Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization for F-1 students. It is an opportunity to participate in a paid position off-campus in your field of study during the time that you are pursuing your degree. It must be an integral part of the established curriculum for a program of study. Unpaid internships or volunteer positions do not require CPT authorization.

General Instructions:

  • Only complete CPT forms are to be emailed directly to ISPO at CPTrequest@ucsd.edu
  • Questions about CPT should be directed to iemployment@ucsd.edu or students may come into walk-in advising Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 9 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

 

NOTICE TO GRADUATE STUDENTS COMPLETING SUMMER CPT:

  • Post-Cooperative Education Reports for Summer Cooperative Education Program participants are due NO LATER THAN September 28, 2018. If you are unable to submit the report by that date because of the unavailability of your faculty advisor, please send an email to iemployment@ucsd.edu advising us of the date you will be able to submit the report
  • Please email your report to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu, with the subject line “Post Coop Report, Your last name, Your first name, Your PID.”

Undergraduate Students:

Step 1: Ensure Eligibility

In order to be eligible for CPT, you must fulfill all of the following criteria:

  1. You must have been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one academic year on the same SEVIS number.
    • You may use time spent in another institution as long as you were enrolled full time and did a timely SEVIS transfer using the same SEVIS number. If you want CPT during your first year at UC San Diego, we will need proof of your full-time enrollment from your previous institution, such as a transcript as well as a copy of your I-20.
    • You may use time spent in another immigration status (e.g., E-2, H-4) as long as you were enrolled full time for one academic year.
    • If you have an approved Reduced Course Load, you are considered to be full time for this purpose.
  2. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the requested date of the CPT.
  3. Your I-20 should have a completion date beyond your requested CPT end date.
  4. You must be currently pursuing your degree; CPT cannot be authorized after completing your program
  5. You must be enrolled full-time during the term CPT is requested, or have an approved Reduced Course Load.

Step 2: Obtain a Job Offer

Employment while on CPT should be in your field of study. A job offer letter is required to apply for CPT. The job offer letter must include all of the following (see our sample job offer letter):

  • Company logo/letterhead
  • Description of the training program
  • Location
  • Name and address of training supervisor
  • Salary
  • Number of hours per week (cannot exceed 20 hours per week during the academic quarter; may work full time during academic breaks)
  • Dates of the training. These dates must be within the dates of an academic quarter or summer session (see the table below)

Term you are enrolled into CPT-eligible course

Earliest date CPT can be approved

Latest date CPT can be approved

May work full time during academic breaks

Winter 2018

January 8

March 24

Winter break: 12/17 – 1/7

Spring break: 3/25 – 4/1

Spring 2018

April 2

June 15

Spring break: 3/25 – 4/1

Summer 2018: Session I

June 16

August 4

May work full-time for the duration of CPT in the Summer

 

Summer 2018: Session II

August 6

September 8*

Summer 2018: Special Session (Session III)**

June 16

Enrollment End Date

 

* Students registered in Fall 2018 can request an end date up to September 26.

**For Summer CPT, we recommend that you enroll in the CPT-eligible course (see Step 3) during the Special Summer Session (Summer Session III).

 


Additional Requirements for a Social Security Number application

If you will be applying for a Social Security Number (SSN), please also include the following information in the job offer letter, as this information is required by the Social Security Administration for the SSN application:

  • Job title/position
  • Company’s EIN number
  • Supervisor’s contact information (most importantly the phone number)

 

Step 3: Enroll into a CPT-Eligible Course

Option 1: Major department course enrollment

The employment must be an integral part of the curriculum, that is, you must get academic credit for your employment. Thus, you will need to enroll in (and pay tuition for) a course that will give you academic credit. Please check with your major department (minors are not included) to see what course you can enroll into that will give you academic credit for your employment.

  • Typical course numbers for undergraduates are: 191, 196, 197, 198 or 199.

 


Option 2: Academic Internship Program (AIP) course enrollment

Not all majors offer courses that meet the CPT course requirements; if your major department does not have a course available for the requirements for CPT, you may check with the Academic Internship Program (AIP) to see if you may enroll into their course to receive academic credit for your employment. If you enroll into AIP 197, you may submit the AIP Learning Agreement in place of signatures on the CPT Request Form.

Step 4: Submit CPT Application

A complete CPT application must contain the following documents:

  1. CPT Request Form:
    • The requested dates MUST be within the dates of the quarter for which you are requesting CPT.
    • The form asks if you have a SSN; this refers to a social security number, which is required for a paid position. For more information about the SSN and how to apply, please see our SSN webpage.
    • We cannot accept electronic signatures. Please ask your department representatives to sign your request form by hand.
    • If you enroll in AIP, you are not required to have signatures on the CPT Request Form as long as you submit the AIP Learning Agreement with signatures.
  2. Current electronic copy of I-94 (retrieved within the last 30 days; be sure to print from last entry to U.S.)
  3. Job offer letter (follow guidelines above, see sample job offer letter)
  4. AIP Learning Agreement (if you enrolled into an AIP course)
    • If you submit an AIP Learning Agreement, you may submit the CPT Request Form without signatures, as these signatures are on the Learning Agreement.

