Understanding Cap Gap Extensions

Cap Gap is the time between the official end-date listed on your Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) and the official start date of an H-1B non-immigrant visa.

Cap gaps are most commonly needed when your Optional Program Training (OPT) ends in the spring or early summer, and your F-1 status expires 60 days after that—leaving a gap of several months before your H-1B status begins on October 1.

If you have maintained all terms and conditions of your F-1 status, cap gap is automatically extended to bridge the time. But continue to check in regularly with your petitioning employer to get status updates on the H-1B petition processing.

For proof of continuing status:

  • If you want a cap gap for April-June fill out the 1st Cap Gap Request Form
  • If you want a cap gap for June-September 30 fill out the 2nd Cap Gap Request Form
  • When we confirm that you are eligible for a cap-gap I-20, we will send you a copy of your updated I-20 to show you are eligible to remain and/or work in the US with an expired EAD card.

You Need to Know

If your H-1B change-of-status petition has been filed by your employer but not received and your OPT expires before June 1, you are eligible for a preliminary cap-gap extension until June 1, and you will need to fill out the 1st cap gap Google form.

If United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies, rejects, or revokes an H-1B petition filed on behalf of an F-1 student covered by the automatic cap-gap extension of status, the student has the standard 60-day grace period — from the date of the notification of the denial, rejection, or revocation of the petition — before being required to leave the United States.

The 60-day grace period for denied cases does not apply to F-1 students who violated status. If your petition is denied because of this, or because of fraud or misrepresentation, you must immediately leave the country.

Till the day before your H1B is activated, your status remains H1B (even if your application has been accepted). Till that day, you must maintain all F-1 procedures (such as updating your address on MTU-Banweb if you move locations).

IPS does not process H-1B applications. Students should consult with their employer's attorney or human resources professional for more details about the H-1B process.