Day 1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training) is a term frequently encountered by international students in the United States, especially those pursuing higher education. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of what Day 1 CPT is, its benefits, eligibility criteria, and important considerations.

What is CPT?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus work authorization for F-1 international students that allows them to engage in employment directly related to their field of study. This training must be an integral part of an established curriculum and can include internships, cooperative education programs, or practicum experiences.

Defining Day 1 CPT

What is day 1 cpt permits students to start practical training from the first day of their academic program. Unlike regular CPT, which usually requires students to complete at least one academic year before becoming eligible, Day 1 CPT enables immediate participation in work opportunities.

Integral Part of Curriculum

For CPT to be authorized, the work experience must be a mandatory part of the academic curriculum. This requirement ensures that the employment directly enhances the student’s educational experience.

Benefits of Day 1 CPT

Day 1 CPT allows students to gain valuable work experience right from the start of their academic journey, providing them with practical skills and a competitive edge in the job market.

Financial Support

Engaging in paid CPT positions can help students offset tuition fees and living expenses, easing the financial burden of studying in the U.S.

Enhanced Learning

Combining academic studies with real-world work experience enhances learning by allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings.

Eligibility Criteria for Day 1 CPT

Students must be enrolled in a degree program that requires practical training as part of its curriculum. This typically includes specific courses or program tracks that integrate CPT.

Full-Time Student Status

Maintaining full-time student status is essential for eligibility. This means being enrolled in a full-time course load as defined by the institution.

Valid F-1 Visa

Students must hold a valid F-1 visa and comply with all related immigration regulations, including maintaining lawful status and timely reporting of changes in employment.

Application Process for Day 1 CPT

Students should start by consulting their Designated School Official (DSO) to understand the specific requirements and procedures for Day 1 CPT at their institution.

Secure a Job Offer

Obtain a job offer letter from an employer that outlines the job duties, duration, and how the position relates to the student’s field of study.

Submit Required Documents

Complete and submit the CPT application form provided by the institution, along with the job offer letter and any other required documentation.

Approval and Issuance of Form I-20

Once the DSO reviews and approves the application, they will issue an updated Form I-20 with the CPT authorization noted. This form is essential for legally starting employment.

Important Considerations for Day 1 CPT

Maintaining a balance between academic responsibilities and work commitments is crucial. Students must ensure that their employment does not negatively impact their academic performance.

Compliance with Regulations

Adhering to work hour limitations (part-time during school terms, full-time during breaks) and ensuring all employment is authorized by the DSO is essential for maintaining F-1 status.

Impact on OPT

Participation in CPT can affect eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Specifically, if a student engages in 12 months or more of full-time CPT, they become ineligible for OPT at the same degree level.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Securing a job that qualifies for CPT can be challenging. Networking, career fairs, and leveraging university resources can help students find suitable opportunities.

Managing Paperwork

The CPT application process involves substantial paperwork. Keeping organized and staying in regular communication with the DSO can help manage this effectively.

Understanding Employer Requirements

Employers may not always be familiar with CPT regulations. Educating potential employers about the benefits and legalities of hiring CPT students can facilitate smoother employment negotiations.


Day 1 CPT offers a valuable opportunity for international students to gain practical work experience from the start of their academic programs. By understanding the benefits, eligibility criteria, application process, and important considerations, students can effectively navigate the complexities of Day 1 CPT. This comprehensive guide aims to provide the knowledge and tools necessary for international students to maximize their educational and professional experiences through Day 1 CPT.