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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • Overview

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is the authorization type F-1 students must receive prior to engaging in off campus employment, regardless of whether the job is paid or unpaid (this includes internships, practicums, field placements, etc). The primary purpose of CPT is to achieve a specific academic objective in accordance with your academic program. 

    Authorization for CPT is given in the form of an I-20 endorsed by a Visa & Immigration Services Advisor.  Students may engage in CPT employment only after they have received their updated I-20 listing the specific employer/field site, location, time period as evidence of their authorization.

    Important Considerations
    • CPT can be part-time during the academic year or full time during summer sessions, but may not run past the first day of the subsequent term of study. Part-time is defined as being 20 hours or less per week and full time as 21 or more hours per week.
    • CPT cannot be authorized after course requirements, thesis/project or dissertation are completed.
    • An accumulation of 12 months of full-time CPT makes you ineligible for OPT for that degree level.

      You may engage in CPT employment only after you have received the I-20 with your CPT authorization from VIS. The work authorization will only be valid for the specific employer, location, time period and on a part-time or full-time basis as approved and recorded by a VIS advisor and evidenced on your I-20 issued for CPT.

      You must not continue employment beyond the date authorized unless you apply and are granted an extension of your permission to work from VIS. To do so would be a violation of your nonimmigrant student status, and such violation would jeopardize your ability to remain in the US.

  • Eligibility

    Eligibility Requirements

    In order to be eligible for CPT, you must meet the following requirements:

    1. You are currently in F-1 status and maintaining status.
    2. You have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (two semesters) in your current field of study/major.
      • Students who changed degree levels at Stony Brook or transferred from another U.S. college/university may be eligible for CPT after one semester at SBU. Please contact VIS to determine eligibility.
      • An exception to this requirement is given to graduate students whose academic program requires immediate participation in an off-campus internship or field placement.
    3. You have an internship/training experience offer that is directly related to your field of study and integral to your curriculum.
    4. You are registered for a course that requires the practical training experience. This course must be listed in the course catalog, specifically designed for a practical training experience, and be a minimum of one credit.
    5. If you have completed all required course work except thesis or dissertation, your CPT must contribute data to your thesis or dissertation.

    You must also attend a CPT Workshop. In lieu of attending a CPT Workshop, you can review the CPT & Pre-Completion OPT Presentation or recorded webinar.

  • How to Apply

    Application Process

    To apply for CPT, follow the directions below. We recommend submitting your application at least 7 business days before your expected employment start date.

    If you are submitting a last minute request, it is your responsibility to notify your department AND VIS that you have submitted this request, and ask if expedited processing is possible.

    Important: Submission of this request in accessVIS does NOT authorize you to begin working. You must not begin working (with or without pay) until you have received authorization from VIS in the form of an updated Form I-20.

    Step 1: Register for an approved internship course
    Step 2: Submit the Curricular Practical Training request in accessVIS
    Step 3: Submit the employment offer letter with your application
    Step 4: Wait for your new I-20 to be issued


  • CPT Workshops

    CPT Workshops

    Our Pre-Completion OPT/CPT Workshop provides detailed information regarding the U.S. regulations and application procedures associated with Pre-Completion OPT and CPT. Attendance and/or review of the CPT workshop is required for any F-1 Student who wishes to obtain work authorization to engage in Curricular Practical Training/Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training.

    Fall 2023 CPT Workshops

    Date Time Location
    Wednesday, September 6th 1pm - 2pm Zoom - Register here
    Thursday, October 12th 11am - 12pm Zoom - Register here
    Wednesday, November 15th 1pm - 2pm Frey 100
  • FAQs

    Frequently Asked Questions


    I have just been offered an internship opportunity. Can I begin working right away?
    My degree program does not require an internship. Does this mean I cannot participate in an off campus internship?
    Can I use my current CPT authorization for another internship since it has not yet expired?
    Can I do full-time CPT and still be eligible for the full 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
    What should I do if I quit my training before the original anticipated CPT authorization end date?
    Do I need to submit proof of enrollment for the past academic year?
    I work at the library for five hours a week and have been offered an internship off campus. Am I eligible to apply for CPT?
    Do I need to apply for CPT for an unpaid internship?
    May I volunteer for an off-campus organization without CPT authorization?
    How do I know that I am authorized for CPT? When may I begin work?
    Do I have to take classes while on CPT?
    Is there a minimum credit requirement for the independent study and/ or internship course?
    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?
    Do I need authorization to work/intern for a company located abroad while I'm present in the US?