Is Studying in Day One CPT Universities a Good Option?


Attorney Jack C. Sung recently posted the following advice to OPT and STEM OPT Students about Day 1 CPT Universities and how to handle the RFE during H-1B Visa application.

It depends. Day One CPT is not a good option if the following condition applies to you:

  1. you already completed OPT for the same degree program as the Day One CPT program,
  2. you are going to work for the same OPT employer with the same job title on CPT,
  3. your CPT program does not require on-site classroom attendance and your CPT employer is far away from your school. RFE that asks applicants to prove that CPT as legitimately used have become commonplace in H-1B and green card applications in recent years.

There are ways to prepare for a response for such an RFE early on. If you prepare well in advance, you are able to respond to the RFE with confidence and address this issue. If you are curious as to how to do that, you should schedule a paid consultation via Ask An Immigration Attorney, because it’s a lot of information to type down. Sample RFE language regarding Day 1 CPT is below:

Curricular Practical Training

  • A detailed statement explaining how the beneficiary obtained CPT employment at the X employer; whether individually, through the school, or through an outside company or consultancy.
  • Proving that the students have actually attended classes including proving their living within commuting distance of the schools;
  • How much was being paid under OPT and CPT;
  • Details about the participating company in the CPT program;
  • How many hours of CPT;
  • Proving that CPT was an integral part of the curriculum and participation was required.

Regarding Unlawful presence, if RFE response fails.

I don’t believe USCIS will be able to say that a CPT user was accruing unlawful presence from the date CPT started because the CPT user took CPT legally from the school and relied on the regulations and school’s representation that the CPT program is valid.

If such program is later found not to be valid, unlawful presence should accrue from the date of such finding, not retroactively to the date CPT started. It simply would not make sense under the law.

Short answer : If your OPT is expired, you should be careful if you want to enroll in Day One CPT to continue employment. Be prepared to answer RFE on how you did not abuse CPT from USCIS for H-1B and green card application down the road.