Curricular Practical Training

Overview

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” Federal regulations define it as “alternate work/study, internship, co-operative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.”  See 8 CFR§ Sec. 214.2(f)(10)(i)

  • No matter if the work is voluntary or paid, the student must BE APPROVED for CPT before they begin working.

A student is eligible for CPT if:
  1. He or she is in valid F-1 status at the time of application and has been in full-time status on the same SEVIS record for one academic year at the same educational level (Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral) preceding the CPT application. 
  2. The student abides by all rules surrounding full-time course registration while on CPT. Full-time CPT authorization is comparable to a full course of study if it is required by their program.
  3. The CPT experience is either:
  • Satisfying a program requirement placed on all students, or
  • Optional, meaning the student will register for coursework in their program of study in the concurrent term to represent the CPT experience (example: an internship or independent study credit).

Please Note:

  1. ISSS must approve CPT and/or add new employment before student can begin employment/internship. Page 2 of the new I-20 must accurately reflect the student's employment information.
  2. CPT can only be authorized for one academic semester at a time.
  3. A student with 12 months or more of full-time CPT is not eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  4. Graduate students whose degree requires immediate participation in CPT may apply after arriving in the U.S. and registering with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). They do not need to be in status for one academic year.

 

To Apply
  1. Meet with an international student advisor during walk-in advisement hours to discuss your interest in CPT.
  2. If your advisor determines that you qualify, click Begin New CPT Request and complete the form.
  3. Follow the instructions on the form. You will be asked to provide your academic advisor’s name and email. After you submit the form, your academic advisor will review your request and approve it, if appropriate.
  4. You will be notified via email when your advisor has completed the form.
  5. Email a copy of your official offer letter to isss@kent.edu in a PDF attachment after your request is approved. The letter must be on company letterhead and include the address where you will be working, the number of hours to be worked per week, the start and end dates, and a brief description of your duties. Letters without all of the above information will not be accepted.
  6. You will receive an email when your new I-20 with CPT authorization is ready for pickup at the reception desk of the Office of Global Education.

CPT Guide

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Overview

 F-1 students studying at colleges, universities, conservatories, or seminaries may qualify for practical training, which allows them to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in their field of study.

 Eligibility

An F-1 student could be eligible for two kinds of Optional Practical Training:

1.   Pre-Completion OPT, prior to the completion of all coursework excluding thesis or dissertation credits:

  • You have been enrolled as a full-time student in valid F-1 status on the same SEVIS record for at least one academic year.
  • Your proposed experience (internship, work, practicum, etc.) is directly related to your major field of study.
  • You will not be working more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.

 

2.   Post-Completion OPT, after the completion of all necessary coursework excluding thesis or dissertation credits:

  • You have been lawfully enrolled as a full-time student in valid F-1 status on the same SEVIS record for at least one academic year.
  • Your proposed experience (internship, work, practicum, etc.) is directly related to your major field of study.
  • You will be working up to 40 hours per week.

 

To Apply
  1. If you are applying for post-completion OPT, make sure that you have officially registered for graduation or can demonstrate that you are enrolled in only thesis or dissertation hours. If you do not end up graduating as planned, you are still responsible for maintaining your status on OPT and finishing your coursework during your OPT validity period.
     
  2. Prepare the following documents:
    1. A copy of your passport biographical page
    2. A copy of your most recent U.S. visa
    3. An original check or money order, made out to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" for $380
    4. A copy of your I-94 number printout, found here.
    5. Two recent 2" x 2" passport-style photos, taken within the last 30 days, with I-94 number written in pencil on the back
    6. The completed Form I-765, found here. Follow the OPT tutorial here for assistance completing this form.
    7. A copy of any previous EAD cards, if you have received one before
    8. A job offer letter, if you have already been offered a job
       
  3. Complete the OPT I-20 Request Form, found here

Note: You will receive an email when your new I-20 is ready to be picked up.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do I need a job or a job offer to apply for OPT?

No. You are able to apply for OPT without having any job offer ready. You are given time to look for a job while on OPT, because you are allowed 90 days of unemployment during the 1- year OPT authorization period.

Can I work before I receive my EAD card?

No. You must physically have your EAD card in your hand in order to report to work. You are allowed to interview, accept a position, and complete any paperwork before you have an EAD card, but you may not actually report to work until you have the EAD card, even if your requested OPT start date has passed.

Can I travel with pending or approved OPT?

Yes, but it is not recommended. When your OPT application is PENDING (meaning we have mailed your application but have not received an EAD card), you may travel outside the United States and you may return before your program end date. If your OPT is APPROVED, you must present the EAD card and a job offer letter at the U.S. port of entry. You should not travel outside the US while after your program end date if your OPT application is still pending.

What if I leave the country when my OPT application is pending, and it is approved when I am outside of the United States? 

Since you need to physically show your EAD card and a job offer letter at the U.S. port of entry, and since the EAD card will be mailed to the U.S. address listed on Form I-765, we do not recommend traveling internationally while an OPT application is pending. However, if you receive the card and offer while outside of the U.S., we recommend having the items sent to you wherever you are outside of the U.S.

Can I work anywhere I want on OPT? 

Any employment, internship, or other practical training experience you accept while on OPT must be directly related to your major field of study. For example, a computer science major must work, volunteer, or intern in a position directly related to computer science. For it to be counted as employment, you must work at least 20 hours per week.

What if my grace period ends and my application is still pending?

A student with a pending OPT application is allowed to remain in the United States even after the end of the grace period, as long as the application was filed before the grace period ended.

Am I allowed to be unemployed while on OPT?

You are allowed 90 days of unemployment during your OPT authorization period (between the dates listed on your EAD card). If you exceed 90 days of unemployment, your OPT authorization ends.

I just got a job or internship. How do I tell ISSS?

You must report your employment or internship details through the OPT Employer Information Form, which is available on the ISSS website here. You must report all changes in employment within 10 days.

I received a Request For Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. What should I do?

Bring the RFE to an ISSS advisor, or email it to us. We will help you prepare the required documents and respond to the RFE.