Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students

Immigration regulations state that a student may participate in a "curricular practical training program" that is "an integral part of an established curriculum" and "directly related to the student's major area of study." They define curricular practical training as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school."

Complete the online CPT session at www.miami.edu/cpt to learn about eligiblity and the application process.

Eligibility Requirements

The F-1 regulations are very clear on who qualifies for off-campus employment authorization and who does not. Students in exchange programs and students in special/hybrid programs, do not qualify for any type of off-campus paid employment before or after their studies (with the exception of Internship with an International Organization Employment for exchange students) since they do not meet the eligibility requirements for these Immigration benefits.

In order to qualify for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT), a student must complete one full academic year (excluding time spent in F-1 status in Intensive English Programs) in F-1 status. In the case of CPT and pre-completion OPT, a student must be returning to study in the U.S. after employment. In the case of post-completion OPT, a student must receive a U.S. degree. Exchange Students are not eligible for employment at the end of their exchange year because they are neither returning to study in the U.S. after the employment nor will they receive a U.S. degree.

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  • Employment which is a Required Part of Your Degree Program

    If (1) you are a graduate student, (2) you are maintaining lawful F-1 status, and (3) the proposed employment is a required part of your studies, you may apply for permission to engage in CPT whenever your program requires your participation, even if it is immediately upon beginning your studies. Undergraduate students must have completed one academic year of full-time study, be in lawful F-1 status at the time they submit their application and continue to maintain valid F-1 status in order to be eligible for any form of CPT.

  • Employment which is Not a Required Part of your Degree Program

    In order to be eligible to apply for permission to work in a job which is not a required part of your study program, but for which you will receive academic credit (i.e., at least one credit in an internship course), you must (1) be in lawful F-1 status at the time you submit your application and continue to maintain valid F-1 status, and (2) you have been enrolled with valid, lawful status as a full-time student for at least one full academic year directly preceding your application. This applies to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time Curricular Practical Training

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  • Part-Time Training

    While you are enrolled for classes, you may be employed for 20 hours or less per week; this is considered "part-time" curricular practical training. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT but you must be simultaneously enrolled in order to maintain lawful F 1 status.

  • Full-Time Training

    Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered "full time" CPT. Full-time CPT is only possible during summer vacation unless your degree requires you to complete a full-time internship during fall and/or spring semesters. In the latter case, you may be eligible to engage in full-time CPT during fall and/or spring semesters as well. Please note that CPT for which you receive academic credit (i.e., at least one credit in an internship course) requires enrollment, even during the summer. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in full-time CPT but if you participate for 12 months or more, you will not be eligible for optional practical training.

  • Curricular Practical Training and Eligibility Requirements for Optional Practical Training

    It is important that you understand that if you participate in 12 months or more of "full time" CPT, you lose eligibility to apply for 12 months of optional practical training.

Application and Authorization Procedures

Step 1

Obtain an offer for off-campus employment or practical training for a position that is directly related to your field of study.

Step 2

Request a completed Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Agreement form from your employer.

Step 3

Complete the mandatory Curricular Practical Training (CPT) online module at www.miami.edu/cpt.

Step 4

Determine how you will satisfy curricular requirements for CPT authorization. Review the two options below carefully to ensure you complete the appropriate CPT Authorization Request form.

  • If your academic program requires an internship (and is outlined in the UM academic bulletin), or if you will earn credit toward degree requirements, follow instructions below for Required/For Academic Credit Internship Instructions.
  • If your academic program does NOT require an internship or if you will NOT earn credit toward your degree for the experience, you may enroll in a UM Internship credit by participating in the Toppel Internship Program (TIP). Follow Optional – UM Internship Credit through Toppel Internship Program instructions.

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  • For Credit Option Instructions

    1. Sign up for the Toppel Internship Program (TIP). Complete the Learning Contract so that Toppel can enroll you in the appropriate UM Internship (UMI) course, if eligible. Please remember that if your internship will be over the course of multiple semesters, you must submit a new learning contract and obtain CPT Authorization for each semester, Summer or Winter session.

     

    1. Submit your request for CPT authorization from ISSS: Click on CPT Authorization Request - UM Internship Credit (Toppel Internship Program), carefully review and complete Sections A through E, and submit the request so it gets routed to the Toppel Career Center and your academic advisor.

     

    1. The Toppel Career Center will review your CPT Authorization Request and will confirm receipt of the Learning Contract and enrollment in the UM Internship (UMI) Course.

     

    1. Your academic advisor will receive a notification e-mail and will be asked to complete their section of the e-form and to submit it.

     

    1. Now that all signers have completed their sections, your ISSS advisor will review the request and, if eligible, authorize you to engage in CPT and e-mail you an updated Form I-20 within 5 business days. The CPT authorization is noted on page 2 of the I-20. 

     

    Note: You will receive automated updates about the status of your e-form. Please follow up with any of the signers, if necessary. Keep in mind that you may not begin employment before you have received your new Form I-20 and until the CPT start date, and you must end employment on the date noted.

  • Required/For Academic Credit Internship Instructions

    1. Determine if your practical training is (a) a requirement for your degree program, or (b) for academic credit.

    a) Review specifics of your program requirements in the UM Academic Bulletin. Enroll in an internship or practicum course if course enrollment is the requirement, and review the UM Academic Calendar, as the term of enrollment will indicate the maximum duration of your CPT Authorization, unless stated otherwise.

    b) Enroll in the internship or practicum course and review the UM Academic Calendar, as the term of enrollment will indicate the maximum duration of your CPT Authorization, unless stated otherwise in the UM Academic Bulletin.

    2. Submit your request for CPT authorization from ISSS:  Click on CPT Request - Program Requirement or Academic Credit, carefully review and complete Sections A through E, and submit the request so it gets routed to the additional signers.

     3. The academic department representative overseeing curricular objectives and then your academic advisor will receive a notification e-mail and will each be asked to complete their sections of the e-form and to submit it. They will be required to upload the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Agreement form completed by your employer.

    4. Now that all signers have completed their sections, your ISSS advisor will review the request and, if eligible, authorize you to engage in CPT and e-mail you an updated Form I-20 within 5 business days. The CPT authorization is noted on page 2 of the I-20. 

    Note: You will receive automated updates about the status of your e-form. Please follow up with any of the signers, if necessary. Keep in mind that you may not begin employment before you have received your new Form I-20 and until the CPT start date, and you must end employment on the date noted.

Additional Resources:

Authorization dates for Curricular Practical Training are based on the academic calendar. If you are engaged in CPT for academic credit during Fall or Spring semesters or Summer session, the dates of employment are the same as the beginning and ending dates of the course. Please keep in mind that CPT which is not required for your degree must carry at least one academic internship credit.

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