Cap-Gap Extension of OPT

The H-1B Cap-Gap extension bridges the gap of time between the end of your F-1 status (including OPT work authorization) and the start of H-1B status, a status where the individual's primary purpose is to work for a specific employer.

The H-1B Cap limits the number of individuals who may be granted initial H-1B status during each year. The cap is currently set at 65,000 plus 20,000 more for those with higher degrees (U.S. masters’ degree or higher). Employees who will work at institutions of higher education or other specific nonprofit entities are exempt from the cap.

To be eligible for the Cap-Gap extension, your post-completion OPT must be valid at the time of your cap-subject filing, most likely the date of filing will be April 1st. If you are in a valid 60-day grace period on the day your H-1B petition is filed by your employer, your lawful F-1 status is in the U.S. is extended, but you will not have work authorization during the gap period.

Work authorization on Cap-Gap is valid until September 30 unless the H-1B petition is denied, withdrawn or revoked.

Evidence of work authorization for the extended period is reflected on a new I-20. A new Employment Authorization Card (EAC) will NOT be issued for Cap Gap Extension. To request a new I-20 from the Glavin Office,  email with the subject "Cap Gap I-20".

Travel during the Cap-Gap extension is possible; however, individuals should use caution before deciding to travel during this period. Individuals should consult with ISSS and their employer. The H-1B must be approved prior to departure and students are advised to travel will all required documents, including their H-1B receipt and an updated Form I-20 reflecting the Gap-Gap extension. It is not advisable to apply for a new F-1 visa during this extension. For additional information, view USCIS guidance here.