Cap Gap Extension

Students on Post-Completion OPT Who Have Filed for an H-1B

The government has provided an extension of work authorization or legal stay for students on post-completion OPT, known as the "cap gap" extension, who filed a timely application for an H-1B with an October 1 start date. This does not apply if your employer has filed for consular processing. Your employer may ask you to request an I-20 from ISSS so that your work eligibility form (Form I-9) can be updated. This page explains how to apply for a new I-20 to reflect your “cap gap” extension.

Eligibility

First, confirm with your employer that the organization is not considered exempt from the H-1B quota. Students who work for exempt employers are not eligible for an OPT extension. Your employer should also make sure you qualify for the H-1B cap-gap extensions:

  1. You must be the beneficiary of an H-1B petition that has been timely filed;
  2. that requests an employment start date of October 1 of the following fiscal year; and
  3. that requests a change of status.

You and your employer or attorney must review the cap gap extension information at the USCIS website (or you can enter "cap gap" in the search box on the home page of USCIS). The USCIS site explains how and if you are able to work while on the “cap gap extension”.

You must not have violated the terms or conditions of your F-1 status while on OPT. Consult with an ISSS advisor if you have any concerns.

Procedure to Apply for Cap Gap I-20

Consult with your attorney or employer in order to ascertain your H-1B petition status and secure the documents you need to submit to the ISSS.

Update your Employer Information and Address on our OPT Reporting Form

Please submit the following documents to ISSS via email:
  • For a properly filed H-1B petition: A statement from the employer that the student is the beneficiary listed on a properly filed H-1B petition and proof of delivery to a USCIS Service Center showing the date of receipt.
  • For a receipted or approved H-1B petition: A copy of the Form I-797 and/or the I-797 receipt number.

Ask your employer or attorney if you are not certain which category you fall into if you are not sure.

Processing Time

Processing of “cap gap” I-20s sometimes require a data fix in the SEVIS database by the government, thus students should allow for a processing time of at least three weeks for an I-20.

Additional Information

  • You must inform ISSS if your H-1B petition is denied or withdrawn.
  • The U.S. government does not recommend travel outside of the U.S. during the cap gap extension period. Consult with your attorney for guidance regarding any travel outside of the U.S.
  • The 90-day “unemployment clock” applies during the “cap gap” employment period.
  • ISSS provides H-1B guidance only to individuals sponsored to work at Florida Institute of Technology. Students must seek advice and information from the company’s immigration attorney or a private immigration attorney regarding work visas.