Everything You Need To Know About Internships In USA


internships in usa

If you are an international student studying in the USA, you may do internships as per the terms of your visa. Most international students in the USA hold F-1 visa and are eligible for two major categories of internship during their term of stay: OPT and CPT.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 visa holders are permitted to do internships under Optional Practical Training (OPT) status during and after completion of their degree.

OPT requirements:

• Your internship/employment must be directly related to their major
• You must apply for OPT before completion of all work towards the degree
• The employment can be started only after receiving the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and you have been enrolled for at least a year. However, you are eligible to apply for OPT after being enrolled for 9 months
• If you opt for OPT before completing a degree you may work just 20 hours per week while school is in session. You may work full-time during summer and other breaks, and after completion of all coursework
• All OPT must be completed within 14 months after completion of the degree
• If you use a total of 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for OPT.


Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is work experience or internship that is required of all students in a specific degree program. Often, this will be listed in your course catalogue as offering credit directly counted towards your degree credit requirements.

CPT requirements:

• You must have been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F-1 status
• A CPT authorization request can be submitted only if you have received a job offer that qualifies
• You can start your work only after receiving authorization from the International Student Office for CPT. Once you receive CPT authorization, you can only work for the specific employer and for the specific dates authorized.

How to find internship opportunity?

In most cases, whether for CPT or OPT, you will have to find your own internship. Here’s how to find internships in USA:

• Make use of your networks to find a suitable opportunity
• There are organizations and placement agencies for interns in the USA that will help you find paid internships
• Use Internet and social media

Tips to apply for internships

• Write a cover letter, even if it wasn’t requested
• Mention specific skills relevant to the internship opportunity in your resume
• Use your current address in the USA instead of the home address on your resume
• Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes in the resume and cover letter

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