Employment And The F-1 Student Visa: Curricular Practical Training

During their first year of an academic program in the United States, international students with F-1 student visa status have very limited opportunities for employment on-campus. However, after completing nine months of study, students are allowed to take off-campus jobs as long as they are related to or are required by their field of study. One such opportunity is referred to as Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

What is Curricular Practical Training? CPT is training required by your program of study to graduate - although it is often paid work, it can be awarded with school credits and it is often integral to what you are studying in school.

Below, we've listed some quick facts about Curricular Practical Training:

  • You must have F-1 student visa status to participate in CPT. 
  • Your CPT must be related to your major.
  • Your CPT must be required by your program.
  • You may not engage in OPT after 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT). 
  • You must receive authorization from both U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) and your school's International Student Office before beginning OPT. 
  • You must have an employment opportunity lined up - and details about your job - before asking for CPT authorization. 
  • While school is in session, you may only work 20 hours per week. When school is not in session, you may work 40 hours per week. 
  • You can begin a CPT job immediately after enrolling if you are in a graduate program that requires training as soon as classes begin. 
  • Unlike OPT, there is no limit to how long you can work at your CPT job.

The Law Offices of Vaughan de Kirby are here to help international students secure F-1 student visas and explore opportunities to live and work in the United States. If you have questions regarding F-1 student visas, Curricular Practical Training, or working while in school in the United States, contact us today to speak with a San Francisco immigration attorney.

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