Curricular Practical Training

CPT

  • Definition
  • Two Types of CPT
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Limitations
  • Process
  • CPT Extensions
  • Job Opportunities
  • U.S. Taxes
  • FAQ

Definition

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as employment which is an “integral part” of a student’s course of study. This work experience may be required by the student’s degree program. It may also be an elective if it can be demonstrated to serve as an integral part of the program.

Two Types of CPT

  • Part-Time CPT is defined as 20 hours or less per week and requires you, the student, to be enrolled full-time in courses on campus.
  • Full-time CPT is defined as 20 hours or more per week and you will be enrolled by The Career Opportunities and Employer Relations (COER) in a co-op program which satisfies your SEVIS enrollment requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must participate in a mandatory workshop and take a quiz to be eligible to apply for CPT. You may access the workshop and quiz through your Canvas portal.
  • You must have a valid F-1 status at a SEVIS-approved college or university.
  • You must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year at S&T (fall and spring semesters).
    • Graduate students: nine (9) credit hours is full-time enrollment.
    • Undergraduate students: twelve (12) credit hours is full-time enrollment.
  • You will continue to be enrolled for co-op during CPT.
  • You must provide evidence that the CPT training is “an integral part of an established curriculum”.
  • You must provide evidence that the CPT training is “directly related to the student’s major area of study.”
  • You must possess a job offer which meets immigration requirements which are listed in the Process tab on this page.

Limitations

  • The complete CPT packet must be received by OICA no later than one week prior to the first day of class of each academic semester. If you fail to meet this deadline, there is no guarantee that your request will be processed by the start of your proposed begin date or by the deadline for students' SEVIS registration.
  • The last day to begin CPT employment can be no later than the last day to register for courses for that semester.
  • CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program. If you are a thesis or dissertation student who has completed your minimum program requirements and are solely doing research, then you are only eligible for summer internships, unless you are enrolled full-time.
  • CPT cannot be used solely as a source of income, or because it is considered "beneficial, relevant, or solely for excellent professional and personal experience", or as a bridge to future employment. CPT must be an integral part of the your curriculum.
  • CPT cannot be used as a reason for an I-20 extension.
  • Full-time CPT cannot be approved for less than one semester.
  • CPT cannot be approved for spring/fall semester co-ops following an I-20 extension.
  • If you are in an English language training program, then you are ineligible for practical training.
  • CPT is granted for only one semester at a time. You must re-apply for each subsequent semester of CPT.
  • You are authorized to work only for the employer and dates listed on the I-20 form.
  • You cannot participate in CPT outside the United States.
  • You are required to maintain the mandatory health insurance during the designated period of CPT.
  • COER will not approve an unpaid CPT during the fall or spring academic semesters.
  • COER will not give you authorization to change employers during a CPT semester.

Process

OICA processing time for CPT applications is minimum five (5) business days. It takes an additional three (3) days after COER approval to prepare the CPT I-20. Plan your CPT carefully!

  • Participate in the mandatory workshop and quiz on Canvas in order to learn about CPT.
  • Obtain an offer letter from an employer.
  • Review your offer letter to ensure it meets the CPT requirements:

The offer letter must contain the following information within the body of the letter:

1. The specific physical address where you will work (street, city, state, and zip code).
2. Be written on the company’s letterhead.
3. Be addressed to you, the student.
4. Employment start and end dates.
5. Job title and description/responsibilities that show how the job relates directly to your major area of study and is an integral part.
6. Whether employment is full-time or part-time (if part-time, the number of hours per week you will work).

  • Complete and sign the CPT Request Form found in Canvas.
  • If you are a graduate student, you will need to ensure your degree audit report is up to date and accurate with the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Submit your CPT application and offer letter to the Office of International & Cultural Affairs (OICA) for processing.
  • After your CPT application is signed by your International Student Advisor, you must:
    • Complete the co-op registration process on MinerJobs.
    • Complete the Co-op Enrollment Verification Form found in Canvas.
    • Request an appointment with COER to obtain signature approval.
  • Return your CPT packet to OICA for immigration employment authorization process.
  • Obtain your new I-20 form with the CPT authorization for your employer and employment dates.
  • Provide your employer with a copy of your I-20 form with your CPT authorization and participate in your CPT during the times listed on your I-20 form.

CPT Extensions

  • Employers or yourself may request to extend your CPT period into a following semester. If a request to extend your CPT authorization is desired, you must reapply for another authorized period of CPT by following the same process used for your first CPT. We recommend you submit this CPT extension request as early as two weeks prior to the expiration date of the first CPT period.
  • To extend your CPT, you will need to do the following:
  • Obtain a new offer letter with new employment dates. The offer letter must meet the same requirements outlined in the Process tab on this page.
  • Complete a new CPT application with required signatures.
  • Complete COER process outlined in the Process tab on this page.
  • Submit the CPT application and offer letter to the OICA for processing.
  • Receive a new updated I-20 form with new employment dates.
  • Provide your employer with a copy of your I-20 form with your CPT authorization, and participate in your CPT during the times listed on your I-20 form.
  • You can change employers when extending CPT for the next semester. However, the same CPT process for authorization must be followed.

Job Opportunities

  • The Career Opportunities and Employer Relations Office (COER) is dedicated to helping students and alumni find part-time and full-time employment.
  • To learn more about available CPT employment opportunities, please visit: http://career.mst.edu/ or visit the COER office on the third floor of Norwood Hall.

U.S. Taxes

  • When you are employed in a CPT job, you will be required to pay taxes on your earnings.
  • You will also be required to file a federal and a state income tax return.
  • However, you may qualify for exemptions if your home country has a tax treaty with the United States.

FAQ

This document contains Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that many students have about CPT. 

Note that all information in the FAQ can be found throughout the tabs on this page.