Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Federal regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i) define Curricular Practical Training (CPT), as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship/practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” A CGE international student advisor can authorize CPT for a program “that is an integral part of an established curriculum.”


Basic CPT Information:

  • Training/work can be paid or unpaid
  • Training/work must directly relate to a student’s major field of study
  • Training/work must be tied to a course that is part of a student’s degree program, or the work hours must be required as part of the curriculum
  • Undergraduate students may use CPT authorization if meeting the FSU Formative Experience requirement through the FSU Career Center’s experiential learning course (SDS3802)
  • CPT authorization requires enrollment in a relevant course, for credit, during the semester of the CPT authorization
  • Students must have CPT authorization before beginning work
  • Students must have enrolled full-time as F-1 student for an academic year (a fall and spring semester) before becoming eligible to apply for CPT (unless CPT immediately required in graduate curriculum)

See more CPT authorization information in the FAQ section.


CPT Authorization Process:

  1. Review the CPT information above and the FAQs
  2. Submit all three CPT forms (together) to the CGE
  3. Pick up your new I-20 at the CGE front desk when you receive email from your CGE advisor. The new I-20 will show the CPT authorization (with name and address of employer, dates of employment, and full-time/part-time authorization). Allow at least one to two weeks for processing.

DO NOT BEGIN EMPLOYMENT WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION.


CPT FAQ

When am I eligible for CPT authorization?

You are eligible to apply for CPT if you have enrolled full-time for an academic year (a fall and a spring semester) as a degree-seeking student in the U.S. If you enroll in a graduate program that requires immediate participation in off-campus training you may be eligible sooner. Time spent enrolled at another post-secondary institution before coming to FSU may count toward CPT eligibility.

Do I have to get credit for CPT?

CPT requires enrollment in an internship or practicum course, a course for which the training opportunity will satisfy a requirement, or enrollment in the Career Center’s SDS3802 experiential learning course to meet FSU’s Formative Experience requirement (undergraduate students only). FSU’s hospitality and urban and regional planning students can use CPT to meet the work experience requirements of those programs.

My department offers 0-credit internships. Is this ok?

For the Fall 2019 semester, the CGE will continue to issue CPT authorization for academic department internship courses offered for 0-credits. The CGE is currently reviewing this policy and it is subject to change for the Spring 2020 semester.
The 0-credit SDS3802 internship offered through the Career Center is no longer available for graduate students and is only available for undergraduate students who enroll in it to meet their Formative Experience requirement.

Do I Need CPT Authorization for an Unpaid Internship or Work?

Off-campus training through an internship, practicum, or experiential learning opportunity should be authorized through CPT. If your training/work experience is on your transcript and occurs off campus, your I-20 should show CPT authorization.

Are there restrictions on the number of hours I can work with CPT

Yes, CPT authorization specifies part-time (20 hours/week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours/week). In most cases, the CGE will authorize only part-time training during the fall and spring semesters, unless the curriculum of your program requires a full-time internship. You must notify your CGE international student advisor before making a change in CPT from part time to full time, or vice versa.

What if the organization that will provide my training wants me to start before the beginning of a semester or continue after the end of the semester?

With only a few exceptions, CPT cannot begin until the start of the semester in which you will gain credit for the training experience. The CGE will authorize training up to the day before the start of the next semester if you are a continuing student.

Can I work on-campus while I have CPT authorization?

In most cases yes, although graduate students should check with their departments if they hold a graduate research or teaching assistantship.

What if the organization that will provide my training wants me to start before the beginning of a semester or continue after the end of the semester?

With only a few exceptions, CPT cannot begin until the start of the semester in which you will gain credit for the training experience. The CGE will authorize training up to the day before the start of the next semester if you are a continuing student.

Can I enroll in an internship course before or after the semester in which I need CPT authorization?

No, you must enroll during the semester/term in which the training takes place.

Can I apply for CPT before I find a training opportunity?

No, you must have identified an employer for the training opportunity. CPT authorization is given for a specific employer for a specific period of time.

What if I begin work before I have CPT authorization?

The F-1 federal regulations state, “A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.” If you begin training/work before you have CPT authorization, you have violated your F-1 status and the CGE may need to terminate your F-1 SEVIS record.

What if my training will last more than one semester? Can I get CPT authorization for the full period?

The CGE authorizes CPT for one semester at a time. Each CPT authorization requires a new application, approval, and authorization.

How many times may I have CPT authorization?

CPT is for training and not for employment. Multiple semesters of CPT must clearly be integral to the curriculum of your academic program.

Will CPT affect my eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT. Full-time CPT for 12 months or more would make you ineligible for OPT.

May I enroll in CPT in my last semester?

You may only obtain CPT authorization in your final semester if you enroll in credit hours required for completion of your degree. CPT cannot delay your degree completion. CPT authorization for training/work that is integral to a thesis or dissertation will not go beyond the post-defense, content-approved, dissertation or thesis submission deadline.

Do I need to enroll if I qualify because I need the CPT for my thesis/dissertation research?

Yes, you must enroll in thesis or dissertation hours while authorized for CPT that is integral to your thesis/dissertation.

I am a doctoral student and have advanced to candidacy. May I enroll in something other than dissertation hours for CPT authorization?

If you have advanced to candidacy, your dissertation is your curriculum. Any CPT must be integral to completion of your dissertation.

My department classifies the internship class as on-line. Is this a problem

An internship with a physical location (not work online) counts as a face-to-face class, even if the academic department classifies the course as online due to the online reporting requirements during the training opportunity. An internship that does not require face-to-face contact with an employer would not count as a face-to-face class.

My training/work will occur intermittently during the semester, for different organizations. Do I need authorization for each instance of training?

Yes, the CPT authorization on your I-20 must show the name of the training employer, the dates of the training, and must specify whether the experience will be full or part-time. If you have authorization for part-time CPT, all work/training combined cannot total more than 20 hours in any one week.

Does CPT authorization require a fee or an application to USCIS?

No, international student advisors can authorize CPT employment. Allow one to two weeks for processing.

Do I need a Social Security number for CPT?

If you will earn money for your training opportunity, yes, you need a Social Security number. You can apply for the number after obtaining CPT authorization on your I-20.

Do I need to pay taxes if I have a paid training opportunity?

You are subject to federal income tax requirements. You might be exempt from social security and Medicare taxes. Tax laws are complex and the CGE advisors are not qualified to provide tax advice. Some basic information is on the CGE website here. Check with an expert in nonimmigrant taxation if you or your employer have questions.

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