Duration of Status (D/S) and work authorization will be extended for a student on OPT who has a timely filed H-1B petition with an employment start date of October 1 of the following fiscal year. This applies to all students on OPT, not just students eligible for the 17-month OPT extension. The extension of duration of status and work authorization would automatically terminate upon the rejection, denial or revocation of the H-1B petition that was filed on the student's behalf.
The H‑1B status permits temporary employment (up to 6 years) in the U.S. for people who have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in the same or a related field as the job offered. The position offered must require professional-level skills and pay salaries at a certain level as defined by the government. The employer must submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for approval of the H-1B position.
The H-1B cap is the limit on the number of H-1Bs allowed each fiscal
year.* Currently, the cap is 65,000. The fiscal year begins on October 1
when a new batch of the 65,000 H-1s becomes available. Employers
are allowed to file an H-1B petition up to 6 months before the new
fiscal year (April 1) so as to join the queue of new applications
waiting for the October 1 date.
*The cap does not apply to all H-1B visas. Certain non-profit research positions are unlimited.
A cap-gap extension is a relatively new regulatory provision which automatically extends an eligible F-1 student’s status to bridge the gap between the end of F-1 status and start of H-1B status, thereby allowing the student to remain in the US during the “gap.” The cap-gap extension is now available to students who, as of April 1st, 2010, were either on approved OPT or in their 60-day grace period and have a pending or approved change-of-status October 1, 2010 H-1B petition with the USCIS.
This cap-gap extension will produce one of two outcomes, depending on your individual situation:
Students in all fields of study are eligible for the cap-gap extension as long as the student has not violated the terms or conditions of his or her F-1 status. To qualify for the extension, the student must be the beneficiary of an H-1B petition that:
Because there is no guarantee your H-1B case will be selected for review/approval, there are two steps to the cap-gap extension process:
In both cases, send an email to Maria.Chaqra@indstate.edu with “Cap-Gap Extension” in the subject line. Include the following in the email:
If the student’s H-1B is not selected, the student will have the standard 60-day grace period from the date of the rejection notice to depart the US. However, if a denial is based on a discovered status violation, no such grace period exists and the student must leave the US immediately.
If your EAD is expired, you will not be granted entry to the US based on the cap-gap extension. If you must travel during the extension period, be prepared to apply for H-1B visa outside the US and adjust your return travel plans accordingly. Note: Under H-1b regulations, you may only enter the US up to ten days prior to Oct. 1st.
Although your F-1 status would be extended, your OPT employment period is technically expired, and the cap-gap does not serve to reinstate or retroactively grant employment authorization. You would be required to stop working until Oct. 1st. Also, keep in mind that the 90-day unemployment rule remains in full effect during your automatically extended work authorization (if you qualify for extension of work authorization.)
The Office of International Programs and Services will submit the cap-gap request to SEVIS within three (3) business days of the receipt of your email, provided all information above is accurate and complete.
Your post-completion OPT is automatically extended, whether you apply for the cap-gap extension or not. Therefore, you are allowed to continue working with your employer while the Cap-Gap Extension request is pending.
For more information contact IPS at