Who is my sponsor while on CPT?
UMass Amherst is your immigration sponsor while on CPT. We will assist you with the needed work authorization for your employment. No additional sponsorship beyond your CPT authorization is required at this time.
Can I have CPT after I graduate, while waiting for my OPT to be approved?
No, CPT can only be used before your completion of studies date or your defense date. CPT is part of your degree, not just for work authorization.
Can I work for a company other than my CPT employer or outside of the authorized dates?
No. CPT authorization is specific. Changing your employer, dates, full-time/part-time hours, etc. from what is on your I-20 requires IPO approval. If you are extending our internship dates, please see the CPT Extension Request section. If you are changing your employer, you need a new CPT request and should follow the CPT Application Steps above.
Can I do more than one job on CPT?
Yes, but you must request a separate CPT authorization using the process above for EACH employer.
Can I be self-employed under CPT and work for myself or creating a startup?
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 E-form under CPT Application Steps.
What if my CPT is cancelled or shortened?
Please contact your IPO advisor immediately so we can amend your CPT.
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. Full-time CPT is considered 20 hours or more per week.
- You will need to meet the CPT eligibility requirements each term and complete the application process for each academic term’s CPT. This will require multiple CPT requests.
My internship is abroad. Do I need CPT?
It depends. In some situations, we would recommend that you apply for CPT even if you are abroad. Please review the questions below and reach out to your IPO Advisor with your answers so we can help you determine if you need CPT.
- Will you be in the U.S. at any point of your internship?
- Is the internship company located in the U.S. or outside of the U.S.?
- Are you being paid in U.S. dollars? Are you being paid in a U.S. bank account?
- Where is the internship company located?
- What internship location will you put on your CV/resume?
All students interning abroad (even if you do not need CPT) must get approval from the Education Abroad office in the IPO. Please email abroad[at]umass[dot]edu to ensure all UMass travel protocols are met.
Does part-time (20 hours or less) CPT affect my OPT eligibility?
No, you are eligible for unlimited part-time CPT if you meet the CPT eligibility requirements and follow the application steps for each academic term’s CPT.
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 if you remain under the 20 hour/week limit at both UMass and the Five Colleges. If you will work more than 20 hours on-campus and at a Five College, please contact your IPO Advisor. Other employment (office work, athletics, etc.) at the Five Colleges is not permitted.
You may need a separate letter from the IPO for the other institution’s HR and the SSN process.
Do I need to update my address if I will be living somewhere else while on CPT?
Yes. Update your address 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.
Can I apply for a Social Security Number?
Yes. If you need an SSN, you can apply within 30-days of your employment starting date using your new CPT I-20 and your offer letter. See the SSN instructions for those on CPT here.
Do I have to pay taxes while on CPT?
The IPO cannot advise on taxes so you should consult with your company’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 here and here.
Can I travel while on CPT?
Yes, please review our travel information here to ensure you have all the needed documents to return to the U.S. Your CPT I-20 will already be signed for travel on page 2 of your I-20 so there is no need to request an additional signature unless it is more than 12 months old.
Can I have CPT if I was at a previous academic level?
- 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 graduate 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.
Can the IPO back date my CPT approval?
No. You can only start working once the IPO has provided your new CPT I-20. Starting prior to your approved start date will be a violation of the immigration regulations and may jeopardize your immigration status.
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.