• Curricular Practical Training

    An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO (contact information is below). A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.

    You must have been enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT. It is available only while the student is in valid F-1 status and before the completion of his/her program.

    Documentation Requirements:

    1. A recommendation from your academic Dean recommending the practical training experience and explaining the academic requirements that the proposed employment will fulfill. Submit to DSO.
    2. An Employment Information Form for International Students Requesting Permission to Work completed by you. Submit to DSO.
    3. An official offer of employment letter on company letterhead (example attached) that is signed by the prospective employer. The letter should include the employer's name, address and dates of employment. Submit to DSO.
    4. Completion of the CPT Application in the International House Office.

    Note: You must be registered for CPT credits in the same semester during which the work will be done. (i.e., You must be registered for CPT credits in the Spring Semester if you will be working in the Spring Semester.)

    If you are eligible and have the documentation required for CPT, the DSO will authorize CPT by creating a new SEVIS I-20. You may engage in CPT employment only after you have received the I-20 with your CPT authorization from the DSO. This work authorization is only for the specific employer, location, time period and on a part-time basis (20 hrs. or less a week) during the academic year or full-time basis (over 20 hrs. a week) during the annual vacation as approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS. CPT is limited to 12 months. Part-time practical training shall be deducted from the available practical training at one-half the full-time rate. Students who have received one year or more full-time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion practical training (OPT).

    Additionally, you will also require a social security number. Take the following items to the Social Security Office in Meridian, MS or Tuscaloosa, AL.

    1. I-20 with the CPT endorsement
    2. I-94 (You can download and print a copy of your I-94 by going online: http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions)
    3. Passport and Visa
    4. Authorization to work letter from Susan Sparkman, UWA Registrar or Mark Davis, International Programs Interim Director
    5. Copy of the Recommendation of Academic Dean for Curricular Practical Training
    6. Copy of your official offer of employment letter (Example attached)
    7. Application form for a social security card: Form SS-5. The form is available online at http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf
    Meridian Office:
    Social Security Administration
    4817 North Park Drive
    Meridian, MS 39305
    Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Phone: 1-866-403-8014
    Tuscaloosa Office:
    Social Security Administration
    Federal Building
    2005 University Blvd. #1200
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Phone: 877-480-4988 

    If you have been in the U.S. for no more than five calendar years, you are exempt from social security taxes (also known as F.I.C.A. tax). You should be sure to bring this to the attention of your employer because many employers are not familiar with this provision of the tax laws. Students in F-1 status are subject to all other taxes that may apply, including federal, state and local.

    Finally, within the first three days of beginning work, you and your employer must complete a form entitled Employment Eligibility Verification (USCIS Form I-9). This form will be kept on file by your employer and must be updated each time you receive a renewal of your work permission. Your SEVIS CPT I-20 should meet the documentation requirement of the I-9.

    If you require any further information or clarification, then you should contact or make an appointment with a Designated School Officials (DSO):

      Mark Davis
    Station 51

    or one of the other DSOs on campus (Maxine McClusky, Connie Marine, or Susan Sparkman)


    Important Note:  NO CPT applications will be processed the last two days of a working semester nor will they  be processed during new student checkins at the beginning of a new semester.  You must plan ahead!