Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training

For international students holding an F-1 visa:

Under current regulations, international students holding F-1 visas who enroll in Cross-Cultural Seminar can be authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) provided they meet eligibility and procedural requirements.  The Cross-Cultural Seminar is an application-only course that is open to students who have experience working outside their country of residence. CPT is authorized employment pursuant to an internship elective that earns academic credit toward fulfilling degree requirements.  To be eligible you must have completed at least two semesters of study.  The procedure for international students who wish to be authorized for CPT is as follows:

  • Bring the completed F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Request Form, along with a letter from your employer confirming the exact start and end dates of the internship, to OSA in Uris Hall room 113.

  • After OSA has signed your application and registered you in the Seminar, submit the required documents as instructed on this page. The required documents are listed below:

    1. A copy of the CPT Employer Letter which must contain the following (ISSO has provided an example letter as a sample, but do not submit this):

      1. be on official company letterhead

      2. have a specific start date and a specific end date (the dates must fall within the current academic semester)

      3. include the location where your work will be performed

      4. include the number of hours per week you will work include description of your position duties

      5. be signed and dated by your employer

    2. The completed F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Request Form, (signed by an OSA officer.)

    3. Your most recent I-94 arrival record. Click here to access your record.

  • The above-listed documentation can be submitted to the ISSO as early as 90 days but no less than 10 days before you wish to begin employment.

  • The ISSO will update your SEVIS record for CPT authorization and issue a new I-20.  The ISSO will email you when the new I-20 is ready to be picked up. The ISSO recommendation requires 10 working days for processsing. 

  • Students may register for the Cross-Cultural Seminar up to 3 times.

If you have any additional questions about CPT or other matters relating to your F-1 status, please refer to the ISSO website or contact the ISSO at isso@columbia.edu. Additionally, see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Employment related to your field of study immediately after completion of your studies, authorized by USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) through the issuance of an EAD card (Employment Authorization Document). OPT is permitted for a period of up to a maximum of twelve months.

For more information about OPT, please refer to the ISSO website or contact the ISSO at isso@columbia.edu.