Curricular Practical Training (CPT) enables F-1 students to take part in an internship or other experience that is integral to the curriculum of their degree program.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus employment* authorization that enables international students in F-1 visa status to take part in an internship, Co-Op, field placement, practicum, or work / service experience that is integral to the curriculum of their degree program.
*Please note that the USCIS defines “employment” as any type of service for which a benefit, including academic credit, is received. Therefore, even if you will not be paid for your internship, you should obtain CPT authorization.
At UB, we use the following criteria to determine whether your proposed employment qualifies for CPT authorization:
Yes. Even if you want to “volunteer” at an off-campus location without receiving payment, you should have special off-campus authorization (CPT or OPT). Please speak to an International Student Advisor to discuss which authorization is appropriate for your situation.
If your department does not offer an internship, practicum or Co-Op, then you may not be able to pursue this type of employment. Because CPT is directly linked to the curriculum of your department, not every F-1 student at UB will have the opportunity to utilize CPT. In cases where you will not be getting credit, or you will simply be gaining experience in your field, you should apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) instead.
To be eligible for CPT, you must meet the following conditions, in addition to those mentioned above:
* An exception to this requirement is given to graduate students whose academic program requires immediate participation in an internship or field placement.
o During the summer OR
o For graduate students whose degree programs require internships involving more than 20 hours of work per week (e.g. Counseling Psychology, Audiology, Communicative Disorders, Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy) OR
o For graduate students whose thesis, project or dissertation requires CPT and who are only enrolled in Thesis / Dissertation Guidance. Note: Your Academic Advisor’s letter must explain how this off-campus experience is related to your thesis/dissertation/final project. OR
o When the CPT opportunity is considered as full-time enrollment by the university and you are only enrolled in the CPT credit (e.g. students who are enrolled in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Student Co-Op Program/EAS-496)
Since few academic programs at UB require more than one or two semesters of work / service experience, most students will be eligible for only one or two semesters of CPT. CPT will not be authorized in situations where Optional Practical Training is more appropriate or for work to be done after completion of your degree requirements.
Note: If you are authorized for 12 or more months of full-time CPT, you lose your eligibility for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training. Any part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT.
To apply for CPT, prepare your application and submit it online to ISS following the directions below:
1. Login to the myISSS Student Portal by clicking on the blue “LOGIN” button on the left side of the screen, and using your UBIT Name and Password to access the portal. Note: Do NOT click on “Administrative Services for University Departments”.
2. Click on “F-1 Practical Training Applications” and then “Application for Curricular Practical Training”.
3. You must complete the entire E-form and upload the required document before you can submit your application. Only documents saved as a PDF or JPEG are acceptable. You must upload the following:
- Academic Advisor’s Recommendation Letter (guidelines attached)
This letter must include complete details of your internship, as requested in the attached guidelines. If the letter is incomplete or inaccurate, you will be asked to provide a new one.
Note: Be sure that you are registered for the appropriate CPT credit BEFORE you submit your CPT E-form.
4. After providing all required information and uploading the required document, remember to click the “Submit” button. ISS will review your CPT application and notify you if any additional information is needed.
ISS reviews CPT applications on a case-by-case basis. Review of a CPT application takes approximately 5-7 business days. If CPT is approved, ISS will update your information in SEVIS and print a new I-20, endorsed with your CPT authorization.
We recommend submitting your application at least 7 business days before your expected employment start date.
Any CPT application received after the middle of the semester (Friday of the 8 week of classes) will receive additional scrutiny and will likely be denied.
You cannot begin working until you receive the CPT endorsement on your I-20. CPT is only valid for the period between the beginning and ending dates on your I-20. Retroactive authorizations will not be granted. Any work that takes place outside the CPT approval dates is unauthorized employment.
No, CPT (unlike OPT) is employer-specific. Separate applications for CPT are required if you want to work for different employers.
When authorized for CPT, you are permitted to work only from the specified beginning date through the specified ending date. If you need to extend your employment authorization, you will need to submit another CPT application. Please keep processing times in mind and submit your application to extend your CPT in a timely manner. Please also keep in mind that extensions of CPT are not guaranteed.
No, once you apply for Post-Completion OPT, you are no longer eligible for CPT. Remember, CPT must be an “integral part of an established curriculum”. You are not eligible for CPT if you have completed all degree requirements.
Having issues with myISSS? Email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page Updated 5/18