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Expert Opinions

CPT/OPT Expert Opinions

An F-1 student has the option of training in the United States by engaging in practical training during the academic program or after it ends. Practical training can provide valuable work experience by sharpening and adding to the skills the student is learning in school. There are two types of practical training available for F-1 students: Curricular practical training (CPT) and Optional practical training (OPT).

  • CPT is any alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or other type of required internship or practicum offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum. The student can work on CPT either full-time or part-time.
  • OPT provides a practical training experience that directly relates to an F-1 student’s major area of study. While school is in session, the student may only work 20 hours per week. All F-1 students who are currently on a regular period of OPT and are eligible for a STEM OPT extension can apply for the 24-month STEM OPT extension.

Usually when an employer files a petition for a change of status from F-1 to H-1B of the beneficiary, USCIS issues an RFE seeking clarifications on the beneficiary maintaining a valid F-1 non-immigrant status at the time of filing. Among the many CPT/OPT related queries, one necessarily pertains to whether the CPT/OPT is directly related to the beneficiary’s major area of study. To address such RFEs, Carnegie Evaluations’ experts (Professors in specific disciplines) provide expert opinion detailing the knowledge obtained from the academic program (completed/in progress) and how the beneficiary used such knowledge while being employed at the CPT/OPT job.

Document Checklist

  • RFE, if any.
  • Transcripts of the academic program & the Diploma if the course has already been completed.
  • Description of the coursework & official university website link listing the course details.
  • Job duties of the position the beneficiary performed as part of CPT.
  • A brief note on the CPT employer.

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