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. 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.
When to Apply
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.
Reasons to File as Early as Possible
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.
When to Apply Calculator
Begin by entering the date that you will complete your program of study. Then click "Calculate Submission Range."
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.
Choosing Your Start Date
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
Choosing Your End Date
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 put an end date one year after your selected OPT start date. For example, if you are indicating a start date of July 15, 2020, your end date would then be July 14, 2021. 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 see us during advising hours so that we can talk you through your options.
Have you previously used any OPT at your current academic level?
Use our calculator to find out the number of OPT days you have remaining to calculate your end date.
If you have done more than 11.5 months of full-time CPT then OPT is no longer available to you.
If the calculator indicates you have a certain number with .5 days remaining (for example, 290.5 days of OPT remaining), then you would need to round down for the precise number of days left (in this example, the number of days you have left would be 290).
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 OPT application.
Attend an OPT Workshop
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. If no workshop listed works with your schedule, check our recorded workshops page to view an OPT workshop previously recorded.
Determine Whom in Your Academic Department Can Confirm Your Academic Progress and Completion Date
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.
Remember your Completion Date is not necessarily your graduation day.
Submit a Request to the OGS for an I-20 Recommending You for OPT
In order to submit your request successfully, you will need to upload scanned copies of your:
- I-94 record
- Passport photo/biography page
- receipt showing payment of the $100 Maintenance of Status fee
- Your previous employment authorization document (EAD) if you've previously been authorized for work in the US.
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 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.
Decide How You Want to File Your OPT Application
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) currently accepts OPT applications through two methods:
- Filing the OPT application online
- Filing the OPT application by sending it through the mail
Assemble and Review Your OPT Application
Once you have assembled your 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 OPT Application Review session.
Submit Your OPT Application to the US Government
USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of the date your I-20 was issued. Also note that USCIS will not accept applications received 60 days or more beyond your academic program completion date.
If you are applying for OPT by mail:
Send your application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services by FedEx or UPS.
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.
Receive electronic and paper receipts from USCIS within 60 days.
LET US KNOW
- if you do not receive both receipts within these timelines
- if you notice any mistakes on your EAD
- if you get a denial or request for more information from USCIS
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.
Review Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Social Security Number (SSN)
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.
If you don't already have a Social Security Number and did not apply for one when you completed the I-765, remember that you must have one to get paid. If you completed the Social Security related questions on your I-765 form, you should receive your Social Security card within a month of your OPT approval. Learn more about How to apply for a Social Security Number.
Report Your OPT Employer to OGS and the US Government within 10 Days of Any Update
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.
Keep Your NYU Email Account Active
OPT and Beginning a New Academic Program
US government regulations state that optional practical training employment is automatically terminated when a student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level. Only recreational or avocational classes are permissible while on OPT.