Curricular Practical Training

An F-1 student may wish to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in his/her field of study. To obtain permission for this kind of employment, an F-1 student can seek authorization for practical training.


  • Not available for students in English language training programs
  • Limited to college, university, conservatory, or seminary students
  • May be granted for part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time employment (20 hours per week or more)
  • Must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis in a SEVIS-approved school for one full academic year to be eligible
    • Exceptions provided for graduate students who are required to engage in curricular practical training prior to completion of a first year of studies.

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Curricular practical training is an alternate 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 must be an integral part of an established curriculum.

ISS authorizes all CPT, and applications should be submitted well in advance of employment start dates for timely processing. Employment may not begin until authorization is given. Authorization is shown on a print-out of page 2 of a student's I-20.

CPT Limitations

  • Work must be directly related to and commensurate with the level of the student's course of study
  • Part-time only during academic semesters
  • No limit to how many times CPT may be authorized, however, a cumulative of 12 months of full-time CPT will disqualify a student from OPT
  • May be full-time during vacation periods

Primary Types of CPT Authorized by ISS

  • Required CPT: a compulsory internship/field practicum to fulfill degree requirements
  • Elective CPT: Relates to an internship or practicum course within the field of study. This work permission is typically limited to the semester the student is enrolled in a course requiring the employment.
  • UH Cooperative Education: employment with special restrictions offered through the UHM Career Development and Student Employment (CDSE) Office.

To learn how to apply for CPT, download the documents on the Forms page.