Post-completion OPT is Optional Practical Training you use after finishing your program of study. Remember, OPT is employment that is directly related to your major field of study and is only for students in F-1 status.
When to apply
The earliest you can apply is 90 days prior to your completion date.
The latest you can apply is 4 weeks after you complete your degree requirements to allow for adequate processing time. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not accept applications received 60 days or more beyond the completion date.
Procedure to apply
Step 1: Watch the OPT workshop.
This short workshop gives you tips on making a successful OPT application and reminders on what you need to do while you are on OPT to maintain your F-1 status. You can either watch the online post-completion OPT workshop OR go to an in-person workshop with an OGS advisor listed at right and on our Events Calendar.
Step 2: Download and print the Optional Practical Training (OPT) Application Checklist.
Use this checklist as your guide to complete the OPT application process and be sure to follow it closely. If you’re missing anything on the checklist it could mean your OPT will be denied.
Step 3: Download and complete the OGS F-1 OPT Recommendation Form.
Fill out the top half of the form and ask your academic advisor, dean, department chair or program coordinator to fill out the bottom half of the form. For help on completing the form, see the OPT Recommendation Form explained.
Step 4: Gather and prepare these items for your OPT application.
- A check or money order for $380 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If paying by check, be sure that your name and address are pre-printed on it. If you have to hand write in either your name or address on the check then we recommend getting a money order instead.
- A completed Form I-765; Be sure to review our I-765 explained so that you fill out the form correctly. It’s best to type your information into the form, print it, then sign it in blue ink.
- A completed Form G-1145.
- Photocopies of all your previously issued I-20s; include I-20s from previous schools if applicable. You will also need to include a photocopy of the new I-20 with the OPT recommendation on it (see Step 5).
- A photocopy of your F-1 visa stamp (except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda)
- Your printed I-94 record, clearly indicating that you are in F-1 status
- A photocopy of your passport identification page, clearing indicating your passport name, nationality, date of birth, and the passport expiration date
- Two passport-style photographs; review the OPT checklist for what to write on the back of your photos.
- Photocopies of any previously-issued Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if applicable.
Step 5: Request a new I-20 from the OGS.
We offer two ways for you to request a new OPT recommended I-20:
- Drop off your completed OPT Recommendation Form and copies (not originals) of all of your OPT application materials (see step 3) to the OGS reception desk. An OGS advisor will review your application and issue your new I-20. This can take up to 10 business days to process.
- Meet with an advisor to discuss and review your application in person. Bring your completed OPT Recommendation Form and all of your remaining application materials (see step 3) to the OGS during walk-in hours. We will review your application with you. After our meeting, we will issue your new I-20, which can take up to 10 business days.
The OGS will send email to your NYU email address when your new I-20 is ready.
Step 6: Pick up your new I-20.
Once you have received an updated I-20 containing the OPT recommendation, make sure to
- sign your new I-20 in section #11 of the document
- photocopy pages 1 and 3
- include the photocopy of your new I-20 with the rest of your OPT application materials (Step 3)
Step 7: Send your application to USCIS.
Photocopy your entire application for your records.
Send your complete application within 30 days of the issuance date on your new I-20 (See the bottom of page 1 of your I-20 for this date. The date next to the advisor’s signature is the issuance date of the I-20.
If the address on your I-765 is in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, you should send your application by a private courier service (such as FedEx or UPS) to:
2501 S. State Hwy, 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067.
If the address on your I-765 is in a different part of the U.S., please speak with an OGS advisor to find out where to send your application.
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. A few things to remember:
- You may not start employment until you have received the EAD.
- You must wait to begin work until the start date listed on your EAD.
- You must stop employment by the EAD expiration date.
Choosing the start date for your post-completion OPT
- The earliest start date you can request is the day after you complete all requirements for your program of study.
- The latest start date you can request is 60 days after you complete all your requirements.
- For example, if you complete your program requirements on May 20, the earliest start date you can request is May 21 and the latest start date you can request is July 19.
Post-Completion OPT requirements
- You must notify the OGS by completing this reporting survey within ten days of any of the following:
- change in legal name,
- change in mailing or residential address,
- change in employer (supply name and address of the employer, as well as the start date of employment),
- being unemployed for ten or more days,
- deciding to depart the U.S permanently,
- return to school full time, or
- change of status.
- You must not be unemployed for more than 90 days in total during post-completion OPT. In order to be considered “employed” while on post-completion OPT you need to work an average of 20 hours per week. Volunteer or unpaid positions count as employment for OPT as long as the position is in your major field of study.
- Keep a record of any and all OPT activity, including the position held, dates of the position, supervisor name, organization name and location, and description of activity.