F-1 Curricular Practical Training
What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
The Immigration Service defines “curricular practical training” as employment which is an integral part of your curriculum, including “…alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.”
At the University of Bridgeport, the terms “co-op”, “internship”, and “field experience” are used to describe opportunities for Curricular Practical Training.
What types of jobs qualify for CPT (both paid and unpaid)?
To be considered for CPT, the work must be directly related to your current major field of study AND must also be an integral part of your studies. Your training must satisfy one of the following conditions:
A. It is required of all students by your degree program
B. It is required for a particular course or curricular track
For instance, internship is one of the options offered to MBA students to complete degree requirements. This internship meets the requirement of CPT if you choose it for degree completion.
C. It is Cooperative Education offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school
- The training is “an integral part of an established curriculum”
- You are maintaining lawful F-1 status
- You must satisfy the one full academic year requirement set by immigration and the institution (full Spring and Fall semesters, Summer semesters do not count); Please note: if you re-enter the U.S. with an initial attendance I-20, your one full academic year will start from the time when you re-enter the U.S.
- You will continue to be enrolled for a full course of study during the CPT
- You meet all academic criteria set by your academic department
- Students enrolled in UB’s English Language Institute are not eligible for CPT.
How many hours per week may I work?
Your academic department must approve your request for Curricular Practical Training including how many hours per week you are approved for work.
- Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered “part time” CPT
- Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered “full time” CPT
Can I have both CPT and on-campus job?
- No. As per UB’s institutional policy, you may not accept any on-campus job during CPT.
How long may I participate in CPT?
- The length of CPT will be governed by the nature of the training and the requirements of your program for internship/co-op as published in the UB catalog.
- If you participate in full-time CPT for twelve months or more, you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training.
Do I pay Social Security and other taxes?
- In general, F-1 students who have been in the U.S. less than five years are exempt from Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes.
- See IRS Publication 519, US Tax Guide for Aliens, for detailed information by visiting www.irs.gov.
- Your earnings are subject to applicable federal, state and local income taxes.
- A tax return is due on or before April 15 each year, which will determine if any of these taxes may be refunded.
What paperwork do I need to do with my employer when I start work?
- When you begin work, you and your employer must complete a form entitled “Employment Eligibility Verification” (USCIS Form I-9), which the employer retains.
- The I-9 must be updated each time you receive a renewal of your work permission.
- Your I-20 will have a specific employment authorization on page 3.
When may I start work?
- You MUST NOT start work until you receive a new I-20 form with specific written authorization for CPT on page 3 of your I-20.
- CPT is employer and part/full-time specific. You may only work for the employer for the number of hours authorized as shown on page 3 of your I-20.
- Working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of your F-1 student status.
- You should consult with the International Student Services before taking up or changing any employment.
Step 1. Visit the ISS website for eligibility and application process.
Step 2. If you are eligible, please scan/email to firstname.lastname@example.org the following documents to be reviewed by ISS:
A. Job offer letter printed on a letterhead and signed/dated by your employer (electronic signatures are not acceptable). The letter must include all required information as listed below:
- Job title
- DETAILED job description
- Start date and end date
- Hours per week
- Name of supervisor
- Job title of supervisor
- Contact phone and e-mail address of supervisor
- Physical location where the student will work (The job location must be within a 100-mile radius of UB during the Spring and Fall semesters; There is no distance restriction during the summer/winter annual break. Please note that your summer/winter CPT will not be extended to the Fall or Spring semester if the job location is beyond 100 miles.) Sample letter
Please note the start date of the job offer cannot be immediate. Since this process involves approval from a few offices, the start date should be in the future, preferably one to two weeks. CPT authorization is granted on a semester-by-semester basis only. If you wish to continue your employment beyond the semester for which you have been authorized, you must follow the entire application process again. You can start this process as soon as you pre-register for the next semester.
B. Cooperative Education/Internship Agreement signed by your prospective employer
Step 3. Once your documents are approved, an ISS advisor will schedule you an appointment for CPT processing
Step 4. At the time of your appointment, please bring the following documents:
- Job offer letter which was approved by ISS
- Signed Cooperative Education/Internship Agreement by your employer and Center for Career Development
- Curricular Practical Training Application Form (page 2) signed by your academic advisor and academic dean
- Curricular Practical Training Application Form (page 1) and internship/coop registration form signed by Center for Career Development
- Signed Student Statement (original + a copy)
Please note that you must meet the follow conditions:
- Your balance must be less than $500.00
- GPA: 3.0 for graduate and 2.5 for undergraduate (no CPT will be processed if there are any pending grades or if you have received an unsatisfactory grade for a prior CPT)
- No holds on your account
- No pending grades
- If this CPT is done during the winter or summer break, you must pre-register for the Spring or Fall semester
- Do NOT work until you get the CPT I-20 and until the start date is in effect.
Please note: If you have questions about your eligibility for CPT, please email email@example.com with your full name and UB ID included using your UB email account.