Curricular Practical Training (CPT) / Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Our attorneys provide the following services:

  • Prepare and file responses to Requests for Evidence (OPT/CPT, online courses, etc.)
  • Prepare and file petitions for Change of Status (“gap” between end of OPT and H-1B start date)
  • Assist with Out-of-status problems
  • Assist with Overstays
  • Assist with Reinstatement
  • Assist with Extensions of Stay
  • Prepare and file petitions for family members of students

What is the Difference Between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practice Training (OPT)


  • Includes alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum
  • If student obtained one year or more of full-time CPT, then post-completion training is not available
  • May be granted on a part-time basis (no more than 20 hours/week) or a full-time basis (more than 20 hours/week). A student who works 20 hours or less for 2 years, or more than 20 hours for one year is not eligible for post-completion practical training
  • Part-time CPT does not impact optional practical training (pre- or post- completion of studies)
  • Cannot accept CPT unless student for one academic year or if in language program prior to completion of studies
  • A job offer is required to apply for CPT
  • Unused practical training cannot be used at a later time unless “reserved”
  • Practical training automatically terminates when student transfers to another school


  • Pre-completion (during annual vacation or when school is not in session, or while school is in session as long as not more than 20 hours per week)
  • Post-completion – after completion of all course requirements (excluding thesis or equivalent) for bachelor’s master’s or doctoral degree program; and after completion of the course of study

Post-Completion OPT

  • Limited to 12 months and must complete training within 14 months of graduation
  • 12- month and 14- month limitations do not apply to STEM (science, technology, engineering, or
  • mathematics) students who can obtain an additional 17 months (29 months total) of OPT if the employer is enrolled in the E-Verify program and agrees tor eport student’s departure within 48 hours
  • F-1 may request OPT before completion of the program but no earlier than 90 days before the end of the academic year and no later than 60 days after the program’s end date


  • STEM students have reporting requirements in 6-month increments to DSO
  • STEM subject must be the F-1 student’s major or dual-major (minor STEM students are ineligible)
  • Students may file for the 17-month STEM extension up to 120 days prior to the end of their post-completion OPT
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