CPTQuad

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization issued by International Services (IS) to allow LSU F-1 students to participate in off-campus employment deemed an integral part of an established curriculum. IS coordinators are required to report CPT employment to USCIS each semester via the immigration database, SEVIS.

CPT Deadlines and Information Session dates

You are advised to apply for CPT within the appropriate application period for your semester and you have all of the required documents collected. Processing may take 5-10 business days and you cannot start working until you have received your new I-20 with the approved CPT dates. CPT cannot be backdated and must fit within the start and end date ranges listed for that semester.  If you apply too early (before the date listed below), your application will be denied.  Likewise, late applications cannot be processed either since you must be participating in CPT for the entire semester.

CPT deadlines listed on this page apply to F-1 students who have an LSU I-20 to study on the main campus. Deadlines for F-1 students in the School of Veterinary Medicine will be based on the Veterinary School’s academic calendar (not the main campus calendar). F-1 ECFVG (Veterinary School program) students are advised to consult with the IS employment advisor 4-6 months before completing their program regarding their specific CPT and OPT deadlines.”

We have different applications for your level as well as a few special academic programs, so please make sure that you are printing the correct application for your specific program/level.

CPT Information Session

Monday, July 17, 2017    160G Hatcher Hall - Intl Programs Conference Room    10:00 am - 12:00 pm


Fall 2017 Curricular Practical Training

Processing does not begin until Fee Bills are released: Wednesday, July 19, 2017  
Deadline to apply for IS CPT recommendation: Monday, August 21, 2017 

Start Date range: 7/28/2017 - 8/30/2017
End Date range: 12/2/2017 – 1/9/2018*

(*If graduating Fall 2017, the CPT end date cannot be later than 12/15/2017)


Extensions of current-semester Curricular Practical Training

CPT Extensions are for the purpose of adding a short amount of time onto an existing CPT authorization.  CPT cannot overlap into the next semester and the extensions cannot go past the last allowed date for that semester.

For Summer 2017 CPT Extensions, the last date would be 8/20/2017.  Please submit the "CPT Extension Request Form" and contact our office for more information.

Additional Information about CPT

Please see the links below for additional information about CPT eligibility, the application process and other information you may need while on CPT.

Job Offers: Employer Requirements

Employers Guide to Hiring International Students

Can I Travel while on CPT?

Please check the tab below for CPT FAQ's.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about CPT

 

General CPT Information

 

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization issued by International Services (IS) to allow LSU F-1 students to participate in off-campus employment deemed an integral part of an established curriculum. IS coordinators are required to report CPT employment to USCIS each semester via the immigration database, SEVIS.

 

What are the 4 curricular reasons for which IS may grant CPT?

  1. An LSU academic department requires all students in your major or minor field of study to participate in off-campus employment for program completion. You must register in an official internship course offered by the department or in an internship program (ITN or CEP) through the Career Services Office prior to applying for CPT and maintain registration throughout the CPT employment period.
  2. You have enrolled in an LSU course for academic credit that allows students in that course to participate in off-campus employment to receive a grade for that course. (Examples: ACCT 4321 & 7231) You must register in the internship course prior to applying for CPT and maintain registration throughout the CPT employment period.
  3. You have registered in a semester-long internship program (ITN or CEP) through the Office of Career Services. Such internships are subject to review by IS. You must register in ITN or CEP prior to applying for CPT and maintain registration throughout the CPT employment period.
  4. You have enrolled in full-time thesis or dissertation hours and the CPT is integral to the completion of your thesis or dissertation. A letter from your major professor is required explaining how the employment is “integral” to thesis or dissertation completion. If you have enrolled in only part-time thesis or dissertation hours, you must register for a full-time internship with the Office of Career Services to be authorized for CPT.

 

What if my case does not meet the above-mentioned curricular requirements?

You may not apply for CPT. However, you may consult the IS student employment advisor to see if you are eligible to apply for pre-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

 

Do I need a formal job offer letter to apply for CPT?

