What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
The Immigration Service defines "curricular practical training" as employment which is an integral part of your curriculum, including "...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."
At the University of Bridgeport, the terms “co-op”, “internship”, and “field experience” are used to describe opportunities for Curricular Practical Training.
What types of jobs qualify for CPT (both paid and unpaid)?
To be considered for CPT, the work must be directly related to your current major field of study AND must also be an integral part of your studies. Your training must satisfy one of the following conditions:
A. It is required of all students by your degree program
B. It is required for a particular course or curricular track
For instance, internship is one of the options offered to MBA students to complete degree requirements. This internship meets the requirement of CPT if you choose it for degree completion.
C. It is Cooperative Education offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school
- The training is "an integral part of an established curriculum"
- You are maintaining lawful F-1 status
- You have been enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year (full Spring and Fall semesters)
- You will continue to be enrolled for a full course of study during the CPT
- You meet all academic criteria set by your academic department
Students enrolled in UB's English Language Institute are not eligible for CPT.
How many hours per week may I work?
Your academic department must approve your request for Curricular Practical Training including how many hours per week you are approved for work.
- Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered "part time" CPT
- Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered "full time" CPT
Can I have both CPT and on-campus job?
- No. As per UB’s institutional policy, you may not accept any on-campus job during CPT.
How long may I participate in CPT?
- The length of CPT will be governed by the nature of the training and the requirements of your program for internship/co-op as published in the UB catalog.
- If you participate in full-time CPT for twelve months or more, you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training.
Do I pay Social Security and other taxes?
- In general, F-1 students who have been in the U.S. less than five years are exempt from Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes.
- See IRS Publication 519, US Tax Guide for Aliens, for detailed information by visiting www.irs.gov.
- Your earnings are subject to applicable federal, state and local income taxes.
- A tax return is due on or before April 15 each year, which will determine if any of these taxes may be refunded.
What paperwork do I need to do with my employer when I start work?
- When you begin work, you and your employer must complete a form entitled "Employment Eligibility Verification" (USCIS Form I-9), which the employer retains.
- The I-9 must be updated each time you receive a renewal of your work permission.
- Your I-20 will have a specific employment authorization on page 3.
When may I start work?
- You must not start work until you receive a new I-20 form with specific written authorization for CPT on page 3 of your I-20.
- CPT is employer and part/full-time specific. You may only work for the employer for the number of hours authorized as shown on page 3 of your I-20.
- Working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of your F-1 student status.
- You should consult with the International Student Services before taking up or changing any employment.
Step 1. Please see the following two offices:
- Career Services Center, Wahlstrom Library, Room G119
- International Student Services, Wahlstrom Library, G133
For appointment, call (203) 576-4395
If the proposed employment satisfies the CPT requirement, Career Services Center will advise you to meet with your Academic Advisor and Academic Dean to have their portion of the Curricular Practical Training Application Form signed
Step 2. Make an appointment with International Student Services two weeks prior to the intended employment start date. At time of appointment, bring the following documents:
- A copy of the cooperative agreement (signed by your employer and Career Services Center)
- Copy of a signed and dated job offer letter on company letterhead including the following information:
- Job title
- DETAILED job description
- Start date and end date
- Hours per week
- Name of supervisor
- Job title of supervisor
- Contact phone and E-mail address of supervisor
- Physical location where the student will work (The job location must be within a 100 miles radius of UB).
- Signed Curricular Practical Training Recommendation Form
- Signed Student Statement
- Evidence you have a $0 balance
- Evidence of GPA: 3.0 for graduate and 2.5 for undergraduate (no CPT will be processed if there are any pending grades or if you have received an unsatisfactory grade for a prior CPT)
- Evidence of current full time registration
Step 3. A DSO at ISS will review your application and make a final decision on your CPT eligibility. If you are eligible, the DSO will recommend CPT in SEVIS and print a new I-20 for your CPT employment authorization.
Note: Do NOT work until you get the CPT I-20 and until the start date is in effect.