OPT vs CPT - F1 Visa Work Options in USA

Difference between F1 OPT vs CPT ? Day 1 CPT ? [2020]

In F1 Visa by KumarUpdated : 326 Comments

When international students arrive in America on F1 visa, they usually start to work in on campus jobs. Usually after couple of semesters, you would be eligible to work on practical training…sometimes, you can work even before that, depending on program and school. These work options are broadly classified under practical training. The goal is to provide training opportunities in US for international students to gain on-the-job-learning .

There are primarily two options that most of the F1 students use : Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and  Optional Practical Training (OPT). Also, some maybe eligible for STEM OPT. This article covers all the basics and looks at differences.

What is Curricular Practical Training ( CPT) ?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is primarily given to F1 Visa International students to work and gain experience of their field of study, when they are studying.  CPT is usually part of the program and you get credit for working on CPT. The credits you did for CPT would also be counted towards your degree. This is the reason, CPT is only done by students before they graduate.

Most of the standard good schools allow students to work on CPT after 2 semester or 9 months( one academic year i.e, Fall & Spring) after entering US.   To use CPT, you need to work with the academic department or your specific career services and international student advisor within the university to get CPT.  

When employers offer a job, they call it as Co-op or Internship. But, for F1 students, on their course record and immigration status perspective, it is classified as CPT. You can look at CPT as legally working for a potential employer who is giving you an opportunity to prove yourself, while you are studying. Also, you get paid when you work on CPT.

 How long can you work on CPT ?

Usually you can work up to 20 hours on CPT during regular semester as full time student. During summer, you can work for up to 40 hours on CPT. It is suggested that you do not work on CPT for more than 12 months (full time) on CPT. If you do so, you will not get your OPT. Also, you can only work on CPT, until you graduate. CPT is considered part of program and you cannot work on CPT after you graduate.

How to get CPT approved ?

You will need to work with the DSO ( Designated School official) or International student Adviser and your academic department to process your CPT application. DSO would issue you a new I-20 indicating the CPT approval.  Also, You might have to work with the career services at your school sometimes for processing of the paperwork. Also, some schools do not allow CPT if you do not have the job offer in the local city. So, you need to make sure and check with the school on the CPT requirements to get approval.

What is Day 1 CPT ? Issues ?

Sometimes, based on the program, the Designated School Official(DSO) at the university may authorize working on CPT during first semester. If they authorize F1 student to work on CPT from Day 1 ( meaning starting of school), then it is classified as Day 1 CPT.

Day 1 CPT is not common among most of the schools in America. Only few handful of shady schools and degree mills kind of schools offer Day 1 CPT.  There is a lot of fraud around Day 1 CPT schools. Many students, without this knowledge fall into the trap and end up in situations like arrests, deportation as in Univ of Farmington Day 1 CPT scandal. With Day 1 CPT, you may not even get H1B approved with Change of Status(COS) as USCIS usually treats Day 1 CPT status as not legal.

Also, if you going for second Masters, you are not eligible for CPT from Day 1, it is a misconception that you have already been in US for two semesters. All the standard rules of CPT apply, read Can you work on CPT from Day 1 in Second Masters in US.

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT) ?

Optional Practical Training(OPT) is a form of practical training that is given to international F1 students to work in their field of study. It is typically given to gain on the job experience and practical experience for the academic knowledge gained in the degree program. It is usually given for 12 months for all degree holders, with an option to extend for 24 months for STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ) Degree holders.  This used to be 17 months, but a new rule was passed in 2015 to extend 17 month to 24 month OPT  .

Unlike CPT, OPT is not part of the curriculum and you do not get any credit for your degree. There are two types of OPT, called as pre-completion OPT and post completion OPT.

Pre-completion OPT

Pre-completion OPT is to work in the student’s area of study before F1 student graduation.  You need to be enrolled in the degree program as full time student for one academic year to participate in pre-completion OPT. You can work part time up to 20 hours, when school is in session and you are enrolled full time. You can work for up to 40 hours or full time during summer breaks. 

If the student choose to use pre-completion OPT, the respective amount of time is deducted from 12 months OPT time period. For instance, if you work on Pre-completion OPT for 5 months, then you will be eligible only for 7 months of post completion OPT.

Post-completion OPT

Post completion OPT is to work in student’s field of study after the F1 student graduation. Typically, most of the students use OPT after graduating from school. So, if you hear students or anyone referring to OPT, they mean post-completion OPT. They usually do not use “post completion” as this is the common way of calling and it is how many use it.