Yes. The type of employment must be “integral” to the completion of your degree program. Due to SEVIS reporting requirements, your job offer letter must contain all of the following information: company name, complete physical address of employment location, specific employment starting and ending dates (mm/dd/yr – mm/dd/yr), job title, and a description of job duties.

 

What is the total amount of CPT allowed before I lose my eligibility for OPT for the same program level?

Participating in 12 months of full-time CPT for a degree level negates eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) for that degree level. Participating in more than 11.5 months of full-time CPT for one degree level puts OPT eligibility at risk and is not advised.

Your eligibility for OPT will NOT be affected by any amount of part-time CPT.

 

For how many consecutive semesters may I apply for CPT?

Full-time CPT authorization requests are limited to 2 consecutive semesters, though each semester must be issued one at a time. You must enroll full-time in courses the semester following your participation in 2 consecutive semesters of full-time CPT employment, unless you are graduating that semester and are not required to enroll full-time. No exceptions can be made. Requests for part-time CPT are not limited to 2 consecutive semesters.

 

Must I maintain health insurance coverage while on CPT?

Yes! All F-1 international students are required to purchase health insurance coverage which meets University requirements while on CPT. For more information, please contact Ms. Janice Goodloe at jgoodlo@lsu.edu or see the “Health Insurance” link at the IS website (http://www.lsu.edu/intlpro/is/insurance.php).

 

Must I report changes of address if I move while on CPT?

Yes! As always, Immigration requires that you report a change of address (local residence) within 10 days of moving. If you are moving out of Baton Rouge to begin a new job, it is imperative that you remember to change your address via your PAWS account within 10 days of your move both before and after your internship.

 

What does CPT authorization look like?

If CPT is approved, you will receive a new original "CPT" I-20 Form, listing the specific dates during which you may work off-campus for a specified employer at a specified location. You are NOT authorized to begin working on CPT until the authorized begin date listed on page 3 of your new “CPT” I-20. You should not begin working until you have picked up your processed documents from the IS front desk, as the IS employment coordinator cannot “back date” your CPT employment start date. You will also be given a 1-page front and back certified copy of your new I-20 to give to your employer. Also, if you have registered in an ITN or CEP through Career Services, you should not begin working until all Career Services paperwork has been completed. You do not need and will not receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) for CPT employment.

 

What are the penalties if I do not maintain registration for CPT or if I violate employment rules?

IS reserves the right to cancel CPT authorization at any time, should you violate your F-1 status by not maintaining/completing course enrollment or Career Services registration, if you work over the allowed number of hours, or if you do not inform us of changes in your employment before they occur. Beware that if your CPT employment authorization is cancelled and you are unable to add classes for the semester, a status violation will be reported and you will not be able to apply for a reinstatement of status until you are able to register for classes for the next semester. In addition, your future employment eligibility may be affected.

 

Is there a charge or fee for participating in CPT?

There is no application fee for CPT, however you must pay all relevant registration fees and tuition for that semester in order to be considered as fully registered. For Graduate Students, please remember that since you will not have your Graduate Assistantship during the CPT semester, you will be responsible for all in and out of state costs. Registering in an internship class will have the appropriate costs attached. The ITN code will still have required fees, even if that is the only code/credit you have for that semester. The CEP code must be added in addition to credit hours, so during the Fall/Spring semesters you must register full-time + the CEP code. In Summer, you must have at least 1 hour of class credit in addition to the CEP code since it cannot stand alone.

 

Who is Eligible for CPT?

 

How much time in F-1 status do I need to be eligible to apply for full-time CPT?

CPT may be authorized to an F-1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for two consecutive semesters, unless your program requires all students in the program participate in off-campus employment during their first or second semester.

In order for study abroad or National Student Exchange time to count towards the 2-semester requirement, you must have completed one semester of full-time Fall or Spring enrollment at LSU prior to participating in the LSU exchange program.

 

I have already had F-1 status for 2 consecutive semesters, but this will be my first semester in a new program at LSU or I am returning to LSU to complete a program I already began. May I apply for full-time CPT my first semester in a new degree program?

You may not apply for full-time CPT your first semester or returning semester in a new degree program at LSU, unless that program requires all students in the program to participate in off- campus full-time employment their first semester.

