Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization which allows F-1 students to gain practical experience in their field of study prior to graduation. Both paid and unpaid work requires prior authorization. According to immigration regulations, the work performed must be directly related to the student's major field of study and considered either required or integral to their academic program. For work that is related to the student’s field of study, but does not have a curricular component, the student must apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
To get an overview of CPT and a step-by-step guide to the application process, watch the CPT Workshop recording.
An F-1 student must meet ALL of the below criteria to be considered eligible for CPT work authorization from Illinois State University:
Step 1: Read through the information in this section of the website and determine whether you are eligible for CPT. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for CPT or have questions about the application process, you can meet with an International Student Advisor during walk-in hours.
Step 2: Submit a CPT Request.
Step 3: Pick up and sign your new I-20. You will be notified via email when your I-20 is ready.
Step 4: Begin work. You must be authorized for CPT by an International Student Advisor before beginning any employment. Working prior to obtaining authorization could result in a loss of your F-1 status. Even unpaid work must be authorized.