Current F-1 status/visa holders or those who will gain the status/visa before CPT begins.
Must be enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (3 quarters) before CPT begins.
Students in a graduate program that requires immediate CPT for a required internship or applied project are exempt from meeting the one academic year enrollment requirement.
Yes! As long as there are no gaps in enrollment, previous enrollment may count towards the eligibility requirement. Students should provide an unofficial transcript or non-F-1 status/visa documents for verification.
For any off-campus positions, students are strongly encouraged to receive CPT approval prior to starting positions for the following reasons: 1) Better academic support, 2) Can accept a form of compensations if offered, 3) Proof of CPT authorization available.
In general, students should not participate in internships that are related to their major and unpaid, especially if other people are being paid to do the same work.
Students should refer to Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm) by the U.S. Department of Labor before accepting unpaid offers.
When applying for CPT, students can select an option to be approved for part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours) CPT.
- CPT can start as early as the day after the previous quarter ends and continue until the day before the following quarter starts. For example, if you have a summer internship, the internship can start as early as the day after the spring quarter ends and continue as late as the day before the autumn quarter starts.
Students should consult with International Student Advisor if CPT dates do not correspond with quarter dates.
CPT start date and end date should be supported by your academic advisor.
However, if you are participating in CPT during your final quarter, your internship and CPT end date must be the last day of the quarter.
Students should register for an internship offered in their majors. Some examples of classes are: TCSS 701, TEE 497, TINFO 497, TCOM 490, TBUS 468, TACCT 601 and TCSL 570.
Internship class credit requirements depend on a student’s major, so consult with your academic advisor. Students should register for at least one internship class credit unless the internship is required to graduate by their majors.
In order to maintain F-1 student status, students must enroll full time each quarter except during their final quarter, they are permitted to enroll part-time to complete their graduation requirements. If summer is not their initial quarter, students are permitted to take summer quarter as their vacation quarter.
Yes, as long as you have not met all graduation requirements. In other words, if the internship is not required to graduate, students must have other required class(es) to take during the final quarter.
Your CPT course cannot be your only class during your final quarter. You must register for one other course, and that course cannot be 100% online.
An internship is not required but optional for most majors at UW Tacoma.
By registering for an internship course, it shows that the academic department supports your internship and that it is related to your degree.
Approval from academic advisor will verify that an internship is appropriate for CPT.
Generally, the following items are required:
- An internship offer letter
- Registration for an internship class reflected on class schedule
- Submit CPT request in the ISSS Portal. (NOTICE: CPT request form is only available to students with active SEVIS records. If you are a new student and your SEVIS record has not been activated, you will NOT be able to access this form. If you need an assistance, please email us at: email@example.com)
CPT is approved by international student advisors.
After students submit a completed request (no missing items) and academic advisor approval is received, a CPT-approved I-20 will be issued within 5 business days.
In almost all cases, students must register for an internship class to gain CPT approval. Students should pay attention to Academic Calendar (https://www.tacoma.uw.edu/registrar) for the “Last day to add a course through MyUW.” The deadline is usually the third Friday of the quarter.
Students cannot begin CPT until a CPT approved I-20 is issued.
Absolutely not! Students can only begin CPT after receiving a CPT approved I-20 from an International Student Advisor. The International Student Advisor cannot approve CPT for past dates but only the day of or in the future.
Working at your internship before your CPT is approved is considered unauthorized work, which is a violation of your F-1 visa/status and can result in the denial of future work authorization benefits (ie, OPT, H-1b, green card, etc.)
Changes After Approval
Your CPT approved I-20 must be updated. Contact your international student advisor.
Your CPT end date must be shortened. Contact an international student advisor.
CPT is authorized for a specific employer and location that is printed on your I-20. Contact an international student advisor if this info needs to be updated.
Normally CPT is approved on a quarterly basis. If you wish to extend CPT beyond the end date printed on I-20, you should contact an international student advisor.
CPT approval is contingent on the internship class registration for most cases. Withdrawing from an internship class may affect your full-time enrollment status. Contact your international student advisor to discuss your options.
If you withdraw from your internship class without notifying your international student advisor, it is a violation of your F-1 visa/status.
Part-time CPT will have no effect on OPT eligibility. Students who engage in full-time CPT for 365 days will lose eligibility to apply for all OPT opportunities.
The exception to full-time enrollment and CPT participation is during a student’s vacation quarter (usually the Summer quarter). During the vacation quarter, students only need to register for an internship course.
No. If students are engaged in CPT during their final quarter, the internship must end by the last date of the quarter.
If you want to continue participating in training after you graduate, you must apply and be approved for OPT.
To engage in a paid internship, an SSN is required. Your international student advisor can issue a letter requesting the Social Security Administration to assign an SSN to you.
You will need to take this letter to the Social Security Administration office to request an SSN. Please review this page for additional information on the required documents.