Employment / H1B Cap-Gap Extension

H-1B Cap-Gap Extension

The H-1B cap-gap extension is a period in which eligible F-1 students can request an extension to bridge the gap between the end of F-1 status and the start of H-1B status.

To be eligible for Cap-Gap Extension, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a pending H1B application with USCIS that was filed prior to the expiration of your OPT/STEM OPT or 60-Day Grace Period. (An I-797 Notice indicating H1B "Registration Selection" does not make you eligible for Cap-Gap)
  2. Your H1B petition indicates change of status, not consular processing.
  3. Your OPT/STEM OPT or 60-Day Grace Period expires before September 30.

Types of Cap-Gap Extensions

The type and length of your Cap-Gap extension depends on your H-1B petition phase. Below are the types of Cap-Gap, required documentation for each type, and how the extensions are applied to your I-20 record.

H-1B Petition Phase Required Documentation How the Extension is Applied to Your I-20 Record
Filed, Not Receipted Mail receipt showing H1B application was timely filed to USCIS (from FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc.) If your OPT/STEM OPT authorization has not expired, your OPT/STEM OPT authorization and F-1 status will be extended to June 1.

If your OPT/STEM OPT authorization has already expired, but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status will be extended to June 1, but your OPT/STEM OPT work authorization will not be extended.
Filed and Receipted Receipt Notice I-797 If your OPT/STEM OPT authorization has not expired, your OPT/STEM OPT authorization and F-1 status will be extended to September 30.

If your OPT/STEM OPT authorization has already expired, but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status will be extended to September, but your OPT/STEM OPT work authorization will not be extended.
Filed and Approved Approval Notice I-797 If your OPT/STEM OPT authorization has not expired, your OPT/STEM OPT authorization and F-1 status will be extended to September 30.

If your OPT/STEM OPT authorization has already expired, but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status will be extended to September, but your OPT/STEM OPT work authorization will not be extended.

How to Request an H1-B Cap-Gap I-20

To request an H1-B Cap-Gap I-20, please submit the following via email to iss@fullerton.edu or in person in Titan Hall 1123:

  1. Completed Cap-Gap Extension Request Form
  2. Copy of current OPT/STEM OPT EAD
  3. Copy of H1-B Filing Documentation (refer to table above)

Please note that documentation indicating your H1B registration was selected does not qualify you for Cap-Gap. Your H1B petition (Form I-129) must be filed in order to qualify.

Please allow 15 business days (minimum) for processing of your request and issuance of the Cap-Gap I-20. Your updated I-20 will be sent to you by email as a PDF attachment. ISS is only permitted to send your I-20 to the email address associated with your SEVP Portal.

Note: Once you receive the I-797 Receipt or Approval Notice, Cap Gap Extension is automatically applied to your record. You are not required to receive the updated I-20 in order for the Cap Gap Extension to be valid. Students who are eligible for extension of their OPT or STEM OPT may continue working while their updated I-20 is being processed.

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