Curricular Practical Training is during your program (during school). It can either be paid or un-paid and has to be directly related to your field of study.
Generally, you have to be enrolled in your school for at least a year before you are eligible for CPT.
You can use up to 12 months of CPT (it can be full-time or part-time).
- However, if you end up having more than 1 year (12 months) of full-time CPT, you can lose your eligibility for OPT after graduation.
- If you do your CPT part-time, it will usually not affect your ability to have 12 months of OPT
Designated school officials
One requirement for a school to be Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified is that the school must have dedicated employees for assisting and overseeing enrolled F and M students.
The DSO is responsible for entering their degree information and their course of study (including any internships that they have) into the governments online portal for international students (SEVIS) .
SEVIS is a big database where DSOs (and some International Students) have access to update their records. International Students have an obligation to keep updated records while they are in the US on their programs.
The Form I-20 is the document that controls whether they are maintaining their F-1 student status. The I-20 is issued by the DSO at the school and generated through the SEVIS system and it has all the terms and conditions of the student’s course of study, when their term ends, their date of graduation. (and any employers they are able to work at … paid or unpaid, when their term ends, their date of graduation, and if they have the ability to pay the tuition)
The student is responsible to have valid I-20 to maintain valid immigration status in the US
TIP : You only get 12 months of work authorization on an F-1 after graduation. Part-Time CPT is preferable since it preserves the possibility of using the full 12 months of OPT after you graduate.