H-1B Cap-Gap Extension

For students on OPT who have been approved for an H-1B with a start date of October 1 of the upcoming fiscal year, their work authorization and F-1 status are automatically extended to September 30. This would apply to all students on OPT, not just STEM students.

The extension of duration of status and work authorization would automatically terminate upon the rejection, denial, or revocation of the H-1B petition filed on the student's behalf. For example, if a student has OPT that is valid from June 02, 2018 to June 02, 2019, and her employer successfully obtains an H-1B for her to begin October 01, 2019, then with this provision she can remain in the U.S. and continue working until October 1, 2019 when her status changes to H-1B.


To be eligible for an H-1B Cap-Gap Extension:

  • The student must be in a period of post-completion OPT when the employer files the petition with USCIS (Immigration) to change the student’s status to H-1B.
  • The employer must request a start date of October 1.
  • USCIS (immigration) must receipt the petition (i.e., accept it for adjudication).
  • The student will not get a new EAD (OPT) card but our office can issue an updated I-20 that evidences the extension of employment authorization.
  • If by chance, the H-1B change of status petition is denied, the student will have a 60 day grace period to depart the U.S. (unless it is denied due to a status violation).

See the USCIS website for more information.

IMPORTANT: If you travel abroad during the H-1B Cap Gap period, you cannot reenter in F-1 status (you must stay abroad until you are eligible to reenter in H-1B status). If you have an H-1B or greencard pending, consult your attorney about travel.

Applying for H-1B Cap-Gap Extension I-20

The H-1B Cap Gap-Extension is noted directly on a new I-20. There is no fee for the cap-gap extension.

Step 1: Submit the H-1B Cap-Gap Extension I-20 Request Form and accompanying documents to the Reves Center. Reminder: Your employer must have received a receipt notice from USCIS (immigration) for the petition before you can submit a request to our office.

Step 2: The Reves Center will then mail the H-1B Cap-Gap Extension I-20 to you.