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International students who wish to work off-campus must have a job offer and must work in a job related to their field of study that is an integral part of their curriculum. To be authorized to work off-campus, international students on an F-1 visa must apply and be approved for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
What is CPT?
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorizes F-1 students to work off-campus before degree completion in a job, internship, practicum, or co-op program that is an integral part of the established curriculum and directly related to the student's major area of study.
Types of CPT
To be considered for CPT, the student's practical training must either:
- Be a required part of student's degree program, OR
- Result in the awarding of academic credit in the student's field of study.
An F-1 student is eligible to apply for CPT if:
- The student has a job offer before applying for CPT.
- The student is in valid F-1 status, possesses a valid passport, and has been a full-time student in F-1 status for one academic year in a U.S. degree-seeking program.
- The student is enrolled full-time during the academic year (Fall, Spring), and is in good academic standing.
- The student will continue to make normal degree progress while on CPT.
General Information about CPT Authorization
- A student may not begin employment until s/he has been issued and received the new I-20 with CPT authorization, and the student must not continue employment beyond the date authorized unless s/he applies for and is granted an extension.
- CPT is authorized by the ISSS office at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and CPT authorization is noted on the new I-20 issued.
- Authorization for CPT is employer specific and reflects a start and end date.
- Students must indicate the specific dates (to/from) for which they are requesting CPT authorization. CPT authorization cannot be voided if a student terminates employment.
- USCIS regulations state that a student is not able to deliberately prolong his/her date of completion to take advantage of CPT.
- CPT is authorized on a semester-long basis, as it is linked with course registration. If a student wishes to continue employment beyond the semester for which s/he has been authorized, s/he must repeat the CPT application process at the beginning of the new semester, including course registration.
- Student must be enrolled in a corresponding, credit-bearing internship/co-op course during the semester in which the student participates in CPT (i.e. the student must enroll during the summer if the student is engaged in an internship/co-op during the summer).
Effect of CPT on Future OPT
If students participate in 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training, they will not be eligible for post-completion optional practical training (OPT). Part-time CPT is unlimited (as long as it does not interfere with completion of the student's degree program) and does not affect a student's OPT eligibility.
Part-time vs. Full-time CPT
- Part-time: During the school year while classes are in session, students can engage in CPT on a part-time basis, limited to no more than 20 hours per week. A student holding on-campus employment (including an assistantship) must add the on-campus hours when determining total hours to be worked under CPT.
- Full-time: A student may engage in full-time CPT(more than 20 hours/week) during official university breaks and vacation, including the summer session. Being authorized for Full-Time CPT during the academic year (Spring or Fall terms) is not typical, but possible. When authorized for Full-time CPT, you need to be enrolled in school full-time to maintain lawful F-1 status. The exception is if it your last semester of your program of study and you are eligible for reduced course load. Full-time CPT during the academic year is also authorized for those who must complete a full-time job/internship as a requirement of their degree. If you participate for a total of one year or more of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).
How to Apply for CPT
1. Plan ahead! The process may take several business days.
2. Obtain a job offer letter. (You must have a job offer to apply for CPT.)
3. Make an appointment with your academic advisor (or EMS Student Services in 149 Ottensman Hall if you are an engineering student). Ask your academic advisor to complete their section of the Curricular Practical Training Request Form.
4. Work with your academic advisor (or EMS Student Services in 149 Ottensman Hall if you are an engineering student) to register for the appropriate course and/or print off documentation that the internship/co-op is a required part of your degree program.
5. Make an appointment with the ISSS Office and submit the following documents to the ISSS Office:
- CPT Request Form (Note: All signatures must be original)
- Proof of enrollment in course or documentation showing that internship/co-op is a required part of student’s degree program
- Copy of job offer letter on official business letterhead – must include start/end dates of employment, description of work to be performed, number of hours per week, wage and work site address
- Copy of most recent I-94 (front and back), passport, and I-20
6. Engineering Students Only: You must submit proof of health insurance to EMS Student Services if you are approved for CPT. Please request a proof of health insurance letter from ISSS at the time of your appointment. If your health insurance is provided by your government, you will be responsible for securing proof of insurance enrollment.
7. ISSS will review your application and if approved will update your SEVIS record.
8. Within 5 days of receiving your CPT application, the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Office will issue a new I-20 authorizing an F-1 student to participate in CPT if the student meets all the requirements for CPT. The CPT work authorization and the dates of CPT employment will appear on the newly issued I-20 on page 3.
An extension for CPT of one month or less may be authorized with the student's current employer if a) the student has not completed the program requirements, and b) the student's academic advisor or department writes a letter with the revised employment end date verifying the need to extend the job, internship, or course to complete the program requirement. For an extension of one month or less with a different employer, students must also notify the ISSS office of the new employer's name and address and the effective date of the new employment. Extensions of more than one month of CPT require a new application and a new course registration. Students should make an appointment with the ISSS office if they wish to apply for a CPT extension.
Applying for a Social Security Number
Students will be eligible to apply for a social security number once they have a job offer and their CPT is authorized. The Social Security Office will require the student's new I-20 with CPT authorization and the original employment offer letter. If possible, students should ask their employer to give them two employment offer letters.
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- ISSS Online Account Log In
- Update your Address/Phone Number
- Update your Emergency Contact Information
- International Student Handbook
- Upcoming ISSS Events
- F-1 Forms
- Reduced Course Load (RCL) Authorization
- Program Extension
- Maintaining Legal Status
- Health Insurance
- Banking/Paying Your Bill
- Driving in the U.S.
- Getting a State ID
- Tax Information
- Tuition Remission
- Departure from the U.S.