Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students to complete an internship course that is integral to the completion of their degree.


  • The first step in determining your CPT eligibility is to consult with your Academic Advisor or Internship Coordinator. 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.
  • You must have been full time enrolled for one academic year of study.
  • 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 level
    • Internship is required of a particular student’s degree level as a planned option in their level of study
    • Internship is necessary/integral for the student’s dissertation or thesis competencies.
  • Enroll 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.

Where to apply

ISSC processing time is up to 10 business days, please plan ahead. During peak seasons, processing time may be more than10 business days. 

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.

Approval Process 

The authorization process for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) may seem difficult to navigate. The ISSC works closely with your academic unit to determine your eligibility to participate in an internship using the CPT work authorization. The following factors are taken into consideration before we can consider your application: 

F-1 Regulations 

Full-time enrollment: 

In order to maintain F-1 status, a student must enroll full-time. A graduate student is required to enroll in 9 credit hours with a minimum of 6 credit hours in person, or if the graduate student is an RA, TA or GSA, they are required to take 6 credit hours with a minimum of 3 credit hours in person. Undergraduates are required to enroll in 12 credit hours with a minimum of 9 credit hours in person. Enrollment must cover the entire academic term through session C courses or a combination of session A and B courses. 

Curricular Practical Training: 

The Curricular Practical Training (CPT) regulation [8 C.F.R. 214.2(F)10(i)] states: 

i) Curricular practical training. An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement. 

Academic unit: 

ASU’s academic units develop the curriculum and determine the courses necessary to complete their degrees. This would include any experiential learning opportunities such as internships. 

Although the federal regulations put forth a minimum number of credit hours a student must enroll in to maintain full time enrollment, each graduate program may also determine the course load required each semester to make academic progress toward the degree which is greater than the minimum set by the federal regulations. 

ISSC’s Role: 

The ISSC works in conjunction with the academic units by requesting their input as to whether the requested internship allows each student to meet both the enrollment requirement and the CPT regulatory requirement. In other words, is this internship opportunity an integral part of the established curriculum?

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 for clarification. 

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

Information/Documents required: 

  1. Passport expiration date (must be valid at least 6 months into the future) 
  2. Most recent I-94 arrival record (NOT your travel history). 
  3. CPT Employer Information Form 
  4. Academic Advisor or Internship Coordinator name and email address to confirm academic unit process has been met.
    1. Once we receive confirmation from your academic advisor or internship coordinator, it will take up to 10 days for the ISSC to review and process your request.
    2. You may be contacted by phone or email if additional clarification or information is required.
  5. You will receive an email once the I-20 is ready.

Maintaining status

Reviewing your CPT I-20

Please review your I-20 to ensure all the following information is correct: 

  • Name, date of birth, country birth, country of citizenship, city of birth 
  • Major 1 
  • Employment authorization information (on page 2): 
    • Type: CPT 
    • Full/Part-Time 
    • Status: Approved 
    • Start date 
    • End date 
  • Employer Information 
    • Employer name 
    • City & State 

 Full-Time vs. Part-Time CPT

It is important to adhere to the Full/Part-Time as listed on your I-20:

  • If authorized for part time CPT, you must not work more than 20 hours per week
  • If authorized for full time CPT, you must not work less than 20 hours per week.

CPT Employment

You should begin employment on the CPT start date on your I-20. The CPT authorization end date on your I-20 gives general authorization; however, the end date as determined by your academic department takes precedence. Students cannot work beyond the date agreed upon with their academic department, even if their CPT I-20 has a later end date listed. If at any time the location of your employment changes, you must immediately notify the ISSC. 

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:

  • Original offer of employment
  • Completed Application for a Social Security Card form
  • Passport
  • I-94
  • CPT I-20

Visit 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.


The first thing you should do is to discuss internship eligibility with your academic advisor/internship coordinator. If your program allows for an internship, CPT is the work authorization you would most likely use. 

If your program does not allow for an internship, you would use Pre-OPT. Keep in mind Pre-OPT takes around 100 days to receive, so plan accordingly.

Start with talking to your academic advisor/internship coordinator to determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, find employment related to your program of study, enroll in an internship course, then apply for a CPT I-20 with ISSC.

Full-time CPT in the fall or spring semester is rare. However, you will need to speak to your academic advisor/internship coordinator as the answer to this question will depend on your program’s policy. When engaged in full-time CPT during the fall or spring semester, full-time enrollment must also be maintained.

To minimize risk, the ISSC recommends our students to have a work authorization for any off-campus work. For more information please visit our volunteering and unpaid internships web page.

If you choose to accept a remote internship with a company outside of the U.S. you would need to obtain the Pre-OPT work authorization.

F-1 regulations do not prohibit a student from working on-campus while also participating in a CPT authorized off-campus internship. Keep in mind that study must be the primary activity for the F-1 visa. In the future, USCIS may consider that your work activities took priority over your studies, and this could negatively impact any immigration benefit requests from the U.S. such as OPT or H-1B.

Notify the ISSC immediately so that we can update your SEVIS record.

In the United States, all earnings/income is subject to income tax. Please refer to ISSC’s tax information web page.