To maintain an F-1 visa, a PhD student must maintain full-time student status in the eyes of the university. This usually means that courses of at least nine credit hours per semester or an equivalent class load are taken. In addition, only a class that does not require the physical presence of a student can be taken into account in the definition of full-time school. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an option for F-1 students to obtain real, practical and practical training in their fields of study. This type of training, governed by code of federal regulations 8 CFR 214.2 (f) (10) (i) includes alternative work/studies, internship, collaborative training or any other type of internship or internship required, offered by sponsoring employers through cooperation agreements with the school and as an integral part of an established curriculum. This training may be authorized for F-1 students who were legally enrolled full-time in SEVP-accredited colleges, universities, conservatories or seminaries for a full academic year. Step 7: Remember, CPT is specific to the employer and duration. F-1 students cannot qualify for STEM OPT extensions unless they are bona fide employees of the employer signing Form I-983, as F-1 students may not provide employer certificates on their own behalf. However, STEM OPT applicants can participate in a start-up or small business as long as all regulatory requirements are met. The employer signing the training plan must be the same organization that employs the student and provides the practical experience of the training. Cooperative CPT – may be allowed if the employment is part of a formal collaboration agreement between your department and a particular employer. .