Post-completion OPT is Optional Practical Training you use AFTER finishing your program of study. Remember, OPT is employment that is directly related to your major field of study and is only for students in F-1 status. Please see our information on post-completion OPT employment types for questions on the kinds of employment you can have while on post-completion OPT.
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.
The earliest you can apply is 90 days prior to your completion date. The latest you can apply is 4 weeks after you complete your degree requirements to allow for adequate processing time. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not accept applications received 60 days or more beyond the completion date.
You first need to know the date you will finish all of your academic requirements to get your degree. For most students, this is the final date of the exam period for your final semester at NYU. You can find this date on the NYU Academic Calendar. It is NOT the graduation date. If you are a graduate student completing a thesis or dissertation, your completion date would be the date your academic advisor indicates you will finish all requirements for your program. This date doesn't have to match the end of semester date but in many cases it will. If you have any questions on your completion date, be sure to contact us.
The US government can take three to five months to process your OPT application. Check the US government processing times. [You must select "I-765" for form type. For Field Office or Service Center, most of our students' applications go to the Potomac Service Center.] It is best to plan ahead and apply as early as possible because the US government only rarely expedites applications (see USCIS expedite criteria). For December graduates, that means you should apply by mid September; for May graduates, by mid February. By applying early, you can avoid the risks that come from an OPT request being denied after the grace period has ended.
Use our interactive date picker to determine both when you can apply and what start date you can indicate for your OPT application. Begin by entering the date that you will complete your program of study. Then click "Calculate Submission Range." Separate application submission and start date ranges will then appear on the page. But remember, applying earliest is best!
1st day to apply
Last day to apply
Please note, all dates shown are for when the US government must receive your OPT application. Because the Office of Global Services needs to prepare a new I-20 for you for your OPT application, we recommend you apply with us at the OGS two weeks before you want to have your application ready to be sent off to the government.
The earliest start date you can request is the day after you complete all requirements for your program of study. The latest start date you can request is 60 days after you complete all your requirements.
Earliest OPT start
Latest OPT start
You have one year of OPT available per academic level of study. If you've never before used OPT at your current academic level, then you will most likely want to put an end date one year after your selected OPT start date. For example, if you are indicating a start date of July 15, 2018, your end date would then be July 14, 2019. If you're planning on getting another degree at the same academic level later (for example, you're getting a Master's degree now and anticipate joining another Master's program in the future), you may want to save some of your OPT time. Come see us during advising hours so that we can talk you through your options.
If you have already done OPT at your current academic level, use this date calculator to find out how much time you have remaining for your OPT to calculate your end date.
Read all the steps in this process carefully. Then gather and prepare all the items you need for your OPT application. Each document you print for your application should be single sided.
Get tips on making a successful OPT application and reminders on what you need to do while you are on OPT to maintain your F-1 status. Attend an in-person workshop with an OGS advisor listed on our Events Calendar.
You will need to provide the name and NYU email address of your academic advisor, department chair, program coordinator, or faculty advisor in your academic department to the OGS in order to apply for OPT.
In order to submit your request successfully, you will need to upload scanned copies of your:
Pick up your new I-20 at the OGS once you receive an email telling you that it's ready. You will receive further instructions with your new I-20.
Once you have received an updated I-20 with the 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 OPT application materials (see the list of materials in the first step AND in the instructions you get with your new I-20). Make any suggested changes to your OPT application as recommended by an OGS advisor.
Send your application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services by FedEx or UPS. USCIS must receive it within 30 days of the date your I-20 was issued.
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 the address on your I-765 is in the New York City area, mail your application to:
USCIS, Attn: NFB AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business, Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
If you live in a different region of the US, confirm with the OGS the address you should send your OPT application to.
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.
Receive an electronic receipt from USCIS within 2-3 weeks and a paper receipt within 3-5 weeks.
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.
If you don't already have a Social Security Number, you must have one to get paid. Once you are authorized for OPT, you should receive your Social Security card within a month of your approval as long as you completed the Social Security related questions on your I-765 form. Learn more about How to apply for a Social Security Number.
Contact us if you notice any mistakes on your EAD. Please note: you must confirm that the start and end dates of your post-completion OPT are accurate as soon as your post-completion OPT is approved. On occasion, the US government makes errors on the end date listed on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD, i.e. the OPT card) of post-completion OPT for students who were previously approved for pre-completion OPT at the same academic level as their current post-completion OPT.
While on OPT, the US government requires you to report your employer information. While you are on post-completion OPT, you cannot be unemployed for more than 90 days. If you don't report your job information or you are unemployed for 90 days while on OPT, the government will end your F-1 OPT and terminate your SEVIS record. You would then need to leave the US immediately. Learn how, when, and what to report to OGS while on OPT.