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Day 1 CPT Transition : How to Minimized the Gap Between OPT and Day 1 CPT

How to Manage the Gap Between OPT and Day 1 CPT?

From OPT to Day 1 CPT Without Gaps

Does there have to be a Gap?

In many cases, you will have a gap in employment when you transfer from OPT to CPT. However, in some cases this gap can be minimized or avoided.

When you switch from OPT to CPT, you will be initiating a SEVIS transfer between your old institution and your new one. As soon as your SEVIS is transferred from your old institution, your OPT will be terminated immediately. While your SEVIS is inactive, you cannot work for pay. To begin working again, you must wait for your new Day 1 CPT university to accept your SEVIS and issue a new I-20, which will allow you to apply for CPT authorization from them. Day 1 CPT universities will then assess your eligibility for CPT based on the documents you submitted after you got your new I-20. If all requirements are met, they will issue a new I-20 with CPT and an authorized start date for work. You can resume working based on the start date indicated on this new I-20. This SEVIS transfer process usually result in a  three day to two week gap between your previous OPT and your new Day 1 CPT, even if you expedite this process. 

Recognizing that bureaucratic procedures can potentially cause students to lose job or internship opportunities, some Day 1 CPT universities have adapted. These universities permit students to initiate the CPT application process before the SEVIS transfer. Thus, upon receiving an offer from these Day 1 CPT universities, you should inform your old school to schedule a SEVIS transfer and simultaneously submit your CPT application to your new Day 1 CPT university. While awaiting the release of your SEVIS by the old school, the DSO at your new Day 1 CPT university will review and provisionally approve your CPT application by entering all related information into their system as a draft. Once the SEVIS transfer is finalized, instead of issuing a standard I-20 as many traditional universities do, they will activate the draft information, providing you directly with an I-20 that includes CPT authorization, thereby bypassing several intermediate steps. If necessary, they can later issue an original I-20 without CPT to you as well.

This process of CPT pre-approval saves time for students. With careful planning of the SEVIS transfer date, there will be no gap between their previous OPT and their new Day 1 CPT.

 

Is this process legitimate?

CPT pre-approval is totally legitimate and legal!

Even with CPT pre-approval, you are still only authorized to work based on the "start date" on your CPT I-20, not a single day before. 

The only difference is that staff at these Day 1 CPT universities choose to adapt to your timeline and prepare all necessary documents ahead of time. Some of them even work during weekends, just to make sure their students can get their documents processed on time. The staff will still be reviewing your documents and eligibility, just on an faster timeline. You still have to meet all criteria before they will issue you the official CPT I-20. 

If you are want guidance on planning your time, fill out the form below to schedule a free session with our consultant. Get a personalized Day 1 CPT universities list,  and let our consultants find the best option for you. 

 

Day 1 CPT Universities Short Lists

Allow Parallel CPT Application and SEVIS Transfer

Harrisburg University 

New England College

McDaniel College 

Can Start CPT Before Classes/Program Begin

Ottawa University [2 Weeks before Program Start Date]

Humphreys University [2 Weeks before Program Start Date]

National Louis University [2 Weeks before Program Start Date]

Known for Fast CPT Processing

CIAM [3 Days]

Ottawa University [3 Days]

Humphreys University [3 Days]

Westcliff University [5 Days]

Saint Peter's University [5 Days]

If you are still not sure how to plan your time, schedule a free session with our consultant. Get a personalized Day 1 CPT universities list,  and let them layout what is the best option for you. 
The 150 Days Rule

SEVIS Transfer Process

To ensure a smooth SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) transfer for F-1 students looking to transition to Day 1 CPT universities, follow this streamlined guide:

STEP 1: Get an offer from Day 1 CPT Universities On Time

Explore our Day 1 CPT Universities Academic Calendar to ensure you apply to programs with enrollment windows that align with your grace period timeline. To facilitate a SEVIS transfer, your F-1 status must be valid while also having a new offer in hand. This requires obtaining an offer from Day 1 CPT universities within the 60-day grace period following the completion of your previous course or OPT/CPT.

 

NOTE: The usual application processing time for most Day 1 CPT universities is around 2 weeks to 1 month. It is recommended by admission officers that prospective students should submit all application material at least one month before the program start date. 

As official partners with 25+ Day 1 CPT universities in the US, CPTDog can help students get an offer as fast as within 48 hours, as long as the students meet all intake requirements. If you have a tight timeline, book a free consultation with our consultant to explore your options and get your application processed faster. 

 

 

STEP 2: Contact Your Current School

Communicate with the Designated School Official (DSO) at your current institution about your decision to transfer. Provide the name of the Day 1 CPT university you're transferring to and your desired transfer date.

