Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 students

F-1 students may be authorized 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.  . 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.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 students

OPT is a legal means by which F-1 students can obtain employment in areas related to their academic field of study.  Students apply for OPT, generally speaking, towards the end of their degree program.  OPT must be authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on a recommendation from the international student advisor/designated school official (DSO) at the school which issued the form I-20. There is an application fee which is included with the application, copies of all I-20s, I-94 stamps, and two passport photos.  Students may not begin working until OPT has been awarded and they have received their EAD employment authorization cards from USCIS.  Information regarding OPT may be found on the USCIS website.   (NOTE:  There is a lot of information on the Internet about OPT.  Visit US government sites only to get accurate information!)

For more information regarding employment readiness, CPT (internships) and OPT Employment Authorization here is the latest powerpoint for the Employment Readiness Workshop facilitated by GEO staff in March 2020  Click here for Employment Readiness

Forms:  OPT Informational Workbook, OPT Informational Workbook,    OPT Contract, OPT Personal Information Sheet   Curricular Practical Training Application Instructions, Curricular Practical Training Application, What Employers Should Know, OPT Document Checklist