You are eligible to apply for part-time CPT your first semester in a new degree program at LSU only if you are transferring from another university (where you met the 2 consecutive semester enrollment requirement) in F-1 status, or if you are starting a new program at LSU immediately following a period of Optional Practical Training (OPT).

 

If I am returning to start a new higher-level program after OPT, when would I be eligible for full-time CPT?

This scenario could apply for a student who completed one degree, such as a Bachelor’s level degree, and had BS level OPT. Then, the student would be returning to school to begin a Master’s program in a short period and wants to apply for CPT based on the MS program. As mentioned above, CPT may be authorized to an F-1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for two consecutive semesters. After your first OPT, you would need to be enrolled in two semesters AFTER returning to school before you could be considered for CPT based on the next degree.

 

How do I request an exemption from the “2-consecutive semesters” rule, or how may I participate in CPT my first semester if my program requires it of all students?

Anyone requesting an exemption must submit:

  1. A copy of a statement from the LSU Course Catalog affirming that the program requires off-campus employment of all students their first semester
  2. An official letter from the department head confirming the same

Students who have submitted documentation for an exemption request will be notified of the decision via an email to their PAWS account after 5 business days.

 

May I participate in CPT during my graduating semester?

If you have not yet completed all required course work for your program and you meet the standard application requirements, it is possible to participate in CPT your graduating semester. You will be required to register in at least 1 credit hour of required course work while employed your graduating semester.

In order to be eligible for CPT the semester you will be defending your thesis or dissertation, your defense cannot be prior to the end of the midterm exam period in that semester.

"Degree only” registrants are not eligible for CPT in their graduating semester.

 

I am a graduate student and I have completed all required course work for my program, except thesis/dissertation research hours. May I apply for CPT?

Such cases will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by IS. Together with your CPT application, you must include an official letter from your major professor explaining how the employment is “integral” to thesis or dissertation completion. The letter must be printed on departmental letterhead and contain your major professor’s original signature. You will be required to register in a minimum of 3 credit hours of thesis or dissertation research while employed via CPT with the Career Services internship code of ITN (full-time) or required to register in a minimum of 9 credit hours of thesis or dissertation research while employed via CPT with the Career Services internship code of CEP (part-time) or based on an approved letter from your major professor explaining how the employment is “integral” to thesis or dissertation completion. Students enrolled in their last semester before graduation can enroll part-time and maintain their lawful F-1 status as long as they graduate that semester.

 

Applying for CPT through Career Services

 

How do I register for an internship (ITN or CEP) through Career Services?

After you receive a job offer letter in your field of study, you may contact Ms. Amy Caillouet of Career Services at amyc@lsu.edu to set up an appointment. Once an ITN or CEP internship code appears on your fee bill, you must go to the Bursar’s Office to pay registration fees prior to submitting your application for CPT to IS. You are welcome to submit your application for review prior to this date, but we will not begin processing until your registration has been completed and your ITN or CEP internship code has been applied.

Students should visit the Career Services web site in order to obtain the required internship forms. These forms should be completed and ready for submission at the time of the appointment with Ms. Caillouet. For more information about Career Services internship programs, required internship enrollment forms, etc., please refer to careercenter.lsu.edu. (Students -> Work Experience -> Full-time Status for Students at Work).

 

I obtained a job offer without going through Career Services. May I still utilize Career Services for CPT purposes?

You may set up an appointment with Ms. Caillouet and bring a copy of the job offer letter and all completed forms from the Career Services web site to see if the offer letter can be approved for registration in an ITN or CEP before applying for CPT.

 

How to Apply for CPT with International Services

 

How does CPT processing work and how long does IS processing take?

CPT applications may be submitted to the IS front desk during office hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (prior to the deadline). There is no fee for CPT processing.

If your complete CPT application has been received by IS, processing will take approximately 5 business days. You will be emailed at your PAWS account regarding the status of your application if there are any holds and to let you know when the documents have been processed. IS is unable to expedite processing requests due to immediate employment start dates or to backdate CPT authorization.