 

Note: The SEVIS transfer process begins the moment your current institution "releases" your SEVIS record. Until this release occurs, your new Day 1 CPT university's DSO cannot take any action. Each institution has specific policies for "releasing" F1 students' SEVIS records, with some requiring scheduling the release at least 15 working days in advance. Although the "release and transfer" process itself is quick, there may be a waiting period for your DSO to handle your request. It's advised to consult with your current institution's DSO well in advance to understand their rules and schedule the "release" of your SEVIS record timely.

 

STEP 3: Facilitate Coordination Between DSOs

The DSOs from your current and future schools will agree on a transfer date that aligns with your educational goals and the program's start date at the Day 1 CPT university. As the deadline approaches, you can check in with them to make ensure your case is on track to be approved. 

STEP 4: Get a New I-20 from Your Day 1 CPT Universities 

Once SEVIS is transferred to your Day 1 CPT University, your DSO will issue a new I-20 to you. This I-20 can be used to apply for CPT authorization. Some Day 1 CPT universities will issue you CPT I-20 directly to help bridge the gap between your previous OPT to your new Day 1 CPT authorization. Read more about How to Bridge the Gap Between OPT and CPT.

STEP 5: Report to Your Day 1 CPT Universities

It is mandatory to check in with your new school and register for classes at the earliest opportunity, adhering to the enrollment policies of Day 1 CPT universities. According to USCIS, F1 students must report to the new school they are transferred to no later than 15 days before the program start date.

 

NOTE: Some schools offer more lenient policies concerning the 15-day rule. If you need to enroll urgently, please contact our consultant to expedite your process.

 

 

The 150 Days Rule & The Proximity Principle

The 150 Days Rule

Eligibility for a SEVIS transfer requires that the start date of the new program (at the new school) falls within 150 days after the student completes studies at the previous institution or after finishing OPT/STEM OPT. The student has the discretion to select the Transfer date, which marks the official transfer of the SEVIS record from the previous school to the new one. Students considering a SEVIS transfer must thoughtfully determine the appropriate timing for this transfer date.

What does the 150-day rule imply, and how is it applied in reality? Although transferring a SEVIS record is a quick process, its activation requires manual intervention. The DSO at your Day 1 CPT university must manually activate your transferred SEVIS record through their SEVIS portal, which they typically do only after you have paid tuition and commenced classes. Some DSOs, to ensure students genuinely intend to pursue studies at their institution rather than just seeking a valid I-20, may wait 1-2 weeks from the start of the new semester before initiating the SEVIS record activation process. As a result, your SEVIS may not be active until after the course add/drop deadline. Accordingly, it is crucial to ensure that the period from your last class attendance at your previous institution to the activation of your SEVIS record by the DSO at Day 1 CPT universities does not exceed 150 calendar days.

The Proximity Principle

A nuanced aspect of SEVIS transfer involves enrolling in the intake session "closest" to the expiration date of your previous I-20 (OPT). For instance, if your OPT expires in January and the Day 1 CPT university you've chosen offers intake windows in March and May, you are required to enroll for the March session. Should you prefer to start your studies in May, the DSO at your new school may advise you to exit and re-enter the country as an initial student.

 

Day 1 CPT Enrollment Windows

* Filter is set based on Program Start Date

* CPT Start Date is the earliest possible date for your CPT to begin, assuming your application is submitted on time and no additional audit is required. While most students will likely have their CPT approved by these dates, it is not guaranteed.

 

CIAM - Jan

  • Program Start: 1/4/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 1/4/2025
  • Application DDL: 12/4/2024

Westcliff University - Jan

  • Program Start: 1/6/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 1/6/2025
  • Application DDL: 12/6/2024

New England College - Jan

  • Program Start: 1/6/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 1/6/2025
  • Application DDL: 12/6/2024

Monroe College - Jan

  • Program Start: 1/5/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 1/5/2024
  • Application DDL: 12/5/2023

National Louis University - Jan

MS Business Data Analytics 
  • Program Start: 1/13/2025 
  • CPT Start Date: 1/13/2025
  • Application DDL: 12/13/2024

McDaniel University - Jan

  • Program Start: 1/16/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 1/16/2024
  • Application DDL: 1/9/2024

Harrisburg University - Jan

  • Program Start: 1/4/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 1/4/2025
  • Application DDL: 12/4/2024

National Louis University - Jan

DBA Program
  • Program Start: 1/10/2025 
  • CPT Start Date: 1/10/2025
  • Application DDL: 12/10/2024

University of the Potomac - Jan

  • Program Start: 1/6/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 1/6/2025
  • Application DDL: 12/6/2024

CIAM - Feb

  • Program Start: 2/15/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 2/15/2025
  • Application DDL: 1/15/2025

Saint Peter's University - Feb

  • Program Start: 2/26/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 2/26/2024
  • Application DDL: 1/26/2024

New England College - Mar

  • Program Start: 3/17/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 3/17/2025
  • Application DDL: 2/17/2025

