Curricular Practical Training (CPT) work authorization allows F-1 students to gain practical experience in their major or academic program prior to graduation either through employment or an internship.
Types of CPT
There are two types of CPT: required for the academic program and non-required. For CPT that is required, the academic program mandates practical work experience in the field of study to graduate. For CPT that is a non-required part of the program, the practical work experience is for credit and directly related to your field of study. Most UMW students will fall into the non-required CPT category.
For Non-Required CPT
- You must have declared a major.
- Complete a UMW Academic Internship Contract and register for UMW credit (typically 499) during the term you wish to engage in CPT.
- Be aware that CPT may impact your tuition and fees.
- You must be in good academic standing and have been enrolled full-time for one year (two semesters).
- If you are engaged in CPT during the academic year (fall and spring semesters), you must be simultaneously enrolled full-time in order to maintain lawful F-1 status. The full-time enrollment requirement means that most students have to limit their CPT during the academic year to local jobs or to working for their employer remotely, usually on a part-time basis.
- You have a job offer.
- The work/internship must be related to your major/academic program and fulfill a requirement in your program.
- The work/internship may be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, which take place off-campus.
- CPT is granted for a specific position, employer, and period.
- You are not required to obtain work authorization to engage in bona fide (legitimate) volunteer activities.
- See definition of unpaid volunteer work at U.S. Labor Immigration Law News and Analysis
- You cannot receive any form of taxable income from your volunteer activity.
- If the volunteer position is one for which an employer would otherwise officially hire someone, you may work there only with all necessary employment authorization.
Effect on Other Employment
- During the fall and spring semesters, you may not work more than a total of 20 hours per week. Thus, if you are working on campus 12 hours per week during the semester, the CIE will only authorize CPT for 8 hours per week.
- During official university breaks, all students are eligible for full-time CPT with the endorsement of the academic advisor.
CPT and OPT
You can use an unlimited amount of part-time CPT and still get 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion of studies. However, if you use more than 12 months of full-time (over 20 hours per week) CPT work, you will no longer be eligible for OPT.
CPT Request Form
To request CPT authorization from CIE, please submit this CPT Request Form.