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CPT - Curricular Practical Training

Student Eligibility:
  • Must have maintained full-time enrollment in F-1 status for at least one academic year (9 months) prior to CPT. This includes time in F-1 status at another school prior to starting at Concordia unless the student has taken a break of 5 months or longer in between schools. Students in graduate programs that require immediate practical training may participate before meeting the academic year requirement.
  • Must have an employment or training offer related to your major area of study. CPT cannot be authorized for a minor.
  • Concurrent enrollment courses are not CPT eligible.
Things to Know:
  • CPT start date:
    • Choose a CPT start date that is at least 5 business days in the future from the date you submit your completed CPT request.
    • The CPT start date must be entered in SEVIS and CPT I-20 issued BEFORE starting employment.
    • It is not possible to backdate the CPT start date in SEVIS.
    • Allow 5 business days for CPT authorization processing.
  • You choose your CPT start and end date:
    • CPT can only be authorized for the dates in which you are enrolled in a CPT course. Ex. The first day of classes or start date of your CPT and the last day of classes. View the academic calendar to see the first and last day of classes for the semester.
  • You can extend your CPT authorization.
    • In order to extend, you must be in the same position at the same employer.
    • If you are extending, you do not need to take a break from CPT between semesters as long as you are continuously enrolled in a CPT course.
  • Students must be registered full-time while on CPT. (Students with a last term RCL or undergraduate students in summer term are exempted.)
  • Full-time CPT (more than 20 hours/week) for 12 months at the same level (Bachelor's, Master's, etc.) cancels eligibility for OPT. This includes any full-time CPT done at your level at a school other than Concordia.
  • Part-time CPT (20 or less hours/week) does not affect eligibility for OPT. Students may be authorized for as much part-time CPT as needed for their program.
  • Unpaid internships still require CPT authorization.
  • Students with paid employment are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). See Step 5 below for more information. 
    • If you already have an SSN, do not apply for a new one. You will keep the same SSN number.
  • You must have CPT authorization in SEVIS for each specific job, for the length of that job offer. 
    • Notify ISS immediately of any changes to your CPT authorization.
    • You must put in a new CPT request to extend your CPT opportunity.
  • Your faculty advisor will confirm your CPT opportunity is related to your field of study. Allow ISS time to receive this approval before your intended CPT start date.
  • To determine if the opportunity is appropriate for CPT, it must be in your field and at your level. This means that the duties/tasks performed relate to your major. The level required is the level you previously completed or are currently studying at. For example,
    • BA Public Health student, Hospital volunteer? (Yes, in major and at level.)
    • MBA student, Target, Retail, Customer Service Associate, or Cashier. CPT? (No, not at level. Does not require BA or masters.)
    • MS ITM student, McDonalds, IT Specialist or Software Engineer. CPT? (Yes, in major and at level as long as BA required and/or masters preferred.).
  • An inappropriate CPT opportunity may jeopardize your eligibility with USCIS for future work benefits such as OPT. 
  • CPT employers must have a US address. 
    • Remote positions will be noted in your SEVIS record.
  • Students who change programs from one term to another may experience a gap in CPT as CPT can only be authorized for the program listed on your I-20. Classes must be in session for CPT to be authorized. Ie. CPT may not start before classes do.
  • If you become eligible for CSP's health insurance waiver through your employer's health insurance coverage, you must contact ISS to confirm. This must be received by the Friday of the first week of classes according to CSP's health insurance policy. Waivers received after this deadline will go into effect in the following term.
    • Contact ISS if you wish to enroll in CSP's plan in a future term.
  • CPT vs. pre-completion OPT
    • Pre-completion OPT is only authorized in extremely rare cases.
    • Pre-completion OPT will only be authorized when undergraduate students have an eligible training opportunity and no CPT course available in their program.
    • A student who still has coursework remaining to complete his or her educational objective or degree program is limited to 20 hours per week of pre-completion optional practical training while school is in session.
      • Such a student can, however, apply for full-time authorization during his or her annual vacation, and during other official school breaks.
    • Talk to your immigration advisor for more information.
CPT Courses:
  • SEVP guidance states CPT must be taken for credit. This means you must register for the appropriate CPT course in the same term as you are completing your CPT opportunity.
  • You must confirm with your department or academic advisor that you are registered for the appropriate CPT course before requesting CPT.
    • If your major requires an internship, you must be registered for the appropriate internship course. CPT cannot be authorized for a minor.
    • If your major does not have an internship course, you must register for a 1 credit Internship course as an elective credit. Students interested in CPT should "save" an elective credit for this purpose.
      • This 1 credit Internship course will count as an elective credit. You can only register for this course if you still need elective credits to complete your degree.
      • If you do not need additional elective credits to complete your degree, but wish to pursue CPT, you must submit a General Petition form. If the General Petition is approved, you may register for the course.
      • The Internship elective credit cannot be used if it will delay your graduation date.
    • All graduate students must register for their program's appropriate CPT course.
      • The MS-ITM and MBA programs have a required CPT course each term.
  • You must keep a copy of your CPT course syllabi. This may be requested by USCIS for future immigration applications such as OPT or H-1B.

How to Apply for CPT/Change Your CPT Employer:
Step 1: Get an offer letter from your CPT site stating title, duties, hours per week, start date of employment, and address of employment.
Step 2: Request the CPT I-20 here
Step 3: ISS will review your application and contact your faculty advisor for CPT approval.
Step 4: ISS will authorize CPT in SEVIS and issue your CPT I-20. CPT must be authorized in SEVIS before you start. You must sign the Student Attestation section on your I-20.
Step 5: If you do not already have a Social Security Number (SSN), you will use your CPT I-20 to apply for it. Click here for information on applying for an SSN.

Note: If you have already started a request for the current term, please go to your User Home Page to continue working on your request. Do not start a new request.

To initiate a request, click here and login with Campus ID (use your CSP credentials). Requests can be found in the “Control Center” section of the request page.

The information contained in this web site is not intended as, and does not serve as, legal advice. It is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Content is subject to change, and students are advised to consult an experienced U.S. immigration attorney for advice and further information. Neither Concordia University, St. Paul nor the Office of International Student Services is responsible for any errors or omissions contained in this website, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.