F-1 OPT/H-1B (Cap Gap Extension)

The OPT/H-1B cap-gap extension was established to allow students with a pending, waitlisted, or approved petition for H-1B temporary worker status with a cap-subject employer to continue working between the OPT expiration date and the H-1B start date.

If you are on post-completion OPT and are the beneficiary of a timely filed cap-subject H-1B petition (start date: October 1 of the upcoming U. S. government fiscal year), you may extend F-1 status and/or continue employment, depending on the OPT expiration date.

The extension of duration of status and/or work authorization would automatically terminate upon the rejection, denial, or revocation of the H-1B petition filed on your behalf.

If you are benefiting from the cap-gap extension, you do not receive a new EAD, only an amended I-20.


Making the request

To receive the new I-20, complete the H-1B Cap Gap Request e-form in ISSS Link. You will be asked to provide one of the following documents:

The new I-20 will be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service to the address listed on your request form. If you prefer express mail, select eShip Global


If your request is denied

If the H-1B request is denied after the expiration date on the OPT EAD card, you must terminate employment within 10 days. A 60-day grace period begins on the date of the denial. During those 60 days, you may obtain a new I-20 for additional study in F-1 status, apply for a change of status, or depart the United States.


If your request is approved

If you are benefiting from the cap-gap extension, you should not leave the United States after the expiration of the EAD, as you will not be re-admitted to the United States in F-1 student status.

If you have an approved H-1B and are traveling internationally, you will need to obtain an H-1B visa stamp and re-enter the country a maximum of 10 days before your employment start date. You should therefore discuss any international travel plans with both an international student advisor and your employer while on a cap-gap extension.