Off Campus Work Authorizations for F-1 Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

The two work authorizations for which students on F-1 visas may apply are CPT and OPT.

For students who need or want to complete an internship, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a benefit of the F-1 visa that you can pursue. 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.” Please read more in the CPT Guide.

See 8 CFR§ Sec. 214.2(f)(10)(i)

  • 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 for one academic year preceding the CPT application.

2.    The student abides by all rules surrounding full-time course registration while on CPT. Students are not required to be registered full time during summer.

  • The CPT experience falls into one of the following four categories:
  1. The student is required by his/her program to be engaged in the proposed experience.
  2. The proposed experience is an alternate requirement of the degree program. For graduates, this may be dissertation/thesis requiring an internship/fieldwork experience.
  3. The proposed experience is facilitated through a cooperative education agreement between Kent State and the proposed employer and is an integral part of the degree program.
  4. The experience is an optional independent study, meaning you are receiving academic credit for it. It is viewed by the student’s major department to be integral to the student’s degree program.

Please Note:

1.    ISSS must approve CPT before student can begin employment/internship. It is a violation of your status if you work without authorization.

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).

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.

OPT (Optional Practical Training)
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. If you are graduating and would like to gain work experience, OPT is the work authorization for which you should apply. Please read more about the process in our  OPT Guide.

 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:

a)        You have been enrolled as a full-time student in valid F-1 status for at least one academic year.

b)       Your proposed experience (internship, work, practicum, etc.) is directly related to your major field of study.

c)        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:

a)        You have been lawfully enrolled as a full-time student in valid F-1 status for at least one academic year.

b)       Your proposed experience (internship, work, practicum, etc.) is directly related to your major field of study.

c)        You will be working up to 40 hours per week.