• Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    F-1 students who require off-campus work authorization to complete an internship, field work, or other required part of their curriculum may be eligible for CPT. The work must be directly related to the degree program, and must be required by the program or part of a course. 

  • Eligibility

    • Students must be in active F-1 status at the time of application and must have been enrolled full-time.

    • Work must be identified as an “integral part of an established curriculum.” Must be required by the degree program or part of a course. 

    • Student must register for at least one course related to the CPT for each term during which CPT is authorized. This includes summer term. 

    • Undergraduate students must have been enrolled for one full academic year before starting CPT

    • Graduate students are eligible for day one CPT

    • CPT may be approved for one semester at a time, not to exceed the academic program end date. 

    • Students who exceed one year of full-time CPT (working more than 20 hours per week) are ineligible for OPT for that academic level. This is a cumulative total of 12 months CPT for all academic programs at the same degree level.

    • Students who exceed two years of part-time CPT (working more than 20 hours per week) are ineligible for OPT for that academic level. This is a cumulative total of 24 months of part-time CPT for all academic programs at the same degree level.

    • Students may not exceed 40 hours of CPT per week.

    • CPT must be approved and authorized on the I-20 prior to the employment start date. Working off-campus without prior authorization is a violation of F-1 status. 

    Application Process

    Undergraduate Students


    • CPT for undergraduate students can only be authorized through the LEAP internship program supervised by the Career Development Center. Please contact the Career Development Center to discuss qualifications and begin the application process.

    • After completing the LEAP agreement, bring the approved paperwork to the GEC.

    • You will be notified by email when your I-20 with CPT authorization is ready to pick up. You may begin working after you pick up your I-20. 


    Graduate Students 

    • Employment offer letter. Must be on employer letterhead and must include: 

      • Name, address, and contact information of employer 

      • Brief description of job duties (job description may be provided separately)

      • Exact start and end date of employment 

      • Number of hours per week (part-time CPT = 20 hours/week; full-time CPT = 21+hours/week)

    • If your proposed CPT opportunity is approved by your academic department, ensure that the signed application is forwarded to the GEC for SEVIS authorization

    • You will be notified by email when your I-20 with CPT authorization is ready. You may begin working after you receive your I-20.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: How long does it take for CPT to be approved? In most cases CPT will be reviewed and authorized within 2-3 business days after the GEC receives all documents listed above, as long as your application is complete and meets all requirements for eligibility. However, you must first obtain an employment offer letter and meet with your academic department or internship coordinator to complete the CPT paperwork, so be sure to factor in the necessary time (generally 5-7 business days). You may not begin working until the CPT authorization is added to your I-20 so it is important to plan ahead. 

    Q: Can I change employers while doing CPT? CPT authorization is specific to one employer. If you need to change employers, you must re-apply for CPT using the same process and may only begin working for your new employer after the I-20 is updated.

    Q: Can I work at more than one job on CPT at the same time? Some students may want to do a combination of two jobs during the semester. This is possible, only if both positions are an integral part of an established curriculum. Students must follow the same instructions and obtain an authorization for each job. Each position must total less than 20 hours per week.

    Q: How do I extend my CPT authorization? CPT must be an integral part of your degree program. In order for your CPT to be extended, you must re-apply for CPT using the same process. Each request for CPT is evaluated by the academic department and the GEC at the time of application. You need to re-apply each semester.

    Q: My prospective employer has questions about hiring international students. Can the GEC office help? Prospective employers may contact the GEC if they have general questions about hiring international students, but we cannot answer specific questions about your situation unless you authorize us to do so by completing an information release waiver. Another resource with basic information about hiring international students is available on the NAFSA: Association of International Educators website.  

    Q: I am currently on OPT and want to come back to Hamline for a new degree. Can I continue my employment with CPT? Maybe. However, there is no guarantee that your employment will qualify for CPT for your new degree program. CPT is case-specific and must fulfill an academic objective. As a student visa holder, employment is secondary to your primary purpose of study. All practical training must therefore be an integral part of the new academic program you are pursuing. CPT authorization can take effect only after the program start date listed on your new I-20

    If you  plan to do OPT (or have already done OPT) for a particular academic level, then full-time CPT is limited to one year. This is inclusive of all CPT completed during that same academic level. Therefore, if you return to Hamline to complete a second degree at the same academic level and have already done OPT, you will be limited to one year of full-time CPT, inclusive of full-time CPT that you completed for the previous degree. For example: a student who does 8 months of full-time CPT at the Master’s level, then does OPT for one year at the Master’s level, will only be eligible for up to 4 months of full-time CPT if they return to pursue a second Master's degree.