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F-1 CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT) - FOR BOTH PAID & UNPAID INTERNSHIPS

Current policy states you must apply for CPT for either paid or unpaid internships.  All CPT regulations apply to unpaid internships, so be sure to apply for CPT if you engage in an unpaid internship.  You must meet the eligibility for CPT in order to apply.

CPT is a type of off-campus work permission for F-1 students who are currently pursuing a degree program and whose off-campus work, internship (paid or unpaid), externship (paid or unpaid) or training experience is required, or is an integral part of the curriculum.

Eligibility

  • Student must be in valid F-1 status for at least 9 months/2 academic semesters. 
  • Exception 1: Graduate students whose program requires immediate internship/externship, prior to the completion of 2 academic semesters may be eligible for CPT.
  • Exception 2: Transfer students who have been in valid F-1 status at another institution directly prior to starting their academic program at LMU/LLS may be eligible for CPT.
  • Internship must be a program requirement or be a requirement for a credited course which counts toward the degree requirements
  • Internship must be offered in the student’s major course of study.

Application Process

  • Submit CPT Request Form in MyStatus
  • Proof of enrollment in an internship course
  • CPT Request Form - Academic Department/Advisor Recommendation required for internship
  • Internship offer letter from employer stating:
    • Job title and brief job description
    • Exact start and end dates of internship 
    • Number of hours of work per week
    • Employer name and address on letterhead

Types of CPT:

  • Part-time CPT: maximum of 20 hours/week available during Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.  Use of part-time CPT does not impact a student's eligibility for Optional Practical Training.
  • Full-time CPT: more than 20 hours/week, available in summer only.  Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training.

Approval Process
 

Processing Time – 5 business days

OISS will issue a new I-20 with CPT authorization.  CPT authorization will not be granted for work that has started before submitting all required documents.  Students must apply for a social security number with CPT I-20 at the Social Security Office.

Volunteering (no CPT required) vs. Unpaid Internship (CPT required)

Volunteering refers to donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without payment or any other type of compensation.

To be considered a volunteer, the work performed by the individual must meet the following criteria:

  • No expectation of compensation;
  • The volunteer cannot displace a genuine employee, and the services provided by the volunteer should not be the same services for which he or she was previously paid and/or expects to be hired and paid for in the future;
  • Services are performed for a non-profit organization for public service, religious or humanitarian objective. Work for a for-profit entity is considered employment and must be for pay. The only exception is made for training programs where the trainee functions, to some degree, like an employee, but is under close supervision and provides no significant measurable work for the employer. The trainee must not take the place of a paid employee; 
  • Unpaid work for state or local government agencies may be ok, if there is a “civic” purpose to the work.
  • Examples of this would be volunteering at a soup kitchen, an animal shelter, or some positions at a museum.

Internships, both paid and unpaid, are primarily offered by the private sector and related to the intern’s major field of study. The following 6 criteria must be met for an unpaid internship at a private ‘for profit’ employer:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation on the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship

U.S. Department of Labor guidelines for an unpaid internship: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm