OPT/CPT WORKSHOP - Mount Holyoke College
Transcript OPT/CPT WORKSHOP - Mount Holyoke College
WHAT IS CPT?
CPT or Curricular Practical Training is an off-campus employment option
for F-1 students.
The internship (training experience) is considered to be an integral part of
the curriculum and directly related to the student’s major area of study.
To be eligible for CPT, you must:
Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one
academic year (9 Months)
Have a declared major
Have a job/internship offer directly related to your major
area of study
Find a faculty mentor to do your independent study with
Do an independent study related to your internship the
following semester. (295P or 395P)or take the COLL 211
course in the fall
APPLICATION PROCESS FOR CPT
Obtain an offer letter from an employer
Complete CPT Application Form - available on the McCulloch
Obtain faculty mentor signature and course information on the
CPT Application if doing an independent study. If you are taking
the COLL 211 course, you should have your academic advisor
sign your application .
Make an appointment for CPT with Jenny
Bring completed CPT application form and letter from your
employer to your appointment
YOUR OFFER LETTER FOR CPT
The employer must provide the you a written offer on
official letterhead. The following information must be
included in the letter:
Employer Address – and location where student will
Employment Start and End Dates
Number of Hours Expected to Work Per Week (FullTime or Part-Time)
Name of Immediate Supervisor (if known)
CHANGES TO CPT
CPT is approved for a specific employer, place of employment, and
You may not change employers or extend training employment
dates without prior consultation with the McCulloch Center and
your faculty mentor
You must submit a new, completed CPT application form and offer
letter to request any change to your CPT permission before you
You can not change faculty mentors unless the faculty mentor has
left the College or is no longer able or willing to do the independent
study with you (this would need to be in writing from the mentor)
(OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING)
What is OPT?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment option
available to F-1 students
for employment directly related
to the major area of study.
12 month period of OPT per higher degree level.
17 month STEM Extension OPT maybe possible for some students.
The 12 month OPT period can be divided into 2 types, PreCompletion and Post-Completion.
Pre-Completion OPT is before degree completion and typically used for
summer internships if you do not qualify for CPT
Post-Completion OPT is after degree completion
AM I ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR OPT?
To be eligible for Standard OPT you must:
HAVE maintained legal F-1 status for one full academic year.
NOT have used full-time CPT for 12 months or more.
STANDARD OPT HOURS AND LIMITATIONS
Employment must be directly related to your academic major
and be commensurate with your educational level
Standard OPT time per degree level is 12 months
the 12-month allotment per degree level may be divided into various
segments (Pre-Completion or Post-Completion OPT)
Used after degree program completion
start date must fall within 60 days of program completion (this is not the
same date as the graduation ceremony if you are completing in
Unemployment Limit of 90 days starting from OPT
During Post-Completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent
Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment
during any Standard Post-Completion OPT.
For Post-Completion OPT, the employment does NOT
have to be paid employment as long as there is no
violation of labor laws, but must be at least 20 hours a
interning or volunteering in a position directly related to the academic field
work for hire (contractual relationship)
employment through an agency
What does this
OPT AND TRAVEL
Before the expiration of your I-20, with I-20 travel signature
With EAD, signed I-20 for travel, valid visa, passport, letter from employer.
Not Recommended Travel
The period after your I-20 has expired and before you receive the approved
If your F-1 visa has expired and you will need to apply for a new one.
While STEM Extension is pending you should not travel outside the US
When to use
Can only be used during your
Usually saved to use for after graduation
Job Required to apply
Any job while on OPT or
CPT must be related to your
academic major (no
Yes and you must also complete an
independent study related to the
internships or take the COLL 211
course to fulfill requirement
No (but can only be unemployed for 90 days while
USCIS - Immigration
Form of Authorization
I-20 page 3
EAD (Employment Authorization Document) Card
and page 3 of I-20
Hours per week
Part or full time. Generally for
use during the summer and
Post-Completion: FT only (means 20 hours a week
None but If you use 12 months or
more of full time cpt, you lose your
12 months of opt to use after
12 Months Full-time per higher degree level
Only STEM majors (those in science, technology,
engineering and mathematics) extension are eligible.
Must be working for an Everify company
STEM EXTENSION OPT ELIGIBILITY
Completed a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree in a STEM field.
Currently engaged in the Standard Post-Completion OPT
Have a job or job offer from an E-Verify Employer
An employer currently registered and in good standing with the USCIS E-Verify
There is no public listing of E-Verify Employers
STEM EXTENSION OPT
HOURS AND LIMITATIONS
For the 17-month STEM extension, employment must
be traditional paid employment.
Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not
accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days of
unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period.
The employment authorization period for the 17-month
OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration
of the initial post-completion OPT employment
authorization, and ends 17 months later, regardless of
the date the actual extension is approved.
APPLYING FOR STEM EXTENSION
Application process is same as the Standard PostCompletion OPT with some additions.
Official transcript or Copy of diploma
Employer’s name as listed in E-Verify and valid E-Verify
Letter of Employment
Apply within 90 to 120 days prior to the Standard OPT
WHILE ON OPT
While you are on OPT you are still considered an F-1 Mount
Therefore you must:
• Notify the McCulloch Center of any address change via the
• Have your I-20 signed for travel by our office
• Report employment information (name, address,
interruption of employment) and changes to employment to
the McCulloch Center at
STEM Extension students must complete this form every 6