International Student Scholar Services

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is any off-campus employment in the form of internships, practicums, etc. CPT requires employment authorization in advance.  All internships must be approved by the Career Center to be eligible for CPT.  

All students on CPT must report changes in personal information as well as employment information to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at Columbia College Chicago within 10 days. Failure to receive pre-authorization could result in a status violation of your F-1 visa. 

Here's how to start the process: 

Once you have an internship, request approval for your internship at Internship Credit Request

  1. Please be sure to fill out all information.  You must include a start date and an end date along with the complete address (including the postal code of the internship site.  I cannot sign incomplete contracts and they will be returned to you for correction if it is sent to me incomplete. 
  2. Once your internship is approved, the career center will send the completed contract to me to sign.  If complete, I will sign it and issue your new I-20 for CPT. 
  3. Do not start your internship (especially if it is paid) until you have a new I-20 as it could be considered a violation of your student visa status. 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

 Reporting Requirements while on OPT:  Post-Completion of Studies

All students on post-completion OPT must create an SEVP Portal account within 30 days of OPT approval.  During their OPT, they must report changes in personal information as well as any changes in employment information in the SEVP Portal within 10 days of any change. 


Changes in Personal Information include:

Changes in Employment Include:

If you have not updated your employment within 90 days of your OPT start date, you may be considered out of status and your immigration record could be terminated. If this happens, you should make plans to depart the US immediately.


ISSS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommend that students also keep clear written or electronic records of all periods of employment and unemployment while on OPT.  This information should include: job title; proof of employment duration (start and end dates); number of hours worked per week; location; contact information for supervisor/manager; description of work responsibilities; and, evidence that work performed is/was related to your field of study. Please note, the ISSS office is not responsible for any record keeping.

It is also a good idea to keep records of any pay stubs, W-2 forms, copies of contracts, offer letters, and, employment verification letters.