October 2, 2023

What Is A CPT Visa?

If you’re enrolled in a co-op program in the United States, you need a visa to complement your F-1 Visa before you can start work. But the question is, what is a CPT Visa?

CPT means Curricular Practical Training in full, and is required to work and study in the USA as an international student. This visa is exclusively for paid internships and co-op programs, provided you are an F-1 Visa holder.

The work you intend on getting a CPT Visa for must relate to your discipline. Besides, you can apply for this visa to work during any breaks, including summer.

CPT Visa Types

Here are the two types of Curricular Practical Training visas for international students to work in the United States:

1. Required CPT Visa

A Required CPT Visa allows you to work in the US only if your program mandates practical work experience for graduation.

2. Optional CPT Visa

This visa is ideal for acquiring work experience related to your subject area but not mandatory for graduation.

How Long is a CPT Visa Valid for in the US?

A Curricular Practical Training visa is valid for up to 12 months and is extendable for the same period, making 24 months. If you use a CPT Visa to work full-time for up to 12 months, you won’t qualify to apply for an Optional Practical Training (OPT) Visa.

Who is Eligible for a CPT Visa in the US?

To qualify for a CPT Visa, you must hold a valid F-1 Visa and have completed at least one academic year at an SEVP-certified school.

But if you’re a graduate student, you can apply for the visa, provided your program urgently requires an internship.

Other requirements for the visa include a job offer and a U-M approved health insurance. Moreover, your enrollment must not be in an intensive English language training program.

What Are The Documents Required for a CPT Visa?

The application procedures for CPT Visas in the US require the following documents, aside from your online workshop completion email.

  • Duplicate of your current I-20
  • An elaborate training description from your employer or company addressed to you in its letterhead. It must also include your job title, job description, how long you’ll work weekly, and the office address.
  • Duplicate of paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94
  • Recommendation from your academic or faculty advisor for Curricular Practical Training
  • Hardcopy of your unofficial transcript indicating your enrollment in a CPT program/course

Be aware that these documents must be submitted without any exceptions or your application will be neglected.

Related Post: How To Schedule A US Visa Appointment.

Is CPT a US Work Authorization?

Yes, a Curricular Practical Training visa is an employment authorization that allows you to work in the US as an international student. You can apply for an SSN if you hold this type of visa.

How Long Does It Take To Get a CPT Visa?

CPT Visa processing time usually takes five business days. To be on the safe side, apply at least two weeks before the date you’re to commence work.

With a valid Curricular Practical Training Visa, you can work full-time, i.e., for up to 40 hours a week in the US. So do not hesitate to apply for one to gain relevant experience, make some money, and grow a professional network.

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