Day 1 CPT - Exploring the Potential Risks

We’ve talked about the good things about Day 1 CPT in our "Things to Know Before Choosing Day 1 CPT". However, during our consultation, we found that many students considering enrolling in Day 1 CPT courses are concerned about how it may impact their H1B, and later on green card processing. They doubt the legitimacy of the Day 1 CPT program and would like to do some risk management before diving into it.

Rather than dance around the answer, we are committed to offering the most comprehensive reviews and reliable answers. This article intends to address the most common worries we encounter with our students. We will also discuss the past events about day 1 CPT University getting banned by the USCIS.

This is the ultimate insider’s guide to day 1 CPT.

  1. What is Day 1 CPT
  2. Pros and Cons of Day 1 CPT
  3. 129 Indian students arrested by ICE because of Day 1 CPT?
  4. Stopped at the border because of Day 1 CPT?
  5. Will day 1 CPT affect my OPT?
  6. Can I get an H1-B after using Day 1 CPT?
  7. Will I receive a Request for Information (RFE) when applying for H1-B if I used Day 1 CPT?
  8. Will using Day 1 CPT affect my Green Card processing?
  9. Can I use Day 1 CPT if I’ve had an H1B?

What is Day 1 CPT

Day 1 CPT programs enable students to work while studying from the first day of their program, provided certain requirements are met. These requirements include having a job related to their program of study, internship or work experience being an essential part of the school's curriculum, obtaining approval from the Designated School Official (DSO), and fulfilling the full course of study, which may vary from six to nine graduate credits depending on the university's policy.

For working professionals seeking to enhance their education, Day 1 CPT programs can be a valuable option.

It's important for students to note that if they use CPT for over a year while working full-time (more than 20 hours per week), they won't be eligible for OPT after graduation. For additional details on regulations and policies, please refer to the SEVIS Help hub.

Several universities that offer Day 1 CPT programs provide a Hybrid format, which includes a combination of online and in-person classes.

Pros and Cons of Day 1 CPT

If you are stumped on this article while searching on Google, you might be more interested in the cons than the pros.

Day 1 CPT has a significant drawback, which is the potential for USCIS to reject a request to switch from F-1 to H-1B status due to the use of Day 1 CPT, as it may be viewed as a violation of F-1 status.

One may ultimately be left with the option of leaving the US and obtaining a visa stamp for re-entry if they engage in Day 1 CPT. USCIS may take longer to approve the next visa, and the period in between can be challenging to spend in the country.

There is a high incidence of fraud associated with Day 1 CPT schools, and many students may end up in situations such as arrest or deportation without this knowledge.

It is extremely important for an international student to understand that not all day 1 CPT programs are created equal. In order to enjoy all the benefits of Day 1 CPT, you need to enroll in an accredited Day 1 CPT universities that have a proven record with USCIS. They can help you mitigate the risks and provide sufficient proof that you are an eligible F1 student whose curriculum requires an internship.

Day 1 CPT is an exciting opportunity with risks on the side. To avoid them, consult with experts first. work with immigration lawyers to ensure all of our students who are interested in Day 1 CPT are actually eligible and we only work with carefully selected accredited Day 1 CPT universities.

Book a free consultation today, if you are interested but still have concerns in day 1 CPT.


Indian Students Arrested by ICE Because of Day 1 CPT?

Let’s address the elephant in the room!

In 2019, a high-profile Day 1 CPT arrest case emerged, which continues to generate controversy and has had a significant impact on thousands of F1 students.

The case happened in Michigan, where federal agents established a fictitious institution called the University of Farmington to ensnare non-compliant students.

The University of Farmington purported to offer enrollment with Day 1 CPT privileges without the obligation of attending classes or completing coursework, an appealing proposition for many students. However, the institution failed to adhere to CPT requirements, specifically the requirement that students have to participate in academic studies.

The Detroit News investigated the University of Farmington and found that it was a sham institution with no faculty, curriculum, or academic obligations, but rather existed solely to provide fraudulent Day 1 CPT to students. Federal agents had set up the institution as part of an immigration fraud investigation, to identify non-compliant students abusing the CPT system.

The Department of Homeland Security and ICE HSI subsequently apprehended eight recruiters of Indian origin, charging them with visa fraud and alien harboring for profit.


The Truth

Day 1 CPT is designed for international students to get a head start in the American job market. Without a local network and work experience, it might be extremely difficult for an international student to land a job after graduation despite of his/her excellent academic performance and practical experience. However, anything could be abused in a way that betrays its original intention, and so does Day 1 CPT.

There exist other "universities" just like Farmington, which is made up of the ICE. Taking advantage of new immigrants' lack of understanding of the educational system and immigration policy of the U.S., they attract students with programs that are not certificated and thus illegal. Although Day 1 CPT is completely legitimate, such sort of abusive practice is not legally permissible.