General rules of OPT like working in same field of study apply here as well. General OPT is given for 12 months duration, if you have not used it before graduation and have not worked on CPT in full time for 12 months. You maybe eligible for 24 month extension of OPT, if your degree falls under STEM category.

To utilize OPT and get Employment Authorization Document (EAD), you will have to fill EAD application (I-766 form) and send to USCIS. As per USCIS OPT application process, You can apply for OPT up to 90 days before you graduate and no longer than 60 days after you graduate.

You need to plan your OPT and  apply on time so that you are in OPT after you graduate. You will lose your status in US if you don’t have OPT started within 2 months grace period. You can work for anyone in OPT, there are no restrictions, but it must related to your degree area of study.

What is STEM OPT  ?

STEM OPT is nothing but OPT given for certain F1 holders, who are eligible based on their degree category. In 2015, USCIS announced a new set of rules stating that if your degree belongs to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)  degree fields, you are eligible to apply for STEM OPT Extension. You get another 24 month, if STEM OPT is approved.

To avail this, you need to be part of the list STEM Designated Degrees by DHS by having the right CIP Code for your degree to qualify for STEM Degree.  To get STEM OPT approval, there are certain rules like you can work for only an e-verified employer and training reporting guidelines that are set forth by USCIS that a student need to follow during the STEM OPT period. If that is not followed properly, then USCIS can question your status details during your H1B period, so all care need to be taken to be in proper status.

When you work on STEM OPT, you need to inform your DSO on the employers you are working with, so that they can keep your employer status in SEVIS. When you are on STEM OPT, you are still on F1 visa and you need to comply with all the F1 related rules. You need to have valid I-20 and keep close contact with DSO for any travel as well.

Now, that we know all the three, let’s compare OPT and CPT.

Differences between OPT vs. CPT

Comparison Aspect



Primary PurposeProvision to work in a company as F1 student to get practical work experience during studying of degree, before graduationProvision to work in a company on F1 status after graduation to gain experience in the same field of education
Typical Student StatusFull time F1 student in school.In general, student graduated with degree and on F1 status in US, with exception of students leveraging pre-completion OPT,
Course FeeNeed to pay the school for the course credit. Usually 1 course credit.No need to pay the University, but need to file application with USCIS and pay application fee.
Degree RequirementsWorking on CPT will be part of degree requirements and directly related to students area of studyNot related to degree requirements. Pursued after graduation in the same field.
Approved ByCPT is approved by Department in University, Career Center, and DSO authorizes it in SEVIS, gives New I-20OPT is approved by USCIS. DSO issues I-20 in support of the OPT application and student files application with USCIS
Employment DurationCan be done for up to 12 months. But, if you work in CPT for 12 months full time, you will not be eligible for OPTTypical duration of 12 months after graduation and can be extended by 24 months, if part of STEM Degree and qualified for it.
Employer InfoEmployer need to provide training related to study, their name is printed on I-20. Student submits CPT report in School for credit award for degreeIt is student responsibility to get training work in OPT in their related field. There is no report submitted to school. Only DSO is informed of the school and details are printed on I-20.
EADStudent does not get Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCISStudent gets EAD from USCIS after approval of OPT
How long to ProcessFew days. Anywhere from a week to 10 days depending on school, department workload.Can take anywhere from 60 to 90 days or more depending on USCIS work load.
Application FeeNo application fee, only course credit fee paid to schoolApplication fee of $410 USD paid to USCIS
Working Full time or Part timeCan be either full time (40 Hours) CPT or Part time. Usually done 20 hours part time during school and 40 hours during summerUsually done full time after graduation. If leveraging pre-completion OPT, then is part time during classes and full time during summer
CPT vs OPT Comparison

There are many rules that are outlined by DHS to make sure you are using your OPT and CPT properly. You will need to work with your DSO and make sure you follow those rules and use them without violating any status.

Did you work on OPT or CPT? What has been your experience? Any thoughts to share on these ?


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Comments ( 326 )

  1. Pankaj

    Hi All,

    I am holding H1B and wife is on H4.
    My wife is holding following degrees:
    PhD in Finance, MBA, M.com, B.Com.
    She is having 8 years of experience in Teaching as Associate Professor.

    Please let me know, how she can be eligible to become Lecturer in USA.


