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J.D. students on F-1 visas are eligible to participate in the following:

  • HLS In-House clinics
  • HLS Student Practice Organizations
  • HLS sponsored pro bono opportunities, such as the pro bono spring break projects

None of the above offerings require Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization.

  • Most HLS Externship Clinics are also available to J.D. students on F-1 visas, but Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is required to participate.
  • J.D. students on F-1 visas cannot participate in Advanced Clinicals with Externship Placements or Domestic Independent Clinicals because these opportunities are not eligible for CPT authorization.

A note on Externship Clinics: you must be a U.S. citizen to participate in the U.S. Attorney clinic and some placements with the Sports Law Clinic and the Semester in Washington Clinic require U. S. citizenship.

THE PROCESS for securing curricular practical training (CPT) for Hls externship clinics:

  1. A student registers for an Externship Clinic through the clinical registration process.
  2. The Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) will work with the clinic staff to obtain an offer letter from the externship placement supervisor.
  3. OCP will send an email including a Student Acknowledgement form to the student to sign.
  4. After the Student Acknowledgement is signed by the student, OCP will deliver the student’s CPT applications to the Harvard International Office (HIO), 864 Smith Campus Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue.
  5. *Student Action Required* Once HIO has approved the application, the student must go to the HIO office in person to pick up their updated I-20 form.

Important: You cannot arrive at your externship placement until you have picked up your new I-20 form.

The student acknowledgement contains the following rules and procedures:

  • The student is eligible for CPT because the student is a 2L or 3L with F-1 status and has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis in a degree program for at least one full academic year.
  • The student understands that the student is bound by the following legal requirements if the student is authorized for CPT during the academic term:
    • If the student is authorized for part-time CPT, the student cannot work more than 20 hours per week at the student’s CPT placement.
    • The student must maintain full-time enrollment at the law school.
    • The student must remain registered for the CPT course for the entire semester for which CPT authorization was granted.
  • The student cannot begin any clinical work at the student’s placement until:
    • The start date of the CPT authorization;
    • The Harvard International Office (HIO) has granted CPT authorization; and
    • The student physically has in hand the student’s new Form I-20 with the CPT authorization on the Form I-20.
  • The student must complete all clinical externship work by the end date of the CPT authorization. It is not permissible to receive an extension on externship clinical work.
  • The student cannot be placed at any other placement during this period (because CPT is authorized for a specific clinical externship placement) without applying for and receiving an amended CPT authorization from HIO.

If you have any questions about these requirements, please feel free to contact:

Sheryl Dickey
Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs
6 Everett Street, Suite 3085
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-2216