Santa Clara University

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Curricular Practical Training

An international student who has been enrolled full-time at Santa Clara University (SCU) for one full academic year may be eligible to work off-campus in work which is directly related to his/her program of study. USCIS student regulations call this Curricular Practical Training (CPT) which should not be confused with Optional Practical Training (the 12 months of employment authorization available following graduation from SCU).  NOTE: Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for OPT.

If you have not attended a CPT/OPT Workshop within the past academic term, please be sure to attend one of the many offered at the beginning of each term. These workshops provide detailed information and application tips related to CPT and OPT as well as an opportunity to have your questions and concerns around these topics addressed.

Part-time vs. Full-time CPT

  • Part-time CPT is a maximum of 20 hours per week. Only part-time CPT is authorized for academic terms with the exceptions listed below. 
  • Full-time CPT is anything over 20 hours per week and may be authorized in the following circumstances:
    • During the breaks in between academic terms*.
    • During the summer IF you are enrolled in a maximum of part-time units, including the course tied to CPT.
    • During your final term IF you have less than part-time units remaining in order to graduate, you have submitted an approved Reduced Course Load form to ISS, and you are enrolled in a maximum of part-time units, including the course tied to CPT.

*NOTE: For CPT authorization purposes, academic term dates for ALL students, except Law, follow the undergraduate/general academic calendar.

Eligibility Requirements for CPT include:

  • Being in valid F-1 status. 
  • Completion of one academic year of consecutive full-time enrollment at SCU. Summer session is not required as it is not considered part of the academic year. Terms completed at SCU in a status other than F-1 may count. Please check with your program regarding whether there are unit prerequisites as well.
  • Job tasks and responsibilities of the training must be directly related to your major field of study.
  • You must remain enrolled full-time while doing CPT with the following exceptions: 1. the summer term, 2. breaks in between academic terms*, and 3. during your final term if you have submitted an approved Reduced Course Load form for final term to International Students & Scholars (ISS). 
  • You must receive employment authorization before starting to work.

WARNING: Unauthorized work of any kind (including unpaid work) is a violation of your legal status and may be cause for deportation. As the student, it is your responsibility to obtain proper CPT authorization for any type of off-campus employment and to fulfill all requirements of CPT.

How to Apply for CPT

CPT is authorized by academic term* (one term at a time) and by appointment only. It requires advanced planning and it is recommended that you allow ample time to obtain approval signatures and enroll in the appropriate course tied to CPT prior to your scheduled appointment with ISS. 

Follow the CPT Request Instructions to complete the appropriate CPT Request form or CPT Extension Request form in order to apply for CPT. It is imperative that you carefully read and follow the instructions so that you have everything in order for your CPT appointment. You must be on time for your appointment.

IF everything is in order with your paperwork, your SEVIS immigration and SCU student records, and you are on time for your appointment, your new I-20 with CPT authorization can be provided during your appointment. If anything is missing, incomplete, incorrect, or you are late for your appointment, you will have to re-schedule.

*NOTE: For CPT authorization purposes, academic term dates for ALL students, except Law, follow the undergraduate/general academic calendar.