Curricular Practical Training

What is Curricular Practical Training?

CPT is a type of practical training authorization that allows qualified F-1 students to gain practical experience in their field of study while making progress towards the completion of their academic program.

CPT is a practical training that is performed for academic credit (part of the school curriculum and commensurate to degree level) AND that is required as part of the academic plan or program curriculum from ALL students in the program.

This includes:

  • Required internship, practicum, student teaching or field experience (paid or unpaid)
  • Optional internships for credit (MUST be in student’s major or program of study)
  • Cooperative (Co-op) education programs for credit (MUST be in student’s major or program of study


  • currently be in valid F-1 status
  • have completed two semesters of full-time enrollment prior to CPT request
  • be registered for a course that requires an internship component
  • CPT dates are the same as course dates (student cannot start CPT/Internship before the start date of the course, or end CPT/Internship after the end date of the course). NO EXCEPTIONS
  • Ph.D. students and students enrolled in a Master’s with thesis option are INELIGIBLE for CPT if they have completed all coursework and are registered for thesis or dissertation credits only.

VERY IMPORTANT: Internships without authorization and without any linkage to a course that carries credit are considered a violation of your F-1 status and your I-20 might be terminated due to unauthorized employment even if the internship is unpaid.

Other considerations regarding CPT:

  • CPT is restricted to locations in south Florida because USCIS requires physical presence at FIU during the fall and spring semesters
  • Summer internships may be in other geographical locations in the US, EXCEPT, if you plan to graduate in the summer, CPT is restricted to locations in south Florida.

A violation of these rules may lead to the terminatioin  of your immigration status.

Apply for CPT

Step 1

  • Complete Online CPT Training Workshop
  • Compile ALL required documents as per the Workshop and the CPT Checklist
  • Upload all the documents on the checklist to the ISSS E-Forms Portal
  • Meet with ISSS advisor to get the approval for CPT
  • Once all  the documents the ISSS Portal will allow you to schedule an appointment with an advisor to review your application. (allow 24-48 hours for a response).

CPT Forms

Step 2

  • Receive a new I-20 (with CPT noted)
  • Get a Social Security Number (if you do not have one) Use this sample letter.
  • If you already have a SSN, then you will only need an Employment Letter. See this sample letter.
  • You can ONLY start your CPT/Internship ONCE you have been approved by ISSS and you have a SSN.