If you wish to accept employment off-campus, you should pursue Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: “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.” Source: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i). CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of application. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program.
Students must maintain full-time enrollment during CPT. Full-time enrollment is 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours for graduate students.
The full-time enrollment requirement means that most students must limit their CPT during the academic year to local jobs or to working for their employer remotely, usually on a part-time basis. There are some exceptions. However, such exceptions are rare. Although full-time CPT is allowed during the fall and Spring semesters, the full-time enrollment requirement makes employment outside of the Tampa area highly impractical in most situations.
There are two types of CPT: required and optional. Required CPT is when the academic program mandates practical work experience for all students in order to graduate. Optional CPT is work experience directly related to your field of study that is not required.
You must be enrolled in a CPT course during the fall and spring semesters. If your CPT employment takes place during the summer term, you may register either in the preceding spring semester or during the summer term. If your CPT employment takes place in both spring semester and the following summer semester, you must register for the CPT course for both spring and summer semesters. Designated CPT course are set up and approved by the MFTI Office of the Registrar. Contact your international student advisor to ensure you are enrolled in an approved class.
Be aware that adding a CPT course may have an impact on your tuition and fees.
Failure to complete the CPT course will result in your falling out of legal F-1 status.
You must have declared a major.
Students are expected to maintain physical presence on campus during all enrolled semesters.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT
To be eligible for CPT, you must:
CPT is processed and authorized semester by semester. Contact your international advisor regarding specific guidelines and follow those guidelines for CPT applications. Please note that your department has discretion in recommending CPT.
Documentation Needed to Apply
Your employer or company must officially offer you a training opportunity. Ask your employer to write a Detailed Training Description. It must:
How to Apply for CPT
You are required to update your address with MFTI in TAMS within 10 days of any change while you are in F-1 status.
It is not uncommon for students to confuse unpaid internships with volunteering (and therefore conclude that no work authorization is necessary for engaging in an unpaid internship). However, there is a difference between volunteering and engaging in an unpaid internship. Volunteering refers to donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without remuneration or any other type of compensation. Internships, both paid and unpaid, are primarily offered by the private sector and related to the intern’s major field of study. The U.S. Department of Labor has guidelines for those seeking an unpaid internship: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm
The following six criteria must be met for an internship to be considered a legitimate unpaid internship (and not employment below minimum wage, in violation of Department of Labor laws):
CPT authorization is strongly recommended for all unpaid internships, whether the student does or does not need to provide employment authorization documents to the company. The F-1 regulations are written in such a way that CPT is an authorization to do practical training as part of the curriculum for the academic program, and as such is significant in more ways than simply for the employer to verify employment eligibility. CPT authorization is more than just permission to get paid.
You should have CPT authorization for unpaid internships for the following reasons:
If the position is unpaid and for some reason it is not possible for you to obtain CPT authorization, please make sure that your prospective supervisor is aware of U.S. Department of Labor regulations concerning unpaid internships and that you have assurances (preferably written) to that effect before you accept the position. We also recommend that at the end of your internship you ask your employer to provide you with a letter confirming that there was no remuneration, or any other type of compensation provided in any form during the dates you were participating in the internship. Please keep such a letter for your permanent records.
For additional information, MFTI suggests you consult the ICE webpage relating to CPT: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/practical-trainingAPPLY NOW