 

How far in advance should I apply for CPT? How long can completing the application take?

Your complete application must be received by IS before the CPT deadline for the semester you are requesting CPT.

Ideally, however, you should begin your job search at least one semester in advance and start completing and compiling your application several weeks prior to the deadline. Completing the forms and obtaining the required departmental signatures and original materials from your employer can take several weeks. If you have any questions after reading the website information, it is a good idea to set up an appointment with the IS employment advisor early in the process to clarify any doubts you have.

CPT processing takes 5 business days or longer once the registration for the semester of CPT is completed, depending on whether or not all required information has been received. Your requested CPT begin date should not be earlier than 5 business days from the date you submit your complete CPT application to IS. IS is unable to expedite processing requests due to immediate employment start dates or to backdate the begin date of CPT authorization.

Each semester, the CPT application for the following semester is made available on-line and IS informs students of this via a broadcast email to their PAWS account. As a general rule, however, it is in your best interest to check our website on a regular basis for updates. Do not try to submit your CPT application before the appropriate semester’s application form has been posted on-line.

 

When is the CPT deadline?

The final deadline to apply for CPT for all semesters is approximately the first week of classes for that semester. All completed CPT applications must be received no later than the deadline. We are not able to consider CPT applications which are late or incomplete. We are not able to consider CPT applications which are late due to employment offers received after the CPT deadline. We cannot make any exceptions. Please view the CPT application to find out the deadlines and CPT employment date allowed ranges for the begin date and end date of CPT.

 

What documents do I need to include with my CPT application?

For a checklist of documents, please refer to the CPT checklist included with the CPT Application.

  1. Your current I-20 containing the most up-to-date and correct information. Make sure your major/level of study, source of funding, and program completion date are correct. If you need to make any changes to your I-20, you must do so prior to submitting your CPT application. To request an I-20 correction, you must complete and submit “Green Sheet”/ Status extension / Change of Program Level request forms. Please allow an additional 5 business days for processing. You may not submit your CPT application for processing until after you have received the corrected I-20.

    Note about I-20 extension requests and sources of funding: I-20 extensions cannot be granted for the sole purpose of “bridging a gap” before Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization or the start of H-1B employment. We are unable to extend your I-20 or grant CPT authorization if you have finished all degree requirements. You will be required to provide an affidavit of financial support with your I-20 extension request. Your source of funding cannot come from CPT employment or potential CPT employment. This pertains especially to students who were previously either partially or fully supported by an assistantship/scholarship. You must verify your independent financial support during the CPT period (excluding the revenue that you may earn during the authorized period of CPT.)

  2. Original and complete “Application for Curricular Practical Training” with all required student and departmental signatures.
  3. A separate departmental letter is only required if you have completed all required course work and are applying for CPT which is “ integral” to complete your graduate thesis or dissertation. The letter must explain how the proposed employment is “integral” for the completion of your thesis/dissertation.
  4. Original official job-offer letter from employer on company letterhead. Emails, faxes, and photocopies of this form will not be accepted. The letter must include all required information.
  5. Original Statement of Acknowledgement form, signed the student after reading the terms on the form. Faxes, and photocopies of this form will not be accepted.

 

How do I request CPT beginning and ending dates?

CPT authorization is granted for up to one semester at a time. The start date range for CPT is usually between the first business day after the last day of final exams of the previous semester and the last day to add courses for the coming semester.

The end date range for CPT is usually the last business day of the week of final exams for the semester of the CPT application and the last business day before the first day of classes for the following semester.

If you are registered for credit hours and will be graduating during the semester you are on CPT, you are not eligible to work past the last day of final exams of that semester. Your CPT will NOT be processed if the end date is beyond this date.

CPT employment dates should correlate with semester dates listed on the academic calendar on the University Registrar’s website.

Important note: CPT processing takes 5 business days or longer, depending on whether or not all required information has been received. Your requested CPT begin date should not be earlier than 5 business days from the date you submit your complete CPT application to IS. IS is unable to expedite processing requests due to immediate employment start dates or backdate CPT authorization begin dates.

