2 What is CPT?CPT or Curricular Practical Training is an off- campus employment option for F-1 students. The internship (training experience) is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum and directly related to the student’s major area of study.
3 To be eligible for CPT, you must: CPT EligibilityTo be eligible for CPT, you must:Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (9 Months)Have a declared majorHave a job/internship offer directly related to your major area of studyDo an independent study related to your internship the following semester. (295P or 395P)or take the COLL 211 course in the fall
4 Application Process for CPT Obtain an offer letter from an employerComplete CPT Application Form - available on the McCulloch Center websiteObtain faculty mentor signature and course information on the CPT Application if doing an independent study. If you are taking the COLL 211 course, you should have your academic advisor sign your application .Make an appointment for CPT with JennyBring completed CPT application form and letter from your employer to your appointment
5 Your Offer Letter for CPT The employer must provide the you a written offer on official letterhead. The following information must be included in the letter:Employer NameEmployer Address – and location where student will workEmployment Start and End DatesNumber of Hours Expected to Work Per Week (Full- Time or Part-Time)Position TitlePosition DescriptionName of Immediate Supervisor (if known)
6 Changes to CPTCPT is approved for a specific employer, place of employment, and time period.You may not change employers or extend training employment dates without prior consultation with the McCulloch Center and your faculty mentor/adviserYou must submit a new, completed CPT application form and offer letter to request any change to your CPT permission before you switch employers.You can not change faculty mentors unless the faculty mentor has left the College or is no longer able or willing to do the independent study with you (this would need to be in writing from the mentor)
7 UNPAID INTERNSHIPS AND CPT If your internship is completely unpaid (meaning no salary and no compensation/reimbursement for travel, meals or housing), you might not have to apply for CPT but I strongly recommend you doHere are the reasons why and they are to protect youEmployer decides at the end of the internship to offer you some compensation for the internship. You can not accept it If you did not apply for CPTYou decide at a later point to apply for permanent residency and the immigration services questions why you did an internship without having CPT.Some employers require you to have CPT even if you are not being compensated. It protects them if you have to file for workman’s compensation (if you were to be hurt on the job).You must file for CPT if you are doing an internship for creditYou should also pay attention to the others doing the same internship as you, are they being paid for the same work? If yes, you should be getting paid and for an employer not to do so is a violation of Labor laws.YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR CPT IF YOU WILL RECEIVE LYNK FUNDING FOR EMPLOYMENT IN THE U.S.
8 OPT (Optional Practical Training) What is OPT?Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment option available to F-1 students for employment directly related to the major area of study.12 month period of OPT per higher degree level.17 month STEM Extension OPT maybe possible for some students.The 12 month OPT period can be divided into 2 types, Pre- Completion and Post-Completion.Pre-Completion OPT is before degree completion and typically used for summer internships if you do not qualify for CPTPost-Completion OPT is after degree completion
9 Am I eligible to apply for OPT? To be eligible for Standard OPT you must:HAVE maintained legal F-1 status for one full academic year.NOT have used full-time CPT for 12 months or more.
10 Standard OPT Hours and Limitations Employment must be directly related to your academic major and be commensurate with your educational levelStandard OPT time per degree level is 12 monthsthe 12-month allotment per degree level may be divided into various segments (Pre-Completion or Post-Completion OPT)Pre-Completion OPTPost-Completion OPTUsed after degree program completionstart date must fall within 60 days of program completion (this is not the same date as the graduation ceremony if you are completing in December)Unemployment Limit of 90 days starting from OPT start date
11 Unemployment Restriction During Post-Completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent upon employment.Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment during any Standard Post-Completion OPT.For Post-Completion OPT, the employment does NOT have to be paid employment as long as there is no violation of labor laws, it is related to your major and at least 20 hours a week.interning or volunteering in a position directly related to the academic fieldwork for hire (contractual relationship)employment through an agency
12 VERY, VERY IMPORTANTWhen you submit your application for OPT to the Immigration Service after meeting with Jenny and completing the paperwork, you must mail it so the immigration service receives it within 30 days.If they do not receive it within the 30 days, your application will be denied and you will have to re apply (if you are still within the time frame of application) and pay the $380 again.
14 OPT and Travel Recommended Travel Not Recommended Travel Before the expiration of your I-20, with I-20 travel signatureWith EAD, signed I-20 for travel, valid visa, passport, letter from employer.Not Recommended TravelThe period after your I-20 has expired and before you receive the approved EAD.If your F-1 visa has expired and you will need to apply for a new one.While STEM Extension is pending you should not travel outside the US
15 CPT vs OPT When to use Can only be used during your degree program Usually saved to use for after graduationJob Required to applyAny job while on OPT or CPT must be related to your academic major (no exceptions)Yes and you must also complete an independent study related to the internships or take the COLL 211 course to fulfill requirementNo (but can only be unemployed for 90 days while on OPT)Processing Time1 day2-4 MonthsApplication FeeNone$380Authorized byMcCulloch CenterUSCIS - ImmigrationForm of AuthorizationI-20 page 3EAD (Employment Authorization Document) Card and page 3 of I-20Hours per weekPart or full time. Generally for use during the summer and breaks.Pre-CompletionPost-Completion: FT only (means 20 hours a week or more)Maximum DurationNone but If you use 12 months or more of full time cpt, you lose your 12 months of opt to use after graduation12 Months Full-time per higher degree levelExtensionPossibleYesOnly STEM majors (those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics) extension are eligible. Must be working for an Everify company
16 STEM Extension OPT Eligibility Completed a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree in a STEM field.Science Technology Engineering MathematicsCurrently engaged in the Standard Post-Completion OPTHave a job or job offer from an E-Verify EmployerAn employer currently registered and in good standing with the USCIS E-Verify ProgramThere is no public listing of E-Verify Employers
17 STEM Extension OPT Hours and Limitations For the 17-month STEM extension, employment must be traditional paid employment.Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days of unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period.The employment authorization period for the 17-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization, and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.
18 Applying for STEM Extension Application process is same as the Standard Post- Completion OPT with some additions.Official transcript or Copy of diplomaEmployer’s name as listed in E-Verify and valid E-Verify identification number.Letter of EmploymentApply within 90 to 120 days prior to the Standard OPT expiration date.
19 While on OPTWhile you are on OPT you are still considered an F-1 Mount Holyoke student.Therefore you must:Notify the McCulloch Center of any address change via the online formmer_addHave your I-20 signed for travel by our officeReport employment information (name, address, interruption of employment) and changes to employment to the McCulloch Center atSTEM Extension students must complete this form every 6 months.