If you are an F-1 student wanting to do an internship or job at an off-campus location, remember that you need work authorization before beginning employment. Most often, this work authorization comes from Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is temporary employment authorization directly related to an F-1 student’s academic program, for which the work counts toward course credit. Immigration regulations require that the work performed be in the student’s major field of study.
In order to be eligible for CPT, a student must have been in full-time student status for one academic year preceding the CPT application. However, graduate students whose program requires immediate participation in an internship may apply at any time.
In order to apply for CPT, you will need to bring the following items with you to an advising appointment:
- A job offer letter, on company letterhead and signed, which includes job start and end dates, location of where the work will be performed, salary, hours per week, and a description of job duties
- A CPT recommendation form completed by your academic advisor
- Passport, visa, I-20 and I-94 record
CPT must be authorized at least one day before the job start date mentioned in the job offer letter. However, please apply weeks in advance!