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. Any student on post-completion OPT who is the beneficiary of a timely filed, cap subject H-1B petition (start date: October 1 of the upcoming U. S. government fiscal year) 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 behalf of the student. Students benefiting from the cap-gap extension do not receive a new EAD, only an amended I-20. To receive the new I-20, the student must submit a completed OPT/H-1B Cap Gap Request Form and one of the following to ISSS:
The new I-20 will be mailed via regular U.S. Postal Service to the address listed on the request form. If express mail is preferred, eShip Global service is available.
If the H-1B request is denied on a date that falls after the expiration date on the OPT EAD card, the student must terminate employment within 10 days. A 60-day grace period begins on the date of the denial. During those 60 days, the student may obtain a new I-20 for additional study in F-1 status, apply for a change of status, or depart the United States.
Students benefiting from the cap-gap extension should not leave the United States after the expiration of the EAD as they will not be re-admitted to the United States in F-1 student status. Students with an approved H-1B who travel internationally will need to obtain an H-1B visa stamp and re-enter the country a maximum of 10 days before the start date. Students benefiting from the cap-gap extension should, therefore, discuss any international travel plans with both an international student advisor and the employer.