F-1 Curricular Practical Training F-1 CPT

IMPORTANT: Students are NOT ALLOWED to engage in any off-campus employment, whether paid or unpaid, without proper authorization from ISSS or USCIS. Before pursuing any off-campus employment, read through the instructions on this page, take the necessary steps and receive the form I-20 with CPT authorization first. Failure to do so may negatively impact one's current visa status, future US immigration opportunities and the ability to maintain their enrollment at Penn.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations state that Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be directly related to the major and an integral part of an established curriculum.

CPT is defined as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." Thus, CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide work experience in the U.S. in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student's academic program and an established curriculum, prior to completion of that program. You must obtain CPT authorization before commencing CPT employment.

CPT Webinar (Recorded Spring 2024)

How To Apply for CPT

  1. Before applying for CPT, you should register for the CPT course if applicable.

  2. Obtain a copy of your official offer letter on company letterhead that is signed by the prospective employer.  A photocopy is acceptable.  The letter should include the employer's name, full address, dates of employment, and duties.

  3. The CPT electronic request form is available in iPenn. After you log in with your PennKey, you will find "CPT Request" under Student Services in the left menu.

  4. As part of your iPenn e-form submission, scan and upload the following:

    • Copy of your passport information page

    • Copy of your I-94 card (if in the US)
    • Copy of your official offer letter as described in step 2 above