The curricular practical training (CPT) regulation at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i) is brief, but dense. The document in this NAFSA resource library item is a NAFSA compilation of several government sources that may be useful in interpreting the CPT rule:
- Extract on CPT from SEVP’s Online DSO Training
- The DOS Foreign Affairs Manual note on CPT, at 9 FAM 41.61 N13.4
- The supplementary information preceding the 1991 INS rule that created the CPT provision [56 Fed. Reg. 55608, 55610 (October 29, 1991)]
- Two legacy INS memos on the topic of CPT, interpreting the 1991 rule that created CPT
- A NAFSA compilation of historical CPT regulatory and interpretive sources
Here is the text of the current CPT rule:
(10) Practical training. Practical training may be authorized to an F–1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis, in a Service-approved college, university, conservatory, or seminary for one full academic year. This provision also includes students who, during their course of study, were enrolled in a study abroad program, if the student had spent at least one full academic term enrolled in a full course of study in the United States prior to studying abroad. A student may be authorized 12 months of practical training, and becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she changes to a higher educational level. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training. An eligible student may request employment authorization for practical training in a position that is directly related to his or her major area of study. There are two types of practical training available:
(i) Curricular practical training. An F–1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I–20 with the DSO endorsement.
(A) Non-SEVIS process. A student must request authorization for curricular practical training using Form I–538. Upon approving the request for authorization, the DSO shall: certify Form I–538 and send the form to the Service's data processing center; endorse the student's Form I–20 ID with “full-time (or part-time) curricular practical training authorized for (employer) at (location) from (date) to (date)”; and sign and date the Form I–20ID before returning it to the student.
(B) SEVIS process. To grant authorization for a student to engage in curricular practical training, a DSO at a SEVIS school will update the student's record in SEVIS as being authorized for curricular practical training that is directly related to the student's major area of study. The DSO will indicate whether the training is full-time or part-time, the employer and location, and the employment start and end date. The DSO will then print a copy of the employment page of the SEVIS Form I–20 indicating that curricular practical training has been approved. The DSO must sign, date, and return the SEVIS Form I–20 to the student prior to the student's commencement of employment.