When am I eligible for CPT?

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

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 .

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.

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 change employers on CPT?

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

Can I change from part-time to full-time during the CPT?

Yes, but only with prior authorization from Student Services.  If you change employers, or if you change from part-time to full-time employment, you MUST re-apply for a new CPT authorization.  You cannot make the change until you have obtained a new I-20 with CPT authorization specific to the new employer.

Is it possible to extend CPT authorization?

Yes, Student Services will require you to renew your CPT application each semester. This means you must plan in advance to come in and renew your authorization before your current semester’s authorization expires, if you wish to continue working.

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

No, CPT is meant to complement your degree program and not interrupt the progress of your degree.  During CPT you must be enrolled in course units related to the CPT employment.  During the academic year you still have to maintain your full-time enrollment status (i.e. 12 units per semester). During the summer you must show that you are enrolled full-time in the upcoming fall semester.

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

Yes, you are.  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 change employers on CPT?

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