Cap Gap extension for future H-1B employees

"Cap-Gap" refers to the period of time between the official end-date listed on the EAD card and the official start date of an H-1B.

The most common situation occurs when your OPT ends in the spring or early summer, and your F-1 status expires 60-days after that, leaving a gap of several months before your H-1B status begins on October 1.

The cap gap extension is the period in which an eligible F-1 student's status is automatically extended to bridge the gap in employment between the end of F-1 status (OPT end-date) and start of H-1B status. The student must not have violated the terms or conditions of his or her F-1 status.

To qualify for the "H-1B cap-gap extension" you must be in valid F-1 status, and you must be the beneficiary of an H-1B petition that meets all of the following:

  • Has been timely filed.
  • Requests an employment start date of October 1 of the following fiscal year
  • Requests a change of status

Cap-Gap extension cannot be used if you will be in H-1B status in a non-profit or research educational institution.

Travel while on the Cap-Gap

  • As long as your H-1B petition was filed before your OPT expired, you can remain in the United States and work during the cap gap period between the end of OPT and October 1.
  • However, an F-1 student who has completed studies and OPT and who travels abroad during the cap gap cannot be readmitted to the United States in F-1 status.

For more information, please contact your International Student Advisor