Cap Gap Extension
Provisions applicable to F-1 students who are the beneficiaries of a properly filed H-1B petition
The eligibility date is the date a USCIS Service Center receives a properly filed Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, from the prospective employer naming the student as a beneficiary of the petition.
The cap-gap extension starts when the student's current period of F-1 status ends, regardless of whether the student was in a period of OPT. However, if the student was not in a period of authorized post-completion OPT on the eligibility date, the extension of status starts on the day after the student's initial grace period expires.
If a student was not in an authorized period of OPT on the eligibility date, can the student work during the cap-gap extension?
No. In order for a student to have employment authorization during the cap-gap extension, the student must be in an approved period of OPT on the eligibility date.
What is the length of the cap-gap extension?
For a student with active post-completion OPT, the cap-gap extension for both employment and F-1 status starts on the date the student's original OPT expires and ends September 30 unless the H-1B petition for the student is rejected, denied, or withdrawn. In those cases, the employment authorization ends and the grace period begins.
For a student whose post-completion OPT expired prior to the filing date of the H-1B petition, the cap-gap extension starts at the end of the student's grace period and ends September 30 unless the H-1B petition for the student is rejected, denied, or withdrawn. However, the student will not have work authorization.
Due to the complexities involved, students will receive cap-gap extensions in increments, as the petitions go through the steps of filing, receipting and adjudication.
Can the cap-gap extension of OPT be extended beyond September 30 if the H-1B petition filed on the student's behalf has not been adjudicated by USCIS?
No. Pursuant to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(5)(vi)(A), the duration of status, and any employment authorization granted under 8 CFR 274a.12(c)(3)(i)(B) and (C), of an F-1 student who is the beneficiary of an H-1B petition and request for change of status can only be extended until October 1.
Will students receive personal notification when they have a cap-gap extension?
Students will not automatically receive notification when they have a cap-gap extension. Students must request a Form I-20 from their DSOs showing the period of the extension. In some cases, students may need to notify their DSOs that they are eligible for the extension.
How will students know if their cap-gap extension is terminated before September 30 due to a withdrawn or denied H-1B petition?
Students will not be personally notified by DHS of a withdrawn or denied H-1B petition, so they must remain in contact with their sponsoring employer and their DSOs. It is the student's responsibility to check regularly on his or her status.
What proof will students have that they are entitled to the extension of employment authorization and status?
Using SEVIS, DSOs can print a Form I-20, which shows the dates of continued F-1 status and employment authorization.
What information appears on the Form I-20 if an F-1 student is eligible for the cap-gap extension of F-1 status and OPT?
F-1 status and employment authorization for this student have been automatically extended to September 30, [current year]
How long will the extension be granted?
The extension is dependent on the status of the H1b1 application. Please see chart