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.


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 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.) Please note, we will review and provide final recommendations on completing the I-765. Complete as much as you can when submitting your request for the STEM OPT-recommended I-20.
  • 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.


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 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.

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.


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, 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 4). Make any suggested changes to your I-765 application as recommended by an OGS advisor.

Review Your Application with an OGS Staff Member

Come to one of our review sessions listed below or schedule an online advising appointment to have your application reviewed virtually. If you plan to have your application reviewed online, be sure to have a scan of your entire application that you can then share with the OGS advisor. You can share by either emailing a copy of your application to the advisor you have a scheduled appointment with or by sharing your screen during your virtual session.


Gather and Prepare Your Documents

  • Each document you print for your application should be single sided.
  • Refer to the document checklist before you submit.


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:

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.