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 requires enrollment in an internship, practicum, related course, or the work hours must be required as part of the curriculum
- Undergraduate students can use CPT authorization for a training/work experience that meets FSU’s Formative Experience requirement
- CPT training/work must occur during the semester of the CPT authorization
- Students must have CPT authorization before beginning training/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 a graduate curriculum)
See more CPT authorization information in the FAQ section.
CPT Authorization Process:
- Review the CPT information above and the FAQs
- Submit all three CPT forms by uploading them for the CGE through Nole Start, https://istart.fsu.edu
- Your CGE advisor will send you a new I-20 that shows 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! THE AUTHORIZATION IS COMPLETE WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW I-20 IN YOUR HAND. THE NEW I-20 WILL SHOW THE AUTHORIZATION FOR CPT ON PAGE 2.
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. We will count time spent enrolled at another post-secondary institution before coming to FSU, if you came directly to FSU without engaging in OPT. If you enroll in a graduate program that requires immediate participation in off-campus training you may be eligible sooner.
Do I have to enroll in an internship or other course to be eligible for CPT?
Yes, CPT requires enrollment in an internship or practicum course, or a course for which the training opportunity will satisfy a requirement. FSU’s hospitality and urban and regional planning students can use CPT to meet the work experience requirements of those programs.
My department offers a 0-credit internship. Is this ok?
Yes. FSU’s 0-credit courses require enrollment and you receive an S or U grade for the course. The courses are part of FSU’s curriculum and each course has an approved syllabus. In most cases, the CGE will only authorize CPT for 0-credit internship courses two times during an academic program.
Can I enroll in the Career Center’s Experience Recognition course?
Undergraduate students enrolled in the Career Center’s SDS 3802 course may obtain CPT authorization for approved internships. Students in departments that offer internships should enroll in the internships offered through their department. SDS3802 meets FSU’s Formative Experience graduation requirement. The Career Center does not offer a graduate-level internship course.
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.
Can I work on-campus while I have CPT authorization?
In most cases yes, you may continue a part-time, on-campus job. If you are a graduate student with an assistantship, check with your department regarding employment restrictions.
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 employment 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. In most cases, the CGE will not authorize CPT for multiple semesters with the same employer.
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 or if the final-term internship is a normal part of your program’s curriculum. CPT cannot delay your degree completion. CPT authorization for training/work that is integral to your thesis or dissertation will not extend beyond the post-defense, content-approved, dissertation or thesis submission deadline of the semester.
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. Consider applying for pre-completion OPT if you have an internship/work opportunity that is not integral to your dissertation.
My department classifies the internship class as on-line. Is this a problem?
No, as long as your internship requires in-person work/training. 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. You are responsible for keeping careful records of your employment and not exceeding the 20 hour/week limit. USCIS could ask for records if you apply for OPT or an H-1B visa in the future.
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. If you don’t already have an SSN, 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.