Can Day 1 CPT End Your Status?

The recent USCIS memo explaining unlawful presence rules in the context of F1 student status has reverberated through the legal community It has also posed many questions.  I posit here that the memo is aimed primarily at curbing Day 1 abuses.

Attorneys across the country are reporting their clients are receiving RFEs investigating past maintenance of F1 status, including past enrollment of OPT, CPT and Day 1 CPT in particular.   Maintaining valid status is a requirement of changing to a new status such as work and most categories of permanent residence.  The H1B petitions submitted by Chaudhary Law Office are not in premium processing and thus early in the application process, so we have not gotten any RFEs  as yet.  We expect that we will and anticipate similar requests for proof of status during our clients’ student days.

But, the increase in RFEs, plus the new unlawful presence memo, point to one thing: If you are not enrolled in CPT properly, for EXAMPLE if CPT was used ONLY as an employment “bridge,” then your status is not proper and your unlawful presence starts to accrue when you enrolled in that improper CPT, OR other improper F1 activity.

CPT is simply used an example i’ll be in proper maintenance of F1 status. But it is a good one. One attorney recently stated that although CPT is perfectly legal, recently it has been used as a shady method of continuing employment without study. I agree.

There have been warnings including for myself on this blog and elsewhere about the dangers of abusing this provision of law. This new memo shows the days of Day 1 CPT are numbered if people don’t stop abusing it.

Fortunately, the memo does not hint it will be eliminated—yet. So there may still be time for legitimate trainees to utilize CPT. But the community must start to clean up it’s act, and it starts with rooting out the con artists promising fake jobs to gullible students unaccustomed to following societal rules, thereby ruining the system for honest immigrants. IT workers themselves must stop turning a blind eye to these rules just to make a buck, and call out the hucksters who could care less about the spouses and children’s lives ruined by their future visas and green cards being denied.

Here’s the first thing to do: read the CPT rules. If you are on CPT or are considering it, ask yourself from the point of view of the US government, whether you are truly following the spirit of practical training, and not just continuing on with work. How do you figure this out? Ask yourself again, which came first the need for training or the need for work?

Here’s a philosophical question: do you think the immigrants of America have not experienced pain and difficulty? Every immigrant had a hard time, and yet with fewer opportunities then there are today. Yet they remained patient and are now experiencing the American dream. There simply are no shortcuts.

Many people will not like the answers and continue to live in denial. They will risk a lifetime of income potential for a few dollars now. For those people, this new memo will, in the words of James Callahan, flap a lot of wings.


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