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Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students

General Overview: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment which is an integral part of the established curriculum, including: internship, cooperative education, or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with VIU. Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program, and you must have a job offer at the time of the application. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program.

  • 3 and 6-credit CPT applications are due by the ‘First Day’ of class. If you completed, and submitted your application by the first day of class, the ISSO will continue with the review process, and inform you once it has been completed.
  • 1-credit CPT applications are due by the beginning of the ‘4th Week’ of the semester. If you completed, and submitted your application by the beginning of the fourth week, the ISSO will continue with the review process, and inform you once it has been completed.

Please Note: CPT is processed and authorized semester by semester. If applications are submitted, and are incomplete, your CPT application may be denied. Contact your academic department regarding your department’s specific guidelines for CPT applications.  

Students must be a degree candidate who have been in lawful status for at least one academic year to be eligible for CPT. Each degree program has different requirements that affect eligibility. It is advisable to speak with your Academic Advisor, and Registrar about the options outlined below before meeting with the International Student Services Office.

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (two full consecutive semesters – Fall and Spring).
    - If you are a graduate student and the program requires immediate participation, this requirement is waived.
  • Be in lawful F-1 status
  • Have a job offer
  • Demonstrate that the proposed internship is a requirement for your degree program
  • Not be enrolled in an intensive English language training program
  • The CPT qualified course must be listed in the school’s catalog with the number of credits, course description, and the name of the faculty member teaching the course.

Please Note: VIU currently does not offer any programs in which CPT involvement requires immediate participation.

USCIS regulations do not place an absolute limit on the amount of CPT you may utilize. However, if you engage in one year or more of full-time CPT you will lose your eligibility to engage in Optional Practical Training (OPT).

You may only engage in CPT after your SEVIS record has been updated by an ISS Official, and a new SEVIS I-20 has been issued, indicating the approved internship. The endorsement will indicate the precise details of the authorized training, including the name and location of the employer, the specific dates of the training period, and whether it is a full- or part-time position.

Submit the following documentation to the ISS Office. You must register for the course and apply for CPT during the normal registration period. Required documentation includes:

  • Copy of your current I-20
  • Copy of your I-94 record 
  • The Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Program Packet (completed) – students may obtain the packet from the Career Center
  • Course Syllabus
  • Offer letter from the employer on company letterhead, detailing the following:
    • Students name and address
    • Start and end dates of the internship
    • Job title – must say ‘intern’ in the job title
    • How many hours the student will work each week – not to exceed 20 hours/week (Spring and Fall) and 40 hours/week (Summer)
    • A description of duties in sufficient detail to clearly show them as appropriate to meeting the requirements of your academic course
    • Paid or Unpaid – indicate amount per hour, and/or provided benefits
    • Supervisor Information – Name, Job Title, Contact Information
    • Location of the CPT (physical address)

The International Student Services Office (ISSO) will:

  • Review your application for eligibility
  • If you are eligible, update your SEVIS record
  • Print you a new Form I-20 indicating the approved internship and give it to you. (Note: Your employer will need to see this authorization (I-20) to put you on the payroll, in cases in which you have a paid internship)
  1. CPT and Full-Time Enrollment Requirement – While engaged in CPT during mandated semesters, students are required to simultaneously be enrolled full-time in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.
    - Please Note: 3 or 6 credit CPT is only allowed in a students’ final term if they are registered for other courses that are required for the completion of their academic program.
  2. Full-Time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - CPT that exceeds 20 hours per week constitutes full-time CPT. Students who engage in full-time CPT for 12 months or more prior to graduation will not be eligible for OPT.