  2. Vanessa

    Hi, Im Vanessa and I have a few quetions, I came to Nyc with f-1 visa, I got visa for 5 years but my courses lenght is just a month and a half. I am attending a language school to practice my English but I want to stay longer in the U.s becasue i would like to finish a course in hospitality such as waitering, chef or computer science or personal training (not sure which one yet). Even though i got my visa for 5 years if i dont attend a school right after the one im completing will i lose my status?
    Also how and where do i have to go to extend my status, do i have to ask the school i want to apply to? Or how does this work im really uninformed.
    Since the information you gave is for people that are attending college or getting a degree, what are my options if i only want to finish a course that will give me a title for a job? And can i also work if im attending the school? How?

    If you can help i would really aprreciate thank you!!

  3. Veronica

    What if I have more than one academic year completed but with another visa? (H4). I completed my bachelors with a H4 visa, and now I am starting my masters and also changing to a F1 visa (because I am 21 years old now). Do I still have to wait the entire academic year before applying for CPT?

  4. Archana

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently on f1 and have completed all the course requirements and left with only thesis work. I was planning to graduate in april but got an offer letter from a company asking me to start working from jan 6th 2015. I dont have the OPT yet and therefore was wondering if i could use CPT to start the work. Meanwhile, I will also apply for OPT so that within 3 months, I will have that. Do you think this would be feasible? Please let me know.


  5. Ravi

    This is Ravi. I am on a H4 Visa now. But looking for a work VISA.
    Some advice me on getting a CPT first(colleges which offer to work from day 1) in Jan and go for H1B filing and some insist me to go for H1B directly.
    As there is a Lottery process in H1B now. Can you suggest me something on this.It would be great if you can suggest me on some colleges(I am located at Redmond,WA)
    Will wait for your response.

  6. Anu

    I need some help from you . I worked for an employer in my first semester on apart time CPT, through a coop agreement by my school.The total duration on this CPT was 45 hrs. At conclusion of this CPT, my employer refused to pay or issue me any paystubs and W2. I am graduating in 2 weeks, and now I have a RFE on my OPT asking for paystubs and W2 for last year. I don’t have any of these now. Please suggest my options. I am extremely worried.

  7. viswanadh

    Hi, saurab
    Here in india i completed my intermediate and planning study in newyork film academy…….in USA……i have to complete my 12 weeks film making course on tourist visa……but i am planning that to work in USA as a assistant director after the course…..this course is certificated one programme….plz let me know what type of visa i need to work as assistant director…..?


  8. Archana

    Hi I am now in h4 status I wanted to pursue my studies and get a quick opt by mid of 2015 is it advisable to do any short term certification course in Itu San Jose as a f1 student which offers cpt from day 1.

  9. kumar

    This is Kumar, I am working in India in an MNC, I got 4 years of work experience and would like to move to USA for better job (career). The probability of getting to USA threw HIB is very low, Hence I was searching for other alternatives , My friends suggested me F1 (C.P.T) visa where I need not take any GRE, IELTS or TOEFL. and start working along with study. With the same hope I went to some consultancies where few said its hard to get H1B visa threw this process. Can you please elaborate pros and cons of F1 (C.P.T) program.
    Thanks in Advance,

  10. Part Time


    I would like to do part time in MS ! At USA

    That can be considered ? Eligible for OPT

    Doing part time MS is worth ?

  11. Raghav

    Hi friends,

    Im planning for full time CPT Program for US.Im presently working for a MNC in india for the last 2 years.Can anyone suggest me the universities offering full time CPT(CPT from Day 1 of the course and 40 hours a week of work).

    Thank You.

    1. kumar

      Hi ,

      I’m kumar. I am too looking for CPT. Currenlty in india working with MNC.
      Planning to move to us on studay purpose. Please let me know the university’s which are offering full time CPT(CPT from Day 1 of the course and 40 hours a week of work). you can mail me at mbq.job at gmail dot com.

      1. nidhiagraval

        Don’t come here to combat more asians & indians,student folks are all-ready roaming unemployed,please don’t help to increase up unemployment number that infact allready exists in horrible scenario,Please go somewhere or try to do something where you belong to.

