Special Guidelines for International Students

If you are an international student in F-1 visa status, you will need employment authorization by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before you can work in any off-campus position, paid or unpaid (e.g., internship, job, fellowship or research position).

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • CPT is an authorization for a paid or unpaid internship, job, fellowship or research position for which you are receiving credit in your intended or declared major.
  • CPT is only available after the end of your first academic year and before you graduate.
  • You must re-apply for CPT before every internship (paid or unpaid).
  • There is no limit to part-time CPT (less than 20 hours/week). However, a student who does 12 months of full-time CPT forfeits all OPT eligibility. Don’t worry; it is unusual to do 12 months of full time CPT.
  • CPT should be done in coordination with the Internship Program, an academic supervisor in your MAJOR, and the work site.
  • CPT employment authorization, along with the necessary  course registration, is required for each term in which you complete an  internship, job, fellowship, or research position.
  • One of the trickiest parts of CPT is that the start date and end date of each authorization should generally coincide with Fall Term, J-Term, Spring Term, or Summer Term.  For example, if you have a wonderful opportunity in October for an internship starting in the middle of the semester, it is not possible to get authorization.

In order to start a paid or unpaid internship, you need CPT authorization from the U.S. Government. This checklist will enable you to track your progress towards a lawful and rewarding internship:

  • Review the information of How to Register an internship.
  • Complete your learning contract on Handshake. International students, please use your legal (passport) name in the Learning Contract.
  • Once your internship has been approved, the Internship Program will notify you via Handshake. The Internship Program will also email a copy of your learning contract to ISP to process your Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and issue you a new I-20. You must pick up your new I-20 with CPT employment authorization from ISP before you start your internship, or arrange with ISP to have it mailed if you are not on campus.
  • Come into the Internship Program for your Add/Drop slip. Then take your signed Add/Drop slip (or summer registration slip) to the Registrar’s Office.

International students completing a paid or unpaid summer internship are eligible for a 1-credit tuition fee waiver (tuition for Summer 2018 is $1,632 per credit). This waiver is intended to help students who are required to register for credit in order to complete their paid/unpaid summer employment. This is applicable to international students doing paid/unpaid internships (as required by the Department of Homeland Security) or students whose internship site requires them to receive credit as a condition of employment. Contact Mike Porter at porter@macalester.edu or 651.696.6251 for details.

For DHS applications and immigration-related questions, contact International Student Programs (ISP) at cpt@macalester.edu or 651.696.6992.