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.
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.
PLEASE NOTE: 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.
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.
Please note, if you use apply for and are approved for Pre-Completion OPT, any time you are approved for (regardless of whether you actually find a job) deducts from the total 12 months of OPT you have at your current degree level. If you get approved for Pre-Completion OPT and don’t use it, it still deducts, so be prudent and intentional.
Pre-Completion OPT that is 20 hours or less per week will be deducted at half the rate. For example, if you work four months for 20 hours or less per week for Pre-Completion OPT, you would have two months deducted from your 12 month total. Therefore, you would then have ten months of OPT to use before or after graduation.
It takes around 4-6 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 5 months).
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.