Menu Side Navigation Close

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows eligible F-1 students gain practical work experience through jobs, internships or co-ops as part of their program of study.

Eligibility for CPT

Immigration regulations define Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as "an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education program, or other type of internship or practicum...that is an integral part of an established curriculum." 

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Maintain valid F-1 status.
  • Complete one academic year as a full-time student.
  • Be offered work that directly relates to a course that you are currently in your major. A course in your minor is not eligible. The work must be:
    • An internship or practicum that is required for all students in your program, or
    • Practical training/work experience that is directly related to a particular course within your major, or
    • Work that is required for dissertation/thesis completion
  • Get approval from your academic advisor and OISS. OISS will only authorize CPT for the semester you take the course.

Generally, the course related to your practical training experience should be taken concurrently with your CPT authorization.  OISS can only authorize CPT for one semester at a time, since your CPT authorization is contingent upon your enrollment in a particular course.

OISS must authorize CPT before your first day of employment. Failure to get authorization before working on CPT will result in termination of your SEVIS record.  CPT is employer and time-specific, which means that you can only work for the authorized employer during that dates that you are authorized to work.  Because CPT is integral to your academic curriculum and your authorization is based on course enrollment, you must remain enrolled in the course that is connected to your CPT. 

CPT can be paid or unpaid, as long as the unpaid CPT is not a job or position for which American citizens typically would earn income.

Part-time CPT is up to 20 hours per week. Full-time CPT is more than 20 hours a week. Part-time CPT is unlimited.  If you are authorized for full-time CPT for 12 months or more, you will forefit your eligibility to apply for OPT (Optional Practical Training) after graduation.

You can get CPT full-time during the academic year if your program requires it or if it is your last semester at Lehigh and you need less than a full course load to graduate.

Applying for CPT

  1. Get a job offer letter on official letterhead that includes the employer name, job title, job responsibilities, dates of employment, and a number of hours per week. 
  2. Complete the CPT Request Form in iHome, which will require approval from your academic advisor.  Enroll in the course that is the basis for your CPT request.
  3. Meet with an OISS advisor, who will issue a new I-20 that you must present to your employer as proof that you have work authorization.