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H1B visa
TimApr 1, 2024 6:26:05 PM5 min read

Day 1 CPT: Backup Plan for 2024 H1B Visa Lottery

At a Glance

  • Day 1 CPT is a work authorization that legally permits students to work from the first day of their program.
  • If you are currently on OPT and seeking solutions for continuing your employment in the U.S., you can maintain your current job by seamlessly transitioning to Day 1 CPT.
  • During your Day 1 CPT period, you can continuously participate in the H1B visa lottery, which would greatly enhance your chance to obtain an H1B visa.

The results of the 2024 H1B visa lottery are currently being released. Applicants fortunate enough to be selected can rejoice in securing an H1B work visa. However, for those not selected, a profound sense of frustration and anxiety is understandable. Numerous international students have pursued education in the United States with aspirations of career advancement within the country. However, the competitive nature of the H1B visa lottery often results in disappointment for many.

If you're wondering, "How can I remain and continue my work in the U.S.?" and feel anxious about your future, you can consider Day 1 CPT. Day 1 CPT allows international students to maintain their employment and legal stay in the U.S., thus serving as a reliable backup plan for those not successful in the lottery. During Day 1 CPT, you can continuously participate in H1B lotteries. This blog will offer a thorough guide on how to navigate the period following the 2024 H1B visa lottery by applying for Day 1 CPT.


What is Day 1 CPT?

Day 1 CPT is a specific type of Curricular Practical Training (CPT), a work permit granted to international students enrolling in full-time academic programs. While many universities require a year of academic progress before students can apply for CPT, some schools that prioritize practical experience as a core part of their curriculum permit students to participate in CPT from the outset of their studies. This type of work permission, which allows students to work under CPT from the first day of enrollment, is known as Day 1 CPT.

If you are currently on OPT and seeking solutions for continuing your employment in the U.S., you can maintain your current job by seamlessly transitioning to Day 1 CPT.

For a more detailed explanation of Day 1 CPT, see A Comprehensive Guide to Day 1 CPT


What are Day 1 CPT Universities?

Day 1 CPT Universities refer to universities and colleges that offer the option of Day 1 CPT. In order to use Day 1 CPT to continue their studies, work, and live in the U.S., students need to enroll in these schools and then apply for CPT authorization. This application will be evaluated by the school’s DSO (Designated School Official). Upon receiving authorization, students are allowed to work while studying.

For more information, see our List of Accredited Day 1 CPT Universities.


How Does Day 1 CPT Legally Authorize Me to Work?  

CPT is a work authorization granted by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). USCIS allows universities to develop their own CPT policies for graduate-level programs, enabling some schools to offer Day 1 CPT for programs emphasizing work experience.

After CPT approval, students will receive a new I-20 with CPT authorization. With CPT, students can engage in full-time work, part-time work, or internships.

Note that as an F1 student, you must fulfill the academic requirements of your CPT program. Maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher is necessary for continuing your CPT authorization. 


Available Day 1 CPT University Options in the Upcoming Months

Selecting the suitable Day 1 CPT school involves careful consideration of factors such as location, program, tuition, and enrollment window. For additional guidance, consult How to Choose the Right Day 1 CPT School and Program.

For OPT students not selected in the H1B lottery, enrollment window becomes a significant factor for choosing a right Day 1 CPT school, given the impending expiration of their OPT. Day 1 CPT schools usually offer 4 to 6 enrollment windows each year, providing applicants with great flexibility.

Considering most students’ expiration dates fall between May and July, we provide a list of Day 1 CPT schools categorized by their enrollment periods:

OPT students will have a 60-day grace period following their OPT expiration. As an OPT student, you must complete the transfer of your SEVIS record by the end of your grace period. You need to choose a school that provides an enrollment window within the end date of your grace period. It is recommended for students to submit their applications at least 2 weeks before their desired program’s start date. 

From OPT to Day 1 CPT


Step 1: Select a Day 1 CPT School

Explore the List of Accredited Day 1 CPT Universities to find various options. If you need more guidance on school selection, don’t hesitate to book a free consultation with our consultants. We have successfully helped thousands of students to get into their preferred Day 1 CPT programs, with many securing an H1B visa as well.


Step 2: Prepare for Application Materials and Submit Application

You can waive all application fees by applying through our service!


Step 3: Receive an Offer Letter

As an official partner of over 25 Day 1 CPT schools, we can help you get an admission letter as quickly as 2-3 days.


Step 4: Transfer SEVIS Record

After receiving your offer letter, you will need to transfer your SEVIS. Once completed, you are permitted to stay in the U.S.


Step 5: Submit Your CPT Application

Gather required materials such as CPT agreement, job offer letter, and proof of tuition payment, and then submit your application to the school’s DSO.


Step 6: Work with CPT

Following the approval of your application, you are allowed to work under CPT. 


From Day 1 CPT to H1B

During your Day 1 CPT period, you can continuously participate in the H1B visa lottery. Enrolling In a 2-year master’s CPT program can provide you with 2 to 3 extra opportunities for the H1B lottery, and a 4-year doctoral CPT program provides 4-5 more opportunities.

With Day 1 CPT, you can maintain your employment and continue your legal presence in the U.S. The extra opportunities for the H1B lottery would greatly enhance the chance for an international student to obtain an H1B visa. Once you get selected in the H1B lottery, you can transition from F1 to H1B smoothly.



For international students who are not able to obtain an H1B visa, Day 1 CPT provides a viable alternative. If you have further questions about Day 1 CPT, please feel free to book a free consultation with us. With our extensive experience in assisting international students in finding suitable Day 1 CPT programs, we’re here to support you in starting a new chapter of your American journey. 



Senior educational consultant with 10+ years experience