How to complete the CPT Offer Letter (Download a Template)
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Include the student’s full legal name and address the letter to the student.
Official name of employing organization
The name used here will appear on the student’s official authorization. It should typically match the employer’s business or organization name used on the I-9 or EIN documentation.
Physical address of work location
This address is typically where the student reports to work each day. However, this may sometimes differ from the employer’s business or organization address used for I-9 or EIN documentation.
If these addresses differ, put the address as you need it to appear on the student’s employment authorization document. Although only the city and state will print on the document, the entire address is reported through the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You can attach a supplemental document on your letterhead confirming the address at which the student is expected to report for work.
Indicate whether or not the student will be working remotely. Follow the same instructions above if the student will be working remotely.
The name and contact information for the student’s direct supervisor will remain on file.
Requested dates of employment
Exact start and end dates are required. The dates are typically contingent on specific course enrollment and therefore align roughly with the dates of the semester.
Note that these are the requested start and end dates. A student must have an I-20 with valid CPT authorization in order to start working. CPT review and processing can take up to 15 business days.
Authorized CPT dates may be able to be shortened or extended with the permission of the student, employer, and the student’s academic/faculty/career advisor and ISS approval.
Average hours per week
CPT must be authorized for either part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (over 20 hours per week).
A student may be restricted to the number of hours per week they can be authorized to work.
If there is a change in the number of hours per week the student is expected to work that will change it to or from part-or full-time, a new CPT application must be submitted to ISS for review and approval before the change of training hours.
The position title and most importantly the position description must be directly related to the student’s major (not a minor or certificate). Attach additional pages on letterhead as needed.
Sign the letter
The name, title, and signature of a person authorized to hire or supervise an individual for practical training is required. Acceptable signatures include an authorized digital signature or physical signature on a paper form that has been scanned/emailed. ISS will accept an emailed letter from your employer’s/trainer’s email address.
Return the completed letter to the student
The student is responsible for uploading a completed CPT application form to ISS for review and processing. All student requests are submitted via the student’s TerraDotta portal.
What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment authorization for F-1 students. Eligible students may seek authorization to work in an internship, co-op, or practicum that is directly related to their major field of study. The purpose of CPT is to apply the knowledge and skills they are gaining in the classroom to practical work experience in the U.S.
Does CPT require visa sponsorship?
CPT is not a separate visa category and does not require “sponsorship” from an employer. However, the student must have a practical training offer from the employer before they can apply for CPT authorization. A template letter can be found below.
Does CPT require payment?
CPT is for paid and unpaid experiences. Remuneration of any kind constitutes payment for immigration purposes. This includes free or reduced cost housing, parking, meals, etc. Be mindful of Department of Labor criteria for internships and volunteer positions.
Who authorizes CPT?
CPT is authorized by a Designated School Official (DSO) at International Student Services (ISS). It may take ISS 15 business days to review and approve a student’s CPT request. An F-1 student must request authorization from the school at which they are enrolled full-time with their F-1 I-20.
A student must have CPT authorization before they can start their practical training experience. CPT authorization is typically granted for one semester at a time, because authorization is contingent on enrollment in a specific course. More information on CPT authorization dates can be found in the student information section.
What do I need to do to hire a student on CPT?
Once an F-1 student has accepted an offer from your company or organization, they will need an offer letter. This letter must be on letterhead, signed by the supervisor or hiring authority, and address each required field in the template above.
The student must upload the completed offer letter their online CPT request in TerraDotta. This is a requirement of their CPT application process.
What does CPT authorization look like?
CPT is authorized on an F-1 student’s Form I-20 on page 2 (of 3 pages total). The authorization is granted using the information collected on the ISS CPT application form. The student must keep the original document for their permanent records. The employer should see the original document and verify the authorization dates and details.
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