Prior to being eligible for an internship or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) assignment, international students on an F-1 visa must register for a CareerWorks account, attend a CPT Information Session, and meet with an Internship Coordinator.
Attendance at this session is required prior to meeting with an Internship Coordinator. We encourage you to begin this process approximately one semester prior to when you would like to start your internship.
What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
CPT is a structured educational program which combines classroom learning with productive work experience in a field related to a student’s academic or career program. CPT is available to F-1 students who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis in a US university for at least one academic year.
IT IS UNETHICAL TO CONTINUE TO INTERVIEW FOR POSITIONS ONCE YOU HAVE ACCEPTED AN ASSIGNMENT (whether paid or unpaid).
Frequently Asked Questions ABOUT CPT
|Are there any fees required to participate in CPT?|
Are there any fees required to participate in CPT?
The Career Center does not charge any fees; however, there is a $100 fee assessed by the International Student Services Office every semester in which you are placed in an internship. This fee covers processing costs related to securing the appropriate work authorizations in compliance with USCIS regulations. You are also responsible for paying for tuition and fees associated with the internship class in which you enroll.
|Am I eligible for CPT?|
Am I eligible for CPT?
In order to be eligible for participation in CPT you must meet the following criteria
- You must have been enrolled full-time in a US university for at least one academic year and must currently be in F-1 status. One academic year at UT Dallas equals two long, back-to-back semesters.
- You must be in good academic standing (above 3.0 GPA for graduate students, above 2.0 GPA for undergraduate students).
- You must meet the requirements of the Career Center Internship Program for an approved CPT.
- You may not participate in CPT during the first semester of a new academic program.
- The work experience must be relevant to your established curriculum.
|How do I apply?|
How do I apply?
- Open a CareerWorks account, fill out required information, and upload a resume.
- Attend a “CPT Information Session.” Your Internship Coordinator will email you after this session to confirm your internship eligibility and will activate your CareerWorks account so you can view internship listings.
- Search and apply for internships.
- After you accept an internship, ask the employer to write you an “Offer Letter.” A sample “Offer Letter” is located in your CareerWorks account in the Resource Library.
- Complete “Report an Internship” field in CareerWorks and be ready to upload your “Offer Letter.”
- Your Internship Coordinator will contact you to schedule an appointment to complete the necessary paperwork for CPT approval, including assistance with class registration.
- Take the CPT Approval Letter (from the Internship Coordinator) and the completed CPT Request Form to the International Student Service office (ISS).
- Pick up your new I-20 from ISSO, and begin your internship once your start date arrives.
Note - You are only allowed to work in an internship during the dates that are approved on your I-20. Any work outside of those dates can be considered illegal employment and have an impact on your future immigration status.
|What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?|
What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
CPT provides employment or training opportunities for students while they work on a degree. It is an integral part of the curriculum, authorized by the ISSO, and is usually for a period of a semester. OPT provides employment or training opportunities for students after they complete a degree. It is authorized by the U. S. Immigration Service. OPT participants have a number of immigration benefits and requirements. For more immigration information regarding CPT and OPT see the International Student Services Office and plan to attend one of the ISSO OPT workshops.
|Will my CPT time affect my Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation?|
Will my CPT time affect my Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation?
Full-time CPT may total one year without affecting OPT. Full-time CPT that continues for more than 12 months makes the student ineligible for OPT. Part-time CPT does not affect a student's OPT.
|When can I pick up my CPT authorization (on form I-20) and when can I start working?|
When can I pick up my CPT authorization (on form I-20) and when can I start working?
You can submit your CPT Approval Letter to the ISSO at any time. If you submit your letter more than 10 working days before the beginning date of the CPT semester, your authorization may be picked up on the day that grades are posted on the UT Dallas computer system (see class schedule for the exact date). If you submit your letter after this time, your authorization may be picked up after one working day. You may work only for the days authorized on your I-20. You may not begin working until your I-20 has been authorized and picked up from the International Student Services Office. Any work done before CPT is approved is unauthorized employment and a violation of your F-1 status.
|If I am doing a CPT extension or a continuing CPT, do I need to be reauthorized?|
If I am doing a CPT extension or a continuing CPT, do I need to be reauthorized?
Yes. Turn in your application 10 days or more before your current CPT expires. You may pick up your CPT extension on the same schedule as listed above.
|As an F-1 student may I work full-time on a CPT assignment and go to school part-time?|
As an F-1 student may I work full-time on a CPT assignment and go to school part-time?
As an F-1 student there are certain U.S. Immigration Service guidelines you must follow to stay “in status.” They are as follows:
- You may work at a full-time CPT (more than 20 hours) for a total of only 11½ months without violating your OPT eligibility. Part time CPT does not affect your OPT eligibility.
- If you are participating in a full-time CPT for the majority of the semester (11½ weeks or longer), you are able to reduce your enrollment for one semester and still be considered a full time student for immigration and UT Dallas purposes. Your enrollment in the CPT course is considered a full time course load and you do not need to take additional coursework to maintain your F1 status. HOWEVER: You may NOT enroll for two consecutive long semesters (Fall and Spring or Spring and Fall) of CPT at this reduced course load.
After a reduced course load for either Fall or Spring, you must be enrolled for a full-time course load the following Spring or Fall (12 hours for UG and 9 hours for GR) or you will violate your F1 status. See your International Student Advisor in the ISSO if you have questions or concerns.
- You may not defer your graduation by working in a full-time internship if you have completed all of your coursework.
- You are not eligible for CPT in your current academic program if you have requested to extend your I-20 end date.
|Can CPT be authorized for either full-time or part-time?|
Can CPT be authorized for either full-time or part-time?
CPT may be either full- or part-time. Part-time CPT is limited to 20 hours or less per week. Full-time CPT is anything more than 20 hours per week.
|Do I have to register for a CPT course?|
Do I have to register for a CPT course?
Your CPT authorization is based on course credit for your internship or co-op program. If you withdraw from or do not pass your CPT course, you are not authorized to work and you may be in violation of your F-1 status. In addition, if you fail a CPT course, you are no longer eligible for CPT authorization through the UT Dallas ISSO for future semesters.
|Do I have to carry a full-time course load when I do CPT?|
Do I have to carry a full-time course load when I do CPT?
Part-time CPT requires full-time enrollment at school. Full-time CPT requires that you enroll in at least the CPT course as stated on the CPT Approval Letter. If you are participating in full-time CPT for the majority of the semester and have not reduced your enrollment based on CPT during the previous long semester, you are able to maintain full-time enrollment for immigration purposes by enrolling only in the CPT course. You may NOT enroll for two consecutive long semesters (Fall and Spring, Spring and Fall) of CPT at a reduced course level unless you have another U. S. Immigration Service approved reason to be underenrolled. Please Note: The academic program in which you participate may require you to maintain full-time enrollment while participating in CPT. Please see your Academic Advisor for this information.
|May I work on campus while doing a CPT? May I keep my graduate teaching or research assistantship?|
May I work on campus while doing a CPT? May I keep my graduate teaching or research assistantship?
No, you may not work ANY additional job while you are participating in a CPT assignment.
|Can I get CPT authorization first and then find a job?|
Can I get CPT authorization first and then find a job?
No. CPT work authorization is granted for a specific employer and for a specific period of time, usually corresponding to a semester.