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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

***Students must have a new CPT endorsed I-20 for the exact company and dates before beginning work.*** 
Working without a CPT endorsed I-20 is a serious violation of your legal status which could forfeit your ability to remain in the U.S. and bar you in the future from re-entry to the U.S.

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Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an authorized period of employment that is an integral or important part of a student’s curriculum. At Stanford, there are two scenarios which qualify students for CPT:

  1. The employment must be a requirement of the degree program. In this case, you may or may not receive academic credit. The CPT endorsement must be issued by Bechtel International Center during the same quarter as the internship period.
  2. In cases where the practical internship is not a requirement, the department must offer a CPT course for which the student receives academic credit. The CPT course must be offered during the same quarter as the internship period. Failure to enroll in and complete the class will result in violation of your legal status.


Eligibility Criteria

  1. You must maintain valid F-1 D/S status.
  2. You must have been enrolled full-time for at least one full academic year. Graduate students are exempt from this requirement if their degree program requires immediate participation in CPT.
  3. You must have an employer for CPT. You cannot be self-employed.
  4. The employment must clearly be related to your field of study.
  5. Undergraduate students are not eligible for CPT until they have declared a major.
  6.  Your department must offer a specific CPT course during that quarter.

CPT Guidelines

  1. You must obtain a new I-20 with CPT authorization prior to the employment start date.
  2. You must obtain a separate I-20  endorsed for each CPT employer if you have multiple employers.
  3. Part-time employment may not exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session. Full-time employment during official school breaks is permitted. You need separate endorsements for part-time and full-time employment even if the employment is in the same quarter.
  4. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in CPT, but if you participate for twelve months or more of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for  optional practical training.
  5. If you work on-campus 20 hours per week or have a 50% RA/TA-ship you are not eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while school is in session. If you have a summer RA/TA-ship and wish to apply for summer CPT you should discuss this with your department.
  6. If you have already completed all course/unit requirements for your degree you are not eligible for CPT except when employment is required to complete the thesis.
  7. You may not do full-time CPT in your final quarter (including summer).
  8. If you are participating in CPT in your final quarter, the last day of employment cannot exceed the final date of exams.
  9. Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) students may qualify to do full-time CPT only if the work is required to complete the PhD/Engineer thesis.
  10. You may not enroll in the same CPT class more than once unless allowed by your department.
  11. You may not enroll in more than one CPT class per quarter.
  12. Students who have applied for Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training may not apply for CPT for the same period.
  13. Do not work under CPT unless you have been issued a new I-20 endorsed for CPT with that specific employer, for the specific period of time requested.   Enrolling for the CPT  based course alone does NOT constitute authorization to work!

***WARNING***   Working without a CPT endorsed I-20 is a serious violation of your legal status which could forfeit your ability to remain in the U.S. and bar you in the future from re-entry to the U.S.


Application Process

  1. Enroll in CPT course.
  2. Begin the on-line application form in Bechtel Connect. You can submit online application form for CPT as early as Axess allows you to enroll in CPT course for the quarter you are doing an internship but no later than 10 days before your internship start date.
  3. The online application requires the approval of the course advisor before you can submit the request to Bechtel. * Please share the below instructions link with the course advisor.
  4. Once your advisor approves the request, return to Bechtel Connect, click on Check Requests / Continue My Requests in Progress and submit the CPT on-line application form. Processing time for the CPT application with Bechtel is 5-10 business days.
  5. Students can NOT begin working until they have the CPT approved I-20 from Bechtel.

CPT Instructions for Advisors

If you are working remotely this summer due to COVID-19, please put the company address in the US under address 1 and 2 and in the remark section state that you are working remotely and list the address where you will be working (either in the US or outside of the US).

You will be notified by email when your new I-20 is approved and ready for pick-up.

Please note:  Students applying for CPT must also meet any additional requirements set by departments concerning the minimum number of units they are required to take during the quarter they are enrolled in the CPT course.

