International Students Immigration Blog

Renew Yearly or Semesterly? Day 1 CPT Renew Frequency and its Influence

Day 1 CPT Renewal


Ankit, one of our recent clients, embarked on a journey from India to the United States. As an international student, he heavily depended on his Day 1 CPT to secure an internship. In 2023, fortune seemed to favor him when he was selected for the H1B visa. However, just as he was about to submit his H1B application with immense joy and anticipation, he made a startling realization – he had forgotten to renew the CPT on his I20. 

This seemingly minor oversight not only cost Ankit his cherished H1B opportunity but also resulted in his expulsion from that University due to unauthorized employment. Even though we helped him transfer to another university urgently to maintain his F1 status, there will definitely be significant negative influence when he applies for H1B and green card in the further.

This article will introduce how often one should renew CPT during the Day 1 CPT period and the considerations for renewing CPT.

Table of Contents:

  1. The Importance of CPT Renewal Frequency
  2. Navigating the CPT Renewal Process
  3. Key Considerations for Day 1 CPT Students
  4. CPT Renew Policies in different universities

1. The Importance of CPT Renewal Frequency

From Ankit’s story, it's clear that while using Day 1 CPT, timely renewal of the CPT is something that cannot be neglected.

CPT provides international students with employment authorization, allowing them to participate in paid or unpaid off-campus internships or employment directly related to their field of study. When it comes to CPT authorization renew frequency, it’s understandable that many international students prefer universities that only require students to renew their CPT as infrequently as possible for convenience whenever possible. However, the insights I will share next may lead you to make a more suitable choice for your own circumstances.

One of the reasons that Ankit forgot to renew his CPT authorization is that the policy from the university he was attending stipulated that the CPT renew frequency is only once a year. Students like Ankit might forget their current CPT authorization deadline and miss renewing CPT on time.

Additionally, although according to USCIS, CPT authorization can last up to a year, some legal experts believe that obtaining new CPT authorization every semester is more logical.  Since CPT internships are part of the curriculum, it is reasonable that CPT internship courses require registration each semester. This approach seems to be more in line with common sense and may also reduce the risk of a Request for Evidence (RFE) during subsequent H1B or green card applications.

Therefore, we need to treat CPT Renewal with great importance.


2. Navigating the CPT Renewal Process

The process of renewing CPT is quite different from each university. In general, each university will ask for your job offer letter, CPT cooperative agreement which signed by your employer, and the job description which to show the relevance between your major and your job. However, in some universities who require CPT renewing semesterly, the renewal process is greatly simplified (CPT agreement can be waived for renewal).

If you renew your CPT in time, there should be no gaps between consecutive CPT authorizations. 


3. Key Considerations for Day 1 CPT Students

Stay in Communication: Always communicate with your DSO before making any decisions related to employment or renewing your CPT.

Documentation: Maintain records of all your employment and academic activities related to CPT. This can be helpful if there are questions about your status or if you apply for future immigration benefits.

Integration with Studies: Ensure that your employment truly aligns with your academic goals and is part of your program's curriculum.

Avoid Misuse: Using CPT as a means to work without a real academic purpose can lead to severe immigration consequences.


4. CPT Renew Policies in different universities

The list of the universities which CPT renewal frequency is once per semester:
  1. Westcliff University

  2. Monroe College

  3. CIAM

  4. New England College

  5. Sofia University

  6. Saint Peter’s University

The list of the universities which CPT renewal frequency is once per year:
  1. Trine University

  2. McDaniel College

  3. Harrisburg University

  4. National Louis University

  5. Ottawa University

  6. Humphreys University


CPT renewal is just one consideration in choosing a Day  1 CPT university. When students select a school, they still need to take into account various factors comprehensively.

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