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OPT/CPT WORKSHOP . What is CPT?. CPT or Curricular Practical Training is an off-campus employment option for F-1 students. The internship (training experience) is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum and directly related to the student’s major area of study. CPT Eligibility.

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Opt cpt workshop


What is cpt
What is CPT?

CPT or Curricular Practical Training is an off-campus employment option for F-1 students.

The internship (training experience) is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum and directly related to the student’s major area of study.

Cpt eligibility
CPT Eligibility

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (9 Months)

  • Have a declared major

  • Have a job/internship offer directly related to your major area of study

  • Find a faculty mentor to do your independent study with

  • Do an independent study related to your internship the following semester. (295P or 395P)or take the COLL 211 course in the fall

Application process for cpt
Application Process for CPT

  • Obtain an offer letter from an employer

  • Complete CPT Application Form - available on the McCulloch Center website

  • Obtain faculty mentor signature and course information on the CPT Application if doing an independent study. If you are taking the COLL 211 course, you should have your academic advisor sign your application .

  • Make an appointment for CPT with Jenny

  • Bring completed CPT application form and letter from your employer to your appointment

Your offer letter for cpt
Your Offer Letter for CPT

The employer must provide the you a written offer on official letterhead. The following information must be included in the letter:

  • Employer Name

  • Employer Address – and location where student will work

  • Employment Start and End Dates

  • Number of Hours Expected to Work Per Week (Full-Time or Part-Time)

  • Position Title

  • Position Description

  • Name of Immediate Supervisor (if known)

Changes to cpt
Changes to CPT

  • CPT is approved for a specific employer, place of employment, and time period.

  • You may not change employers or extend training employment dates without prior consultation with the McCulloch Center and your faculty mentor

  • You must submit a new, completed CPT application form and offer letter to request any change to your CPT permission before you switch employers.

  • You can not change faculty mentors unless the faculty mentor has left the College or is no longer able or willing to do the independent study with you (this would need to be in writing from the mentor)

Opt optional practical training
OPT (Optional Practical Training)

What is OPT?

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment option available to F-1 students for employment directly related to the major area of study.

    • 12 month period of OPT per higher degree level.

    • 17 month STEM Extension OPT maybe possible for some students.

  • The 12 month OPT period can be divided into 2 types, Pre-Completion and Post-Completion.

    • Pre-Completion OPT is before degree completion and typically used for summer internships if you do not qualify for CPT

    • Post-Completion OPT is after degree completion

Am i eligible to apply for opt
Am I eligible to apply for OPT?

To be eligible for Standard OPT you must:

  • HAVE maintained legal F-1 status for one full academic year.

  • NOT have used full-time CPT for 12 months or more.

Standard opt hours and limitations
Standard OPT Hours and Limitations

  • Employment must be directly related to your academic major and be commensurate with your educational level

  • Standard OPT time per degree level is 12 months

    • the 12-month allotment per degree level may be divided into various segments (Pre-Completion or Post-Completion OPT)

  • Pre-Completion OPT

  • Post-Completion OPT

    • Used after degree program completion

    • start date must fall within 60 days of program completion (this is not the same date as the graduation ceremony if you are completing in December)

  • Unemployment Limit of 90 days starting from OPT start date

Unemployment restriction
Unemployment Restriction

  • During Post-Completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent upon employment.

    • Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment during any Standard Post-Completion OPT.

  • For Post-Completion OPT, the employment does NOT have to be paid employment as long as there is no violation of labor laws, but must be at least 20 hours a week.

    • interning or volunteering in a position directly related to the academic field

    • work for hire (contractual relationship)

    • employment through an agency

Opt cpt workshop


What does this mean?????????

Opt and travel
OPT and Travel

  • Recommended Travel

    • Before the expiration of your I-20, with I-20 travel signature

    • With EAD, signed I-20 for travel, valid visa, passport, letter from employer.

  • Not Recommended Travel

    • The period after your I-20 has expired and before you receive the approved EAD.

    • If your F-1 visa has expired and you will need to apply for a new one.

    • While STEM Extension is pending you should not travel outside the US

Opt cpt workshop


Stem extension opt eligibility
STEM Extension OPT Eligibility

  • Completed a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree in a STEM field.

    • Science Technology Engineering Mathematics

  • Currently engaged in the Standard Post-Completion OPT

  • Have a job or job offer from an E-Verify Employer

    • An employer currently registered and in good standing with the USCIS E-Verify Program

    • There is no public listing of E-Verify Employers

Stem extension opt hours and limitations
STEM Extension OPT Hours and Limitations

  • For the 17-month STEM extension, employment must be traditional paid employment.

  • Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days of unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period.

  • The employment authorization period for the 17-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization, and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date the actual extension is approved.

Applying for stem extension
Applying for STEM Extension

  • Application process is same as the Standard Post-Completion OPT with some additions.

    • Official transcript or Copy of diploma

    • Employer’s name as listed in E-Verify and valid E-Verify identification number.

    • Letter of Employment

  • Apply within 90 to 120 days prior to the Standard OPT expiration date.

While on opt
While on OPT

While you are on OPT you are still considered an F-1 Mount Holyoke student.

Therefore you must:

  • Notify the McCulloch Center of any address change via the online form

  • https://www.mtholyoke.edu/global/international_students/summer_add

  • Have your I-20 signed for travel by our office

  • Report employment information (name, address, interruption of employment) and changes to employment to the McCulloch Center at

  • https://www.mtholyoke.edu/global/visa_immi/opt_form

  • STEM Extension students must complete this form every 6 months.