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Applying for CPT

Step 1: Meet with your academic advisor to discuss if and how your proposed employment might fit into a course in your major (e.g., internship or independent study course) or how it might be tied to your dissertation/thesis.

Note: Mason School of Business, Law School, and Washington Office Programs students, please refer to the Business, Law, and Washington Office Programs CPT Procedures handout for additional information.

Step 2: Once offered a job, get written confirmation from the prospective employer. The job offer letter must be on company letterhead or from an official company email account and must include:

  • title of position and a brief description of duties
  • location of work
  • start and end dates of employment, and number of hours of work per week.
  • if your internship will have periods of part-time and full-time (over 20 hours/week) employment, the job offer letter must specify the dates for each period

If some of this information is not included in the original offer letter or email, an email from the employer with the additional information is also acceptable.

Step 3: Enroll in the appropriate course that fulfills the CPT requirements.

Step 4: Complete the CPT Application. Before submitting, be sure your academic advisor is aware of your internship and plans, as they will receive an email with a link to an online form that they must complete before we can approve your CPT. You should submit your CPT request to the Reves Center at least two weeks before your employment begins.

If your internship will have periods of part-time and full-time (over 20 hours/week) employment, you have to submit two different CPT Applications (one for the part-time period and another for the full-time period).

The CPT work authorization is noted directly on a new I-20, and you will receive an email once it is ready.

Important Reminders
  • Do not begin working until your CPT is approved and you reach the start date. If you wish to continue work beyond the expiration of your CPT, you must apply to extend it before it expires. CPT is NOT granted retroactively.
  • Working at a CPT position at any time outside the authorized CPT period (even for 1 day!) is a violation of F-1 status and your immigration record will be terminated. You may be required to leave the U.S. and your future employment eligibility (e.g., OPT) and academic program may be impacted. 
Social Security

If you do not have a social security number, you may apply for one based on your CPT authorization. You will have to wait to apply until at least 30 days prior to the start date of the CPT. Read more about social security numbers.

Extensions

If you have been approved for CPT, and you wish to extend it so that you may continue longer in your internship, in some cases you may do that by applying for an extension. To qualify for an extension your internship must have no significant changes (same duties, same company), and must continue to be full time (if approved as full time originally) or part time (if approved as part time originally). If there are significant changes, you will need to apply for a new period of CPT, instead of an extension.

CPT Extension Form (iStart)
Application form to apply for an extension of Curricular Practical Training work authorization.

  • Login to iStart using your W&M ID and Password.
  • Click on F-1 Practical Training in the menu on the left-hand side. Then, click on Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and then CPT- Curricular Practical Training (Extension) and complete the form.