    2. Sumith

      Listen to Nidhi she’s telling perfectly right,US charm is all over,everyone is in stats now,dont come brotha,if you’r doing well in your country,make it possible you try to be superior at your current place,unless come to US only if you hold unimaginable superior skill for which US immigration bag you to be Citizen of this dream land,I’m sure you don’t have one,lolllzz hahah don’t mind buddy,Take a wise decision cause money not anymore easy to make here.god bless

  12. ajay

    Hi one and all this is Ajay.Why u peoples dont work for India……why everyone wants to go US…Here lot of candidates suffering a lot without openings in IT sector,If you and who leaving in US if they came back and build IT sector in India then it is good to everyone for India students…….y u people don’t think for us……u people have to feel shame

  13. ajay

    Hi one and all this is Ajay.Why u peoples work for India……why everyone wants to go US…Here lot of candidates suffering a lot without openings in IT sector,If you and who leaving in US if they came back and build IT sector in India then it is good to everyone for India students…….y u people don’t think for US……u people have to shame……

  14. Pramod

    Hi All,
    I came for spring-14 to USA. I have 3 years of IT experience in INDIA. Now, can i work this on CPT after completing my first semister? As I have experience and planning to complete course in 15 months. Please advice!!
    Thanks in advance.

  15. Mohammed

    Dear All,

    Firstly, All the best for your career goals. There are some universities that offer CPT programs that allow you to work right from the first month and then again a OPT for 11 months after course completion. To avoid any confusion it is best to research before applying for these Universities. I have been doing this for 5 years now. Converting from F1 to H1 is not difficult when you hire the right legal experts. 20hrs jobs are readily available within the campus, jobs in Cafetreia, Gym and Libraries. For 40 hrs off campus you need to find a University that offers such benefits.

    Once again, wish you the best



  16. Arafat

    Hello Dear,

    I started my MS in August 2013 (Fall) and now in January 2014 (Spring) I am in my second semester which will end in May 2014. So, from May I might get CPT which allowes me to work 20 hours per week. But in the Summer semester (June-July) I am not taking class. Now I need to know, can I work full time in Summar by my CPT??

    1. Annie

      Hi Arafat,

      As far as I know, if it is an official break from your university, you are eligible to work for full-time in CPT. But you cannot work for more than 12 months in CPT. Be sure to get your OPT in time. Hope I helped! All the best!


  17. Vaibhav Gupta

    HI….I have done B.TECH in ECE and MBA- 1 year executive in Marketing in india….I have 5 years of experience in telecom sector as senior engineer..Presently i am not working for 1 last year…I am thinking to give GRE for Fall admissions in US and look for job there..is there any university there in which i can work along with pursuing MS….or what are the prospects of getting good job after completing MS…I have heard about CPT that u can work along with MS…There is one university ITU , san jose which has such feature…My cousin is there living in new jersey….Please advice me..I am very confused….

    1. Mahesh

      Hello Vibhav..
      There are some universities allow their students to work as full time basis…those universities even dont want GRE or any other entrance, directly we can apply,we r eligible to apply with our previous degrees only,, BUT comparing to normal F1 process visa sucess rate is very low,,,,There are some cases if we convince the visa interviewer,,

  18. satyarayana

    Dear Sir,

    I am a poojari (praying GOD in a Temple) in Hindi language purohit. i want to go to USA for a job of POOJARI in a temple. what kind visa do i need.

    I request you kindly give me an advice.

    Thanks & Regards,

    1. Hitesh Patel

      Dear PUJARI JI.!
      It is USA. Not INDIA.!
      Means not a Country in which ASHARAM or NARAYAN SAI JI.!
      If you want to do DIVINE PUJA of GOD,
      INDIA is THE BEST. People from abroad are AMBITIOUS to have DIVINAL VISA for INDIA.
      Looking to your wish,
      Your are not looking for any GOD PUJA But purely “A DOLLAR PUJA”.
      So decide first what is your GOAL?
      If it is PUJA, You need not it
      Best Wishes Dear

      1. Hitesh is a retard


        Look up R-1 visa category.

        If your ass is full of shit, go take a dump – dont spew your hatred over here.

          1. muh me lelo

            Thats what hitesh would have done, apne ___________ ____________. Sala kudh to biwi ke saath H4 me aa gaya :). So Mind your own business.

  19. siddardha bonu

    hi surabh,
    Im working in collabera, hyderabad. i want to work in uk. currently we dont hav onproject. i want direct uk hiring ….is there any companys offering direct uk hiring? is there any other chances to go to uk. my platform is dotnet,sharepoint
    5yrs experience.

