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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.

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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.
  • have paid employment that is directly related to the STEM degree and is at least 20 hours per week.
  • 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.
  • file an application with the OGS and to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services before the current OPT period ends.

 

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

 

Gather and Prepare Your Documents.

1

Read all the steps in this process carefully. Make sure you have 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 1

Submit a Request to OGS.

2

Complete the request for a STEM OPT recommendation I-20. In order to submit your request successfully, you will need to upload scanned copies of your:

  • receipt showing new payment of the $100 Maintenance of Status Fee
  • passport photo/biography page
  • most recent I-94
  • current EAD card
  • completed and signed Form I-765
  • completed and signed (in ink) Form I-983
  • If your application is based on a previous STEM degree, you will need to provide copies of I-20s and a transcript from that degree.


Files should be in pdf or jpg format and no larger than 20mb. Learn how to reduce your pdf file size.

Note that the online request form contains several sections. You will need to complete each section of the form in order before moving on to the next section.

If you have any problems submitting the online request, review our troubleshooting tips.

An OGS advisor will review your application and issue your new I-20. This can take up to 10 business days to process. We will email you when your new I-20 is ready.

Step 2

Receive Your New I-20.

3

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 requested to have your new I-20 shipped to you, we will ship it via UPS. You will receive further instructions with your new I-20.

Step 3

Review and Sign.

4

Once you have received an updated I-20 with the STEM OPT recommendation, make sure to sign your new I-20, photocopy it, and include the photocopy of your new I-20 with the rest of your STEM OPT application materials (see the list of materials in Step 1), Make any suggested changes to your I-765 application as recommended by an OGS advisor.

Step 4

Send Your Application to the US Government.

5

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 5

Keep your NYU Email Account Active.

6

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:

1

  • 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

You must report any and all updates to your employment, name, status, etc. while on STEM OPT. Review what, when, and how to report updates while on STEM OPT.

 

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

pending

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

pending

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

approved

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

approved

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?

change 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

travel

 

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