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.

The information contained on this page is for general information purposes only. Due to frequent government updates, NYU OGS may make additions, deletions, or modifications to the contents on this page at any time without prior notice.

Please note, these directions are meant to help you in completing your application but should not be considered legal advice. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services ultimately provides the decision on your OPT application. It is your responsibility, as the OPT applicant, to ensure that your OPT application is accurate and complete before you submit it to the US government. Incomplete applications could result in a delay in processing time or denial. NYU in no event shall be held liable for any delay, denial, or mistake on your OPT application.

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.

On This Page:


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 USCIS receives your STEM OPT application before your current OPT expires, you can continue to work while your STEM OPT application is pending for whichever comes first of these two possibilities:

  • 180 days after your post-completion OPT expires, or 
  • Until a final decision is made on your application.

How to Apply

Understand the Process and Prepare the Needed Documents

Read all the steps in this process carefully.

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.

Attend a STEM OPT Workshop

Get tips on making a successful STEM OPT application and reminders on what you need to do while you are on STEM OPT to maintain your F-1 status. If no workshop listed works with your schedule, check our recorded workshops page to view a STEM OPT workshop previously recorded.

STEP 1

Submit a Request to OGS

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 (in ink) Form I-983
  • If your application is based on a previous STEM degree, you will need to provide a copy of your latest I-20 from that degree and a transcript confirming completion of 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

Get Your New I-20

Get your new I-20 once you receive an email from OGS. 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 and photocopy it.

Due to the COVID-19 situation and based on recent guidance from the US government, we are currently issuing digitally signed I-20s and emailing them to students at their NYU email account.

Do NOT proceed to the next step until you have received your OPT I-20 issued by OGS.

STEP 3

Decide How You Want to File Your STEM OPT Application

2 arrows with one going to an "x" and another going to a check

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) currently accepts OPT applications through two methods:

  1. Filing the STEM OPT application online
  2. Filing the STEM OPT application by sending it through the mail
If you want to apply for STEM OPT online:

Review our guidance on filing the online I-765.

If you want to apply for STEM OPT by mail:

Review our guidance on filing the I-765 for OPT by mail.

STEP 4

Assemble and Review Your STEM OPT Application

Once you have assembled your STEM OPT application, if filing your application online, then come to one of our application review question and answer sessions to review what a complete OPT application needs to include. If you are filing your application by mail, view our OPT application review session linked off of our recorded workshops web page to review what a complete OPT application sent by mail needs to include.

Incomplete or incorrect applications can cause serious delays. If you have questions about your application, schedule an online advising appointment.

Upcoming OPT Application Question and Answer Sessions

If no workshop listed below works with your schedule, check our recorded workshops page to view a previously recorded session.

STEP 5

Submit Your STEM OPT Application to the US Government

USCIS must receive your STEM OPT application within 60 days of the date your I-20 was issued AND before your current OPT expires.

If you are applying for OPT online:

Review our guidance on filing the online I-765.

If you are applying for OPT by mail:

Send your application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services by FedEx or UPS.

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

Mail your application to the Direct Filing Address for Form I-765 listed for foreign students.

If you decide NOT to apply for or use your OPT:

You must notify us. If you fail to notify us, your ability to work in the US in the future could be denied. 

STEP 6

Confirm the US Government Received Your Application and Track Your Application Status

Receive electronic and paper receipts from USCIS within 60 days. 

STEP 7

Set Up Informed Delivery With the US Postal Service

Once USCIS sends you any information regarding your application, they will send official notification to you through the US postal service.

Informed delivery allows you to digitally preview your mail and manage your packages scheduled to arrive soon. Learn more about how to set up your informed delivery account.

STEP 8

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.

STEP 9

Understand Your Reporting Requirements

Students on STEM OPT are required to report any and all changes to employment, address, name, immigration status, etc. within 10 days and are also required to complete scheduled reports and evaluations at specific points throughout the extension period. Use the STEM OPT Reporting Form for updates and reports.

For more information, visit our information on Reporting Requirements for STEM OPT.

STEP 10

Know What You Need for Travel while on STEM OPT

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

Based on communication from US Customs and Border Protection, OGS strongly recommends that you not travel outside of the US after the post-completion OPT end date until you receive the STEM EAD card.

STEP 11

Review Your Available Options after You Complete Your STEM OPT

Once your STEM OPT period ends, you have 60 days from the end date of your STEM OPT as listed on your EAD to do one of the following:

  1. Depart the US. Please note, if you depart the US to travel internationally, including Canada, during your 60 day grace period following STEM OPT, you may not reenter the US in F-1 status unless you have a new I-20 indicating that you are in a new academic program.
  2. Transfer your SEVIS record to another school or begin a new degree program at NYU.
  3. Change to another immigration status.