We’ve written a guide on how to spot a shady Day 1 CPT university: Maximizing the Benefits of Day 1 CPT while Mitigating the Risks: A Comprehensive Guide

Read through, if you still have questions or are not sure if the school you chose is legit, talk to us, we are here to help.

Denied entry because of Day 1 CPT?

Although F1 students can legally work through CPT or OPT, both options have limitations. According to 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(10), a student can receive authorization for 12 months of practical training and may be eligible for an additional 12 months when transitioning to a higher level of education.

Previously, USCIS primarily focused on limitations surrounding the transition from OPT to CPT, resulting in strict enforcement against allowing international students who have exhausted their OPT to use another CPT at the same degree level with the same major. Such action would constitute a violation of F1 status.

How to avoid this risk? Can you travel through the border safely while using day 1 CPT?

Read our post Denied Entry Because of day 1 CPT? How to Avoid the Risks?

Will day 1 CPT affect my OPT?

As long as you do not use full-time CPT for 12 months or more, then no, it will not affect your OPT.

CPT can be either part-time (20 hours or less per week) or full-time (over 20 hours per week). There are no restrictions on the duration of part-time CPT, and you can engage in it for any number of months.

Full-time CPT has no weekly hour limit, except for any restrictions set by your university. If you use 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you become ineligible for OPT. However, there is no restriction on the total number of months you can use CPT.

Will Day 1 CPT affect my H1B application?

Students enrolled in Day 1 CPT programs are still eligible to apply for an H1-B visa afterward. It should not affect your change of status (COS) request if you have properly maintained your F-1 status by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • Obtaining the appropriate I-20 before beginning CPT.

  • Knowing the necessary steps to take when extending or modifying the CPT end date.

  • Changing employers.

  • Requesting a transition from full-time to part-time (or vice versa).

  • Maintaining documentation on hours worked and other relevant information.

By ensuring compliance with CPT regulations, students can confidently and thoroughly respond to any requests for information that may arise during the non-immigrant worker's visa application process.

Will I receive a Request for Information (RFE) when applying for H1-B if I used Day 1 CPT?

It is possible that students applying for an H1-B visa may receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) regardless of their enrollment in a Day 1 CPT program.

However, accredited Day 1 CPT universities typically have high pass rates that do not affect H1-B approval results.

We’ll give you an example by providing some past data:

Westcliff University is a popular Day 1 CPT university in California. It is also one of our partnered day 1 CPT universities. It has a great record when it comes down to RFE. Less than 10% of its students have received RFEs after getting selected for an H1B visa. 99% of those who did receive RFEs successfully passed them (data from 2021).

Accredited day 1 CPT universities provide their students a “package of evidence” to help with proving their F1 status, though in most cases it is unnecessary.

Besides what day 1 CPT schools can provide, students can also take this matter into their own hands.

Read our blog to get a full list of things you need to do as a day 1 CPT student to ensure the legitimacy of your legal status in the U.S.

>>>> Stay Ready for an RFE while Enjoying Day 1 CPT

Will using Day 1 CPT affect my Green Card processing?

Students who plan to enroll in a Day 1 CPT course may be concerned about whether this decision will affect their Green card processing in the future. This could be due to misinformation or a lack of understanding about the Day 1 CPT and Green card process.

However, the answer is simple: No, Day 1 CPT enrollment has no effect on Green card processing since they are completely independent of each other.

Many students opt for a Day 1 CPT program to work while pursuing their education. Additionally, working professionals may choose to enroll in a Day 1 CPT course to maintain their F1 status if their H1B visa application is not selected in the lottery. It's important to note that both OPT and CPT are legal. You can apply for multiple Day 1 CPTs to keep your status, and this won't have any impact on your Green card processing.

Can I use Day 1 CPT if I’ve had an H1B?

Yes, you can if you need to.

As a foreign employee facing a career crisis, there is an additional concern to worry about: your legal status in the United States. Day 1 CPT programs can assist you in such a situation. You may choose to switch from H1B back to F1 to keep your legal status. With the option of CPT, you can start to look for your next ideal job while advancing your education at one of the accredited day 1 CPT universities. Once your education ended, or you choose to end it, you many re-enter the job market by reactivating your old H1B.

How long does it take for a change of status from H1-B visa to F-1 visa?

The processing time for this can range from 3 months to a year. You can check the current processing times for Form I-539 by clicking on the link below.

For additional details, please refer to the USCIS guide provided here.

Can I change back to H1B if I found a job later on?


You don’t need to apply for the H1B lottery again. You’ll need to make sure your new job accepts H1B transfer and you can “transfer“ your old H1B to your new job.

How does this H1B-F1-H1B COS work?

read our post for detailed answers:

Got Laid Off while on an H1B? What to do Next?

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