Curricular Practical Training Regulations
For Students In F-1 Status
Any internship, paid or unpaid, must be authorized
The most recent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) regulations governing Curricular Practical Training took effect Jan. 1, 2003. These regulations apply to all students in F-1 status — those who were in the United States on or before Jan. 1, 2003, and those who entered after that date.
When do I need authorization for curricular practical training?
You must have authorization from the ISSS office before you begin a paid or unpaid internship or any other form of curricular practical training. As an F-1 student your employment cannot begin until you receive your SEVIS I-20 with the curricular practical training endorsement.
Beginning curricular practical training without proper authorization is a violation of immigration regulations and will have serious consequences.
What is Curricular Practical Training?
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is a possible benefit of valid status. Authorization is not a guaranteed "right." You MUST be authorized before any paid or unpaid CPT begins.
CPT is defined to be alternative work/study, internship or cooperative education arranged with the approval of your program, or any type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements. CPT may take place during the academic year and/or in the summer and MUST be undertaken prior to the completion of a course of study. Because USCIS uses a broad definition of employment — any activity for which a student receives a benefit, monetary or otherwise — even unpaid internships require CPT authorization.
When is CPT required and when is it recommended? When do I need to register for 1 credit?
An internship or practicum may be required by your degree program. The CPT authorization for your academically-required internship would be a required CPT. If your degree program does not require all students in the degree program to do an internship, then your CPT is described in the federal immigration regulations as recommended. You can determine if your CPT is required or recommended by reading the section of the University catalog that describes your academic department’s requirements and course offerings. You can find the University Bulletin online.
Is employment at a university or college considered on-campus or off-campus employment?
An activity is considered to be on-campus employment only when the activity is directly affiliated with Binghamton University. Employment at a different college or university, even at another SUNY campus, is off campus and requires work authorization. If you are unsure, ask ISSS staff. CPT is recommended when it is beneficial for the student to engage in the employment experience but the experience is NOT necessary for the completion of the degree. Note: A student authorized for recommended CPT is required by current immigration regulations to register for a minimum of 1 college credit which reflects the CPT placement; this credit must be granted by the academic department for each semester (including the summer or winter terms) of the CPT placement.
Who is eligible to do CPT?
To be eligible to receive CPT authorization, students in F-1 status must be lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year in their current degree program immediately before the start date of the proposed practical training. CPT must be undertaken prior to the completion of a course of study.
The academic year in-status requirement is waived for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training.
Eligibility for CPT after re-enrolling at Binghamton University?
Students in F-1 status whose SEVIS record is terminated need to re-enter the United States using an “Initial Attendance” I-20. If this is your situation, you will not be eligible for authorization for CPT until you have completed two consecutive full-time semesters. This is true even if you were a full-time student at Binghamton University for a full academic year before your original SEVIS record with Binghamton University was terminated.
How much CPT can I do and still be eligible for OPT?
Students who complete 12 or more months of full-time CPT will be ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). To continue to be eligible for OPT you will want to make sure to do 364 days or less of full-time CPT.
Is there a fee for CPT?
There is no fee to apply for CPT. Processing is done in the ISSS office. Once you have submitted all the required documents, it takes seven to 10 business days to complete the processing of the new I-20.
What paperwork is required before a CPT can be processed?
The following two items are required to process an application for CPT:
- Completed Academic Advisor’s Recommendation Form for Curricular Practical Training
- Offer letter from employer on their official letterhead. The letter needs to include:
- the starting and ending dates of the placement
- number of hours per week
- a brief description of duties to be performed.
Once the CPT application is complete, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services will update the SEVIS record and print a new SEVIS I-20, authorizing curricular practical training with that employer only. The SEVIS I-20 will be given to the student. You must have the SEVIS I-20 in hand prior to commencing the employment.
If I get a new position, or I need to work an additional period of time, do I need to do a new CPT application?
Yes. A new application will be required if there is a change of employers or if the employment is to be continued beyond the current ending date. An updated offer letter and an updated Academic Advisor’s form are required.
If you have additional questions regarding CPT, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or come to one of the walk-in advising sessions held Monday through Thursday.
Processing may take seven to 10 business days!