 


Submission of CPT application:

  • Please email all 3 documents in one email to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu*.
  • In the subject line, please write “CPT Request, your last name, your first name, your PID.”
  • Only complete applications will be processed.

*You should receive an automatic email reply after you have emailed your documents to us. If you do not receive this automatic email, please re-submit your email to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu.

 


Important points to remember:

  • Before authorizing CPT, we will verify that you are enrolled in the course that you indicate on the CPT Request Form. DO NOT send documents until the registration shows up on your TritonLink academic history.
  • Processing time is up to 10 business days; however, incomplete applications will be delayed and may not be processed within 10 business days. Please plan accordingly.
  • Employment may not begin until CPT is authorized.
  • Under no circumstances can CPT be backdated.

Step 5: Pick up your CPT I-20

  • CPT authorization is issued on an updated I-20 document.
  • Processing time is 10 business days.
  • You will be emailed once your CPT I-20 is ready for pick-up.
  • Do not start working until you have your CPT I-20 to show to your employer.

Graduate Students:

Step 1: Ensure Eligibility

In order to be eligible for CPT, you must fulfill all of the following criteria:

  1. You must have been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one academic year on the same SEVIS number.
    • You may use time spent in another institution as long as you were enrolled full time and did a timely SEVIS transfer using the same SEVIS number. If you want CPT during your first year at UC San Diego, we will need proof of your full-time enrollment from your previous institution, such as a transcript as well as a copy of your I-20.
    • You may use time spent in another immigration status (e.g., E-2, H-4) as long as you were enrolled full time for one academic year.
    • If you have an approved Reduced Course Load, you are considered to be full time for this purpose.
  2. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the requested date of the CPT.
  3. Your I-20 should have a completion date beyond your requested CPT end date.
  4. You must be currently pursuing your degree; CPT cannot be authorized after completing your program
  5. You must be enrolled full-time during the term CPT is requested, or have an approved Reduced Course Load. You may NOT do CPT while on “filing fee status.”

Step 2: Obtain a Job Offer

Employment while on CPT should be in your field of study. A job offer letter is required to apply for CPT. The job offer letter must include the following (see our sample job offer letter):

  • Company logo/letterhead
  • Description of the training program
  • Location
  • Name and address of training supervisor
  • Salary
  • Number of hours per week (cannot exceed 20 hours per week during the academic quarter; may work full time during academic breaks or during the quarter if you have advanced to candidacy)
  • Dates of the training. These dates must be within the dates of an academic quarter or summer session (see the table below)

Term you are enrolled into CPT-eligible course

Earliest date CPT can be approved

Latest date CPT can be approved

May work full time during academic breaks

Winter 2018

January 8

March 24

Winter break: 12/17 – 1/7

Spring break: 3/25 – 4/1

Spring 2018

April 2

June 15

Spring break: 3/25 – 4/1

Summer 2018: Summer Cooperative Agreement

June 16

September 26

May work full-time for the dureation of CPT in the Summer

Summer 2018: Course Enrollment, Special Session (Session III)*

June 16

Enrollment End Date

 

*If you are graduating during the summer, you must enroll in a research unit to be eligible for CPT. We recommend that you enroll in Special Summer Session (Session III). 

 


Additional Requirements for a Social Security Number application

If you will be applying for a Social Security Number (SSN), please also include the following information in the job offer letter, as this information is required by the Social Security Administration for the SSN application:

  • Job title/position
  • Company’s EIN number
  • Supervisor’s contact information (most importantly the phone number)

 


Please note:

  • Please be sure to verify that TA and GSR responsibilities do not conflict with summer employment dates.
  • Students who participate in full-time CPT for one year or more will NOT be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Participation in part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT. Graduate students who do full-time CPT will need to keep track of their time to assure they do not go over 365 days if they want to apply for OPT.  

Step 3: Enroll into a CPT-Eligible Course

Option 1 (Academic year & Summer): Academic department course enrollment

The employment must be an integral part of the curriculum, that is, you must get academic credit for your employment. Thus, you will need to enroll in (and pay tuition for) a course that will give you academic credit for the employment. Please check with your department to see what course you can enroll into that will give you academic credit for your employment.

  • Typical course numbers for graduate students are 291, 297, 298, and 299.

 


Option 2 (Summer only): Summer Cooperative Education Program

During the Summer term, graduate students have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Cooperative Education Program. This is an agreement between the student, the faculty advisor, and the employer outlining specific goals that the student will work towards that would otherwise meet the requirements of a course for credit.

