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.”
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
Am I eligible?
• The internship/co-op training is “an integral part of an established curriculum”
• I am maintaining lawful F-1 status
• I 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 reenter the U.S. with an initial attendance I-20, your one full academic year will start from the time when you reenter the U.S.
• I will continue to be enrolled for a full course of study during the CPT
• I meet all academic criteria set by my academic department
• I am not enrolled in UB’s English Language Institute. My one full academic year does not include the time I spent at ELI.
• My internship/Co-op position is not as an independent contractor.
• I am not working from home.
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 any 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.
• Some students may be eligible to complete more than one semester of CPT in the duration of their program. Be aware that if you participate in full-time CPT for a total of 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 2.
When may I start work?
• You MUST NOT work until you receive a new I-20 form with specific written authorization for CPT on page 2 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 2 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.
Where may I work?
• The job location must be within a 100 miles 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.
How long does it take to process the paperwork for CPT? What is a good start date?
• 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.
Step 1. Review the criteria above for eligibility and the application procedure.
Step 2. In order to be eligible, you must meet the following conditions:
- Balance less than $500
- GPA must be at least 3.0 (Graduate) or 2.0 (Undergraduate)
- You must not have any pending grades or unsatisfactory grade for a prior CPT
- No holds on your account
- Pre-registered for next semester (only for CPT during Summer and Winter breaks)
Step 3: If you are eligible for all the above, scan/email to firstname.lastname@example.org two documents to be reviewed by International Student Services:
- Job offer letter printed on a letterhead and signed/dated by your employer (Electronic signatures are not acceptable); it MUST include ALL required information as shown in this sample letter. **Please remember your start date should be at least 1 to 2 weeks into the future**
- Cooperative Education/Internship Agreement signed by your prospective employer. Click on link to print.
Step 4: Please give enough time (1 to 2 weeks) for the advisor to review your application after emailing your documents.
Step 5: Once your documents are approved, an International Student Advisor will schedule you an appointment for CPT processing by e-mail. Once you have an appointment made, you can start preparing the documents below. Please make sure you visit your academic department and Center for Career Development’s office to fill out the forms and receive their signatures.
At the time of your appointment, you MUST have ALL the required documents below:
|Document Type & Page #||Original/Copy||Required Signatures|
|Approved Job offer letter (Sample letter)||Copy||By employer|
|Cooperative Education/Internship Agreement||Copy||By employer & Center for Career Development|
|CPT Application Form pg1||Original||Center for Career Development|
|CPT Application Form pg2||Original||Academic Advisor & Academic Dean|
|Green Internship/Co-op Registration Form||Original||Center for Career Development|
|Student Statement Part I & II||Original & Copy||Student|
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.