(2022) OPT CPT Meaning, Differences, Training & Rules

OPT CPT meaning, their differences, how they affect each other and further details are found in this article. Read on to find out about training programmes, consultant companies and other relevant information on OPT and CPT.


Job opportunities are one of the biggest concerns of Non-immigrant individuals who reside in the United States of America (USA). Students have an enormous amount of opportunities available to work in the USA for real organizations in a more meaningful and practical way.

These types of opportunities are available in different forms like Internships or jobs. Similarly, there are two types of training programs that allow international students to get Internships or job opportunities in the USA Which are as follow:

  • CPT (Curricular Practical Training)
  • OPT (Optional Practical Training)

These two training programs are aids to boost and enhance student skills by providing practical training during the school learning period.

These training programs may temporarily allow F-1 status students when enrolling in their graduate program or after completing their graduation to have opportunities to work or paid internships with great organizations.

CPT allows F-1 status students for this program when it is directly associated with their major group of studies, while OPT is for F-1 status students who have done their graduation program are eligible for this training program.

Moreover, On-campus employment does not need any related group of study for the student. Employment authorization will be required for both these training programs, CPT and OPT, by a designated school official (DSO) in addition to the school’s carriers services office.

DSO Official supports you to get approval to do work, and school carriers official helps you to get jobs and internships.

There are the following ways to submit CPT and OPT applications:


  • It would require extensive documentation for CPT authorization that will take approximately 1-2 weeks for IC to proceed with the request further.
  • First, you have to submit the CPT application online and get a print of the CPT online Workshop completion email.
  • You need to take complete job description details from the company or organization where You have to work.
  • You will be required a recommendation letter from your faculty adviser by showing him a detailed job training description. If they think that this course would be appropriate for you, then they will give you an advisor recommendation form for further processing.
  • You can submit up to 1-20 online applications at the IC front desk or via email to the IC address. The missing or incomplete documents may be rejected if more than information documents are missing for application submission.
  • Your application will be reviewed by other international students or faculty advisors. If all the documentation requirements are met, Then they will process your application for further approval, and it will show you CPT 1-20 as approval. Normally, it would take 1 to 2 weeks, but the more expected months of approval are January, September, and April.
  • Once you receive an email from IC (icenter@umich.edu) as CPT 1-20 is ready. Approval will be ready when you get the printed certificate.
  • The next step is to sign and date your CPT 1-20, and it will be credited to your files.


  • The first step is to enroll in the OPT online workshop, and it will need U-M logins. You will Application completion confirmation email, and all documentation requirements will also be there that will be required for the request of OPT-120.
  • A recommendation letter will be required from the faculty advisor to proceed request further.
  •  You can apply via email (icenter@umich.edu) or physically apply at IC front desk.
  • The request will be reviewed by an international student or faculty advisor and move your application to SEVIS electronically for 1-20. It can take up to 2 weeks for further processing. The OPT program will be shortened when your graduation time end date is earlier than the training program end date.
  • You can Pick your OPT 1-20 either physically or by shipping.
  • If all looks good, then the next step is to add signature and date and submit your application to USCIS and all required documentation which you can send physically or online via email. You will get a confirmation email of receiving the application, and it will take up to 3 to 4 weeks.
  • You can check your status by your tracking ID. Once your application gets a final review of OPT application packet, they will let you know if you have been approved or denied. It could be take up to 3 weeks for further procedure.
  • Once you get approval, you will get an EAD card via email from the USCIS site. You will be able to begin your OPT program. 

Difference Between OPT And CPT

There are the following list differences between CPT and OPT:

  • OPT is a temporary authorization for a student to work in a related field of study, while CPT provides the ability to work only in a major group of study.
  • OPT needs a related group of study but does not certainly require an academic course, and it would not be credited as a course of study, while CPT would be credited to a curriculum course and must be related to the field of study. Otherwise, credit must be received for that work.
  • OPT makes you eligible for work that does not require a specific employer, while CPT is related to your major study of a group that allows you to work in the form of practicum, Paid or unpaid internships, or cooperative education programs.
  • OPT students are eligible for any kind of job all around the USA, while CPT students who enroll in this and are the candidate of Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
  • OPT can be done before or after graduation, while CPT must require complete graduation.
  • OPT Student is allowed work up to 12 months, and it could be extended to 24 months period while CPT only allows during the 12 months.
  • CPT requires a job or employment letter, while OPT doesn’t need any kind of employment letter.
  • OPT enables the student to try out different jobs that are best for them. Both These CPT and OPT training programs aid students to work in multi-organizations to get experience and work that they think is the desired fit.

Does CPT Affect OPT?

CPT does not affect the OPT when students have authorization for less than 12 months of total work time or full time (more than 20 hours), while if authorization is for complete 12 months, then the student is not eligible for OPT program.

Does Part Time CPT Affect OPT?

Part-Time CPT is not going to affect OPT in any way, even when students have to work for more than 12 months. 

OPT CPT Training

These are the following CPT and OPT training features:

CPT Training Features

All companies or organizations must officially send you an offer letter for a training opportunity. The employer needs to write a complete job description of nature.

  • Company letters head must be written.
  • Your name is properly mentioned in the letter and also includes the job title.
  • The job description should be completely described (nature of job, goals, etc.), and the complete address of the company or organization should be on the letter (zip code, street, city, state, etc.). If work is done remotely or physically, nature must be mentioned in the letter. 
  • Total work hours should be specified per week.
  • When the job starts and end should be mentioned for CPT employment and get authorization only one time at the same time,
  •  The letter should have complete details of the detailed job description. If the letter has 1 or 2 missing details, they may accept it. Otherwise, they will send it back to the individual to complete the missing information.

OPT Training Features

  • Students should have valid F1 status.
  • Need at least one year of enrollment in the study program.
  • If any individual who has completed complete OPT will be not eligible for the CPT program
  • Pre-completion OPT can be eligible for both part-time (20 hours or less) and full time (greater than 20 hours in a week)
  • Post-Completion OPT can only be done full-time. You can apply for OPT program three months before completion.

OPT CPT Consultants

There are different OPT and CPT consultants companies like SYSTEMONEX that help you to get authorization, Permission, and duration. They help you to get mitigate all legality issues and Laws of different countries.

It would be difficult for a student to understand the laws and policies of certain countries. They will help to contribute in getting authorization and permit of work with all their abreast knowledge and expertise. 

CPT And OPT Rules

There is the following set of rules that you have to follow for CPT and OPT:


  • Authorization is done when enrolled as a student 
  • Entails ISS approval and need academic department support
  • Online application will be sent to ISS
  • Eligible when has job employment letter
  • It would take 2 to 3 weeks to proceed.


  • Authorization is done after Degree completion
  • A paper application will be submitted to USCIS
  •  No need for a job to apply
  • It would take approximately 3-5 months

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