If you participate in the Summer Cooperative Education Program, you will not be required to earn academic credit for the employment, and thus, will not be required to pay tuition during the Summer term. However, you will need to show full-time enrollment in the following Fall quarter when you submit your CPT application for the Summer term.

To participate, you will need to submit the Summer Cooperative Education Agreement with your CPT application prior to the start of your CPT, and also submit a Post-Cooperative Education Report at the end of the Summer CPT (due by the first day of the Fall quarter).

Step 4: Submit CPT Application

A complete CPT application must contain the following documents:

  1. CPT Request Form:
    • The requested dates MUST be within the dates of the quarter for which you are requesting CPT.
    • The form asks if you have a SSN; this refers to a social security number, which is required for a paid position. For more information about the SSN and how to apply, please see our SSN webpage.
    • We cannot accept electronic signatures. Please ask your department representatives to sign your request form by hand.
  2. Current electronic copy of I-94 (retrieved within the last 30 days; be sure to print from last entry to U.S.)
  3. Job offer letter (follow guidelines above, see sample job offer letter)
  4. Summer Cooperative Education Agreement (if applicable)

 


Submission of CPT application:

  • Please email all documents in one email to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu*.
  • In the subject line, please write “CPT Request, your last name, your first name, your PID.”
  • Only complete applications will be processed.

*You should receive an automatic email reply after you have emailed your documents to us. If you do not receive this automatic email, please re-submit your email to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu.

 


Important points to remember:

  • Before authorizing CPT, we will verify that you are enrolled in the course that you indicate on the CPT Request Form. DO NOT send documents until the registration shows up on your TritonLink academic history (unless you are doing the Summer Cooperative Education Agreement, in which case you must wait until after you show enrollment in the following Fall quarter to submit the application).
  • Processing time is up to 10 business days; however, incomplete applications will be delayed and may not be processed within 10 business days. Please plan accordingly.
  • Employment may not begin until CPT is authorized.
  • Under no circumstances can CPT be backdated.

Step 5: Pick up your CPT I-20

  • CPT authorization is issued on an updated I-20 document.
  • Processing time is 10 business days.
  • You will be emailed once your CPT I-20 is ready for pick-up.
  • Do not start working until you have your CPT I-20 to show to your employer.

Step 6: Submit your Post-Cooperative Education Report (if applicable)

  • If you submitted the Summer Cooperative Education Agreement with your CPT application in lieu of enrolling into a course that will give you academic credit for your employment during the summer term, you are required to submit a Post-Cooperative Education Report. This report requires your faculty advisor’s signature.
  • Please email your report to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu, with the subject line “Post Coop Report, Your last name, Your first name, Your PID.”
  • This report is due NO LATER THAN September 28, 2018. If you are unable to submit the report by that date because of the unavailability of your faculty advisor, please send an email to iemployment@ucsd.edu advising us of the date you will be able to submit the report
  • Failure to submit your report in a timely manner will result in a hold being placed on your account preventing registration for the Winter quarter.

Requesting Changes to CPT:

Change of Employment Dates

New Employer

Cancellation

If you will no longer be working with CPT, please send an email to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu . CPT cannot be cancelled, but it can be shortened.

Extending CPT to the Next Quarter

CPT is authorized quarter by quarter. If the position extends to the following quarter, you will need to enroll into the appropriate course and then follow the steps above to submit a new CPT application.

Extending CPT into Winter or Spring Break

If the position extends into an academic break (excluding Summer), but you will not continue the position into the following quarter, you may request an extension by submitting a new job offer letter to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu .

Additional Information:

Social Security Number

Social Security Number

  • All persons must have a social security number to be employed in the US. This is not the Campus ID number assigned by UC San Diego.
  • To apply for a Social Security number, you will need to present the following documents to any local Social Security office:
    • an application form (Form SS-5)
    • valid passport
    • I-94
    • I-20
    • job offer letter from your employer
    • and an enrollment verification letter from ISPO (use our F-1 Letter Request Form to request this)
  • The nearest office to UC San Diego is located in downtown San Diego. Visit www.ssa.gov to find the nearest Social Security office to you.

 

Taxes

Students in F-1 status are exempt from Social Security tax (FICA), however they are generally subject to federal and state income taxes. Tax forms are available from February through April of each year. Check the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov for federal tax information and the CA Franchise Tax Board at www.ftb.ca.gov for California tax information.

Please visit our Tax Resources page for more information.

Contact Us

Send application materials to CPTrequest@ucsd.edu .  New CPT I-20’s will be ready within 10 business days if the application is complete.

Send questions regarding CPT to iemployment@ucsd.edu . Please allow for 2-5 business days (not including weekends) for an advisor to review your message and respond.

You may also speak to an advisor during our walk-in hours.