- Training required by your degree program always meets the requirements for curricular practical training, regardless of whether or not you receive academic credit for your work.
- Graduate students maintaining lawful F-1 status may apply for permission to engage in CPT whenever your program requires your participation, which may be immediately upon beginning your studies.
- Undergraduate students must have completed nine months of full-time study in order to be eligible for any form of CPT.
- Training not required by your degree program may meet the requirements for CPT if you receive academic credit for the employment experience and if it is an important part of your studies.
- Students must be in lawful F-1 status and have been a full-time student for at least nine months.
- ELI students are not eligible for CPT.
Part-time vs. Full-time Curricular Practical Training
- Part-time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week while you are also enrolled for classes is considered “part-time” curricular practical training. The employment authorization written on the student's I-20ID (Student) Copy should therefore specify permission to engage in “part-time” training, and you must be careful to limit your work to no more than 20 hours per week. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time curricular practical training, but you must be simultaneously enrolled full-time in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.
- Full-time CPT: Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered “full-time” curricular practical training and the employment authorization on your I-20ID (Student) Copy should, in this case, specify permission to participate in “full-time” training. While in full-time training, you need not be enrolled for classes in order to maintain lawful F-1 status. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in full-time curricular practical training, but if you participate for twelve months or more, you will not be eligible for post-completion practical training (see next paragraph).
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- US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations do not place an absolute limit on the amount of CPT you may utilize. However, if you engage in one year or more of full-time CPT, you will lose your eligibility to engage in Optional Practical Training.
- CPT is always part-time during the academic year (max of 20 hrs/wk) unless the student is engaged in doctoral dissertation research. CPT may be full time during the annual vacation.
- CPT taken with academic year coursework must be approved at the beginning of the semester in which the course is taken. The CPT must also be completed during the same semester.
- CPT taken without coursework does not sustain F-1 nonimmigrant status, except in the case of doctoral students. If you are a Master's Degree student, you must take 3 credits of coursework (or more, depending on your school's policy) along with the CPT.
- You may engage in curricular practical training only after your SEVIS record has been updated by an ISSO adviser and a SEVIS I-20 has been printed, indicating the approved employment. The endorsement will indicate the precise details of the authorized training, including the name and location of the employer, the specific dates of the training period, and whether it is full-time or part-time.
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Employment Eligibility Verification
When you begin work, you and your employer must complete a form entitled “Employment Eligibility Verification (INS Form I-9), which the employer retains. The I-20 must be updated each time you receive a renewal of your work permission.
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Social Security and Other Taxes
In general, F-1 students who have been in the U.S. less than five years are exempt from Social Security (F.I.C.A.) taxes. Your earnings are subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes. Students must file a tax return on or before April 15 each year, which will determine if any of the withheld taxes can be refunded.
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A Note of Caution
While INS regulations provide a variety of opportunities for you to be employed during your time in F-1 status, working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of your status. You should therefore consult with your international student adviser before taking up ANY employment. It is YOUR responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations that apply to F-1 students. If you fail to comply with your responsibilities, you may not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F-1 students.
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Procedure to Apply
To obtain the ISS recommendation for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you must submit the following documents for processing to the ISS office:
- A letter from your academic advisor describing why the CPT experience is a necessary part of your academic program and the number of credit hours you will receive for the experience; or that you are receiving credit for the experience even though it is not a part of your academic program. Give this sample advisor’s letter to your advisor.
- A letter from the potential employer outlining the specific job duties, exact beginning and ending dates of employment, and the location of employment. Give this same employer’s letter to your potential employer.
- All current and previously issued Form I-20s.
Upon receipt of all of the above documents, ISS will evaluate your eligibility. If you qualify for CPT, the necessary documents will be prepared as quickly as possible. If approved, the appropriate information will be completed on page 4 of your Student Copy I-20, which will be returned to you.
PLEASE NOTE: You may not begin employment through your internship until your request has been approved by ISS and until the date noted on the back of your I-20.
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Location and Office Hours
2504 19th Avenue
Kearney, NE 68849-5221
Monday - Friday
Office open: 8 am - 5 pm
Phone Hours: 8 am - 5 pm
Walk-in Advising hours: 8 am - 4:30 pm
Telephone: (308) 865-8953 Fax:( 308) 865-8947