OPT & CPT: Practical Training Information

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is any off-campus employment in the form of internships, practicums, etc. CPT requires employment authorization in advance.

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 will result in the violation of your status!

  1. Find an internship related explicitly to your major.  The Career Center can help you on your internship search.
  2. Once you receive an internship, visit the Career Center to have it approved as intergral to your curriculum.  You will fill out the appropriate CPT paperwork with your Career Center advisor and receive approval from your academic advisor or internship coordinator.
  3. After approval and signatures on CPT paperwork, make an appointment to see your ISSS Coordinator, Rikki Brown for final SEVIS approval. Make sure you have the paperwork from Career Services.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is a 12-month post-graduation opportunity for international students to work within their Program of Study.  The OPT application is lengthy, and should be done ahead of time.

Please download the following PDFs, for timelines, guidelines, and steps of the application process. They can either be filled out digitally, or printed and filled out.

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. 

SEVP PORTAL ACCOUNT 

Changes in Personal Information include:

  • Legal name
  • Email address
  • Residential address
  • Telephone number

Changes in Employment Include:

  • Job Title
  • Employer
  • Dates of Employment
  • Supervisor's contact information

If you have not updated your employment within 90 days of your OPT start date, you are out of status and your immigration record will be terminated. If this happens, you will need 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.