An immigration advisor at the International Student Office grants CPT work authorization. If approved, a new I-20 with a CPT authorization will be issued to you within 5- 7 business days.

Eligibility for CPT

The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) regulations define the following criterion for eligibility for CPT:

  • 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. If a graduate program requires the training program to begin immediately, this requirement can be waived.
  • The training must be an important and integral part of the student's program of study.
  • The training must be part of a course, which is either required by the student's degree program, or part of a course for which the student receives academic credit.
  • The course must be listed in the WTAMU catalog as "Internship" or "Practicum."

Required vs. Integral Authorization

CPT may be authorized for an internship that is either a required or integral part of an academic program.

  • A required internship must be completed by all students in a degree program and is generally listed on the program of study.
  • An integral internship is not specifically required by the degree program, but may be highly encouraged or necessary to learn specific skills or gather research for thesis, dissertation, or final project.

Part-time vs. Full-time Authorization

The training may be either part-time or full-time.

  • Part-time curricular practical training is limited to 20 hours per week and requires full-time enrollment in school. Part-time curricular practical training does not affect a student's post completion practical training (OPT).
  • Full-time curricular practical training is 21 hours per week and more and requires at least part-time enrollment in school in order to keep the student's F-1 status. Full-time curricular practical training may affect post-completion practical training. Students who have received one year or more of full-time curricular practical training will be ineligible for post-completion practical training (OPT).

Application Procedures for CPT

Students interested in applying for CPT should make an appointment with the International Student Office adviser at least one week prior to the desired employment start date. There is no fee for applying for a CPT authorization. Bring the following items with you to your appointment:

  1. Official documents: Original valid passport, visa, I-94 card and sevis I-20 form
  2. Student's Form: CPT Student Form
  3. Employer’s form: You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT because CPT allows you to work for a specific employer for a specific educational objective. Please ask your employer to fill out the CPT Employer Form. You should submit this form along with a copy your official job letter on company letterhead.
  4. Curricular Practical Training Authorization Form: You must meet with your academic adviser to discuss and complete the CPT Academic Department Form.

An immigration adviser at the International Student Office will review your application and if approved, a new I-20 with a CPT authorization will be issued to you within 5- 7 business days for a specific employer and for a specific period of time, usually corresponding to a semester.

You must present this I-20 to your employer as proof of employment eligibility before beginning work. The CPT 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 your 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.

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 on the I-20.