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:

  • All CPT requests must be submitted online via iPortal.
  • CPT for summer positions: 
    • Undergraduate students: You must be enrolled in a summer session class before submitting your iPortal CPT request.
    • Graduate students: To be eligible for the Summer Cooperative Education Program, you must be enrolled in Fall 2019 before submitting your iPortal CPT request. Students in the Master’s programs in CSE, ECE and Rady are exempt from this requirement because their departments verify eligibility for enrollment directly with ISPO.
  • 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.

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 SEVIS approved university or college 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 at a SEVIS approved university or college 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 should include all of the following (see our sample job offer letter):

  • Company logo/letterhead
  • Description of the training program
  • Location
  • Name, address and phone number of 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 in a CPT-eligible course

Earliest possible CPT start date for that term

Latest possible CPT end date within the term

Dates you may amend the CPT end date through a Winter or Spring Break (may work part-time or full-time)

Winter 2019

January 2

March 23

March 24 - March 31

Spring 2019

March 27

June 14

No extensions (to continue employment, submit a new CPT application for a Summer session)

Summer 2019: Session I

June 15

August 3

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

 

 

 

Summer 2019: Session II

August 5

September 7

Summer 2019: Special Session (Session III)*

June 15

Enrollment End Date OR September 25**

Fall 2019

September 23

December 14

December 15, 2020 - January 05, 2020

 

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

**Students enrolled in Summer Session III can work until the day before fall quarter instruction only if showing fall quarter enrollment.

 


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:

  • 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: 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 must upload the AIP Learning Agreement in addition to your job offer letter to your CPT I-20 Request in iPortal.

Step 4: Submit CPT Application

Complete the following to submit CPT application to ISPO:

  • Log in to iportal.ucsd.edu
  • Go to "Services" tab
  • Select "Curricular Practical Training (CPT) I-20 Request "
  • Upload a PDF copy of your current electronic copy of I-94 (retrieved within the last 30 days; be sure to print from last entry to U.S.; do not submit your travel history)
  • Upload a PDF copy of your job offer letter (follow guidelines in Step 2 above, see sample job offer letter)
  • Upload a PDF copy of your AIP Learning Agreement (if you enrolled into an AIP course)

 


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. If your CPT application is pending for more than 3 days with your department, follow up with your department advisor.
  • Employment may not begin until CPT is authorized.
  • Under no circumstances can CPT be backdated.

Step 5: Pick up your CPT I-20

  • An updated I-20 showing CPT authorization should be ready in 10 business days.
  • You can check the status of your request anytime by logging in to iPortal and clicking on "My Requests" tab.
  • You will be notified by email when your document is ready.
  • You will be able to select in iPortal how you would like to receive your document.
  • 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 SEVIS approved university or college 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 at a SEVIS approved university or college 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 should include all of the following (see our sample job offer letter):

  • Company logo/letterhead
  • Description of the training program
  • Location
  • Name, address and phone number of 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 in a CPT-eligible course

Earliest possible CPT start date for that term

Latest possible CPT end date within the term

Dates you may amend the CPT end date through a Winter or Spring Break (may work part-time or full-time)

Winter 2019

January 2

March 23

March 24 - March 31

Spring 2019

March 27

June 14

No extensions (to continue employment, submit a new CPT application for a Summer session)

Summer 2019: Summer Cooperative Agreement

June 15

September 25*

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

 

Summer 2019: Special Session (Session III)**

June 15

Enrollment End Date OR September 25***

Fall 2019

September 23

December 14

December 15, 2019 - January 05, 2020

 

*Students registered in Fall 2019 can request an end date up to September 25, 2019

**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).

***Students enrolled in Summer Session III can work until the day before fall quarter instruction only if showing fall quarter enrollment.


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. For Summer 2019, Master’s students in CSE, ECE and Rady are exempt from this requirement because their departments verify eligibility for enrollment directly with ISPO.

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

Complete the following to submit CPT application to ISPO:

 


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. If your CPT application is pending for more than 3 days with your department, follow up with your department advisor.
  • Employment may not begin until CPT is authorized.
  • Under no circumstances can CPT be backdated.

Step 5: Pick up your CPT I-20

  • An updated I-20 showing CPT authorization should be ready in 10 business days.
  • You can check the status of your request anytime by logging in to iPortal and clicking on "My Requests" tab.
  • You will be notified by email when your document is ready.
  • You will be able to select in iPortal how you would like to receive your document.
  • 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 iemployment@ucsd.edu, with the subject line “Post Coop Report, Your last name, Your first name, Your PID.”
  • This report is due by the first day of fall quarter. 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

Please submit a new job offer letter with the corrected dates to iPortalSelect "Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Amendment I-20 Request".

New Employer

Submit a new request and new job offer letter to iPortalSelect "Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Amendment I-20 Request".

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 iPortal.ucsd.eduSelect "Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Amendment I-20 Request".

Cancellation

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

Renewing CPT to the Next Quarter

CPT is authorized quarter by quarter. If the position extends to the following quarter, you will need to apply for a new CPT, following the same steps as before (Steps 1-5 above).

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)
    • A valid passport
    • I-94
    • I-20
    • A job offer letter from your employer that includes the EIN (Employer Identification Number) and the supervisor’s name and phone number
    • A Social Security Administration Support Letter from ISPO. Request the letter by submitting an F-1 Letter Request through iPortal or with your CPT application by selecting CPT with SSN letter
  • 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

Submit request and upload application materials to iPortal. New CPT I-20s 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.