Some F-1-visaed foreign students who attend school in the United States may be granted permission to engage in hands-on practical experience in their field of study. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is one such form of permission. CPT is authorized by the educational institution the foreign student attends. When a school authorizes an F-1 student to engage in CPT, the school records such CPT work authorization on the student's Form I-20. Unlike another form of work permission for practical training known as Optional Practical Training (OPT), CPT does not require proof of work permission to be issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Employers who participate in the government’s E-Verify program and hire F-1 students with CPT inquired whether or not students with CPT are subject to E-Verify. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that students with CPT must be work verified through the E-Verify program. Employers further inquired whether E-Verify was capable of automatically retrieving the student's I-20 information to provide automatic confirmation of the student's eligibility to work. According to DHS, E-Verify does not have the capability to automatically access and verify a student's I-20 data. CPT student names that are submitted for a query through E-Verify will always be sent for secondary verification. This raises concerns of delays in the verification process for students with CPT. DHS indicated that despite the need for secondary verification, employment eligibility should be confirmed within 24 hours as long as the student's record can be located in the electronic data system that stores I-20 information. While this reassurance constitutes good news, E-Verify employers and students might want to budget extra time for the completion of the verification