International Students CPT/ OPT

Work Authorization for International Students

Work Authorization for International Students

International students in F-1 student visa status can request approval to work off-campus via the  Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) programs To learn more about eligibility requirements for this program, please visit the Office of International Education’s (OIE) Curricular Practical Training website online at

Curricular Practical Training authorizations can be granted for part-time or full-time internships. Those pursuing part-time internships must also be enrolled in 6-9 semester credits of in-classroom courses at Georgia Tech to achieve full-time status (12 hours).

Involvement in the GT Internship program requires a commitment of full-time or part-time employment for a minimum of 14 weeks for the fall or spring semesters or a minimum of 8 weeks for the summer term. Interns typically work for one semester, with the flexibility of participating in multiple internships, and in some cases, have the option of working for two consecutive terms (e.g. spring and summer or summer and fall).  Full-time work assignments are for a minimum of thirty-six hours per week, and part-time assignments require at least 10 hours of work per week.

Breakdown of hours

10-19 hours per week = 3 hour audit course
20-29 hours per week = 6 hour audit course
30-35 hours per week = 9 hour audit course
36 and up hours per week = 12 hour audit course

Program Eligibility

GPA of 2.0 or above

Good academic standing

Experiential Learning Application must be completed in CareerBuzz

International student may use their CPT for internships and co-ops that meet the following criteria:
  • Work Weeks
    • Summer – 8 week minimum
    • Fall/Spring – 14 week minimum
  • The co-op or internship is directly related to student’s major
  • Student MUST register for the appropriate Co-op or Internship Course (Students will be automatically registered for the Georgia Tech Co-op or Internship only after they have obtained CPT or OPT work authorization.)

International students who wish to obtain OPT work authorization for an internship must start the process by viewing OIE’s mandatory OPT tutorial ( We recommend that you view the OPT tutorial several months before you wish to begin your internship. OPT is recommended by an OIE advisor but authorized by U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It can take up to 90 days for USCIS to process an OPT application. Therefore, students should plan ahead if applying for OPT.

Failure to obtain work authorization prior to beginning employment may jeopardize a student’s status at Georgia Institute of Technology and their ability to remain in United States.


Summer Semesters: F-1 students may be authorized for full-time co-op or internships or part-time internships utilizing CPT. Depending on the number of hours per week, F-1 students may register for 3, 6, 9 or 12 hours of internship credit as determined by their Career Development Advisor.

Since F-1 students are required to be enrolled full-time (12 hours) during the fall and spring semesters , it is VERY important that students registering for the 3, 6, or 9 credit hours, work exactly the specified number of hours per week to meet the criteria of the internship and in compliance with CPT regulations and that they take 6 to 9 hours of academic course work at the Georgia Tech campus.

IMPORTANT: All F-1 students are required to enroll in at least 12 credit hours during fall and spring semesters. F-1 students will not be enrolled in the internship course until the student has received approved work authorization. Once the CPT authorization is approved by OIE, students will automatically be registered in the appropriate co-op or internship course.  F-1 students will not be able to drop the co-op or internship course without approval from OIE.

Students not enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits by the end of phase 2 registration, are in violation of their F-1 status which can result in the termination of their SEVIS records.

Note: J-1 student visa holders are encouraged to contact the Georgia Tech Office of International Education (OIE) for additional information on work authorization issues.

Note: OPT is recommended by an OIE advisor, but authorized by U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It can take more than 90 + days for USCIS to process an OPT application. Therefore, students should plan ahead if applying for OPT to participate in an internship or coop.

Failure to obtain an updated I-20 with the CPT approval work authorization before beginning employment is considered a violation of F-1 student visa status and will jeopardize a student’s eligibility to continue living and working in the United States. Students will be given a permit for the co-op class only after they have obtained CPT authorization for that term.

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