Page Content


F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

You may receive authorization to participate in a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular Practical Training is defined to be an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students who have received one year or more of full time CPT are ineligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT).

CPT authorization for Mayo Clinic-sponsored F-1 students is possible only if one of the following two situations apply:

  1. An internship is required for every student enrolled in the degree program (foreign and domestic students alike).
  2. An internship course has been specifically created in the degree program curriculum that establishes clear academic objectives and which conveys academic credit.

A request for authorization for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be made by contacting and approved by a Designated School Official (DSO) in the Legal Department. A written job offer must accompany your request for CPT. You may begin CPT only after receiving your Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.

There is no upper limit on the amount of time available for CPT. However, please note the following:

  • Students who use 12 months or more of full-time (20 or more hours per week) CPT will have no available time for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • Students who use fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT still will be eligible for up to 12 months of OPT.

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department (USCIS) that extends the F-1 student status to allow you to work in the U.S. in order to gain practical training in your major field of study.

  • An employment offer is not required to apply for OPT
  • OPT must be directly related to the student's major field of study

Contact Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department at to sign up for OPT information sessions at Mayo Clinic.

Important: You are not permitted to begin employment until you receive the EAD card with the approved start date.

Eligibility requirements & application deadlines

See U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for eligibility requirements and application deadlines.

How to apply for OPT

If you wish to apply for pre-completion or post-completion OPT, you are required to attend a Mayo Clinic Legal Department OPT information session. To sign-up, contact Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department at for dates and times.

After you attended an OPT session, you may submit a request for your OPT endorsed I-20 by submitting a request form to Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department at

It will take up to two weeks for Mayo Clinic to prepare your new Form I-20 with OPT recommendation, after which you need to submit your application (Form I-765) to the USCIS.

Post-completion OPT

For post-completion OPT, you will need a letter signed by an education coordinator on departmental letterhead, sent to

The letter should certify that:

  • You are in good academic standing
  • You are enrolled in a specific degree level and major field of study
  • The practical experience you are seeking is directly related to your field of study
  • The official graduation date or date you are expected to complete all requirements, including dissertation/thesis

Know your OPT start date before requesting the OPT I-20. Post-completion OPT must begin within 60 days after the program completion date.

Pre-completion OPT

For pre-completion OPT, provide a letter signed by an academic advisor on departmental letterhead, sent to The letter should certify that:

  • You are in good academic standing
  • The practical experience you are seeking is directly related to your field of study
  • That practical training is recommended
  • The expected completion date of the degree program
  • If applicable, that you have completed all course requirements except the dissertation/thesis
  • If applicable, that you have on-campus employment (including assistantship) that will continue during period of authorized pre-completion OPT

Know your OPT start date before requesting the OPT I-20 form. The legal specialist will issue a new I-20 form with OPT recommendation. After five to 10 business days, you must pick up the form from Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department — sign it and make a copy of the first two pages. You will need the copy to apply for OPT.

Mailing the OPT application to USCIS

You must be physically present in the U.S. at the time the application is received by USCIS. Therefore, you can only submit the application while you are physically present in the U.S.

The application and required documents must be mailed and received at the USCIS Processing Center within 30 days from the date the legal specialist recommended the OPT and issued the new I-20 form.

Checklist of documents to be mailed to USCIS

See I-765, Application for Employment Authorization for mailing instructions and additional information. Put together your application in the following order. Do not staple your documents.

  • Check or money order for $410 made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” In the memo line of the check/money order, write "Form I-765" and your SEVIS ID number. Expect to receive a physical receipt notice of your filing in the mail.
  • Two passport photos less than 30 days old. Write your name and SEVIS number in pencil or felt pen lightly on the back and towards the bottom of each photo. Paperclip the photos on top of Form I-765. See DOS Passport Photos for more information.
  • Original I-765 form application. Fill out the form electronically, print, and sign in blue ink. Keep a copy for your records.
  • Signed copy of I-20 form with OPT recommendation (pages 1 and 2).
  • Signed copies of any previous I-20 forms in reverse date order (page 1 and travel signature page, all Mayo Clinic and previous school forms).
  • Copy of I-94 card.
  • Copy of identity pages in passport (passport must be valid).
  • Copy of any previous Employment Authorization Documents (EAD cards), front and back, if applicable.
  • Copy of F-1 visa (even if the visa is expired). This does not apply to citizens of Canada, who are not issued an F-1 visa by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

Mail your OPT application documents using an express courier to the address listed in the I-765 instructional documents. There are several mailing address options. Be sure to choose the correct Lockbox to send it to depending upon your place of residence.

Helpful tips 

Keep a copy of all documents submitted to USCIS for your records. Also, keep a mailing return receipt of your package as evidence that you submitted the application on time.

The U.S. Postal Service cannot forward USCIS government mail using the USPS mail forwarding service. If you need to update the mailing address on the Form I-765 after you submit the application to USCIS, contact the legal department at