Skip to main content

Employment Authorization for F-1 Students

Questions?

Int'l Student / Scholar Svcs
202-885-3350
Fax: 202-885-3354
isss@american.edu
Butler Pavilion, Room 410

ISSS office walk-in advising hours: Mondays: 12:00 noon - 5:00 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Bakar, Senem S
Director, International Student & Scholar Services

Int'l Student / Scholar Svcs
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
410 Butler Pavilion
Washington, DC, USA 20016-8041

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment option for F-1 students engaged in an academic program for whom work is considered an integral part of their studies. CPT authorization allows you to accept a one semester paid or unpaid internship in your field of study. You can be authorized for more than one semester of CPT, but each semester's internship must be a different curricular experience from previous internships. 

Remember: You must receive employment authorization from ISSS before you report for your job/internship.

Eligibility 

  • Internship is part of academic program 
  • Internship is registered for academic credit that count towards graduation requirements 
  • Need to have an internship job offer 
  • Have been enrolled in full-time degree program for at least 2 semesters (not including summer), and currently be in good academic standing in F-1 status 

Hours Per Week 

  • Part-time: 20 hours or less 
  • Full-time: No limit*
    *Students granted one year of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) will be ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Application Process 

Internship Class (ex. SIS-391, STAT-491)

  • Contact your academic advisor to verify eligibility and start the registration process 
  • Come to ISSS with Internship Registration Form to verify immigration eligibility for CPT authorization 
  • Register for internship credit(s), keep a copy of the Internship Registration Form 
  • Once the internship class appears on your schedule of classes, log on to iEagle, click on Current Student, and fill out the CPT e-form. You will need to upload the completed Internship Registration Form 
  • Within 3-5 business days ISSS will issue an I-20 with the CPT authorization and notify you for pick-up 
  • Pick up your new I-20 in ISSS before starting work at your internship 

Non-Internship Class (independent study, dissertation research, practicum, field experience, Washington College of Law Juris Doctor externship) 

  • Contact ISSS to verify your CPT eligibility and follow departmental procedure to register for the appropriate class
  • After the registration appears in your schedule of classes, log on to iEagle, click on Current Student, and fill out the CPT e-form
  • You will need to upload your employer letter on company letterhead (including: job/internship description, address of employment, number of hours per week, start and end dates, and contact information)  
  • Your request will be routed to your academic advisor for verification  
  • Within 3-5 business days after advisor verification, ISSS will issue an I-20 with the CPT authorization and notify you for pick-up 
  • Pick up your new I-20 in ISSS before starting work

LLM Practical Track Externship (in 2nd or 3rd semester)

  • Contact your advisor in WCL to verify your eligibility for the practical track externship and to register for the externship course
  • Bring the WCL CPT Approval Form to ISSS to sign and confirm your eligibility for CPT. Return the form to WCL to begin the electronic contract process
  • Complete the WCL externship contract
  • The externship contract will be routed to ISSS for final approval. Within 3-5 business days ISSS will issue an I-20 with CPT authorization and notify you for pick-up
  • After you have the new I-20 with the CPT authorization, you can begin the externship on the approved date