F-1 students who completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in select government-designated science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields and are currently working with post-completion OPT may apply for the STEM extension of 17 months of additional employment if they have a job or job offer from an E-Verify employer and meet all the required criteria.
If you believe your area of study is classified as a STEM field and you don't see it on the NYU STEM programs list, contact us.
If you earned a previous STEM degree from an accredited US institution, you may be eligible for the STEM OPT extension. See the Department of Homeland Security’s STEM Designated Degree Program List. You can find the CIP code for your previous degree on page 1 of the current format I-20 or at the top of page 3 of the old format I-20. If you have questions about your eligibility, contact us.
In March 2016, the US government made changes to the current STEM OPT benefits that will go into effect May 10, 2016. For details on this, review the information available at the US government website’s STEM OPT Hub.
F-1 students who:
The earliest you can apply is 90 days prior to the end date of your current OPT. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services must receive your STEM OPT application before your current OPT expires.
If you applied for STEM OPT before your current OPT expires, you can continue to work while your STEM OPT application is pending, until a final decision is made on your application or it has been pending 180 days with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, whichever comes first.
Read all the steps in this process carefully. Once you've done that, download and complete the OGS Request for STEM OPT form. Make sure you have also reported your employer and address information to our OPT reporting form. Then gather and prepare all the items you need for your STEM OPT application.
Print out and sign the STEM OPT Application Cover Letter along with a completed Request for STEM OPT form and bring copies (not originals) of all of your STEM OPT application materials (see step 1) to the OGS reception desk. If you are living outside of the New York area or are unable to come to the office, email your entire application along with this form to email@example.com. If you are a graduate of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and are unable to come to the office, email your entire application with this form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An OGS advisor will review your application and issue your new I-20. This can take up to 10 business days to process. The OGS will email you when your new I-20 is ready.
Pick up your new I-20 at the OGS once you receive an email telling you that your new I-20 is ready. If you are applying from outside of the New York area, we will send your new I-20 to you. You will receive further instructions with your new I-20.
Once you have received an updated I-20 with the STEM OPT recommendation, make sure to sign your new I-20, photocopy it, include the photocopy of your new I-20 with the rest of your STEM OPT application materials (Step 1), and make any suggested changes to your STEM OPT application as recommended by an OGS advisor.
• Incomplete or incorrect applications can cause serious delays so go over the checklist one more time and make sure you’ve included everything.
• Make sure to include the original check / money order, original photos and original I-765, and original and official transcripts. Everything else should be a copy.
• Keep a photocopy of your complete OPT application for your records.
Send your application to USCIS by FedEx or UPS. USCIS must receive it within 60 days of the date your I-20 was issued AND before your current OPT expires. If your I-20 was issued prior to May 10, 2016, the US government must receive it within 30 days of the date the I-20 was issued AND before May 10, 2016.
If living in the New York area, mail your application to:
USCIS, Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business, Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
If living outside of New York, mail your application to the address as specified by an OGS advisor.
You're required to give us an update while you are on STEM OPT within 10 days of any changes in your work, address, or status.
We will email your NYU address every 6 months to verify your STEM OPT employer information. In addition to reporting any update to us, you must also verify your information when we contact you.
Students on the 24-month STEM OPT extension must submit an annual evaluation to the OGS 12 months and 24 months after beginning the STEM extension. We will email your NYU address to remind you of these due dates. You and your employer must complete and sign this evaluation, and you must submit it to the OGS following the instructions in your email.
Students on the 17-month STEM OPT extension who have not applied for an additional 7-month extension do not need to complete an annual report.
Students on the 24-month STEM OPT extension must submit a new Form I-983 to the OGS within 10 days of any changes in employer or other specifics to their employment information. Changes in the plan can include (but are not limited to): any change of Employer Identification Number resulting from a corporate restructuring, any reduction in compensation from the amount previously submitted on the Form I‐983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students,” that is not tied to a reduction in hours worked, any significant decrease in hours per week that a student engages in a STEM training opportunity, and any decrease in hours below the 20‐hours‐per‐week minimum required under this rule.
Students on the 17-month STEM OPT extension who have not applied for an additional 7-month extension do not need to complete Form I-983.
You must not be unemployed for more than 150 days in total during STEM OPT (this 150 days also includes any unemployment you may have accrued during your post-completion OPT). If you are on the previous 17-month STEM OPT extension and have not been approved for a 7-month extension, unemployment is limited to 120 days. In order to be considered “employed” while on STEM OPT you need to work an average of 20 hours per week at an E-Verified employer.
Students on the 17-month STEM OPT extension who have not applied for an additional 7-month extension may count volunteer or unpaid positions as employment for STEM OPT as long as the position is in your major field of study and your employer is E-Verified.
Students on the 24-month STEM OPT extension may not be employed in unpaid or volunteer positions, nor may they be self employed. See our STEM OPT FAQs for more information.
Keep a record of any and all OPT activity, including the position held, dates of the position, supervisor name, organization name and location, number of hours you work per week, and description of activity for your own records. For students on the 24-month STEM OPT extension, you should save copies of all Forms I-983, including annual evaluations.
Review our Alumni Documents to Carry page for information on traveling during your STEM OPT.