CPT is a type of employment authorization for F-1 students. CPT may only be granted if the student's employment (internship) is fulfilling a requirement for their degree. Not every F-1 student may be eligible to apply for CPT. If the employment does not fulfill a requirement of the academic program, the student may apply for pre-completion OPT (optional practical training) instead.

Eligibility Requirements
Examples of CPT Employment
Application Process

How do I know if I'm eligible for CPT?

  • You must have completed one academic year of study (a fall and spring semester) in the U.S. prior to engaging in the CPT employment.
  • CPT may only be granted in the first year of study for Graduate students who are enrolled in a program that specifically requires all students in that program to participate in employment within the first year.
  • You must be in valid F-1 status. If you lost F-1 status, you must be either reinstated to F-1 status prior to being eligible for CPT or you must obtain a new I-20 (a new SEVIS record), travel and reenter the U.S. with the new I-20, and have studied a full academic year under the new SEVIS record before being eligible for CPT.
  • The employment must be directly related to your major field of study to qualify for CPT.
  • If you are currently studying English as a second language full-time, you are not eligible for CPT.
  • CPT cannot be granted if the employment is optional. Even though the employment may be a good opportunity and provide valuable work experience, if it does not fulfill a program requirement, it does not qualify for CPT and you must apply for OPT instead.
  • CPT employment must be part-time (20 hours or less) during the fall and spring semesters. CPT can be full-time during the summer. CPT may only be full-time during the fall and spring semesters if you are a graduate student who has already completed all required coursework except for your dissertation or final internship requirement. You cannot be enrolled in required coursework and your final internship requirement while doing full-time CPT in the fall or spring semesters.

CPT may be granted in the following scenarios:

  • Your academic program requires all students to complete a certain number of hours working in their field to obtain their degree. An example may be a student enrolled in a Tourism and Hospitality program who must complete "x" number of hours working in the Tourism and Hospitality field to obtain their degree.
  • You are registered for an internship-type course. The course requires you to be employed to fulfill the course requirements AND the credits for that course are counted towards your overall credit requirements. It cannot be "extra" credits that you do not need to obtain your degree. The credits can be fulfilling a core course requirement or an elective requirement.
  • You are a PhD student who has completed all required coursework and are working on your dissertation. Your dissertation research requires you to work off-campus to obtain data, for example. In this case, you must be registered for at least 1 credit while the employment takes place. If you are employed in the summer, you must register for 1 credit in either the Summer I or Summer II session.
  • CPT cannot be granted if the employment is optional. Even though the employment may be a good opportunity and provide valuable work experience, if it does not fulfill a program requirement, it does not qualify for CPT and you must apply for OPT instead.
  • CPT employment must be part-time (20 hours or less) during the fall and spring semesters. CPT can be full-time during the summer. CPT may only be full-time during the fall and spring semesters if you are a graduate student who has already completed all required coursework except for your dissertation or final internship requirement. You cannot be enrolled in required coursework and your final internship requirement while doing full-time CPT in the fall or spring semesters.

What are the steps in applying for CPT?

1. It is recommended you first discuss applying for CPT with an academic advisor from your major department at Temple. You would want to ensure that you have a degree requirement to fulfill with the CPT employment before going to the next step. Your academic advisor should also be made aware that they will be involved in the application process. They will be completing an online form to verify the program requirement for your employment in the CPT application process. The form will require the advisor to upload documentation of the program requirement (such as your program manual).

2. Once you have established you do have a program requirement; you can start applying for jobs in your field that would satisfy the academic requirement. The job offer should be for temporary employment, not a permanent job offer, because CPT is a temporary employment authorization. The job offer should include start and end dates for your employment, the name of the employer, the address of employment, and a brief description of your job duties. You cannot start working until you have been granted CPT by the ISSS office, if your employment offer letter has a start date that has already past, the start date will be changed to the date when the CPT is authorized (we cannot authorize a past start date). Once you obtain a job offer you can move to the next step. Please note: CPT is employer-specific, you must work only for the employer you were authorized CPT for. You may have multiple employers at the same time if your CPT was granted for these multiple employers.

3. If your internship is fulfilling a course requirement, you will want to ensure you are registered for that course in the semester you are participating in the internship. If the internship takes place over the summer, you would need to be registered for that course in either the summer I or summer II sessions, the employment can take place at any time over the summer if you are registered for one of these sessions.

4. You will submit an online request for CPT to our office. You will be required to upload your employment offer letter and provide the contact information (name, email, and phone number) of your academic advisor in the online CPT form. Once you have completed all sections of the online CPT form, make sure you click "submit" at the end of the application. Then, your academic advisor will receive an e-mail from the system with a link to the online form they must complete.

  • To access the online CPT application, go to the following site: https://noncredit.temple.edu/isss
  • Select the CPT employment application under "current students"
  • You may be asked to log-in to the application system, make sure you log-in with your accessnet username and password

5. After your academic advisor completes their portion of the CPT request form, our office will process your CPT application. It is your responsibility to ensure your academic advisor is aware they will need to complete this form before we can review your CPT application. You should have at this point already spoken to your advisor about your CPT application and explained they will be receiving a link to complete their form when you submit it.

6. Our office takes 5 to 7 business days to review the completed application. It is important you apply for CPT as soon as possible so you can start work on time, do not wait until the last minute to begin this process. Once your CPT is processed, you will receive an e-mail from our office. If your CPT is approved, you will receive an updated I-20 with the CPT authorization on the second page. You can show this to your employer as proof of your authorization to work. If you do not yet have a Social Security Number, you will need to apply for this separately with the Social Security Administration. Employers require you to provide the Social Security Number to complete the hiring paperwork so you can receive payment from them. Please see: http://www.temple.edu/isss/general/ssn.html