CPT | Curricular Practical Training

Work Authorization while Studying for F-1 Students

F-1 International Students are eligible to work on-campus only during their studies unless they receive special authorization. This authorization is called CPT. 

Work Authorization Information
  • International (F-1) students are all allowed to work on the GVSU campuses without special authorization (20hrs during academic term, 40hrs during breaks)
  • To work off of campus before graduation, students must be authorized through our office (ISS) and through immigration under CPT
  • CPT stands for Curricular Practical Training
  • An international student is never allowed to work off of campus without CPT authorization unless it is unpaid and there is no compensation for the work performed
  • To be eligible for CPT, the student must meet four requirements:
  1. Be enrolled in a for-credit course in their major that requires/corresponds with the work experience
  2. Have academic advisor approval
  3. Have a job offer in-hand
  4. Complete the cooperative agreement
  • CPT is authorized based on the semester a student is registered for their internship/co-op course (authorization dates are roughly the same as the semester)
  • Students can be authorized for full-time or part-time CPT based on the total number of hours they work
  • If a student is authorized for more than 360 days total during their degree for FULL TIME CPT, they lose their ability to have OPT
  • OPT stands for Optional Practical Training and is a benefit of the F-1 student visa
  • OPT allows 1 year (up to 3 years for STEM) work authorization anywhere within the US after graduation but only within the student’s field of study/major


CPT Authorization Information

If you plan to work a paid position off campus, we will need you to complete an online form in order to be authorized for CPT. Please submit the online form with all necessary information. Here is the link to the form:

CPT Portal 

It takes around 2 weeks to process a CPT I-20. You may NOT work until you have your new I20. Please remember, in order to be authorized for CPT you need the following:

  1.  job offer letter*
  2.  academic advisor approval form* OR email*
  3.  proof of registration for course that requires work experience
  4.  complete the cooperative agreement

*these items need to be uploaded to the CPT form as PDFs

Page last modified May 31, 2022