Working options in the U.S. as an F1 student – CPT and OPT
Posted on April 23, 2020
- CPT is curriculum practical training.
- Students who are currently on valid F-1 status are eligible for CPT.
- CPT is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to the program of study.
- CPT can be paid or unpaid internship, practicum or cooperative education program.
- CPT is employer specific.
- In CPT students can work for 20 hours a week.
- Students who have enrolled for a full-time course in the college or university for at least one year are eligible for applying to CPT
- Processing time for CPT generally takes 3 to 7 days by the DSO.
- OPT is optional practical training.
- Students who are currently on valid F-1 status are eligible for OPT.
- Students can apply for 12 months of OPT at the bachelor’s level and 12 months of OPT at the master’s level.
- OPT is a work permit given to the students, where students can work full time.
- OPT job must be related to the student’s major field of study.
- OPT is not employer specific as long as the position the student is working is related to the program of study and E-verified by the DSO.
- In the OPT period, working 40 hours a week is legal.
- Processing time for OPT generally takes between 1 to 3months.
- Students who are studying in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field can apply for OPT extension.
- OPT extension is valid for 24months.
- If a student works on CPT for more than 12 months i.e., full time CPT will lose the eligibility for OPT.
- Make sure your DSO approves your CPT and OPT and update your I-20 accordingly.
- The difference between OPT and CPT is the time span in which you are qualified for these programs and the kind of work permitted in each program