CPT Offer Letter Start Date

The CPT start date indicated in your offer letter must be at least 10 business days from the day you submit your CPT Request in the MyISSS portal to allow time for your academic advisor/graduate program advisor to sign the e-form and for ISSS to process the request.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary training authorization for an “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” 

  • CPT can only be authorized prior to your degree completion for a work experience that is in your major field of study and considered to be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” 
  • CPT can be authorized for a work experience (e.g., internship, training in your major field of study) that is part-time (20 or fewer hours per week) or full-time (over 20 hours per week) if you meet the CPT eligibility requirements. 

If you are authorized for a cumulative total of 12 months or more of full-time CPT at your current degree level, you are ineligible for Optional Practical Training at that degree level. 

Eligibility: You must meet ALL of the following criteria in order to request CPT  

  • You are a degree-seeking student currently in valid F-1 status; 
  • You completed one full academic year (Fall & Spring semester) of continuous full-time enrollment in active nonimmigrant status 
    • Summer enrollment does not count towards the one-year full-time enrollment requirement. 
  • You meet one of the following requirements for CPT, which your Academic Advisor or Graduate Program Advisor must sign off on:   
    • Be enrolled in an internship course for credit that could count towards your degree. (Enrollment in the course must be concurrent with the training. For example, if the internship is in the summer, you must be enrolled in the internship course during the summer) or  
    • Your degree must require an internship and that requirement is clearly documented in the University Catalog
  • You are enrolled full-time at CU Boulder or have an approved Reduced Course Load (RCL) during the semester you will be using CPT;
    • If using CPT in the summer you do not need to be enrolled full-time; however, if you are using CPT in the summer based on enrollment in an internship course then you must be enrolled in the internship course during the summer 
    • Maintaining an on-campus presence through enrollment in at least one on-campus course requiring physical presence on campus even in your final semester 
      • If you plan to graduate in the summer, you must still be registered for credits that require on-campus presence in the summer; enrolling in only distance credits is not sufficient. 
  • You have a job offer (offer letter and position description) for training in your current major field of study (not minor or previous major);
  • The training is not related to the marijuana industry (including working in a lab extracting CBD oil for medical purposes); AND 
  • You must complete the CPT Request Form, including a signature from your Academic Advisor or Graduate Program Advisor.  

CPT Protocol

ISSS instituted comprehensive changes to our CPT protocol effective for any CPT that is to take place May 6, 2021 or later. ISSS updated the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) protocol to ensure that CU Boulder maintains compliance with the Department of Homeland Security F-1 visa regulations and is more closely aligned with the CPT policies of our peer institutions. Recent federal government guidance regarding CPT states: "[CPT] is not a supplemental training experience but rather an integral part of an established curriculum’.” 

This CPT protocol change is necessary in order to ensure both CU Boulder and our international students in F-1 status comply with federal rules.  

CPT must be an integral part of your major curriculum, supported by either a credit bearing internship class or required for your major. 

You must meet one of the following requirements for CPT, which your major department must sign off on:   

  • Be enrolled in an internship course for credit that could count towards your degree. (Enrollment in the course must be concurrent with the training. For example, if the internship is in the summer, you must be enrolled in the internship course during the summer) or  

  • Your degree must require an internship and that requirement is clearly documented in the University Catalog. 

CPT Eligibility

  • You are a degree-seeking student currently in valid F-1 status;
  • You completed one full academic year (Fall & Spring semester) of continuous full-time enrollment in active nonimmigrant status.
    • Summer enrollment does not count towards the one year full-time enrollment requirement
  • You meet one of the following requirements for CPT, which your major department must sign off on:
    • Be enrolled in an internship course for credit that counts towards your degree. (Enrollment in the course must be concurrent with the training. For example, if the internship is in the summer, you must be enrolled in the internship course during the summer) or
    • Your degree must require an internship and that requirement is clearly documented in the University Catalog.
  • You are enrolled full-time at CU Boulder or have an approved Reduced Course Load (RCL) during the semester you will be using CPT;
    • If using CPT in the summer you do not need to be enrolled full-time; however, if you are using CPT in the summer based on enrollment in an internship course then you must be enrolled in the internship course during the summer
    • Maintaining an on-campus presence through enrollment in at least one on-campus course requiring physical presence on campus even in your final semester
      • If you plan to graduate in the summer, you must still be registered for credits that require on-campus presence in the summer; enrolling in only distance credits is not sufficient.
  • You have a job offer (offer letter and position description) for training in your current major field of study (not minor or previous major)
  • The training is not related to the marijuana industry (including working in a lab extracting CBD oil for medical purposes); AND
  • You must complete the CPT Request Form, including a signature from your Academic Advisor or Graduate Program Advisor.
    • The new CPT Request Form will become available before Summer 2021 registration opens.