Westcliff University - Mar

  • Program Start: 3/3/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 3/3/2025
  • Application DDL: 2/3/2025

Harrisburg University - Mar

  • Program Start: 3/3/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 3/3/2025
  • Application DDL: 2/3/2025

University of the Potomac - Mar

  • Program Start: 3/3/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 3/3/2025
  • Application DDL: 2/3/2025

Monroe College - Apr

  • Program Start: 4/16/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 4/26/2024
  • Application DDL: 3/26/2023

Sofia University - Apr

  • Program Start: 4/7/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 4/7/2025
  • Application DDL: 3/7/2025

University of the Potomac - Apr

  • Program Start: 4/28/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 4/28/2025
  • Application DDL: 3/28/2025

Westcliff University - May

  • Program Start: 5/6/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 5/6/2024
  • Application DDL: 3/25/2024

National Louis University - May

DBA Program
  • Program Start: 5/9/2024 
  • CPT Start Date: 5/9/2024
  • Application DDL: 4/9/2024

New England College - May

  • Program Start: 5/5/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 5/5/2025
  • Application DDL: 4/5/2025

Saint Peter's University - May

  • Program Start: 5/20/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 5/20/2024
  • Application DDL: 4/1/2024

Harrisburg University - May

  • Program Start: 5/3/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 5/3/2025
  • Application DDL: 4/3/2025

Westcliff University - Jun

  • Program Start: 7/1/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 7/1/2024
  • Application DDL: 6/1/2024

Harrisburg University - July

  • Program Start: 7/17/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 7/17/2024
  • Application DDL: 6/17/2024

National Louis University - Aug

DBA Program
  • Program Start: 8/23/2024 
  • CPT Start Date: 8/23/2024
  • Application DDL: 7/23/2024

CIAM - Aug

  • Program Start: 8/31/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 8/31/2025
  • Application DDL: 7/31/2024

Harrisburg University - Jun

  • Program Start: 6/30/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 6/30/2025
  • Application DDL: 5/30/2025

New England College - Jul

  • Program Start: 7/15/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 7/15/2024
  • Application DDL: 6/15/2024

University of the Potomac - Jul

  • Program Start: 7/1/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 7/1/2024
  • Application DDL: 6/1/2024

Saint Peter's University - Jul

  • Program Start: 7/1/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 7/1/2024
  • Application DDL: 6/1/2024

Sofia University - Jul

  • Program Start: 7/1/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 7/1/2024
  • Application DDL: 6/1/2024

Humphreys University - Jul

  • Program Start: 7/1/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 6/1/2024
  • Application DDL: 6/2/2024

Westcliff University - Jul

  • Program Start: 7/1/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 7/1/2024
  • Application DDL: 6/15/2024

Ottawa University - Aug

  • Program Start: 8/23/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 8/23/2024
  • Application DDL: 7/23/2024

Harrisburg University - Aug

  • Program Start: 8/24/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 8/24/2024
  • Application DDL: 7/24/2024

McDaneil College - Aug

  • Program Start: 8/26/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 8/26/2025
  • Application DDL: 7/26/2025

Westcliff University - Sep

  • Program Start: 9/3/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 9/3/2024
  • Application DDL: 8/3/2024

National Louis University - Sep

MS Business Data Analytics 
  • Program Start: 9/23/2024 
  • CPT Start Date: 9/23/2024
  • Application DDL: 8/23/2024

Monroe College - Sep

  • Program Start: 9/6/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 9/6/2024
  • Application DDL: 8/6/2023

New England College - Sep

  • Program Start: 9/3/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 9/3/2024
  • Application DDL: 8/3/2024

University of the Potomac - Sep

  • Program Start: 9/3/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 9/3/2024
  • Application DDL: 8/3/2024

Sofia University - Sep

  • Program Start: 9/30/2025
  • CPT Start Date: 9/30/2025
  • Application DDL: 8/30/2024

Humphreys University - Sep

  • Program Start: 9/30/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 9/30/2024
  • Application DDL: 8/28/2024

CAIM - Oct

  • Program Start: 10/12/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 10/12/2024
  • Application DDL: 9/12/2024

Westcliff University - Oct

  • Program Start: 10/28/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 10/28/2024
  • Application DDL: 9/28/2024

Harrisburg University - Oct

  • Program Start: 10/21/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 10/21/2024
  • Application DDL: 9/21/2024

Ottawa University - Oct

  • Program Start: 10/18/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 10/18/2024
  • Application DDL: 9/18/2025

University of the Potomac - Oct

  • Program Start: 10/28/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 10/28/2024
  • Application DDL: 9/28/2024

New England College - Nov

  • Program Start: 11/12/2024
  • CPT Start Date: 11/12/2024
  • Application DDL: 10/12/2024

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