CAP-GAP

WHAT IS CAP-GAP EXTENSION?

USCIS has provided the “cap-gap” of employment authorization between OPT’s expiration date until H-1B’s effective date by extending the authorized period of employment for all F-1 students who have a properly filed H-1B petition and change of status request (filed under the cap for the next fiscal year) pending with USCIS. If USCIS approves the H-1B petition, the student is given a work extension that enables him/her to remain in the United States until the requested start date indicated on the H-1B petition, technically October 1st.

The Designated School Official (DSO) at OISS will process the Cap-Gap Extension I-20 on behalf of the student. In order for the DSO to indicate that a student has a Filed or Waitlisted Cap-Gap Extension, the student must be able to provide proof that the petition has been filed or waitlisted.

  • Current 12-Month OPT students in valid F-1 status with an approved period of post-completion employment period with a future OPT expiration date
  • Current STEM OPT Extension students in valid F-1 status with an approved period of post-completion employment period with a future OPT expiration date

Note: The OPT expiration date must always be AFTER the date the H-1B petition was filed.

A student, whose post-completion 12-Month OPT or STEM OPT Extension has expired before the H-1B petition was filed, will have the duration of status extended as a grace period for 60 days but will not have cap-gap work authorization.

OISS will process an I-20 that takes into account the different stages of the H-1B filing, selection and adjudication process. The Cap-Gap Extension I-20 will contain an endorsement that F-1 status and employment authorization have been automatically extended to [the applicable date will be inserted].

USCIS will note an expiration date on the cap-gap Form I-20 as follows:

  • Qualifying H-1B petition properly filed but not yet receipted by USCIS: Preliminary extension of OPT to June 1.
  • H-1B petition (1) receipted by USCIS (i.e., it has been selected by USCIS), or (2) approved by USCIS: OPT and F-1 status extended to September 30.

During this period of time, the student is authorized to remain in the United States and continue employment with an expired EAD (Employment Authorization Document) Card.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Students must wait until they or their employer’s immigration attorney have received the I-797 Receipt Notice for their H-1B petition. This will insure that their extension is valid until September 30th. Please see the section “How is the Cap-Gap I-20 Endorsed to Indicate Employment Authorization” for information on how the status of the H-1B petition affects the extension date.

Students must submit by email the following documents to iss@hpu.edu.

  • If H-1B has been receipted by USCIS or approved: Include a copy of the Form I-797A (approval for a change of status), I-797B (approval for a change of status through consular processing), or I-797C
  • If H-1B has been submitted to USCIS but not receipted – include statement from employer that the student is the beneficiary listed on a properly filed H-1B petition and proof of delivery to a USCIS Service Center that shows the date of receipt.
  • Copy of front of current EAD (Employment Authorization Document)

State in your email how you would like to receive your new I-20: Pick up at OISS or mailed, if you prefer mail, include your mailing address.

Students whose 12-Month OPT or STEM OPT Extension expires before June 1st can submit the Cap-Gap Extension I-20 request by submitting the following documents via email at iss@hpu.edu:

  • A clear, legible copy of EAD card
  • Proof of delivery documentation (e.g., receipt from USPS, UPS, or FedEx) that USCIS has received their H-1B petition

State in your email how you would like to receive your new I-20: Pick up at OISS or mailed, if you prefer mail, include your mailing address.

What happens if my H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or revoked?

You will have a 60-day grace period from the date of the notification of the denial, rejection, or revocation, during which time you can make preparations to depart the U.S.

Can I travel outside the U.S. during a cap gap extension period and return in F-1 status?

OISS recommend you consult your employer's immigration specialist before traveling internationally during the cap gap extension period.