You will need to speak with your department and/or your Graduate Program Advisor or Academic Advisor to confirm if your degree program is designed in such a way as to enable you to meet one of the following requirements for CPT:
  • Be enrolled in an internship course for credit that could count towards your degree. (Enrollment in the course must be concurrent with the training. For example, if the internship is in the summer, you must be enrolled in the internship course during the summer) or
  • Your degree must require an internship and that requirement is clearly documented in the University Catalog.

If you do not meet one of the two requirements for CPT listed above, then you have the option to apply for pre-completion OPT for off-campus work authorization. Please review ISSS’s Pre-completion OPT webpage and ISSS Pre-Completion OPT Guide for information on the application process.

If you do not meet the requirements for CPT, then you have the option to apply for Pre-Completion OPT for off-campus work authorization. Please review ISSS’s Pre-Completion OPT webpage and ISSS Pre-Completion OPT Guide for information on pre-completion OPT including the eligibility requirements. 

Please also review the Severe Economic Hardship webpage for information on applying for work authorization due to severe economic hardship because of unforeseen circumstances beyond your control.  

Yes, if the credits earned in the internship course can be used towards your degree requirements. Please note, students need to confirm with their Academic Department if the course can be taken as Pass/Fail and still count towards their degree. If the internship course will not count towards a student’s degree if taken as Pass/Fail then the course must be taken for a letter grade.

You and the academic department offering the internship credit need to make every effort to ensure a grade is assigned in a timely manner. If the academic department determines an incomplete grade is warranted, then it is important that the university’s incomplete grade assignment policy is followed. In the case of an incomplete grade, a second CPT agreement will not be authorized in order for a student to fulfill their internship course requirements and resolve the incomplete. This means a student will no longer be able to work off campus in pursuit of the educational objectives of the internship. The student and academic department will need to determine what is needed to resolve the incomplete grade, but the off-campus training must end. This may impact the final grade of the internship course or will result in the department and the student determining an alternative means – other than the internship – to complete the course requirements.

Your CPT start and end dates cannot overlap with another semester. CPT authorization can begin after the previous semester ends. The CPT authorization must end before the first day of the next semester (unless you are using CPT in your final semester).

  • If it is your final semester, CPT authorization cannot go beyond the last date of the semester.
  • For Fall 2021 graduates, the last date that you can have CPT authorization is December 15, 2021. For Spring 2022 graduates, the last date that you can have CPT authorization is May 4, 2022.

Your CPT authorization dates must align with your department’s degree requirements.

Planning for CPT

Yes, CPT is employer specific. When you apply for CPT, you are requesting CPT authorization for your specific training opportunity, specific number of hours worked per week, specific dates of training, and specific work location (remote work is allowed), pursuing a specific educational goal and objective associated with the particular training/internship opportunity.

You may have an internship or job, and the training must:

  •  Be directly related to your current major field of study

    • You will need to be enrolled in an internship course that counts towards your degree program or an internship must be a requirement for your degree program, as documented in the University Catalog

    • CPT cannot be authorized based on your minor field of study 

  • Not be related to the marijuana industry (including working in a lab extracting CBD oil for medical purposes).  

F-1 international students are required to maintain an on-campus presence every fall and spring semester. An F-1 student can have an internship opportunity that is outside of Colorado during the fall or spring semester if the F-1 student will be working remotely from Colorado and maintaining their on-campus presence.

 

On-campus presence during the summer is only needed if it is the F-1 student’s first or final semester. An F-1 student can have an internship opportunity that is outside of Colorado during the summer if the summer semester is not the F-1 student’s first or final semester.

Yes, CPT will not impact your on-campus employment. Be sure you are aware of any F-1 student related on-campus employment restrictions.

If you are authorized for a cumulative total of 12 months or more of full-time CPT at your current degree level, you are ineligible for Optional Practical Training at that degree level.

