CPT Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work for a company other than my CPT employer or outside of the authorized dates?

No. CPT is authorized for a specific employer/placement company and location and is date-specific. Changing your employer, dates, full-time/part-time hours all requires IPO approval. Submit a new CPT request as outlined in Application Steps if your employer or hours change. See the next FAQ for date changes.

Can I extend my CPT?

Yes, but with certain conditions:

If you are extending in the same term, please send an updated job offer letter to your IPO advisor and email confirmation from your Academic Advisor. Extension requests take 5 business days to process.

If you are extending into a new academic term, you must submit a new CPT Request Form by following the CPT Application Steps.

I was approved for 20-hours of CPT (part-time), may I work more than 20 hours (full-time)?

No. Since you were only approved for part-time CPT, you must gain approval for full-time CPT and resubmit the CPT Request form under CPT Application Steps.

I would like to work full-time for the next two years. Is this possible?

Yes—with the following warnings:

  • Regulations state that 12-months or more of full-time CPT will eliminate ALL OPT eligibility. The IPO does not recommend using 12-months or more of full-time CPT.
  • You will need to meet the CPT eligibility requirements and follow the application process for each academic term’s CPT. This will require multiple CPT requests.

Does part-time CPT affect my OPT eligibility?

No, you are eligible for unlimited part-time CPT as long as you meet the CPT eligibility requirements and follow the application steps for each academic term’s CPT.

Is there an application fee for CPT?

No.

Do I need CPT authorization for an unpaid internship or unpaid training opportunity outside the U.S.?

No. You should consult with your Career Services Office to ensure your opportunity is registered with them.

​I was offered a job at one of the Five Colleges, do I need CPT?

Employment of an academic nature (teaching, research, etc.) at the Five Colleges is considered on-campus and does not need CPT approval. Other employment (office work, athletics, etc.) is not permitted at the Five Colleges without authorization. Check with your IPO advisor if you are unsure.

Do I need to update my address if I will be living someone else while on CPT?

YES!! Update it in SPIRE within 10-days of relocating for your CPT employment (internship, etc.). Failure to do so could be considered a violation of your immigration status. You should also update the Career Development Hub so it is updated on your Handshake Contract.

Can I apply for a Social Security Number?

Yes. If you have not already obtained an SSN, you will be able to apply using your new CPT I-20 and your offer letter within 30-days of your employment starting date. See SSN instructions here.

Do I have to pay taxes while on CPT?

Maybe. The IPO cannot advise on taxes so you should consult with your HR’s payroll, the VITA Tax Clinic at Isenberg (February through April), or a tax professional proficient in non-resident tax status questions. We also highly recommend consulting these Internal Revenue Service guidelines on non-resident tax status questions. We also highly recommend consulting these Internal Revenue Service guidelines here and here

The IPO also partners with other UMass offices to provide a tax workshop for non-resident aliens.

Can I have CPT if I was at a previous academic level?

It depends:

  • Students who finished their degree and then immediately begin a new degree program (i.e. bachelor’s to masters) are eligible for CPT. Usage of full-time CPT resets at each degree level.
  • Students who finished their degree and then were on OPT are not eligible for CPT until after 9 months of full-time enrollment in F-1 status (unless the new degree program requires immediate participation).
  • Students who were at a previous institution and/or in another immigration status may be eligible for CPT. Check with your IPO advisor if you are unsure.

How many hours per week can I work on-campus while on CPT off-campus?

CPT combined with other on-campus employment is considered a gray area of the regulations as DHS’ guidance is not clear. The decision to have CPT and on-campus employment is ultimately up to you. You should consider your course load with your on-campus work, in addition to your CPT, and personal commitments in deciding to combine CPT with on-campus employment. Remember that you are a student first and that not meeting your academic or professional obligations can have long-term consequences.

Up to 20 hours per week is considered part time; anything more than 20 hours per week is considered full time for CPT purposes.

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