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Frequently Asked Questions about CPT

Can I make changes to my CPT employment (such as change employers, locations, hours, dates, etc)?
You are authorized to work with the company, at the location, during the dates stated clearly on page #3 of your I-20. If anything should change in any of the details, UC International Services will need to authorize such changes. For example, if you wish to work beyond the authorized period of employment, the employer is going to transfer you to another location, or you are going to work full-time instead of part-time, UC International Services will need to make these alterations to your authorization.

How can I change or extend my CPT authorization?
Your academic advisor or the Professional Practice Office will need to put into writing any changes. If you wish to take part in a new period of CPT, you will need to submit the CPT Request Form or a letter from the Professional Practice Office. This written notification from them must be received by UC International Services prior to you starting work under the changed conditions. Remember it will take several business days to process your request; plan ahead.

Does my F-1 visa status change while on CPT?
While on CPT you are still in F-1 status. Do not forget to send us notification of any changes of address (within 10 days) or other pieces of information. You can use the Update Local Address eform for this purpose, which is available at:

Am I allowed to travel outside of the U.S. while on CPT?
You can travel in and out of the United States while on CPT provided you get your I-20 signed by UC International Services.

Do I have to be registered for credit hours while on CPT?
You must be registered for at least one credit hour of research credit (if a graduate student working on a thesis), or for Professional Practice credit while on CPT. You must be registered for each quarter you are on CPT. Summer Quarter is the exception to this rule.

Am I covered by UC Health Insurance while on CPT?
You are still covered under University Student Health Insurance during your period of CPT. Your employer may need to know this if you wish to waive their health benefits. Alternatively, if you wish to use your employer’s health benefits and wish to waive the University Student Health Insurance for the period you are on CPT you will need to apply for a waiver prior to the third Friday of the quarter.

What is an I-9 Form and how do I fill it out?
This is a form that your employer will complete with you on your first day of work. It is a form that certifies how you are authorized to work in the US for this particular employer. The two most common questions are answered below:

  • In Section 1, "An alien authorized to work", your Admission # is your I-94 card number.
  • In Section 2, CPT falls under the category of "List A", document #4: Unexpired foreign passport, with Form I-94 indicating unexpired employment authorization. This section is to be completed by the employer, not the student.

How should I fill out my Form W-4 for taxes?
Most F-1 students should fill outthe  boxes like so:

  • In Box #3 — "Single" (even if you are married)
  • In Box #5 — "1"

If you are an Indian student, fill out the boxes like so:

  • In Box #3 — "Single" (even if you are married)
  • In Box #5 — "1" (only select “2” if your spouse is not working)
  • In Box #6 — Leave blank. The standard Non-Resident Alien tax does not apply.

Can I claim additional exemptions on my Form W-4?
Students from American Samoa, Canada, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea or Northern Mariana Islands may be able to claim additional exemptions. For details contact

Do I have to pay social security or medicare taxes while on CPT?
If you are an F-1 student and have not been in the US for 5 years you should not be paying Social Security or Medicare Taxes. Your employer should refer to IRS Publication 519 They should in particular read page 6 for "exempt individuals" and page 45-46 (in Chapter 8). After reading that they will want to know what is the difference between a Resident Alien and Non-Resident Alien and how to calculate this. This can also be found in Publication 519 on Page 4-5 with the standard Substantial Presence Test, but should also look on page 6 for exempt individuals where they will find F’s stated clearly and the five year rule.

Can I get withheld social security or medicare taxes refunded?
If your employer is unsure how or unwilling to assist you and you still wish to get Social Security and Medicare Taxes refunded, you can get instructions by clicking here.

How can I find out more information about paying taxes while on CPT?
Any further tax related questions can be answered by going to the tax section of our website.