  20. Nakshatra

    Hi Saurabh,

    This is Nakshatra, I am working in India in an MNC, I got 2 years of work experience and would like to move to USA for better job (career). The probability of getting to USA threw HIB is very low, Hence I was searching for other alternatives , My friends suggested me F1 (C.P.T) visa where I need not take any GRE, IELTS or TOEFL. and start working along with study. With the same hope I went to some consultancies where few said its hard to get H1B visa threw this process. Can you please elaborate pros and cons of F1 (C.P.T) program.
    Thanks in Advance,

    1. Mahesh

      Hello Nakshatra
      my self mahesh mee too suffering same like u ,but now…soo right did u got any clarification abt that ? if u got could plz share with me,…
      expecting for fast reply….Thank u

  21. Somesh Verma

    I came to USA for CPT program.The University told me that I can start my CPT from first day of classes.I wanted to know how will CPT affect my OPT and H1b if I start it from first day of my classes.
    Also for getting job do I need to join any Consultancy who can train me and help md in job assistance.How can I find employer otherwise.Please reply asap.

    1. Naresh

      Hi Somesh Verma,

      – if full time CPT then no OPT and STEM
      – then we hav to leave US after course completion
      – little issues while converting to H1 from CPT

      My friend is With Coleman university on Same CPT program and what abt u?
      Which University?


        Hi Naresh,

        I want to do MS under CPT program..
        may i know the chances of getting VISA for CPT program…GRE/IELTS are mandatory or just preferable?
        what about VISA period….how many hours we can do work from starting day can you please reply back


  22. Deepak

    Hi Saurabh

    I am planning to get married soon and presently on H1b. My would be is working in India and has 5+ years of IT experience in a Tier 1 organization. She has a engineering background. After marriage, she will come here as my dependent on H4 visa. I don’t want her career to break because of this.
    I could see only two options for her. Enroll her for MS, get in to workforce from there on. Or find a H1b sponsor in the next April. Which option would you suggest? Getting in to enrolled might be an easier option but it needs fair amount of investment. Getting H1b sponsor is equally tough. Quite confused on what I could focus for her. Any thoughts on this with your experience?

  23. Kant

    I am planning to graduate in December 2013 but I have a job offer from mid-September. Till now I did not apply for OPT as I did not plan to graduate before December. If I apply for OPT it may take up to 3 months. Since I applied for OPT after my MS degree, I will only have 1 year of OPT now. So is there anyway I can take the offer now and work till I receive EAD.

  24. Koonj Parekh

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently in London and planning to go to USA for further studies. I have done Bachelors in Aircraft Engineering. I am looking for a better future in USA as I tried my best in UK but was unsuccessful. Just wondering, if I take a course for a year do I get visa for 5 years? Do you have a rough idea of current market for Aircraft Engineers in USA? And what happens once my student visa expires?

    Many thanks for all your help, I appreciate it.

    Kind Regards,
    Koonj Parekh

    1. administrator

      Koonj Parekh,
      I don’t know about Aircraft Engineering prospects in US. I think they will issue the visa for 3-5 years. When you enter US, you will be issued I-94 (which is what determines how long you can stay inside US) for D/S i.e. duration of status. This means you can stay for the course period followed by any OPT time.

  25. Anamika Bagchi

    Hi Saurabh,

    I had a question. During my CPT tenure , can I work under other professors in any other university , other than the one I am going for my Masters , related to my area of research. I intend to pursue doctoral degree after completing my masters, so I was thinking that whether an academic research experience or an industrial research experience would add stars to my cv or not. Thanks in advance.

  26. RAGHAV

    I am planning to join Masters in CS with CPT program.
    Kindly let me know after 6/9 months when I opt for CPT program how many courses would I be eligible to enroll.
    Say for example I chose 10 months CPT program how many subjects would I be able to enroll.

    Please let me know the rules involved.

    I would be really thankful to you for helping me in this regard.

    Thank you,

  27. Sunny

    This sunny completed B.tech in Electronics and communication, presently working as software developer. I’m looking forward to pursue Master’s in IT/Computer sciences. Actually i want to continue my work while studying master’s, for this i saw a program called CPT. could any body help me with some info about what are the requirements and opportunity. Advantages and disadvantages of CPT over normal Master’s program. Suggestions appreciated.
    Thanks in Advance all

  28. Annie

    Hi I m taking admission in Associates degree in US and applying F1 visa .Is CPT and OPT given to associate students also or jut Bachelors and Masters only.Annie

