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Off-Campus Academic Internships for F-1 (CPT)

ISS & Immigration Updates Related to COVID-19

New CPT Requests: ISS will contiune to process CPT authorization requests during the mandatory shelter in place / stay at home orders. Please email your completed CPT cooperative agreement to iss@scu.edu for processing.

Current CPT Authorization: If you have CPT authorization currently, you should work as authorized. If your company requires or recommends that you work remotely, you may do so, but be sure to remain in close contact with your supervisor. You do not need to notify our office about this temporary change.

Up-to-Date Immigration Advising and FAQs here.

CPT Workshop Recording (with updates related to COVID-19 and Shelter In Place)

Many academic programs and majors at SCU have internships, externships and practicum integrated into their curriculum. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is the immigration authorization that gives F-1 international students the ability to participate in these practical training requirements while maintaining valid immigration status.

 

Eligibility for CPT

In order to be eligible for CPT, you must meet each of the below eligibility criteria

Since CPT is a benefit of F-1 status, you must be in valid F-1 status in order for our office to process your CPT request. If you are in the process of changing your immigration status, you are not eligible to begin CPT until your status is F-1 and your immigration record has been validated.

Must be fully enrolled for the full academic year proceeding your CPT authorization

  • Must be fully enrolled for the full academic year preceding your CPT authorization
  • A full academic year is 3 consecutive quarters or 2 semesters (Law School and Jesuit School of Theology)
  • Full time enrollment is 8 units for all graduate (Master’s / Doctoral) level programs and 12 units for undergraduate (Bachelor's) programs.
  • Enrollment must be within your academic program and must be completed at SCU. Enrollment in a different academic program, or at another university does not count toward the academic year requirement.
  • Summer enrollment is not mandatory. If you enroll in a full course load during the summer, then this counts toward your full academic year. If you do not enroll in a full course load, then this does not count toward or against your full academic year.
  • Enrollment does not need to be in F-1 status. If you completed full time academic terms in a different immigration status (such as H-4), this can count toward your full academic year.
  • Reduced Course Load, leave of absence and withdraw all generally restart your consecutive enrollment. Prior to requesting these immigration authorizations, an ISS Advisor will discuss how they impact your eligibility for CPT and OPT.

In order to be authorized for CPT your practical training opportunity (sometimes called internships, externships or practicums) must be directly related to your major. To learn more about evaluating academic internships and job offers, please see below.

  • Curricular ties are the most important element for CPT authorization. 
  • CPT can only be authorized if a student is earning academic credit for practical training tied to their curriculum (or, in other words, your major and your classes).
  • CPT can only be authorized if a student has passed all prior CPT related courses. If you fail a CPT related course, you are no longer eligible to participate in CPT at SCU.
  • Many academic programs and majors at SCU have internships, externships and practicums integrated into their curriculum. To learn how to get credit for practical training within your major, please see below.

Evaluating Academic Internships and Job Offers

Guidance on finding the right opportunity

  • Your faculty advisor will work with you to understand and evaluate your practical training opportunity and its relevance to your major when you meet to go over your CPT Cooperative Agreement.
  • When considering a practical training opportunity you should first consider what you will learn and how the opportunity aligns with your major. 
  • Consider which classes that you’ve already taken and how you will be able to apply this material to your practical training experience. Consider which classes you plan to take in the future and how your practical training experience will enhance and prepare you for this course work.
  • During academic terms (Fall, Winter, Spring) we will only authorize CPT in the bay area.
  • We can authorize CPT outside of the bay area during summer break.

COVID-19 Update: We are authorizing CPT for many internships which have moved to a virtual format this summer due to health and safety concerns. During this time, if your company requires or recommends that you work remotely, you may do so, but be sure to remain in close contact with your supervisor. You do not need to notify our office about this temporary change. The work location on your CPT Cooperative Agreement should be the company address where you would work if you were not sheltering in place due to the pandemic. If you have any questions about this, please email iss@scu.edu

 

 

 

Since CPT is practical training tied to your education rather than optional employment, CPT requires on-site, in-person mentoring and supervision.

  • We cannot approve CPT to work from home, on-campus or at a remote working location.
  • We cannot approve CPT that is independent, unsupervised, or self-employment.

COVID-19 Update: We are authorizing CPT for many internships which have moved to a virtual format this summer due to health and safety concerns. During this time, if your company requires or recommends that you work remotely, you may do so, but be sure to remain in close contact with your supervisor. You do not need to notify our office about this temporary change. The work location on your CPT Cooperative Agreement should be the company address where you would work if you were not sheltering in place due to the pandemic. If you have any questions about this, please email iss@scu.edu

  • CPT with a for-profit company should generally be paid. You can learn more about the Department of Labor rules around unpaid internships here
  • We cannot approve CPT where the hourly pay does not meet the minimum wage.

