International Students Immigration Blog

Traveling on Day 1 CPT: Guidelines & Considerations

Curiosity often arises among international students in the U.S. regarding the possibility of traveling back to their home country while on Day 1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training). This article offers a comprehensive guide on the topic, endorsed by immigration rules and reports from various sources.


What is Day 1 CPT?

CPT is a type of work authorization that is closely tied to a student's academic program, allowing them to gain practical experience in their field of study. Day 1 CPT is called "Day 1" because it allows students to start internship/working from the first day of their academic program.

Learn more about the legality of Day 1 CPT

Can You Travel While on Day 1 CPT?

The primary concern for many is whether they can travel outside the U.S. while on Day 1 CPT. While there are no explicit restrictions, there are certain steps and solutions to consider:

  1. Passport Validity: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned return date to the U.S.

  2. Entry Visa: You must have a valid F-1 visa stamped in your passport. If it has expired, you'll need to apply for a fresh visa.

  3. Form I-20: Carry the most recent original Form I-20 with a valid signature for re-entry.

  4. Employer-signed Letter: Obtain a letter from your employer, signed and on official company letterhead, indicating their awareness and consent for your travel during the CPT program.

  5. Bank Statements: As proof of funds, recent bank statements showing your ability to support yourself in the U.S. are essential.

  6. Evidence of Intention to Return: Any documentation that strengthens your case for returning to the U.S., such as ties to the country or ongoing commitments, can be beneficial.


Risks and Considerations

While the risk of being stopped at customs is relatively low, there are still some considerations to keep in mind. If your F1 visa has expired and you need to renew it, there might be certain risks involved. The visa officer could potentially question your intent behind the visa application. It's essential to be well-prepared and have a clear purpose for your stay in the U.S. to address any concerns that may arise during the visa interview process. Always ensure that your documentation is in order and reflects your genuine intent to study and comply with the visa conditions.


While traveling back to your home country on Day 1 CPT is not explicitly prohibited, it comes with its set of challenges. It's essential to be well-prepared, have all necessary documents in order, and stay updated with the latest immigration news. If in doubt, always consult with an immigration attorney to ensure a smooth travel experience.