Restrictions and requirements for those on post-completion OPT:
If your application for OPT is approved, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS granting you permission to work off-campus.
If you are engaged in post-completion OPT, you are still considered an F-1 student under New York University's sponsorship. Students may not be unemployed more than 90 days during post-completion OPT. The government has stated that students may be denied future immigration benefits that rely on being in status if the Department of Homeland Security determines the student was unemployed for more than 90 days.
Post Completion OPT is activity in your field of studies and commensurate with your degree level. It should be at least 20 hours per week. Post completion OPT includes:
- working for one or multiple employers
- working on a contractual basis
- working through an agency
- volunteering or holding an unpaid internship (as long as the position does not violate any labor laws)
For further information regarding work as a contractor or self-employed business owner, consult an attorney.
With regard to volunteer or unpaid internship activity, it is important that these are positions that do not displace or replicate a paid position within an organization. For example, the government could consider it a violation of labor laws for a position to be called "volunteer" and the same position automatically "converted" to paid once the student's EAD arrives. For further information regarding labor laws, consult with a company's human resources department or an attorney.
You may not start employment until you have received an EAD and not before the start date indicated on the EAD. You must stop employment by the EAD expiration date. Once your EAD expires, you have a "grace period" of 60 days to remain in the United States to prepare for departure or a change to another immigration status.
Your EAD becomes invalid If you obtain another I-20 to begin a new full-time program, or if you depart the United States for more than 5 consecutive months.