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Office of International Studies and Programs


Off-Campus Employment

Obtaining permission for an Internship/Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

Some majors at CWU require that students do an internship. This is called curricular practical training (CPT) by immigration. CPT must be required as part of the CWU degree requirement. Usually, internships are required after you have completed your first year of study. For most situations, you can participate in an internship only after you have been in lawful immigration status and have been a full time student for at least nine months. Most internships are off-campus. Some may be paid and some may not be paid. You can even do an internship in your home country. However, if your internship will require off-campus work experience in the U.S., you must have approval by your International Student Advisor who will notify immigration.

The application procedure at CWU is:

  • Approval by your major faculty advisor
  • Acceptance by a specific employer for the CPT
  • Specific dates which begin and end the CPT
  • Completion of a CWU Co-operative Education Learning Agreement form
  • Endorsement on your I-20 by your International Student Advisor granting CPT approval
  • Completion of immigration form I-538

Applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT):

"OPT" is a benefit immigration has provided as part of your educational experience in the U.S. It allows international students to gain experience working in their major field of study.

OPT can be granted to you by immigration:

  • when school is in session
  • during vacations before you have finished your program of study
  • after you have finished your program of study but before you have been granted your degree
  • after you have graduated

If you are an F-1 student in lawful immigration status, you are entitled to 12 months of OPT for your program of study. You can apply for OPT:

  • after you have been a full time international student for nine months
  • 120 days before or within 60 days of graduation

You may request an OPT application packet from your International Student Advisor.

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