CPT Time Limits
You may be approved for CPT multiple times during your degree program. At all times, you must continue to make satisfactory progress toward completing your degree program. Satisfactory progress is defined by each school/college or department. Definitions can be found in the UW-Madison Guide. You must also meet the CPT eligibility requirements each time you request authorization.
If you are authorized for 365+ days of full-time CPT, you are not eligible for post-completion OPT at the same degree level. Please click here for the regulations.
Accumulating part-time CPT generally does not affect your eligibility for post-completion OPT. However, please know that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will review an OPT applicant’s entire CPT history when determining OPT eligibility.
You can download this CPT Calculator to track how much CPT you have used at this degree level and to determine your post-completion OPT eligibility.
Part-Time versus Full-Time CPT
Part-time and full-time practical training is defined by immigration as:
- Part-time CPT- 20 hours or less per week
- Full-time CPT- more than 20 hours per week
Your CPT must be authorized for either part-time or full-time. If there is a change in the number of hours per week you work that will change your part-time or full-time authorization, you must have new CPT authorization before you change your work schedule. A change in part-time/full-time CPT authorization requires a new CPT application.
You must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time and be physically present on campus in order to maintain lawful F-1 status during fall and winter terms.
CPT is typically authorized one semester at a time and is based on your CPT course enrollment confirmation, or your department’s required practical training experience.
You must have an I-20 with valid CPT authorization dates to engage in your practical training experience.
General CPT Date Requirements:
- Earliest start date: must be after one year of full-time enrollment during consecutive fall/spring semesters
- End date: must end on or before your I-20 end date
Shorten Your Authorized CPT Dates
If you need to shorten the dates of your CPT authorization, you must email ISS at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request and confirmation of the new dates from your employer and academic/faculty/career advisor. It is not possible to change your CPT dates after your CPT authorization has ended.
Extend Your Authorized CPT Dates
If you need to extend the dates of your CPT authorization, it is your responsibility to contact ISS. In most cases, course enrollment must first be verified before CPT authorization can be granted. If the CPT experience will extend beyond the semester for which you have been authorized, you have two options available to request an extension of your CPT authorization. CPT extensions can only be requested if all employment information and course number will remain the same. Otherwise, you must submit a new CPT application.
Option 1: List the requested dates on your original CPT application. If ISS is not able to authorize your CPT for the full duration, email ISS at email@example.com to request the CPT extension after you have enrolled for the appropriate course, as indicated on the CPT application, for the semester for which you are requesting the CPT extension. Processing time may take approximately 15 business days.
Option 2: Submit written approval from both the advisor and employer who signed the original CPT application form that both parties agree to the new CPT end date. (Forwarded emails or a letter on letterhead are acceptable). Email the request as one email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Processing time may take approximately 15 business days.