F-1 off-campus employment during academic program

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Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students who will complete an internship course in order to graduate from their current degree program.

  • Employment starts at the beginning of the semester or summer session and completes at the end of the semester or summer session. Exceptions may be considered if there is an academic justification.

  • Students who use 12 months of full-time CPT will not be eligible for OPT.

  • Every U.S. institution must abide by the Code of Federal Regulations 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i) when it comes to CPT.  However, institutions and academic units of colleges may adjust their policies and guidelines to ensure that internships meet the curricular criteria of the program. Requirements for CPT are not the same at every school.


In order to determine your CPT eligibility, please consult with your Academic Advisor.  Once they determine you are eligible for CPT, the following immigration conditions apply:



Maintenance of F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year in a degree program.


Proposed employment must be an integral part of an established curriculum and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Internship is required of all candidates for a particular degree program; or

  • Internship is required of a particular student's degree program as a planned option in their program of study; or

  • Internship is necessary/integral for the student’s dissertation or thesis competencies.


Must be enrolled in an internship course as required or approved by your academic unit. If you have not enrolled in the internship course when applying for CPT the application will be delayed.

Note: If your program does not offer an internship as part of your curriculum and you wish to participate in an internship, you will need to apply for Pre-OPT. It is in your best interest to determine early if an internship is an option as Pre-OPT applications take approximately 90 days to process.


When to Apply

ISSC processing time is up to 10 business days, please plan ahead.

Each academic unit has specific timelines, policies, eligibility requirements, and forms that you need to be aware of.  Please consult with your academic advisor to fully understand your academic unit’s specific CPT process.

Do not apply for CPT before you have enrolled in your internship class.

We highly recommend that you attend a CPT information session prior to beginning the application process.

For information about the CPT Approval Process at ASU, please visit this webpage.

How to Apply

Once you have determined your eligibility for CPT with your academic advisor enroll in the internship course, then complete the CPT I-20 eForm.

If your internship is in the fall or spring semester, you must be enrolled full-time for that semester (9 credits for graduate students and 12 credits for undergraduate students). Classes must be taken in person and cannot be taken online or via distance education.

If your academic advisor has questions or concerns, please have them email issc.employment@asu.edu for clarification.

Submit your application materials through the ISSC eForm Portal in the CPT I-20 Request.

Please have the following materials ready prior to submitting the e-Form:


Your passport expiration date

  • Your passport must be valid at all times.

  • If you have a new passport, please upload a copy of the biography page showing your name, country, date of birth and expiration date.


Copy of recent I-94 arrival record (NOT your travel history).


Employer letter or job offer letter that has the following information highlighted:

  • CPT start and end dates
  • Employer's name
  • Your name
  • Hours of work per week
  • Title of position
  • Description of your position duties
  • The address where your work will be performed
  • Official company representative name
  • Authorized digital signature, such as Adobe or Docusign or physical signature on a paper form that has been scanned/emailed. ISSC will accept a letter emailed directly from your employer’s email address.
  • Date of the signature

CPT applications are reviewed thoroughly for SEVIS compliance. You may receive an email or call from the ISSC for additional requirements or immigration advisement.

Please allow the ISSC up to 10 days after your academic advisor has approved the eForm to process your CPT request and issue your CPT authorized I-20.  Any delay in your academic advisor’s approval is NOT part of the ISSC’s 10-day processing time. 


CPT I-20

You will receive an email notification from the ISSC when your CPT I-20 is ready. The notification will provide detailed information on how to pick up in person, by a representative, or by using eShipGlobal if you choose to have the CPT I-20 shipped.

You must review the information within your I-20 for accuracy, then sign and date in blue ink.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time CPT

  • CPT is limited to part-time employment (up to 20 hours a week) during the fall and spring semesters. 

  • Full-time CPT may be approved for undergraduate students who are in their final semester with an approved Reduced Course Load.  Consult with Academic Advisor.

  • Graduate students who have completed all coursework with a final academic activity of thesis or dissertation may be eligible for full-time CPT (more than 20 hours a week).  Consult with Academic Advisor. 

  • CPT during official summer break can be either full-time or part-time.

CPT Employment

You should begin employment on the CPT start date on your I-20. Your employer will likely request certain documents from you, including your CPT I-20, passport, I-94, and social security card. Every employer has their own policies, so please follow their instructions. 

Apply for a Social Security Number (if you do not already have one)

  • You will be able to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) after your CPT is approved and you have received your CPT I-20.

  • You will not be able to apply for an SSN more than 30 days prior to the employment start date listed on your I-20.

  • You will need to apply for an SSN through the social security card center. Bring the following information to a social security card center:

Visit ssa.gov to find the locations of social security card centers. You do not need an additional letter from the ISSC to apply for an SSN.

Curricular Practical Training authorization may be extended for academic reasons only. The ISSC will not consider extension requests purely for the employment value.