For information on how to evaluate competing employment offers or on how to professionally negotiate an employment offer, please contact your career center.

  • For CPT in the final term, your CPT end date may not go beyond your program end date (usually the last day of finals for the term).
  • Once a student applies for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), they are no longer eligible to apply for CPT. If you want to engage in CPT during your final academic term, you must secure your CPT I-20 before you attend your OPT appointment.

Relevant CPT Courses By Major

Below is the current list of SCU’s academic programs and majors that have internships, externships and practicums integrated into their curriculum. If your major or academic program is not listed, please contact iss@scu.edu for additional information (be sure to include your name, SCU ID and your major in the email).

Questions about prerequisites or enrollment should be directed to your academic program. Questions about class assignments and grading should be directed to the faculty member who is teaching the course.

 

How to Fill Out Your CPT Cooperative Agreement

  • The form should be typed and printed single sided prior to visiting our office for CPT authorization. We cannot review electronic forms and we cannot print your form for you.
  • The form must be completely filled out and no fields should be left blank. If the field does not apply, type N/A (meaning Not Applicable).
  • You are only eligible for Full Time CPT authorization during the summer (regardless of the number of units you’re enrolled in), or if you are in your final term and you are enrolled in half-time or less units (i.e. for graduate students 4 or less units, including the CPT course units; for undergraduate students 6 or less units, including the CPT course units). 
  • If you are authorized Full Time CPT in the summer, you may work as many hours as you like, including CPT and on-campus employment.
  • If you are authorized for Part Time CPT, you may not work more than 20 total hours per week, including CPT and on-campus employment.

During the school year (Fall, Winter, Spring), students are limited to working part-time on-campus.

Part-time is defined as 19 hours per week on-campus, or 20 hours per week off campus (CPT).

If you plan to work both on and off campus during the school year (Fall, Winter, Spring), you may work no more than 20 total hours per week (so for example, 5 hours on campus and 15 off campus).

  • Since CPT is curricular and based on your enrollment in a class, authorization dates are based on the academic calendar. Use the academic calendars below:

                              All Quarter Programs                       Law School                              Jesuit School of Theology

  • CPT may begin as early as the day after the prior terms finals end
  • CPT may extend until either the day before the next term begins (for students who will be enrolled in the following term) or the last day of finals (for students completing their degree).
  • Remember, CPT is authorized by academic term (one term at a time) so you can't have dates that include more than one term.
  • The start date listed on your CPT Cooperative Agreement must be at least one day after you request CPT authorization. So if you come in to drop-in advising for your CPT authorization on Monday, January 1, the first possible day for your CPT to start would be Tuesday, January 2nd.
  • We provide an annual list of earliest and latest possible CPT dates as a courtesy to assist students in completing the CPT Cooperative Agreement. The dates are updated annually in July. You can also determine the dates yourself using the academic calendar.

Earliest and latest possible CPT start and end dates for:

Academic Term Earliest Possible CPT Start Date

Latest Possible CPT End Date (continuing students)

Latest Possible CPT End date (graduating student)
Fall Quarter 2019 9/5/2019 1/5/2020 12/13/2019
Winter Quarter 2020 12/14/2019 3/29/2020 3/20/2020
Spring Quarter 2020 3/21/2020 6/17/2020 6/11/2020
Summer 2020 6/12/2020 9/20/2020 9/1/2020
Fall Semester 2019 Law 7/21/2019 1/10/2020 12/20/2019
Spring Semester 2020 Law 12/21/2019 5/22/2020 5/20/2020
Summer Semester 2020 Law 5/21/2020 8/14/2020 7/18/2020

 

  • For CPT in the final term, your CPT end date may not go beyond your program end date (usually the last day of finals for the term).
  • Once a student applies for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), they are no longer eligible to apply for CPT. If you want to engage in CPT during your final academic term, you must secure your CPT I-20 before you attend your OPT appointment.
  • This section should address what you expect to learn, not just what you expect to “do”. Oftentimes students will simply list their job duties. Keep in mind that this section does not ask for your job duties, it asks for your training objectives. 
  • Try starting your bullets or sentences with learning centric statements such as “gain experience with...” or “learn how to…” or “practice...”

We will accept verified electronic signatures on all ISS forms, including the CPT Cooperative Agreement.

  • We do not need the original "wet" ink signature. 
  • Typed signatures or signatures with a typed appearance are not accepted.
  • It's acceptable if the supervior or faculty provides you a scanned copy of the hand signed CPT Cooperative Agreement. 
  • If you prefer to use electronic signatures each signature must have a verification mark or be a signature. 
  • Programs such as DocuSign or Adobe Sign have the digital signature verification feature.