CPT is authorized by Bechtel International Center. You can submit your application as soon as you have enrolled in the CPT course, but no later than 10 working days prior to the start date of employment. A new I-20 authorizing the requested employment period will be issued.

Making Changes to Your CPT Employment Authorization Dates

If you already have a CPT endorsed I-20, and need to change the authorized dates, please ensure that the request meets the following criteria:

  • The employer has not changed.
  • You are still enrolled in the CPT based course during the period of your employment.
  • You have notified your advisor of the change.
  • The change requested is only for dates in the future.
  • The requested end date does not extend into the next quarter.

There are two ways to request a change of CPT Employment Authorization Dates.

  • If your current CPT dates have expired, you will need to submit a new request through Bechtel Connect.
  • If your current CPT dates have not expired, you will need to submit a CPT edit request through Bechtel Connect.

Employment dates for CPT for 2022-2023

For CPT during Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters, when students are required to be enrolled full-time and can only work part-time under CPT, the proposed start and end dates of CPT must closely follow the academic calendar.

*The academic calendar is subject to change.  

The allowable CPT employment dates for the academic year are:

  •  Autumn - start no earlier than 09/15/2022, end no later than 01/08/2023 (GSB end no later than 01/11/2023)
  •  Winter - start no earlier than 12/17/2022, end no later than 04/02/2023 (GSB end no later than 04/05/2023)
  •  Spring - start no earlier than 03/25/2023, end no later than 06/25/2023
  •  Summer - start no earlier than 06/15/2023,  end no later than 09/24/2023

**Please Note: If you are participating in CPT in your final quarter, the last day of employment cannot exceed the last day of class/final date of exams.

No exceptions can be made.

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Due to COVID-19 my internship will now be remote.  Can I still do CPT while abroad?

Yes, the government has given temporary regulations stating that students may work remotely (even from abroad) with CPT authorization.  Students must still enroll in their department's CPT course and obtain CPT authorization from Bechtel.  Also, the employer must have an office outside the U.S. or the employer must be able to assess student engagement and attainment of learning objectives electronically.

Can I do CPT after I graduate, while waiting for my OPT to be approved?

No, CPT can only be used before graduating, while enrolled in courses.

Do I have to pay for the 1 unit CPT course if I am doing CPT in the Summer?


Can I apply for CPT in Bechtel Connect while outside the US?

How do I know what advisor to list on my CPT application in Bechtel Connect?
Please ask your department which advisor you should list.

Can I do CPT while on a leave of absence?

Do I need CPT if I am doing work in my home country (outside the US) for a non-US company?

Can I be self-employed under CPT and work for myself or creating a startup?
No, for CPT you must work for a company other than your own.  For self-employment you would need to apply for pre-OPT which can take 3-5 months to obtain from the USCIS before you would be permitted to work.

What do I need to do if my internship gets canceled due to COVID-19?
You need to notify the Bechtel Int’l Center BEFORE the start date of CPT so that we can cancel your CPT in the system.

Can I do more than one job on CPT?
Yes, but you must apply for CPT in Axess for EACH job. So, you will need to do multiple requests in Axess.

Can I work as an independent contractor while on CPT?
Yes, but be sure that you have an employee/ employer relationship with the company you are working for.  (The relationship may include having someone who can supervise you or fire you.)

I am a PhD student, is it possible to still apply to CPT after I go TGR?
PhD students in TGR status are only permitted to apply for CPT if it is a requirement to complete their thesis.  That is determined by their academic advisor.

What if I want to change my CPT start date after I have received the CPT approved I-20?
If your start date has not arrived yet, than you can request that we change your CPT start date.  The update form can be found on the CPT page of our website.  You cannot begin working with the new start date until you have received the updated I-20.

I have an internship, but I don’t have a social security number.  Can I apply for an SSN now?
Please check our SSN webpage for instructions on how to apply for an SSN.