The purpose of practical training is to allow F-1 students the opportunity to apply knowledge obtained in academic programs to a practical work experience. There are two different types of practical training: curricular practical training and optional practical training.
Optional Practical Training (OPT):
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) is employment authorization which allows F-1 students to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience. Students may be entitled to up to 12 months of OPT per educational level. If a student begins a new academic program at a higher level, the student is eligible for another 12 months of OPT. A student is eligible for OPT if s/he has been a full-time enrolled F-1 student for a full academic year. The training needs to be directly related to the student's field of study. OPT can be used prior to graduation, after you graduate, or a combination of both.
- The application process can take anywhere from four to twelve weeks. Authorization for OPT comes from the USCIS Service Center. To apply for OPT schedule a meeting with your ISS advisor to complete the process. This will take 30-45 minutes. Before you apply, please download I-765 Form or come to the ISS office and ask for the I-765 instructions and application form. Read them carefully before you meet with your advisor.
- The application fee for OPT is $380 by check or money order. Effective December 23, 2016, the application fee for OPT will increase to $410.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Curricular practical training (CPT) must be an "integral part of an established curriculum." USCIS defines 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." It is required that the practicum or internship is credit bearing and approved by either the department chair or academic advisor. The credits must count toward graduation.
- Full-time enrollment in F-1 status for a full academic year is required in order to be eligible for CPT unless the academic program requires that you begin an internship earlier.
- CPT is authorized by the International Student Services. Schedule and appointment with an ISS advisor to begin this process.
CPT - Academic Advisor Consent Form
It is important that you consult with ISS before you accept an offer of employment or begin working. We advise you whether or not it is possible for you to work, and if it is, assist you with the appropriate documents. Keep in mind that it is illegal to begin employment in anticipation of being granted permission to do so; you must have permission first. Generally, J-1 students may work up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. Full-time work is permitted during official University breaks. Please consult an ISS advisor on J-1 employment options for detailed information on on-campus employment and the types of off-campus work authorization that are available for international students.
Make an appointment with an ISS advisor!
The Office of International Student Services is open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.