Please see below for examples:

 

Questions about CPT?

If you still have questions about CPT after reviewing this website and our workshop videos, please either email iss@scu.edu or visit our office during drop-in hours.

How to Get your CPT Authorization

Once you have completed enrollment for the term and have your completed and signed CPT Cooperative Agreement you are ready to have your CPT authorized. CPT authorization is processed during drop-in advising hours.

  • Completed and signed CPT Cooperative Agreement, printed single-sided. We will keep this for your immigration file, so you should be sure to take a copy for your own records before you visit our office for CPT authorization.
  • If you are enrolled in less than a full course load for the term that you’re requesting CPT, please also bring your completed and signed Reduced Course Load Form
  • If you do not already have a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), please also bring the employment offer letter from your company.

We only need your employment offer letter if you do not already have a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN). We do not need and will not review any letters, documents, addendums, employment offers, transcripts, syllabus or prior I-20s. You should keep these documents for your records.

CPT authorization is now processed during drop-in advising hours. We expand the number of advisors on duty depending on the time of year and student need. Our goal is that no student will have to wait more than 15 minutes to be seen. We recommend that you arrive as early as possible during the drop-in advising period to ensure that we have time to assist you.

During your meeting an ISS Advisor will:

  1. Confirm your contact information is up-to-date and accurate
  2. Confirm you are eligible for CPT by verifying in eCampus that you have:
    1. Enrolled in a full course load for the entire prior academic year (3 quarters or 2 semesters)
    2. Completed enrollment for the term in which you’re doing CPT
    3. Properly enrolled in a class that requires off campus practical training
    4. Passed all CPT related courses that you’ve enrolled in
  3. Review your CPT Cooperative Agreement for accuracy and completeness
  4. Ask if you already have a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN)
  5. Confirm whether we have authorized your CPT and let you know when to expect your new I-20 with CPT authorization.

If we are not able to authorize your CPT, we will explain the reason why we cannot authorize your CPT, and you will be able to fix the issue and return for CPT authorization at a later time.

Once you’re with an advisor the entire process should take about 10 minutes. Once approved, new CPT I-20s are typically available within 1-2 business days.

 

F-1 students are only eligible for a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) if they are working. If you do not already have a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), please bring the employment offer letter from your company with you when you request your CPT authorization and we will assist you.

After your CPT has been Authorized

Once you have your CPT I-20 you should review it carefully to ensure that it is accurate. You will need to show your CPT I-20 to your company, along with your passport and I-94 to demonstrate that you are allowed to work in the U.S.

If you notice any typos or errors on your CPT I-20, please email iss@scu.edu to explain the error and request the correction. You do not need to visit our office to request the correction. We will notify you once the updated I-20 is ready for pick-up; this process usually takes 2-3 business days.

If you will end your practical training more than a week early or start more than a week late, we should update your CPT I-20. To get an updated CPT I-20, please email iss@scu.edu. Include the corrected dates in your email. You do not need to visit our office to request the correction. We will notify you once the updated I-20 is ready for pick-up; this process usually takes 2-3 business days.

Once you have been authorized CPT with a company, the expectation is that you will engage in the CPT as authorized. If anything changes, for example, if you end your CPT early, you would need to notify our office. If you wish to engage in CPT with a different company, you would have to go through the CPT process again (course enrollment, new CPT Cooperative Agreement, new CPT authorization, new CPT I-20 etc). This would also create a second CPT authorization in your record. Finally, it is generally considered very unprofessional to renege on an accepted offer. Before you renege, we would strongly recommend that you speak with an advisor at your career center.

Extension: If you wish to extend the duration of your CPT authorization within the same academic term, with the same employer, you should collect a newly completed and signed CPT cooperative agreement showing the new end date (the start date should remain the same) and send it to iss@scu.edu via email as soon as possible, at least 3 business days before your current CPT authorization ends. You do not need to meet with an advisor in person for extension. We will notify you once the updated I-20 is ready for pick-up; this process usually takes 2-3 business days.

Future CPT: If you wish to engage in CPT during a different or future academic term, this is not considered an “extension” but is actually an entirely new CPT authorization. In this case, you would need to go through the entire CPT process (course enrollment, new CPT Cooperative Agreement, new CPT authorization, new CPT I-20 etc) for the next academic term.

You should generally not be travelling outside the U.S. if you are also authorized for CPT since the expectation is that you are in the U.S. engaged in classes and participating in the approved CPT.  Short term travel, particularly as it aligns with your company's vacations or holidays, is fine.

Students who engage in 12 months of FULL TIME CPT are not eligible for OPT after the completion of their degree. Since SCU will only authorize FULL TIME CPT for students during the summer, or during their final term when they have less than ½ time enrollment needed to graduate, most SCU students will never be able to do 12 months of FULL TIME CPT.

