STEM OPT

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 24 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.

Who Can Apply

F-1 students who: 

  • have successfully completed a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a STEM field based on the government classification. 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.
  • are currently authorized for post-completion OPT and have reported your current local US address and primary employer on the OPT reporting form.
  • have a job with a company enrolled in the government's E-Verify program. Find out if your employer is E-Verify enrolled. Please note, NYU is not an E-Verified employer. Review NYU's policy.
  • file an application with the OGS and to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services before the current OPT period ends.
  • have not exceeded 90 days of unemployment on your current post-completion OPT.
  • have not previously used STEM OPT more than once. Please note that you cannot have more than one STEM OPT extension based on the same degree.
  • have paid employment that is directly related to the STEM degree and is at least 20 hours per week.

When to Apply 

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.

How to Apply

Step 1

Gather and Prepare Your Documents

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. Each document you print for your application should be single sided.

Step 2

Submit Your Documents

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 ogs@nyu.edu. 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 ogs.brooklyn@nyu.edu.

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.

Step 3

Receive Your New I-20

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.

Step 4

Review and Sign

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.

Step 5

Send Your Application to the US Government

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.  

You can use eShipGlobal to get your shipping label at a discounted rate. Learn how to use eShipGlobal. Register with eShipGlobal to get started.

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.

Step 6

Keep your NYU Email Account Active

All important alumni communication from NYU (not only our office) will be through your NYU email account. Find more information about keeping a LifeTime NYU Email account.

Obligations on STEM OPT

Employment requirements

Your employment on STEM OPT must meet the following criteria:

  • Full-time (at least 20 hrs/week)
  • Paid 
  • Related to your STEM degree 
  • Employer is e-verified 
  • Submitted to OGS a completed and signed Form I-983. 
  • Have not exceeded the limit for unemployment days.

Notify the OGS

If your information changes, report within 10 days of any of the following:
  • change in legal name,
  • change in mailing or residential address,
  • change in employer (supply name, address, start date and job description of the new employment, as well as the name and end date of previous employment if ended. Students on the 7-month or 24-month STEM OPT extension must also submit an updated Form I-983) - see below.
  • deciding to depart the US without using the remainder of your OPT,
  • return to school full time, or
  • change of status.
  • By filling out the reporting form you’re letting both OGS and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services know about your employment and/or address.

Every 6 months, respond to email from the OGS requesting verification

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.

Submit an annual evaluation from the I-983 to the OGS

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.

Keep track of your days

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

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.

Changing Employment on STEM OPT

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. Students approved for the 7-month or 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,
  • changes to the employer’s commitments or student’s learning objectives as documented on the Form I-983.


We will issue an updated I-20 showing your new employer. 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.

Changing employers with a pending STEM OPT application


Students changing employment with a pending 24-month STEM OPT application at USCIS will need to complete the steps below.

Step 1

Submit the OGS OPT reporting form with the end date of your current employer and the details of the new employment within 10 days of the changes.

Step 2

Email the following in one single pdf attachment to ogs.brooklyn@nyu.edu for graduates of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering (including NYU-Poly) or CUSP, or ogs@nyu.edu for graduates of all other schools.

  • Receipt number of your application with USCIS
  • a completed and signed Form I-983,
  • a copy of a new I-765 with new employer details and at the top write “AMENDED -Pending STEM OPT application, New Employer”, and
  • if you plan to have someone else pick up your I-20 or have us mail your I-20, also include the FERPA form and shipping payment receipt (if applicable).

Step 3

OGS will issue a new STEM extension I-20 with the updated employment info.

Step 4

You will sign and email back a signed copy of your I-20.

Step 5

OGS will email the service center with the signed new I-20 and I-765 with the request to update your pending STEM OPT application.

Changing employers with an approved STEM OPT application

Students changing employment with an approved 24-month or 7-month STEM OPT application will need to complete the steps below.

Step 1

Submit the OGS OPT reporting form with the end date of your current employer and the details of the new employment within 10 days of the changes.

Step 2

Email the following in one single pdf attachment to ogs.brooklyn@nyu.edu for graduates of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering (including NYU-Poly) or CUSP, or ogs@nyu.edu for graduates of all other schools:

  • Completed and signed “Final Evaluation of Student Progress” page of the I-983 based on the ended employment 
  • Completed and signed Form I-983 for the new employment 
  • If you plan to authorize someone to pick up or have OGS mail your I-20, also include FERPA form documents and shipping payment receipt (if applicable)

Step 3

OGS will issue a new STEM extension I-20 with the updated employment information.

Note: Students on the 17-month STEM OPT extension who have not applied for an additional 7-month extension will need to submit the OGS OPT reporting form with the end date of the current employer and the details of the new employment within 10 days of the changes. They do not need to complete Form I-983.

Has your employer been acquired by another company?

If your current employer has been acquired by another company, please email the following to ogs.brooklyn@nyu.edu for graduates of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering (including NYU-Poly) or CUSP, or ogs@nyu.edu for graduates of all other schools: completed and signed Form I-983 for the new employment and the date that the company was acquired (mm/dd/yyyy).

Travel while on STEM OPT

Review our Alumni Documents to Carry page for information on traveling during your STEM OPT.