  29. maria

    Hi there,

    I have a question regarding the OPT/F1 visa. My friend is working under OPT status for about 12 months already. His employer also applied for an H1b visa for him, which he got. H1b starts in October 2013. His whole department at work is about to become extinct which means he will lose his job. From my understanding he has 60 days to look for another job, and the new employer must have e-verify. My question is, what can be his backup? He was planning of doing his masters starting January 2013. If lets say he loses his job in August, those 60 days of legal status will keep him here legal till the beginning of October(when he can apply for the master). Can he extend his stay here till January (when his masters starts) without leaving the country? Thank you so much for your help…I’m just trying my best to help a friend in need

      1. maria

        Thank you so much for your reply,
        His OPT is not expired. He started working for this company in January 2012. Originally the company didn’t have e-verify but they did everything so they could have him. This year they applied for an H1B for him. He got the I-797 in the mail in may 2013. I asked about COS and he has no idea… He has a math degree so from my understanding he can extend his OPT a little bit more.

        1. administrator

          Then he can start OPT employment w/ another firm until the date OPT expires. He can also work for an e-verified company on OPT extension once OPT expires.

          With regard to H-1, he needs to check w/ company what they are planning to do w/ his H-1. You mentioned I-797, is it 797C or 797A or 797B? If he has received the approval notice, then another employer can file a cap-exempt petition for him. If the petition has not been approved and employer wants to withdraw it, then he needs to continue working on OPT/extension, and let his school know that H-1 has been withdrawn. This way they will update his SEVIS record and not close it from Oct 1.

  30. nat

    I have my opt and i am in status but i have to go to india because i am getting married.Would it be possible if i come on my h4 and then continue working on OPT.Please let me know

  31. swatika

    Saurabh, this is swatika.I will be going to us on h4 visa and want to convert it to f1 in us only.I am btech in computer science and no experience.If i get f1visa what r d options 4 me.I want to do some course in software dere. for dis should i enroll in some university or there are some other options, because i want to work as a intern to gain experience. I urgently need some advice .can u give url of some websites or universities which provide software courses in us.

    1. administrator

      As you are traveling to US on H-4, you may be wanting to study close to your spouse’s location. If so, then start looking for schools in that area and see what courses they offer. You can then reach out to the departments and get more information about the course. You can then enroll in the school on H-4 or F-1. If you enroll on H-4, you can later file COS to F-1 while being enrolled and be on F-1 from next semester/quarter. Your school may have a CPT program and you can avail that to work part-time. Remember the CPT needs to be related to your course. Later, you can apply for pre/post completion OPT.

  32. asha

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am H4 visa holder, and would like to do study from USA. Its been a month i entered in USA. How soon i can apply for F1 visa after getting admission in University or could be prior to that.
    As my husband is not earning that much so he cannot afford my studies please let me know how soon after admission atleast i can go for part time job. When the session started in USA Universities. I will go for Diploma in computer science.

    Thanks in advance!!!

    1. administrator

      You will have to check w/ individual schools about the start date, fees, requirements etc. In general, you can start the studies on H-4 (if term is starting in near future and there is not enough time for COS to F-1) and later file COS to F-1 in upcoming quarter/semester.

      Most of the schools offer CPT after completing 1 year of studies (I am not including the shady schools that offer CPT from day 1). So again, you will have to check w/ the school.

  33. puja

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am on F1 Visa. and my employer is ready to fill H1B on 1st apr 2013. H1B can be used from 1st Oct 2013 onward if approved. my college can give me CPT for 6 months. i am not eligible for OPT.
    Question: if i get CPT by Feb 2013 end, i will be over in August 2013. I can work for my employer on CPT and on H1B from 1st OCT.
    What should i do on September month, when i won’t have CPT and valid H1b ?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. administrator

      You cannot work while your CPT has expired, but H-1 hasn’t started yet. You can start working once your H-1 commences. Will you still be enrolled in your school b/w Aug and Oct?

      1. Puja

        Yes. i can enroll the course for 6 more months, starting Aug. i suppose, i will have to extend the CPT. But will it have impact on my H1B approval ?

        CPT will be over 31st Aug’13
        H1B starts 1st Oct’13
        F1 is till Jan’14

        1. administrator

          No it will not impact the H-1 outcome. Once H-1 goes into effect w/ COS, your SEVIS record will be updated and your CPT will end from the effective date. Keep your DSO updated about your H-1 processing.

  34. Gunny


    Please provide your 2 cent worth feedback on my situation.

