A Division of the International Studies Office

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)


CPT can be authorized for employment that fulfills a specific academic requirement.

  • The employment must be either required for the degree program, or a specific course within the major field of study, or;
  • If the employment is not a degree requirement, then enrollment in a credit-bearing course related to the student's major degree program is required. The course that will satisfy this requirement must be specifically named on the CPT application's Advisor Recommendation.  Undergraduates may alternatively register for UNST 3910 or UNST3920 - Internship Reflection Course offered by the UVA Career Center offered each Fall and Spring semester.  Failure to complete the course will result in termination of legal status.
  • Employment must be directly related to the major field of study.
  • You must be in lawful F-1 status at the time of filing, and your period of CPT may commence only after having been enrolled for a full and continuous academic year, unless the employment is required for the degree.
  • CPT during Fall and Spring semesters requires full-time enrollment and is limited to 20 hours per week (Part Time), unless the employment directly contributes to a graduate thesis or dissertation, in which case Full Time is permitted.  Full-time enrollment in summer is required only if it is the final semester of study.  Affiliated status cannot be used in place of the full-time requirement.
  • You will be ineligible for OPT if you complete 12 months of full-time CPT (20+ hours per week). However, utilizing CPT too frequently may also impact future OPT applications.
  • CPT is not an employment workaround.  The employment must make a direct contribution to the advancement of your degree.  
  • CPT will not be authorized for self-employment. 
  • CPT in final semester is not permitted. CPT work authorization is based upon your curriculum. Therefore, CPT can only be granted if your academic program REQUIRES an internship in the final semester for example dissertation, thesis, or other degree requirement within your academic program.
  • Submit your CPT application at least 2 weeks before your employment start date and make sure to follow up with your instructor. 

Legal Requirements

  • CPT requires a specific job offer. CPT is approved by the ISO and noted on a newly-produced Form I-20.
  • You cannot engage in your CPT-based employment until the CPT I-20 is in hand, and then only within the dates authorized. 
  • You must remain a full-time enrolled student throughout your CPT period, except Summer, unless summer is your last semester of studies.
  • Your I-20 must remain valid throughout the period of authorized CPT.

Curricular Practical Training Instructions

To apply for CPT, please submit the following materials to the ISO through ISSP Connect:

1) A job offer letter that includes:

  • name and complete location of the employer,
  • duties of the job,
  • exact beginning and ending dates of the position,
  • # hours per week.

    All elements must be included in the job offer letter or letters.

    2) A completed CPT Request verified by you and your Faculty, Academic or Career Advisor. Submit only 1 request.  You can return to an incomplete application by logging into your TDS Portal.

    3) Enrollment in the requisite CPT course for the defined term is necessary prior to approval of CPT. 

    Social Security

    Please read the section on Social Security to fulfill the requirements for having an SSN in order to be gainfully employed.