CPT F.A.Q.

Can I change employers on CPT?

No, CPT is an employer-specific employment authorization, so you need to apply for CPT authorization for each separate employment.

Will I be eligible for OPT (optional practical training) if I participate in CPT?

CPT and OPT are separate work authorizations; however, if you worked full-time on CPT for one academic year then you will be unable to apply for any OPT. 

Can I participate in full-time CPT during the semester?

CPT is meant to complement your degree program and not interrupt the progress of your degree.  A student who applies for CPT must be able to show that they are enrolled full-time for the semester in which they are requesting work authorization.  CPT approved during a semester will be approved for part-time (up to, but no more than, 20 hours/week) unless the CPT request is for the IPSS or DPMI course. For these two courses, CPT is approved full-time for the term in which they are taken.

When can I begin working?

You can only begin employment if you have received authorization (see 3rd page of your I-20) from Student Services .

CPT is approved per work experience . Once you receive approval, you will receive an I-20 with the work authorization details including the name of the company and approved dates.  You will need to show your employer the third page of the I-20 with CPT authorization to begin working.


Working without authorization or before or after the approval dates is a violation of status and will result in the loss of your F-1 status. 

When am I eligible for CPT?

For an F-1 student to be eligible for CPT, they must:

  • Have been a full-time student for at least one academic year (two semesters);
  • Be in F-1 status
  • If applying for summer CPT approval, you must be registered for 12 units prior to CPT approval;
  • Receive a support letter from your Academic Advisor;
  • Have a letter from your prospective employer (see additional details below)
  • Be enrolled in a program that requires an internship OR register for a course that requires an internship/work experience.