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Curricular Practical Training Internship Authorization for F-1 Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment option for F-1 students engaged in an academic program for whom work is considered an integral part of their studies. CPT authorization allows you to accept a one semester paid or unpaid internship in your field of study. You can be authorized for more than one semester of CPT, but each semester's internship must be a different curricular experience from previous internships. Students who wish to do a second CPT at the same location must demonstrate that the second experience is academically different than the first. 

SPA and SIS Graduate Students: You may not enroll in SPA-091 or SIS-091 if have you previously taken the for-credit internship course (xxx-691). 

 

You must receive employment authorization from ISSS before you report for your job/internship.

To be eligible for CPT, an F-1 student must meet the following requirements: 

  1. Full-time enrollment in a degree or certificate program for one academic year in active immigration status. 
  2. The practical training must be directly related to the student's major field of study. 
  3. Credits for the practical training must count towards the minimum number of credits needed for program completion. 
  • Part-time: 20 hours or less
  • Full-time: More than 20 hours*

*Students granted one year of full-time CPT are ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

CPT is authorized following the academic calendar between the first and last day of classes during the semester (fall and spring) or throughout the summer break. Students cannot do the same internship twice.

Application Process

  1. Contact your academic advisor to discuss your internship offer:
    1. how the position is directly related to your major field of study and is academically relevant. 
    2. the number of credits needed for the internship class based on your internship start and end dates and number of hours per week. 
    3. confirm the internship credits will count towards the minimum number of credits needed for your program completion.
  2. Emaill ISSS your Internship Registration Form. ISSS will sign confirming your immigraiton eligibility for CPT.
  3. Register for internship class and keep a copy of the Internship Registration Form.
  4. Once officially registered for the internship class, request CPT authorization using iEagle. Under "Current Student", click on the "Curricular Practical Training" e-form. Upload a copy of your Internship Registration Form. Once submitted, the CPT e-form is automatically routed to your academic advisor for initial approval. 

    Please contact your acacdemic advisor to confirm receipt of this e-form. After your academic advisor approves the e-form, they will re-route it back to ISSS for final approval and processing. 
  5. Within 3-5 business days after academic advisor's approval, ISSS will issue an I-20 with the CPT authorization and notify you. CPTs requested in advance for next semester will be processed closer to the semester start date. 
  6. Only after you have the new CPT I-20 in hand, you can begin the internship on the approved dates. 
  1. Contact ISSS to verify your CPT eligibility and follow departmental procedure to register for the appropriate class.
  2. Once officially registered in the appropriate class, request CPT authorization using iEagle. Under "Current Student", click on the "Curricular Practical Training" e-form. Upload a copy of your employment letter. The letter must be on company letterhead and inclue: the job/internship description, address of employment, number of hours of work per week, start and end dates, and contact information.

    Independent study students must upload a copy of your independent study project agreed upon by you and your faculty supervisor.
  3. Your e-form request will be routed to your academic advisor for initial verification and routed back to ISSS for final approval. Within 3-5 business days after advisor verification, ISSS will issue an I-20 with CPT authorization and notify you. 

    WCL students: allow 1 additional week for processing by the externship office.
  4. Only after you have the new CPT I-20 in hand, you can begin the internship on the approved dates.
  1. Contact your WCL advisor to verify your eligibility for the practical track.
  2. Email ISSS the WCL CPT Approval Form. ISSS will sign confirming your eligibility for CPT. Return the form to WCL to register for the externship class and start the externship contract process. 
  3. Complete the WCL externship contract.
  4. The externship contract will be routed to ISSS for final approval. Within 3-5 business days, ISSS will issue an I-20 with the CPT authorization and notify you. 
  5. Only after you have the new CPT I-20 in hand, you can begin the externship on the approved dates.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. You may only work at the employer indicated on your I-20 issued for CPT authorization.

You must obtain new CPT authorization. CPT is authorized for a specific employer and location.

To switch your CPT employer, you must withdraw from your current internship course and register for a new internship course through your academic advisor. You must reapply for CPT authorization from ISSS and be issued a new I-20 to show you are authorized to work at the new employer and location.

No.

CPT can only be extended if there is an unforeseen circumstance that is documented by your academic advisor and employer explaining what is preventing you from completing the academic requirements of the internship course.  Please consult with ISSS before requesting a CPT extension. 

You must obtain new CPT authorization for the new semester.

You must be registered for academic credit for the new internship and the experience must be academically different (i.e. show new, progressive responsibilities). 

Please contact ISSS for more details on what information you need to provide.

Students granted one year of full-time CPT are ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Please consult with ISSS before requesting CPT authorization based on a remote internship.

Yes. 

If it is your last semester and the only credit you have left is an internship, you must consult with ISSS prior to registering for the internship course.

Find Internships

  • The AU Career Center can help international students navigate the US job market. Advisors are available to help you learn how to maximize and market your background and skills.

  • The Kogod Office of Career Engagement specifically works with students pursuing a degree in the Kogod School of Business. International students in Kogod can make an appointment with a career advisor and utilize resources designed for business students.

  • The Washington College of Law Office of Career & Professional Development helps AU law students find externships and other job opportunities. Career counselors are available to help you with resumes, cover letters, and job search strategies.