In addition to the impact that FULL TIME CPT has on eligibility for OPT, students who participate in CPT multiple terms may be at an increased risk of being perceived as using CPT to work, rather than using CPT to support only academically integrated practical training. You can discuss the risks of doing CPT multiple times with your ISS advisor when you come in for CPT authorization.

In case there are ever questions about how the CPT was integrated into your academic program and related to your degree, we recommend that all students who do CPT keep the following documents:

  • CPT Cooperative Agreement(s)
  • Syllabus for the CPT related course(s)
  • Assignments from the CPT related course(s)
  • Employment Offer Letter(s)
  • Employment Evaluation(s)
  • Paystubs, W-2 tax document(s)

Special Advising for JST Students

CPT (Curricular Practical Training) authorization is required for participating in any off-campus ministry and must be obtained before engaging in any such activity. 

  • M.Div Students:  Your Ministerial Praxis in the second year of your program requires CPT authorization if your field education placement is off-campus. Remember, you must receive CPT authorization prior to engaging in any off-campus ministry.
  • S.T.L., and S.T.D. Students:  Your Pastoral Engagement, which is required each term throughout the program, requires CPT authorization if your pastoral placement is off-campus. Remember, you must receive CPT authorization prior to engaging in any off-campus ministry.

 

 

CPT authorization dates follow the academic calendar. The earliest possible start and latest possible end dates for Fall and Spring semesters are listed below. However, your situation may require you to request authorization for a narrower time frame.

Academic Term Earliest Possible CPT Start Date* Latest Possible End Date (continuing students)* Latest Possible End date (graduating student)*
Fall Semester 2019 JST September 4, 2019 February 2, 2020 December 13, 2019
Spring Semester 2020 JST February 3, 2020 September 7, 2020 May 22, 2020

*Important Notes Regarding Dates:

  • The start date on the Cooperative Agreement must be at least one week in the future at time of submission.
  • If it is your last semester, CPT can only be authorized through the last day of finals or the program end date on your I-20, whichever comes first.

To apply for authorization for Curricular Practical Training off-campus, JST students need to:

  1. Be properly enrolled in a class that requires the placement, such as
    • FE-2152: M.Div. Integration SeminarII – for the 2nd year ministerial formation requirement in the M.Div. program.
    • FE-4400: STL Research Practicum - for the pastoral engagement requirement in the S.T.L. and Th.M. programs.
    • FE-4401: STD Research Practicum - for the pastoral engagement requirement in the S.T.D. program.
  2. Be enrolled full-time. *If you will have a reduced course load because it will be your final term, you must also submit a completed Reduced Course Load form. (Note: Students in "Continuing Registration" are considered to be enrolled full-time.) 
  3. Have a properly signed and completed CPT Cooperative Agreement.  Please carefully follow the JST CPT Cooperative Agreement Instructions.
  4. Submit the completed Cooperative Agreement by sending an email to ISS@scu.edu, as follows:
    • Enter “YOUR NAME– JST CPT” in the subject line of the email.
    • In the email, write the address where your I-20 with CPT authorization should be mailed.
    • Attach a scanned copy of the completed Cooperative Agreement.
    • Attach a scanned copy of the Reduced Course Load form, if applicable.

Remember, you may not engage in any off-campus ministry until you receive a new I-20 with proper CPT authorization. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us by email at iss@scu.edu.

Special Advising for ECP Students

CPT (Curricular Practical Training) authorization is required for participating in any off-campus practicum and must be obtained before engaging in any such activity. 

  • Counseling Psychology:  Your practicum is required in the final year of your program.
  • MATTC:  Your practicum is required in the final year of your program.

Since ECP practicum is mandatory and requires off-campus placement often in education settings (such as at schools) that begin before the SCU Fall quarter, ISS will authorize CPT dates that start before the start of the Fall quarter.

 

ECP students should follow the same CPT authorization process as all other students on the main campus.

 

ECP students can be authorized full-time CPT if they have completed all of their academic program except the mandatory practicum. If you have completed all classes other than mandatory practicum, please bring a completed Thesis / Capstone Confirmation Form to our office when you request your CPT Authorization.

 

Resources for Students

  • Resources For Employers

Our office has developed a general resource page for employers seeking to hire students engaged in CPT, OPT and STEM OPT. For questions about corporate immigration compliance/ I-9 validation we recommend contacting a qualified immigration attorney.

US immigration regulations are complex and change frequently.  The University strives to maintain a website that is both current and helpful, however, Santa Clara University is not responsible for students maintaining lawful immigration status; this is the responsibility of the student.  Further, resources and links do not constitute endorsement by Santa Clara University. 

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Francis Tan

"Everyone wants to make a difference – not just learn, but impact the world in one way or another."

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