CPT FAQs

General Questions

1. What is Curricular Practical Training?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment authorization that allows F-1 students to work off campus in a position directly related to their field of study, such as an internship, fellowship cooperative education, or any other type of required practicum.

2. Who is eligible for CPT?

An F-1 student who:

  • Has been in lawful, full-time status for one full academic year
  • Has not completed his or her course of study and will not complete studies until after the internship has ended
  • Is taking a job that is directly related to his/her field of study
  • Meets one of the following requirements: 
    • Is enrolled in an internship class for credit as part of his/her degree program
    • Is required to participate in an internship as part of degree requirements
    • Is required to participate in a specific internship to complete the dissertation

3. Do I need a job offer to apply?

Yes. CPT can only be authorized for a specific job, at a specific location, during specific dates. The job offer must be presented with the CPT application to OGS, on company letterhead, with a brief job description, dates, hours per week, salary information and supervisor details.

4. Do I need to be enrolled while working with CPT?

Yes. If the CPT is granted in conjunction with an internship class, you must remain enrolled in the class throughout the semester and work only during the approved semester dates. If the CPT is granted as a degree requirement or dissertation necessity, you must be enrolled full time for the semester (unless approved for part-time by OGS in advance of beginning the CPT).

5. Do I need to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for CPT?

No. An advisor in OGS can authorize your CPT in 3-5 days after you submit a completed CPT Request Form and job offer letter.

6. Do I need to pay an application fee for CPT?

No. There is no cost to the student for the CPT application. However, if the student is enrolled in an internship class, s/he must pay the class tuition to Georgetown University.

7. Does CPT affect my available Optical Practical Training (OPT) in the future?

If you have full-time CPT for a total of 12 full months (365 days), you will not be eligible for OPT. Otherwise, OPT is not affected.

8. How many hours per week can I work with CPT?

CPT combined with any other work authorization cannot exceed a total of 20 hours per week during the academic terms but may be full-time during official University breaks and vacations. Students who wish to move from part-time to full-time CPT must complete a new request form and present a new offer letter.

Application Process

1. When should I submit the CPT request form?

Submit the form to OGS as soon as you get the job offer letter and have the request form completed. Please note! It is impossible to request a start date in the past!

2. What is the timeline for processing this request?

Processing will take 3-5 business days in OGS and you will be notified by e-mail to pick up the new I-20 authorizing the CPT position is ready for pickup. 

3. How do I submit the CPT request form?

Drop off the job offer letter and request form to the OGS reception desk in the Car Barn, bring it to walk-in hours, or submit it via email to your IS advisor.You can find the request form on the IS website at: http://internationalservices.georgetown.edu/forms/

4. Can I submit just one request if I plan do to CPT for more than one semester?

No, you must submit separate requests for CPT for each semester or summer. However, the job offer letter can include the entire CPT time period instead of obtaining two job offer letters

5.When can I begin my CPT experience?

After you receive the I-20 Form with CPT authorization and the start date is current.

6. How will I know if this request has been approved and my new I-20 is ready?

OIP will send an e-mail to your GU e-mail address when processing is complete. If you do not receive this e-mail within 6 calendar days, please send an e-mail to internationalservices@georgetown.edu to check on your request.

7. How do I know that I am authorized for CPT? And when may I begin work?

You will receive an e-mail message that a new Form I-20 has been issued and is waiting at the OGS reception desk. Prior to beginning your training you must be in possession of this updated Form I-20, which will be properly endorsed with the CPT authorization. Employment before or after your authorized dates of training or at a different location is considered a violation of your legal immigration status.

While on CPT

1. Do I need to update my address if I will be living at a new address during my CPT?

Yes, the F-1 immigration regulations require you to report your local, U.S. address within 10 days of moving to a new address. Update your local off-campus address on MyAccess to fulfill this requirement.

2. Am I still in F-1 status during CPT?

Yes, CPT is not a status but a work authorization that is a benefit of F-1 status.

3. Do I have to pay taxes on my CPT income?

Maybe. If you are an F-1 student and have not been in the United States for 5 years you should not be paying Social Security or Medicare taxes. However, you may be subject to income tax depending on the amount of money you earn and your tax rate. Please attend GU tax workshops and watch the OGS tax website for more information each January/February/March. 

4. What happens if I am authorized for CPT and then I change my mind or lose my job or something about the job changes (location, hours, job description, etc)?

You must notify your IS Advisor immediately in order to cancel or amend your CPT so your SEVIS record remains accurate.

Specific CPT Scenarios

1. Can I request more than one period of CPT?

Yes, but many programs and departments limit the number of times you may enroll in an internship class or receive authorization. You must get permission from your academic dean or director for each period of CPT. CPT employment must remain integral to your curriculum and cannot be used to simply facilitate employment.

2. Do I have to register for anything if my CPT is related to a degree or dissertation requirement?

There may not be a specific class for CPT that is related to a degree or dissertation requirement. However, students must be registered full time or on an OGS-approved courseload reduction to be eligible.

3. I work at the library for five hours a week and have been offered an internship off campus. How many hours can I request on my CPT request form?

While school is in session a student may only engage in a maximum of 20 hours of employment per week, regardless of whether they are engaged in employment on campus or off campus. A student who meets the eligibility requirements for CPT and works on campus 5 hours per week may be authorized for part-time CPT for an additional 15 hours. However, the total employment, while school is in session, may not exceed 20 hours per week (graduate assistantships count as 15 hours of permissible work per week; likewise Resident Hall Assistantships count as 20 hours per week). 

4. My program/school does not have a specific internship course. Can I still participate in CPT?

To participate in CPT, the program/school must either have:

  • An approved internship course that carries credit, semester dates, a faculty supervisor and is listed in the University bulletin; OR
  • The academic dean or advisor must attest that the internship is a graduation degree requirement
  • OR the DGS or department chair must attest to the fact that the student needs the internship experience to complete the dissertation requirement.

If the program/school cannot attest to one of the above requirements, then CPT is not an option and OPT or work with an International Organization may be alternatives.

5. I have been enrolled as a full-time student for the past two years but in H4 status and just recently changed to F-1 student status. Am I eligible to apply for CPT?

Yes. In addition to the regular application materials, please also bring the documentation showing your previous semesters of full-time enrollment.