International Student Practical Training Policy
An international student may apply to the Service United States Custom and Immigration Services for authorization for internships as well as temporary employment related to the student’s major area of study. The purpose of this policy is to define Practical Training policy and procedures for F-1 visa students.
This policy applies to all international students in F-1 student visa status at Columbia College.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: “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.” Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. Students may participate in CPT prior to completion of a degree program. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program.
To be eligible for CPT, students must meet the following criteria:
- Full-time enrollment for one academic year prior to requesting CPT authorization
- Maintain lawful F-1 status
- Have a job offer
- Be enrolled in COLL 107 or internship credit during the CPT experience
Part-time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. Though there is no limitation upon the length of time for participation in part-time CPT, students must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.
Full-time CPT: Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will invalidate eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). During the academic year (fall and spring semesters), students must be simultaneously enrolled full-time in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.
CPT is processed and authorized semester by semester. Contact the International Center, Missouri Hall 232, for specific guidelines regarding CPT requests or to receive a copy of the college’s CPT policy.
Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined in the Federal Regulations as temporary employment directly related to a student’s field of study. During OPT, a student remains in F-1 status. The end result of the OPT request process is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS).
To be eligible for OPT, students must meet the following criteria:
- Full-time enrollment for one academic year prior to requesting OPT authorization
- Maintain lawful F-1 status
The standard period of OPT eligibility is a maximum of 12 months. Students may apply for part-time OPT prior to the program completion date. Part-time OPT is deducted from the 12-month limit at 50 percent. Students in F-1 status may become eligible for an additional 12 months of OPT by completing a program at a higher educational level.
Contact the International Center, Missouri Hall 232, for specific guidelines regarding OPT applications or to request a copy of the college’s OPT policy.