DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CPT VS OPT
When we set our ambition to study in an international institution, we do assume to gain experience either after graduation or before it. But if I tell you, you can gain experience plus earn money, won't it be a bonus!? Obviously, it is but there are some limitations. Students coming to the US are allowed to work off-campus after completing their first year of academic through specific programs. These two programs are Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT)
A program that temporarily allows international students with an F-1 visa in the United States to work up to 12 months in relation to their major of study. Students, those who have applied for an F-1 visa in the US, allow them to gain practical training along with their studies or opt after graduation. They are able to legally work within the US without the need of workers permits or another type of visa. An OPT is of two types: Pre-Completion OPT and Post-Completion OPT.
Pre-Completion OPT: It is useful for students who are enrolled in the school. They are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week.
Post-Completion OPT: It is beneficial for those students who are recent graduates. They can work full time for up to 12 months in the US without the need for another visa.
CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)
A program that temporarily allows international students to gain practical experience with their major through jobs, paid or unpaid internships or co-operative education. Curricular Practical Training should be completed before graduation as you are allowed to do part-time or full-time jobs. There is a crucial point to note if you have worked full-time for 12 months in CPT, you will not be eligible for OPT.
What is the difference between OPT and CPT?
To perceive the difference between OPT and CPT, we've outlined them in this:
CPT: It is a temporary employment authorization to work in the field of study while enrolled in a college-level program.
OPT: It is a temporary employment authorization to work off-campus after completing 9 months (Pre-OPT) or finishing a college-level program(Post-OPT).
CPT and OPT: A full-time student for at least one academic year.
CPT: It is authorized by the school's international Students office.
OPT: It is authorized by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS).
CPT: It is valid through the duration of the college-level program.
OPT: It gives a student to work for 12 months after completing '9' or more months of a college-level program. It can be extended to 24 months for STEM majors (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math)
CPT: Student must be entered on the students I-20 and in SEVIS.
OPT: Student can work for any employer as long as the work is relevant to the field of study.
CPT: Either full-time or part-time.
OPT: When a program is in session, it is part-time and full time during vacations/program breaks.
CPT: It must take place during the dates in the CPT recommendation.
OPT: It must take place during the validity period of the EAD card.
CPT: Students must pay for the CPT course within the program.
OPT: An application fee of $140 is required to pay.
Length of training-
CPT: There is no limit to its working except working for more than 12 months can eliminate your eligibility for OPT.
OPT: It is valid for up to 12 months in total.
ELIGIBILITY FOR CPT AND OPT
Now you comprehend the difference between the two, OPT and CPT. Let's proceed further and know the eligibility for CPT and OPT.
1. Students should be enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year.
2. Students should lawfully belong to F-1 status.
3. They must obtain health insurance.
To know about documents required for an F-1 visa, click- documents required for f1 visa
To sum the above conclusion, a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) will be useful to work in the field of study while enrolled in a college-level program while Optional Practical Training is useful to work off-campus after completing 9 months (Pre-OPT) or finishing a college-level program(Post-OPT).