1. What is Curricular Practical Training?
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an F-1 off-campus authorization for paid and unpaid positions directly related to the major field of study listed on Page 1 of the Form I-20. CPT can be used to authorize a variety of positions, including employment, internships, fellowships, practicums, etc.
2. Who is eligible for CPT?
F-1 Students who:
- Have been in lawful, full-time status for one full academic year
- Will not complete their degree requirements until after the position has ended
- Are in good academic standing
- Have been offered a position that is directly related to their major field of study
- Are in a degree program in which off-campus experience is an integral part of the curriculum
- Meet one of the following requirements:
- are enrolled in an internship course or tutorial for credit
- are required to participate in an internship (not for credit)
- are 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 position at a U.S. organization, at a specific location, during specific dates. The offer letter must be presented on company letterhead, with a brief job description, employment start date, employment end date, hours per week, and supervisor details.
4. Do I need to be enrolled while on 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). Once CPT is approved by OGS, students are not permitted to withdraw from the CPT course even if they end their CPT prematurely.
5. Do I need to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for CPT?
No. Your dedicated IS Advisor may authorize CPT in 3-5 business days after you submit a completed CPT Request Form (PDF), your most recent I-94 Record, CPT quiz results, and an 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, Georgetown University may charge tuition for the course credit.
7. Does CPT affect my available Optical Practical Training (OPT) in the future?
If you have been authorized for full-time CPT for a total of 12 full months (365 days), you will not be eligible for OPT. Otherwise, OPT should not be affected.
8. Is there an hours limit for CPT?
During required academic terms, your total employment/internship activities (on-campus and off-campus, paid and unpaid) may not exceed 20 hours per week. Note this is a weekly maximum, not an average.
Exception: A few programs require full-time CPT during required academic terms, consult the program list.
9. I have part-time CPT authorization. Can I work full-time during Spring Break?
A part-time authorization is limited to 20 hours per week even during a university break.
1. When should I submit the CPT Request Form?
In order to request CPT authorization for the current term, you may submit the entire application to your dedicated IS Advisor as soon as you get the offer letter, the most recent I-94 entry record, and have completed the CPT Request Form with your academic department or dean. For future semesters (e.g. in February you are offered an internship for summer), please email your dedicated IS Advisor to determine the date OGS will begin processing applications for the next semester.
Note: It is impossible to request a start date in the past!
2. What is the timeline for processing this request?
OGS processing takes 3-5 business days and your IS Advisor will send an email when the new Form I-20 with CPT authorization is ready for pickup.
3. How do I submit the CPT Request Form?
CPT Applications must be submitted by email to your dedicated IS Advisor as PDF attachments.
4. Can I submit just one request if I need CPT for more than one semester?
No, students must submit separate CPT applications for reach semester or summer. Each CPT experience must demonstrate new skills and responsibilities the student will gain from the new position.
5. How will I know if this request has been approved and my new I-20 is ready?
Your IS Advisor will send an email to your GU email when the new Form I-20 is ready for pick up. If you do not receive this e-mail within 10 business days, send an email to your IS Advisor; to request an update
6. How do I know that I am authorized for CPT? And when may I begin the CPT experience?
The CPT authorization is on page 2 of the new Form I-20. You may begin working after you pick up the new I-20 and have reached the authorized CPT start date. You may not begin your CPT experience if that start date of the CPT has not yet been reached, even if you already have the I-20 with CPT authorization.
While on CPT
1. Do I need to update my address if I will be living at a new address during my CPT?
Yes, F-1 students are required to update their local, U.S. address within 10 days of moving to the new address. Update your local off-campus address in MyAccess to fulfill this requirement.
2. Am I still in F-1 status during CPT?
Yes, you are still in F-1 status. CPT is not an immigration status. Rather, CPT is a benefit of F-1 status for off-campus authorization to engage in practical training in one’s field of study.
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 review the Tax page and complete the Tax Questionnaire each February for current information.
4. What happens if I am authorized for CPT and then I change my mind or lose my position or something about the position changes (location, hours, job description, etc)?
You must notify your dedicated 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 student may enroll in an internship class or receive authorization. You must get permission from 1) your Dean or Academic Advisor and 2) your dedicated IS Advisor for each period of CPT. CPT must remain integral to your curriculum and cannot be used to simply facilitate employment. The maximum number of CPT authorizations for any student is three per degree program.
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 related to a degree or dissertation requirement. However, students must be registered full time or with 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, on campus and off campus, paid and unpaid. 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 Pre-completion 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 submit the documentation showing your previous semesters of full-time enrollment.
6. My employer has asked me to work remotely. Is this permitted during CPT?
CPT authorization is intended to facilitate off-campus opportunities that resemble classroom instruction, albeit in a more practical context. A key characteristic of such an experience is a supervisory relationship, consisting of regular assignment and evaluation of deliverables. Practical Training also implies meaningful immersion in a professional environment.
Students who request CPT for remote positions should keep detailed documentation establishing
- the existence of a supervisory relationship throughout their period of authorization, and
- how they achieved professional immersion despite working remotely.
7. I am partaking in two CPT experiences during the same semester (or same summer) and enrolling in an internship course. Can I complete one CPT application for the two opportunities?
No. With each new position at each new location, students must apply for a new CPT authorization. In this scenario, the student will be using up 2 of the 3 total permitted CPT authorizations and will have one authorization left before graduation.
8. I want to intern at an embassy; do I need authorization? I’ve heard embassies are considered foreign territory.
For the purposes of your F-1 status, an embassy is no different than any other U.S. employer. Off-campus authorization is required for both paid and unpaid positions.