    I am enrolled in MS program completed all my cource work 1 1/2 yrs ago. The only thing that is left to recieve a degree is my final thesis. I have been working full time from last 2 yrs where the 1st year I worked on a co-op program as 1 credit ( CPT or independent study not sure what to call it??) while I was enrolled as full time student. Last year I was on my OPT. I recently applied for OPT Extention (thinking that my unofficial transcript will work) but it got denied as they did not see any proof of recieving a degree. OPT expired on 22 Dec 2012 I have 25 days to file a motion for this decision. What I want to know is…… what you think my options are now??? My company wants to keep me working and may sponcer me but that won’t start till April. Technically I am still a student completing my thesis and I just stopped going to work from today as I just recieved the decision and my company asked me to fix this situaton ASAP.


    1. Push my thesis out within 25 days and file the motion which might get denied again (i will be unemployed from now till the decision is made and by that time my employer might find a replacement)

    2. CPT or Coop/independent study as a course requirement on the existing degree as I am not graduated on MS
    3. Get enrolled in a new degree program and try for CPT to save my employement till October.

    FYI- My DSO has no clue and she kept asking to finish and go home.
    Please ….any advice or refrence to a lawyer who can help me with this situationwill be much appreciated.

    1. administrator

      Sorry, but I don’t know what to do in this situation. I don’t know any lawyer to refer you to. Maybe you can search online for someone in your locality.

  35. vhiso

    hey guys, quick question. Can i do an internship after i graduate? and what should I use, CPT?. i m applying for a job but they are not offering full time, they are only offering internships, which leaves me stuck now becoz i graduate next year.

  36. nani

    i am currently studying in AS, but it is so expensive for me. So my friends suggest me to do some certification courses. Can i CPT or OPT after r while doing my Certificate programme?
    Please answer my question.

  37. abhilasha

    i have a question, currently i m on h4 visa…and i want to convert into F1..I have completed my Bachleor in science (biology) and Master’s in HR (MBA) from india.and now i want to pursue MBA program from USA and i m unable to find out which stream i shud opt and get better oppertunities…MBA in health care management or Mba in HR..

  38. ganga

    Hi I completd my graduation n dis may nd i m lookin fr a good job….so finally i applid a job in U.S…bt the thing is dey r askin me worker status as A or B???i coulnt manage nd i m also serachin bt i m nt clear yet nw…i m d first one fm my family applyin fr abroad jobs so i din get guidance fm any side…..actually i dunno abt what are all d procedures i hav to do??i ll b gettin my passport oly aft 2 months….so is this the rite time i m applyin fr dis job…..pls anyone giv me a clean nd clear soln fr it….dat ll b very helpful fr me…waitin fr sum reply

  39. Son Nguyen

    Hi Saurabh !
    Can you give me some advice for my case. I am under OPT now but OPT will expire soon and I found employer willing to sponsor H1b visa for me but that is too late for this year. So they recommend me to maintain F1 status and they will prepare for next year. But their requirement is during this time I have to work part-time or at least internship for them. So do you know if I already used OPT, can I still apply for CPT when I continue study in university ? Do you have any suggestion for my case. (I got MBA program and now I come back school to apply for post MBA that allow to add more concentration on MBA ).

    Thank you so much!

    1. administrator

      Son Nguyen,
      I don’t know if you can apply for CPT after using the entire OPT term. You can check w/ the school’s DSO.

    2. Sara

      I am exactly in the same situation that you were. I was wondering if you found a solution to your problem that could also help me out.

      Thanks a lot

  40. Trang Nguyen

    Hi, I have a question about the kind of jobs which must related to the course field. In my situation, my AA degree is Business Management. What kind of paying jobs can I apply for and what what kind of paying jobs shouldn’t I apply for. Can you give me some suggestions.

  41. Elona

    F1 and OPT?
    Need pretty quick answer!!!
    My brother, who is currentely on F1 visa, is enrolled in AS degree and will graduate Aug 2012. Can he apply for OPT? An important issue is he has worked as a part-time employee (20h/week) for the past year (he payed all taxes), but we didnt apply for any work authorisation for that period of time (we just didnt know about this requirement). Should we even apply for OPT?
    Will he get his OPT in this situation? What is a chance? Or should he apply for another degree? Is this OK to ask his DSO for advise or too risky?
    If anybody was in same situation it will be nice to hear your experience.

