F1 Visa

OPT Eligibility After Using Part-Time CPT for 12+ Months

Question from Naveed on using CPT for over 12 months and eligibility for OPT.

I have a query regarding part time CPT. Am a PhD candiadate and am doing my reserach in collaboration with a company. I will be using part time CPT to work at the company for Fall 2012 and spring 2013 semesters which comes to around 35 weeks.

I have already used 32 weeks of full time CPT in 2011 and 2012 summer’s. Next summer I will still be working at the company to finish off my research and want to use OPT for that but my DSO says part time CPT does not count for full time CPT of 12 months.

I searched around and some people have suggested that they had faced problems after using part time and full time CPT (combined together )for more than 12 months. Kindly let me know the rules.

Par-Time CPT vs OPT Eligibility

Following CPT rules were posted at ICE.Gov

  • CPT must relate to your major and the experience must be part of your program of study.
  • When you enroll at the graduate level, your designated school official (DSO) may authorize CPT during your first semester if your program requires this type of experience.  Ask your DSO for details.
  • Your DSO will provide you a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” that shows that the DSO has approved you for this employment.
  • You can work on CPT either full-time or part-time.
  • CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from your employer.
  • If you have 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are ineligible for OPT, but part-time CPT is fine and will not stop you from doing OPT.

Last bullet point says, you will not have any problem for using Part-Time CPT for over 12 months.

Looks like your DSO is correct.

If you still have additional concerns, talk to an Immigration Attorney.

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