Curricular Practical Training

CPT allows F-1 students paid or unpaid internship, practicum, or field work experience that is an integral part of their degree program. Students can request CPT only if they are still working toward your degree. They must register for an internship or practicum class before they can be approved for CPT. CPT is allowed only after students have completed at least one academic year, requires a job offer, and is approved by OISS. To request CPT, you must submit a completed Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Authorization Form along with a job offer letter that specifies your internship/job site, employment period, hours per week, and a description of job duties.


  • Must be in valid F1 immigration status and pursuing a degree at Hawaii Pacific University.

  • Have completed one academic year as a full-time student in advance of the CPT authorization (each education level or new degree programs requires a new full academic year).

  • CPT must fulfill a specific academic objective; so, if an employment opportunity is solely sought because it is beneficial, relevant, or excellent professional/personal opportunity does NOT qualify for CPT.

  • Must register for a course that links your employment to your curriculum.


  • Student may not begin work until authorized or continue after the end date by OISS and a new SEVIS I-20 is printed

  • CPT authorization is for a specific employer only -must have a job offer for a position that is directly related to your major field of study.

  • CPT authorization is given on a semester basis. Students must apply separately for each semester of CPT.

Please submit the following documents, at least one week to before intended start date, to OISS via email AT ISS@HPU.EDU or in person

at UB 200.

• Advisor’s Recommendation Form (see reverse), completed and signed by advisor.
• Job Offer Letter, on company letterhead, that MUST include:

          • Job Title
          • Dates of employment
          • Number of hours of work per week
          • Place of employment
          • A brief description of work

OISS will not process CPT until course registration has appeared in Banner. Be sure to pick up your new I-20 with the CPT authorization before you start your position.

• During Fall and Spring semesters: Students may work up to 20 hours per week (part-time).
• During Summer Sessions: Students may work up to 40 hours per week (full-time) -if no other courses are taken.
• Students can work on-campus as well as on CPT simultaneously. Total number of hours cannot exceed 20 hours per week.

Please note CPT authorization is not automatic. Student MUST OBTAIN FINAL authorization from OISS. Failure to obtain final approval from OISS will render illegal employment as denied by the U.S. government.  OISS also reserves the right to review and deny CPT applications. If denied, you are responsible for notifying Career Services Center, Academic/Faculty advisor, etc.

According to U.S. labor laws, work that is unpaid may still be considered employment that necessitates F-1 or J-1 off-campus work authorization.

To be considered a volunteer, the work performed by the individual must meet the following criteria:

  • No expectation of compensation.
  • The volunteer cannot displace a genuine employee, and the services provided by the volunteer should not be the same services for which he or she was previously paid and/or expects to be hired and paid for in the future.
  • Services are performed for a non-profit service, religious or humanitarian objective. In general, work for a-for-profit entity is considered employment and must be for pay.

Volunteering refers to donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without remuneration or any other type of compensation. F-1 and J-1 students are free to engage in volunteer work as long as it meets the above criteria. For example, it would be okay to volunteer at a local homeless shelter, charitable food pantry, beach clean-up, or American Red Cross.

Unpaid internships, on the other hand, do not usually qualify as “volunteer” activity. Internships, both paid and unpaid, are primarily offered by the private sector and related to the intern’s major field of study.

  • Failure to complete required course-work or sufficient credit hours to graduate because of CPT is not a compelling academic reason for a program extension and request for extension will be denied per USCIS regulations.
  • If CPT is for last semester, student must have at least one other remaining degree-required course for which to register, in addition to the CPT course unless the CPT course is the degree-required course.
  • A student must continue to maintain full time student status for the duration of the CPT.