Curricular Practical Training allows F-1 students to gain practical experience in an internship that is an integral part of their degree program. The internship must be directly related to your major, and you must register for at least one credit during each semester of the CPT authorization. ISSS recommends that students receive authorization for any internship, regardless of whether it is paid or unpaid.
You must receive your I-20 with CPT authorization from the ISSS BEFORE you begin a paid or unpaid position. Failure to do so is a serious violation of F-1 status and could have serious consequences for you. The dates of your internship and the CPT authorization must fall within the dates of the internship course. CPT can only be authorized for one semester at a time. If you wish to continue an internship into a new semester, you would need to register for an additional internship credit and receive a new CPT authorization for that semester. If you are authorized for more than 12 months of Full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for any OPT. Part-time CPT does not impact OPT eligibility.
Based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the ISSS recommends that students remain physically present in the Binghamton area during their final semester of study. Students who choose to complete CPT in their final semester outside of the Binghamton area do so at their own risk and may receive additional scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if they apply for future benefits. CPT authorization requires registration for at least one credit, and that credit may not be online or distance learning.
- You must be in valid F-1 status and have been enrolled for at least one full academic year (two semesters) in your current degree program before the start date of your CPT.
- You must have an internship offer that is directly related to your degree program.
- If your internship is not a general requirement of all students in your degree program (Master’s in Social Work, Master’s in Education, and MBA programs require all students to complete an internship), you must register for at least one credit that is linked to your CPT authorization. Speak with your academic advisor regarding any questions about your eligibility to register for credits for an internship.
How to apply
Register for internship credit
- Speak with your academic advisor if you have any questions about registration for an appropriate course or credit linked to your internship.
- If you are in a program that requires all students to complete an internship in order to graduate, confirm that information with your academic advisor.
Gather the required documentation
- Meet with your academic advisor to complete the Academic Advisor’s Recommendation Form. You will complete the top portion of the form, and your advisor must complete the rest of the form and sign it.
- Review the offer letter from your internship employer and confirm that it meets the
- On official company letterhead
- Includes the start and end dates of the position, and these dates are within the academic semester
- States a brief description of job duties and the number of hours to be worked each week
- Indicates the address where work will occur
- Signed by the employer
- Scan these documents
Submit the CPT application to ISSS
You must submit the CPT Application e-form online. You will need to upload the required documentation in order to submit the e-form.
Wait for ISSS to approve your CPT before beginning employment
- You will receive an email from ISSS when your CPT application has been reviewed. Please note that ISSS processing time may be 7-10 business days.
- If your request is approved, you will be issued a new I-20 showing your employer information and the dates of your CPT authorization. ISSS will email this electronic I-20 to you, and you must present it to your employer as verification of your eligibility to work. Be sure to keep all old I-20s for your records.
- If you do not already have a Social Security Number (SSN), you may apply for an SSN up to 30 days before the start date of your CPT authorization.
If you have any questions, you may contact the ISSS advising team at email@example.com.