HOW DOES CPT WORK?
Students wanting to participate in CPT must be enrolled in a class that specifically requires them to work. Most often, this is an internship credit. However, on a very rare basis, CPT can also be given to a student for a non-internship credit that requires them to work. For example, some majors require practicums in which a student works for a company. The internship or non-internship class must be taken each semester they wish to participate in CPT.
If students want to apply for Optional Practical Training (post-graduation work authorization) they need to make sure they do not accrue more than 364 days of full-time (anything more than 20 hours a week) CPT.
When CPT has been authorized for your job, you will be given a new I-20. You cannot begin working without this I-20 in hand. The I-20 has details about your job including your employer, start and end dates, and the number of hours that you are permitted to work. If you work outside the authorization listed on your I-20 including the dates, hours, or employer, it is considered illegal.
- The CPT regulation specifically states that “a student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.” You cannot work before receiving your CPT I-20. If you work before receiving a CPT I-20, it is considered a violation of your status.
- The CPT I-20 has specific dates of employment listed on page 2. If you start working before the start date or continue working after the end date has passed, it is considered a violation of your status.
- The CPT I-20 states if the employment is part-time or full-time on page 2. If you are authorized for part-time employment you are required to work 20 hours each week or less. Working more than 20 hours is considered a violation of your status. If you are authorized for full-time employment you are required to work more than 20 hours each week.
- The CPT I-20 states the specific employer that you are authorized to work for. It does not authorize you to work anywhere else. If you work for a different employer, it is considered a violation of your status.
- If you continue to work for the same company, but your job title/description changes, you must receive new work authorization. If you do not, it is considered a violation of your status.
To be eligible to apply for CPT:
- You must be fully enrolled on-campus at BYU-Idaho on the same SEVIS ID/I-20 for two full semesters.
- Transfer students may occasionally be eligible to start an internship or non-internship CPT sooner if:
- You remain on the same SEVIS ID from their previous school,
- Your previous school is not a language school,
- You did not participate in OPT before transferring to BYU-Idaho,
- You were fully enrolled for two full semesters at their previous school, and
- There are no large gaps in enrollment on your transcripts.
- You must receive academic credit that specifically requires you to work.
- Your employment must be directly related to your major (not minor).
- Your employment must provide “practical training.” In other words, it must be some type of mentorship or program that will help you in your future career field.
You can apply for an internship through I-Plan. Before you can apply for the internship you must have a job offer. Make sure that the job relates to your major and will give you practical training in that field. If your internship request is approved, you will be given a new I-20 that authorizes you to work for that job.
If you wish to apply for a job and use a different class to receive academic credit, such as a senior project or a practicum, you will first need to meet with a DSO in International Services to discuss your options. The DSO will be able to explain the application process and answer any questions you may have.