Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F1 Students
CPT is a work benefit that allows F-1 students to complete off-campus employment in conjunction with class credit. In other words, CPT is the authorization an F-1 student requires to do an internship in the United States while studying at Bentley. CPT authorization can be granted by the CISS as long as students meet the academic requirements of their program and turn in the appropriate application documents (listed below). CPT can be part-time (20 hours a week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours a week). CPT is designed to provide work experience directly related to the internship course in which the student is enrolled. Keep in mind that a total of 365 days of full time CPT employment disqualifies a student for OPT. Traditional volunteer work (e.g. at a soup-kitchen, homeless shelter) does not require CPT. However most volunteer work that is employment-related, even unpaid internships, require CPT authorization.
CPT Application Process
To apply for CPT:
1. Obtain an Offer Letter from your Employer that includes the following information:
- Official Company Name (no acronyms or abbreviations)
- Address of Employer
- This should be the address where you will actually be reporting to work
- Address must include zip code, city and state
- Start Date of Employment and End Date of Employment
- (The application must have the same start and end dates)
- Position Title and Description of Position Responsibilities
- Number of hours to be completed each week
- 21 or more hours= Full Time
- 20 hours or less= Part Time
2. Apply for Approval for the internship course with the Internship Coordinator of your department
- Note: The Internship Coordinator is the faculty member responsible for your course. Contact your academic department to find out who your Internship Coordinator is.
3. Complete the CPT Application
4. Receive a signature on the CPT form from your Internship Coordinator (on the bottom of the form).
5. Scan the above documents in one email and send electronically to GA_CISS@bentley.edu or deliver to the office in-person.
CPT Eligibility Policy
A student in F-1 status at Bentley is eligible to participate in practical training after he/she has completed one full academic year (fall and spring semesters) of full time study in a valid visa status immediately prior to the CPT experience. Time spent at other SEVP-certified schools may count towards CPT eligibility. (E.g., If you were a full-time student for the past two academic terms (with the exception of major school breaks) immediately prior to enrolling at Bentley.) It is recommended that you check with CISS to confirm eligibility*.
*Note: CPT eligibility is dependent upon eligibility to enroll in an internship course. Certain programs may have restrictions on how early students can receive credit for an internship course. Check with your academic department before searching for an internship.
Important: During the Academic Year (Fall/Spring semesters), neither CPT nor an online course can be the only course during a "Reduced Course Load" or during your last semester*.
*Note: Summer vacation and other break periods are not subject to the full-time and/or residency requirements for CPT or online courses. In essence, you may take (or not take) as many or as few classes as you wish during the summer break. If you do take summer courses (or a course during any break) make sure to update the CISS if the End Date on your I-20 changes.
CPT Frequently Asked Questions
1. General questions
Q: When am I eligible for CPT?
A: Generally speaking, after you have been enrolled full-time at Bentley for at least one academic year you are eligible for CPT. If you completed one year of full-time study at an another U.S. institution (including undergraduate) prior to coming to Bentley, you may also be eligible. Periods of OPT count as a break in studies unless they are completed only during a semester break. You must be in F-1 status at the time you apply for CPT. Contact GA_CISS@Bentley.edu with questions about your CPT eligibility.
Q: Do I need to be enrolled in an internship course to be eligible for CPT?
A: Yes, you must be enrolled in an internship course in order to be eligible for CPT. The internship course can be counted as an “in-person” course provided that the student is reporting to campus for other courses (otherwise, the course will count as a distance education course). Likewise, CPT cannot be authorized during a student’s last semester unless the internship course is accompanied by other required “in-person” course work. In other words, CPT at Bentley can never be authorized as the only course taken in a final semester.
Q: Can I work before my employment start date?
A: No. You cannot begin working before the start date on the I-20.
Q: Can I work after the end date?
A: No, you must stop work on the last date listed on the I-20 that is why it is important to select the right dates.
Q: Do I need to update my address if I will be living at a new address during my CPT?
A: Yes you must always update CISS if you move – it is the law. You should update your address in your MyBentley account.
Q: Do my CPT start/end dates have to be within the semester start/end dates?
A. Yes. Unless you have a specific reason to extend your CPT dates or start early, your internship dates should fall within the semester. For Summer CPT, CISS can authorize you to begin your internship as soon as the spring semester classes have concluded, and as late as the day before the start of the fall semester at Bentley, subject to approval by your academic department.
Q: Does CPT affect my ability to do OPT in the future?
A: No. Your ability to apply for OPT is NOT impacted unless you have had 365 of full-time CPT.
2. Application Questions
Q: Do I need a job offer to apply?
A: Yes. CPT can only be authorized for a specific position, at a specific location, during specific dates. As stated, the internship offer letter must accompany the CPT application to CISS, on company letterhead, with a brief position description, dates, and hours per week.
Q: What if my employment is through a contract or temporary agency?
A: Your letter of employment can come from the contracting/talent acquisition agency, but must include all of the above information in addition to the official name of the agency. On your I-20, your place of employment will be listed as Contracting Agency/Company of Employment.
3. CPT Specific Scenarios
Q: What happens if I am authorized for CPT and then I lose my job or something about the job changes (location, hours, job description etc.)
A: You must notify a CISS advisor immediately in order to cancel or amend your CPT so your SEVIS record remains accurate.