  42. Tina Layton

    *pls excuse my typographical error. I meant “I can’t find a job and I’ve been looking for a while” 🙂

  43. Tina Layton

    Hi Saurhba,
    I’m currently a graduate student but used my OPT some years ago after I graduated with my first degree but my job then wouldn’t file for my H-1B; so I went back to school to maintain my F-1 status. I’m currently still enrolled at a college but I decided to get a job with my 1st degree. I’m at a cross road now because I can’t find a job for quite a while.
    I’m not sure if I could find a job that will go right into fillin for t H-1B since I’ve used my OPT a couple of years back. Thanks a lot and please any other suggestions would be great.

    1. administrator

      Tina Layton,
      You will be eligible for another OPT if the 2nd degree is a higher degree when compared to the 1st one. It its at the same level, then you are not eligible for another OPT. In this case, the employer will have to directly file the H-1 w/ no OPT in b/w

  44. Swati

    Hi I have a question. I have tried for internship while I was studying Master’s in Computer Science, but could not get it. After graduating, my OPT has started 10 days back . Two days back I got an interview call from an employer (I had applied for java developer intern position), my interview was good. He said he would want to hire me for summer as an intern that is for 90 days, 40 hours/ week. The pay is $15/ hour, which I think is fine since I tough to get a job in US without experience or desi consultancy.
    I want to know am I eligible for internship on OPT visa status.?
    If I am eligible then can I do another internship after the summer internship is over? Its difficult to get full time position, I tried a lot but they are willing to hire me I know it is because I am not an US citizen.
    I really dont want to join desi consultancy, I really dont mind taking a tougher path.
    I am planning to do 2 or more internships and gain experience and later try for full time positions, I dont have any work experience in India or in US to show on resume. So i have planned to work as an intern at 2 to 3 companies and use that experience and try my luck and apply for full time later. Do you think its a good plan?

    1. administrator

      Although your title would be intern, but actually you will be working full-time. So it should be ok. As long as other interns are also paid in the same range, you should be fine. Besides, OPT has “Training” in it’s name, so it should be ok to do internship for the entire tenure of OPT. You should get this confirmed w/ your DSO as well.

      It is difficult to get job w/o work experience, so it may be a good idea to do internship for a while and then do full-time job. Hopefully, one of these companies would give you an offer to convert from internship to full-time based on your performance review.

      Make sure you do not stay unemployed for more than 90 days on OPT. Also, get payslips for the entire OPT tenure.

  45. Parul

    I am on F1-Visa, completed my Masters and got OPT, since that got over this feb I am now working on CPT through desi consultant. MY H1B visa has been filed in Premium. If my visa is approved, it would start only from 1st Oct and my CPT is valid till Aug 2012. I wont be eligible to work for 2 months in between but I am legal to stay in USA, correct? Also can I visit India before October, once I get my H1B result and on my CPT Status? Would I have to go for stamping (even though my H1b will start from October?)
    Thanks in advance

    1. administrator

      If you have valid F-1 visa and maintaining the same, then you can stay in US beyond CPT expiration date. Once H-1 is approved, you can travel outside of US and return on F-1 prior to Oct and still be on H-1 from Oct 1. This is assuming you are still enrolled in school on F-1 and that your H-1 got approved w/ COS.

  46. swati

    Hi I have a question. I have tried for internship while I was studying Master’s in Computer Science, but could not get it. After graduating, my OPT has started 10 days back . Two days back I got an interview call from an employer (I had applied for java developer intern position), my interview was good. He said he would want to hire me for summer as an intern that is for 90 days, 40 hours/ week. The pay is $15/ hour, which I think is fine since I tough to get a job in US without experience or desi consultancy.
    I want to know am I eligible for internship on OPT visa status.?
    If I am eligible then can I do another internship after the summer internship is over? Its difficult to get full time position, I tried a lot but they are willing to hire me I know it is because I am not an US citizen.
    I really dont want to join desi consultancy, I really dont mind taking a tougher path.
    I am planning to do 2 or more internships and gain experience and later try for full time positions, I dont have any work experience in India or in US to show on resume. So i have planned to work as an intern at 2 to 3 companies and use that experience and try my luck and apply for full time later. Do you think its a good plan?

  47. Vijay chandra

    Saurabh. This is Vijay Chandra here. I have decided to Apply for h1B on my f1 Visa. Now do I need a client letter as an employment proof or can I just apply and find a job and work. Can you please explain. Thanks a lot

    1. administrator

      Vijay chandra,
      For H-1, you need to find an employer willing to sponsor H-1 for you by hiring you. If the employer is a small-medium size consulting company, then USCIS can ask for a client letter as proof that employer has the funds to pay you regular salary. If you are hired by big US corporations or IT giants, then no client letter is required.

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