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Day 1 CPT Application Timeline: A Detailed Guide

For OPT/H1B/H4 and SEVIS termination

Day 1 CPT Timeline: for OPT Students

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For international students and professionals looking for Day 1 CPT, managing visa statuses and navigating application timelines can often be confusing. Missing the deadlines can lead to serious visa issues if not done correctly. But no worries, we will lead you through the Day 1 CPT application process and timeline so you can be well prepared after reading this page!

From OPT to Day 1

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If your OPT is ending soon, you just need need a valid I-20 from your new Day 1 CPT school to keep working and studying in the U.S. Applying for a new F1 visa is not necessary.

Step 1: Choose a CPT School (1 month before OPT end date)

Each CPT school has its unique CPT policies, program settings, and admission requirements. We can help you identify the best choice based on your individual situation . Please contact us to find the right school and program for you.

Step 2: Getting An Offer Letter (4 weeks after you apply)

After you decide which Day 1 CPT schools to apply, we will either send you the application guide or connect you with a school advisor. Generally, your application result will come out 3-4 weeks after your application is submitted.



Step 3: Transfer your SEVIS record and request I-20 (2 weeks)

After getting your admission letter, you can start transferring your SEVIS record. It is recommended that students inform their old school’s DSO that they would like to transfer their SEVIS to the new school 2-3 weeks before the desired SEVIS release date. (You can choose your SEVIS release date, but please note that you cannot work while SEVIS transfers as your SEVIS status is still pending). People usually take unpaid leave from their company during this period.  

Step 4: Getting your CPT I-20 (10 days)

After you get your CPT I-20, you can start working legally after the CPT start date on the I-20.


Recommended Reading:

OPT to Day 1 CPT: SEVIS Transfer Guide

Day 1 CPT Timeline: for H1B/H4 and Other Visas

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If you are on an H1B, H4, J1, or F2 visa, we recommend you apply as soon as possible. Changing status to F1 usually takes 3-8 months.

From H1B/H4/B2 (and Other Visas) to Day 1 CPT

Free Consultation

Step 0: Take English Proficiency Test (2 days)

If you have an US degree you can skip this step. Please contact us to get a Duolingo discount! The result can come out as fast as two days.

Step 1: School and Program Selection (1 month)

Some schools do not accept change of status students or will require them to study 9 months before CPT. So please make sure to contact us to check your eligibility. We will send you the application guide and document checklist to you so you can submit your application smoothly.

Step 2: Change of Status to F1 (3- 8month) 1 month with premium processing

After receiving your admission letter and the I-20 form indicating a change of status, you can start to file the I-539 form for changing your nonimmigrant status. This is typically done by an immigration lawyer. If you apply through us, we will offer a FREE 25 minute consultation for change of status. The current standard processing time exceeds three months. For expedited processing, consider the premium processing service, which would be around one month. You are authorized to remain in the U.S. while your change of status application is pending. If you do not receive F-1 approval within 15 days prior to your program's start date, defer your enrollment to the next term. 

Please keep in mind that approval for a change of status to F-1 is not the same as visa approval. If you need to travel outside of the U.S. during the program, getting an F-1 visa from an embassy or consulate is required.

Step 3: Apply for CPT and Start Working (10 days)

After you change of status to F1 is approved, You can enroll in the program under F-1 status and apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). You can start working after your CPT start date on the I-20.

For SEVIS Termination

If your SEVIS is about to get terminated or expire due to reasons like low GPA or graduation, please contact us as soon as possible. Since we have a close relationship with CPT school officials and partnership with most accredited universities, we can help you get admission letters in 2-3 business days. This way, you can get your I-20 very soon and successfully stay in the US without risks. Please note that this timeline is just an estimate, and every school has slightly different processing time. For most accurate information please contact our consulting team.