Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to your major field of study. If you want to work off-campus as an F-1 student, one way to do so is to be approved for OPT. You cannot begin work on OPT until you receive your approval in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and it is within the dates listed on your EAD.
Who Can Apply*
- You do NOT need to have a job offer in order to apply for OPT.
- You must have been a full-time student for at least one academic year in the US.
- You must currently be in F-1 status.
- You must be in good academic standing and be making normal progress toward finishing your degree.
- You must not have used more than 12 months of OPT in the past at your current degree level.
- If you complete your academic program and travel internationally BEFORE applying for OPT, the OGS is not able to provide you with an OPT recommended I-20 (a necessary part of your OPT application).
*If you are getting your degree at an NYU site outside of New York, you are generally not eligible for OPT. Please contact us if you have any questions about your OPT eligibility.
How Long Your OPT Lasts
You can get a maximum of 12 months of OPT for each degree level you complete. If you are studying within certain fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), you may be eligible for a STEM OPT extension.
Students on post-completion OPT must report your job information within 90 days of being on OPT. If you don't report your employment or find a job within that time, your OPT will automatically end.
When Can You Use OPT
How Long Does It Take to Get Approved
It takes around 3-4 months to get approved for OPT so please plan ahead. It takes this long because:
1. Your academic department signs off on a request form (1-2 weeks).
2. The OGS prepares your new I-20 (up to 1 week).
3. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) evaluates your application (up to 90 days).
How to Apply
OPT and Travel Planning
Travel before your program end date is the same as it has been: you must have all documents as listed on our documents to carry page.
If you want to travel after your program end date, you need all the documents as listed on our alumni documents to carry page.
You can also view this YouTube video to review what documents you need to have with you while traveling on post-completion OPT.