Hello students! With H-1B season right around the corner, we understand that many of you may be wondering how filing for the H-1B might affect your current OPT status. Read on for information on the Cap-Gap extension for F-1 students on OPT.
A Cap-Gap extension is an extension of the F-1 visa status and Post-Completion OPT work authorization. This extension automatically occurs when someone in F-1 status is a beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B petition subject to the Cap requesting a change of status and the employment start date is October 1st.
The Cap-Gap extension extends your F-1 status until September 30th while your H-1B is pending. However, only students who are in valid OPT status on the date of the H-1B filing are eligible for an extension of their OPT work authorization as well. Students who file for the H-1B while on their F-1 grace period may remain in the U.S. while their application is pending, but would not be eligible to continue employment until their H-1B is approved. For more information on the Cap-Gap extension, please review our Cap-Gap OPT module.
ISSS can provide you with proof of this automatic extension by issuing you a “Cap-Gap” I-20, which will clearly state the status and work authorization extension on page two. In order for us to do so, you will need to provide our office with a copy of your I-797 receipt notice from USCIS. This is the document your company receives after they file the H-1B petition. Once you obtain your receipt notice, you will need to upload a scanned copy of it to myIO. We will be launching an upload portal in myIO for these forms soon, so keep an eye out for an e-mail from out office letting you know the process is live. As soon as we have received a copy of your I-797, we will process your Cap-Gap I-20 and mail it to you.
Your Cap-Gap Extension will terminate if your H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or revoked.