Typically, CPT authorization dates are issued based on the specific beginning and ending dates listed in the job offer letter and within the above-mentioned timeframe.

 

May I submit my application before it is complete or before making necessary changes to my I-20?

No. Do not submit your CPT application to the IS front desk until you have first compiled all of the above-listed documents yourself. Processing time will be delayed if your application is not complete. Do NOT fax or email any part of your application to IS. Complete CPT applications must either be submitted to IS in person or original documents must be mailed to IS.

 

How do I know if my application is complete?

Refer to the document checklist (included in CPT application) before submitting your application. If your CPT application is incomplete, we will email you within 5 business days of receiving your application to inform you what materials/ information are needed to continue processing. Please do not call or email to check on the status of your request. Doing so delays application processing, as we have to stop processing to respond to such inquiries. You are encouraged to apply well before the CPT deadline in case materials or information is missing from your application.

 

May I contact IS to see if my documents are ready to be picked up?

Please do not call, email, or set up appointments with individual IS staff members to check on the status of your CPT request. Phone calls, emails, and appointments will slow application processing because staff members must take time away from documentation processing to respond. High volumes of requests may create additional processing delays, so we appreciate your patience with our office.

 

How may I request an extension of my CPT authorization for another semester?

To apply for an extension of CPT authorization, you must re-apply for the following semester prior to the deadline. You must submit a new CPT application, now dated in conjunction with your new CPT request.

 

How may I request an extension of my current CPT authorization for few more days?

To apply for an extension of a few days to your current CPT authorized period, please complete the CPT Extension Request Form. This form must be submitted no later than two weeks prior to the end date of your current CPT period. Please allow five business days to process the extension. Extensions may not be granted past the last business day prior to the first day of class of the following semester. If you are graduating in the semester for which you are requesting the CPT extension, you will not be eligible for an extension.

 

Working on CPT: on campus and off campus employment

 

How many hours per week is part-time CPT? How many hours per week is full-time CPT?

  • Part-time CPT = 20 hrs/wk or less of employment
  • Full-time CPT = 20 hrs/wk or more of employment

 

During the summer vacation period, how many hours per week may I work on CPT? How many classes may I take while on CPT?

You may work up to 40 hours/week on CPT while maintaining registration in the internship course for academic credit or ITN through Career Services. The CEP internship code allows a maximum of 20 hours/week employment for part-time CPT.

You may enroll in up to 6 credit hours (full-time for Summer) during this time. Summer is considered an optional semester by US Immigration so students can also choose to enroll part-time or not enroll during Summer (unless it is the F-1 student’s first semester in the US). However, if Summer is your last semester before graduation or Degree Only registration for the following fall semester, you MUST enroll in credit hours to be eligible for CPT during the Summer term. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least one course and graduate students must be enrolled in coursework, or for those graduate students who have completed all coursework, enrolled in thesis or dissertation research.

 

During the Fall or Spring semester, how many hours per week may I work while on CPT? How many credit hours must I register for?

While registered in an internship course for academic credit or in a Career Services internship with the code “CEP”

You may work up to 20 hours/week on CPT while maintaining full-time course enrollment at LSU. Full-time course enrollment = 9 credit hours for graduate students and 12 credit hours for undergraduate students, during Fall and Spring semesters. You may enroll part-time during your last semester at LSU if you have filed for graduation at the Graduate School or your undergraduate college and your graduation date has posted in the LSU system. You must maintain enrollment in the course mandating CPT or in the Career Services “CEP” program throughout the time of CPT employment or your CPT authorization will be cancelled. Registration for an internship with the “CEP” code requires registration of a minimum of one credit hour for the semester of graduation.

While registered in a Career Services internship with the code “ITN”

You may work up to 40 hours per week (but no less than 20) on CPT. Unless you are a graduate student who has completed all course work requirements except thesis or dissertation hours or it is your graduating semester, you are not required to register in courses for IS purposes during the time of CPT employment because the Career Services “ITN” code holds your full-time registration at LSU. You must maintain registration in the internship program (ITN) through Career Services throughout the time of CPT employment or your CPT authorization will be cancelled.

