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UC Merced International

CPT

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment option available to F-1 visa students when the practical training employment is an integral part of the curriculum and degree program. The CPT regulations are strict. Improper use can affect future immigration benefits or result in unnecessary RFEs (Requests for Further Evidence). For more information on eligibility, read below and view the CPT Tutorial

Please note: In order to ensure compliance with U.S. Federal Immigration Regulations, necessary changes were made to our Curricular Practical Training form and process. CPT requests submitted after November 1, 2019 must use the new, updated form.

Eligibility Requirements

To obtain CPT, a student must:

  • have been in valid F-1 immigration status for at least one academic year or two consecutive semesters.
  • have a job offer related to the field of study and the employment/training must be integral to the student's degree program.
  • obtain CPT authorization from an International Student and Scholar (ISS) advisor and faculty advisor BEFORE beginning employment.
  • be registered in a course related to CPT employment--Obtain CRN from your Department. If applying for summer CPT, register for 12-Week Summer Session D. (Summer tuition is approximately $700 for 1 unit.)
  • show Form I-20 to the employer as evidence of work authorization.

There is no limit to the amount of CPT for which a student is eligible. However, if 12 months or more of full-time CPT is used, a student will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Accrual of part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT.

CPT is not available after a student completes the degree program.

Types of CPT

1) Degree Requirement

CPT may be authorized when an internship is a requirement of a degree program (i.e. all students in the program must complete an internship to obtain the degree and is stated in the catalog).

Authorization can be for full-time or part-time employment, depending on the academic department's requirement.

2) Course Credit

CPT may be authorized for students who enroll in a course that requires employment to earn a grade, or a course where students design their own research project based on the employment. Enrollment in the course must be concurrent with the employment.

Authorization will be granted on a semester-only basis. However, if a student wishes to work for a period longer than the last day of the semester, s/he must enroll in the next available semester before authorization can be extended beyond the current term.

Part-Time/ Full-Time Status

Employment is limited to part-time (20 hours or less per week) during the Fall and Spring semesters. Graduate students who have advanced to candidacy are eligible for full-time employment (more than 20 hours per week) during the semester as long as the employment is integral to their degree program.

Students will only be eligible for full-time CPT under the two circumstances below:

  1. It is the summer term  OR
  2. PhD level student has advanced to candidacy and requires full-time training to complete dissertation (cannot be in Filing Fee Status)

Application Process 

  1. Complete the CPT Request Form with your faculty or academic advisor (original signature required)
  2. Enroll in the appropriate course
  3. Submit the request form along with proof of course enrollment and the CPT Training Verification Form containing the information listed on page 3 of the CPT Request Form
  4. Pick up your new Form I-20 at the Office of International Affairs 2-3 business days after submitting your request