Yes. It is possible to take advantage of both the CPT benefit (authorized by ISSS) and the Pre-Completion OPT benefit (authorized by USCIS) at that the same time. However, on pre-completion you may have multiple training or internships as long as they each relate to your major field of study so it is not necessary to have CPT if authorized for Pre-Completion OPT. 

Applying for CPT

The CPT Request Form (Access via MyISSS) should be submitted at least 2 weeks before your training opportunity start date to allow for processing by your Academic Advisor or Graduate Program Advisor and ISSS. Once ISSS receives your CPT Request Form, it will be processed within 3 to 5 business days and ISSS will issue an I-20 authorizing CPT. If enrolling in an internship course to meet the CPT eligibility requirement, the earliest you may apply is after you are registered for the internship course. ISSS must be able to verify enrollment in the internship course on your academic course schedule.

Once you have a job or internship offer, and you are registered for an internship course, if applicable, you must complete the CPT Request Form through your MyISSS portal. Once ISSS receives your CPT Request Form, it will be processed within 3to 5 business days. If you meet the CPT eligibility requirements, ISSS will issue you your CPT Authorized I-20. 

You will need to upload your offer letter to the CPT Request Form. Your offer letter must: 

  • Be on letterhead and addressed to you (the student)  
  • Be signed by the employer and dated 
    • The CPT start date indicated in your offer letter must be at least 10 business days from the day you submit your CPT Request in the MyISSS portal to allow time for your academic advisor/graduate program advisor to sign the e-form and for ISSS to process the request.
  • Have a start date listed 
  • Describe the employment 
    • If offer letter does not describe employment, you must also upload a job description

While ISSS is processing your request, we are confirming you meet the eligibility requirements, and are maintaining F-1 status. ISSS will submit the CPT authorization to SEVIS, generate a new I-20 with the CPT authorization on page 2, sign the I-20 and issue it to you.

You may start working on the day that your CPT authorization begins as listed on page 2 of your I-20. Please remember, working without authorization will result in the termination of your F-1 SEVIS status.

ISSS will consider a request to extend only if the following parameters are met:

  • The request to extend CPT is received prior to the end of the current term in which the CPT is authorized (i.e. prior to the last day of the summer, fall, or spring term)
  • The request to extend CPT is accompanied by a new CPT request which includes an explanation of why the extension is required to meet the requirements of the internship course
  • The extension dates requested do not overlap with the next semester start date
  • The request to extend the CPT is received before the current authorized CPT ends

CPT extension requests submitted after the last day of enrollment for the current term in which the original CPT was authorized will be denied.

CPT Documentation/Reporting

CPT is date specific, employer specific, hours worked specific, location specific, and educational goal and objective specific. If anything about your current CPT authorization changes, you must report the change to ISSS. This includes updating your training location if you indicated that you are working remotely from your home address and your home address changes. In this case, you must let ISSS know so that we can update your authorization to reflect the correct work location. If your home address changes, please make sure to submit that change in the Buff Portal within 10 days of your move.

The list below is a suggestion of records you may be asked to present during or after your CPT authorization. This list is not exhaustive. Be sure to maintain documentation that the work/internship is in your major field of study.
  • Copies of offer letters and agreements/contracts with all CPT employers including: start/ end dates, pay rate, and number of weekly work hours 
  • Copies of training descriptions including job title, duties, location, and supervisor’s contact information 
  • If you worked for an agency or consultancy, keep evidence of the projects you worked on 
  • Keep copies of your pay vouchers/pay stubs for all periods of training, copies of your bank statements that show direct or corresponding deposits from your employer(s), and associated W-2 tax forms 
  • Academic documentation of the internship course requirements (if you are fulfilling this course through internship credit, you must make sure this internship credit is clearly reflected on your transcript). If the internship is required for your degree, you must be prepared to provide official documentation of this requirement. 

If you engage in training that is not paid while on CPT, it is recommended that you keep the following:

  • Copies of training agreement or contracts with the employer including: start/end dates, trainings (on location, online, etc.), responsibilities and training objectives, location of the internship/unpaid training, and supervisor’s contact information 
  • Copies of all diplomas, completion certificates and/or certifications that you received related to the training program; If you worked/trained as an unpaid employee for a third party, keep evidence of the projects you worked on 
  • Copies of company time and attendance records that document your daily tasks in detail for all employers during the unpaid internship or training.