Students may enroll in up to 6 credit hours with the ITN code.

In all cases, you may be subject to additional enrollment/registration requirements mandated by your undergraduate college, academic department, or the Graduate School. You are responsible for consulting each of these offices to make sure you meet any additional requirements.

 

May I keep my graduate assistantship or student worker job while on CPT?

During full-time CPT authorization, you are not eligible to receive an IS on-campus work permit and you may not have a student worker or a graduate assistant position.

With part-time CPT authorization during a Fall or Spring semester, on-campus (graduate assistantship or student worker) employment + off-campus (CPT) employment is limited to 20 hours total per week.

With part-time CPT authorization during the Summer semester, on-campus (graduate assistant or student worker) + off-campus (CPT) employment is limited to 40 hours total per week (this is only applicable if you are not enrolled in any coursework during the Summer semester). If you are enrolled in courses during the Summer semester, while on part-time CPT authorization, you are limited to 20 hours total (on- and off-campus employment) per week while classes are in session.

The Office of Accounting Services assists IS in monitoring the total number of hours worked per week by students who have both an on-campus work permit and CPT authorization. IS reserves the right to cancel on-campus work permission or CPT employment authorization at any time of students not adhering to the policies stated in this handout.

 

I currently have a 50% (20-hour-per-week) graduate assistantship and an full tuition waiver. If I forfeit my graduate assistantship to participate in full-time CPT will I lose the tuition waiver as well?

Should you choose to forfeit your assistantship to participate in full-time CPT, you will no longer be eligible for any assistantship benefits and tuition waiver from the Graduate School for that CPT semester.

 

May I work for more than one employer at a time on CPT?

No. CPT can only be authorized for one employer at a time per semester. There is one exception to this rule: Music students applying for CPT based on MUS 4260/4261 often must perform in several orchestras/symphonies/music ensembles (subject to the approval by the School of Music). However, their on-campus and off-campus employment cannot total more than 20 hours/week during the academic year.

 

What should I do if any terms of my CPT employment change?

Should your employment change in any way after your CPT has been authorized (job duties, dates, location, full- or part-time hours, termination of employment, or breaks in employment), you must inform IS immediately and approval must be received before any changes are implemented. Requests to change CPT employers cannot be permitted until after CPT employment authorization with that particular employer officially ends. It is your responsibility to keep IS informed of any changes in your employment.

 

Traveling on CPT

 

May I travel outside the U.S. while on CPT?

Before traveling outside the U.S. you should discuss your travel plans with your employer and with International Services regarding the rules that apply to your authorized dates of authorization and necessary employment for CPT.

Remember to plan in advance! You should be prepared to present the following items to the US Port of Entry when you return. You may be denied re-entry to the United States without them.

  • Your valid passport, which should be valid for at least 6 months after your return date.
  • A valid entry visa in your passport. (If the entry visa in your passport has expired, you must go to a U.S. Consulate outside of the U.S. to apply for a new one, unless you are traveling directly to Canada or Mexico from the US for fewer than 30 days and will be reentering the country using the same I-94).
  • Your most recent original “CPT” Form I-20 with a valid signature for re-entry located on page 3. The signature is valid for up to 6 months. To obtain a new signature for reentry, you must complete the "Green Sheet Request Form" and allow at least 5 business days for processing. If you are mailing your request to us, you should allow additional time for mailing.
  • If CPT authorization is based on registration in an ITN or CEP through Career Services, you MUST check with Ms. Caillouet and IS before traveling outside the country during your internship well in advance before traveling. You are subject to the rules in the Career Services, International Services and to those of your employer, which may affect your travel plans and your ability to travel.
  • A letter from and signed by your employer on official company letterhead indicating that s/he has approved your travel outside the U.S. during your authorized employment period and that you will be returning to complete the CPT employment period or ending the CPT employment period. You are subject to IS rules of necessary dates of active employment for the CPT semester, which may affect your travel plans.
  • An affidavit of financial support, such as American bank statements, illustrating how you are supporting yourself during your studies in the US. Remember that any potential CPT revenue cannot be calculated as official financial support on an I-20 document.