Understanding Day 1 CPT: A Comprehensive Guide for International Students

Day 1 CPT

Day 1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training) is a program that allows international students to start gaining practical work experience in their field of study from the first day of their academic program. This article explores the concept of Day 1 CPT, its benefits, eligibility requirements, application process, and essential considerations for students.

What is Day 1 CPT?

Day 1 CPT is a type of Curricular Practical Training that enables international students to engage in internships, cooperative education, or other forms of practical training from the first day of their academic program. Unlike traditional CPT, which typically requires students to complete at least one academic year before participating, Day 1 CPT offers immediate access to practical experiences.

Regulatory Framework

Day 1 CPT is governed by U.S. immigration regulations under the F-1 visa category. It is intended to be an integral part of the student’s curriculum and must be directly related to their field of study. The training must be authorized by the designated school official (DSO) and documented in the student’s SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record.

Benefits of Day 1 CPT

Participating in Day 1 CPT allows students to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field from the very beginning of their academic program. This early exposure helps students develop practical skills, understand industry dynamics, and build professional networks.

Enhanced Learning

Integrating practical training with academic learning enhances the overall educational experience. Students can apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios, making their studies more relevant and impactful.

Competitive Edge

Having practical experience from the start of their program gives students a competitive edge in the job market. Employers value candidates who have demonstrated the ability to balance academic and professional commitments and who possess practical skills in addition to theoretical knowledge.

Eligibility Requirements for Day 1 CPT

Eligibility for Day 1 CPT varies by institution. Some schools may offer Day 1 CPT as part of specific programs designed to integrate practical training with academic coursework. Students should check with their institution’s international student office for specific eligibility criteria and program requirements.

Academic Requirements

Students must be enrolled in a program that requires practical training as part of the curriculum. The training must be directly related to the student’s major field of study. Additionally, students must maintain full-time enrollment status and be in good academic standing.

Employment Conditions

Day 1 CPT can be authorized for part-time or full-time work. Part-time CPT is limited to 20 hours per week during the academic term, while full-time CPT can exceed 20 hours per week during breaks or vacations. Students should ensure that their employment does not interfere with their academic responsibilities.

Application Process for Day 1 CPT

Students interested in Day 1 CPT should first consult with their designated school official (DSO). The DSO will provide guidance on the application process, eligibility requirements, and necessary documentation.

Securing Employment

Students must secure a job offer related to their field of study. The offer letter should include details about the job, such as duties, start date, and duration of employment. The employer must be willing to collaborate with the school to ensure compliance with CPT regulations.

Completing Documentation

Students must complete the required CPT authorization forms provided by their institution. This typically includes a CPT request form, the job offer letter, and proof of enrollment in a course or program that requires practical training.

SEVIS Update

The DSO will review the application and, if approved, update the student’s SEVIS record with the CPT authorization. The student will receive a new Form I-20 with the CPT endorsement, which must be presented to the employer before starting work.

Important Considerations

Students must ensure that they maintain their F-1 visa status while participating in Day 1 CPT. This includes adhering to work hours, maintaining full-time enrollment, and ensuring that their employment is directly related to their field of study.

Impact on OPT

Participating in more than 12 months of full-time CPT can affect eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Students should discuss their plans with their DSO to understand the implications and make informed decisions about their practical training options.


Day 1 CPT offers international students a valuable opportunity to gain practical experience in their field of study from the very beginning of their academic program. By understanding the benefits, eligibility requirements, application process, and important considerations, students can effectively navigate the Day 1 CPT process and maximize their educational and professional growth. Day 1 CPT provides a pathway to early career exposure, enhanced learning, and a competitive edge in the job market, making it a valuable component of the international student experience in the United States.

Tags : Day 1 CPT
Isabella Jordan

The author Isabella Jordan