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 change of status 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 obtain a 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, please pre-pay via 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.