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F-1 students who seek to change to H-1B status starting October 1 may be eligible for a cap-gap extension of status and employment authorization through June 1or September 30 depending on the H-1B filling status at the time the employer filed for H-1B.  Cap-Gap is not available for F-1 students whose H-1B application is Consular Processing or Cap Exempt.

Cap-Gap is the period between the time your F-1 student status would ordinarily end and when your H-1B status begins. If your employer has timely filed an H-1B petition for you as the beneficiary, you may be able to continue working beyond the expiration date on your OPT EAD (Employment Authorization Document, Form I-766) while waiting for the start date of an approved or pending H-1B petition.

There are two types of cap-gap extensions:

Extensions of F-1 status only (eligibility after OPT ends).

If an employer files an H-1B petition with an October 1 start date while you are in your 60 day grace period, you will receive a cap-gap extension of your F-1 status, but will not be authorized to work until USCIS approves the H-1B petition and the H-1B status begins on October 1.

Extensions of F-1 status and OPT.

If you are in F-1 status when an employer files an H-1B petition with an October 1 start date and are currently participating in Post-OPT, you will receive an automatic cap-gap extension of both your F-1 student status and your authorized period of Post-OPT. If the H-1B petition is selected and remains pending or is approved, you will remain authorized to work as an F-1 student with OPT through September 30.



Extension Periods

  • A student who is the beneficiary of a properly filed H-1B petition will have their OPT extended to June 1.  If your OPT expires after June 1, there is no need to request a cap-gap I-20.

  • A student who is the beneficiary of a receipted or approved H-1B petition will have their I-20 extended to September 30. If your OPT expires after September 30, there is no need to request a cap gap I-20.


  • An employer filed a timely Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requesting a change of status to H-1B status.

Note: A petition asking for consular notification is not eligible for a cap gap extension.  Please consult with your employer or immigration attorney if your petition was filed for consular notification. 

  • The H-1B petition asks for an October 1 start date.

  • Your F-1 student status, including any applicable grace period, ends between April 1 and September 30.

Cap-Gap Extension Timeline

Depending on the application status, students may be eligible for a cap-gap extension until the date listed below.  


H-1B Application Status:Cap-Gap Extension Until:

Filed (with only proof of delivery)

June 1

I-797C Notice of Action - Receipt Notice or

I-797A Notice of Action - Approval Notice 

(I-797C Notice of Action - Registration Selection notice does not qualify)


September 30

Withdrawn or Denied


OPT ends 10 days after date of withdrawal/denial with 60-day grace period thereafter

How to Request a Cap-Gap I-20

  1. Ensure that you have uploaded a copy of your EAD card through our ISSC eForm Portal or link under My ASU Priority Tasks.

  2. Report your employment (if you have not done so) through using your SEVP Portal Account.

  3. Ensure your current local address is listed in your My ASU.

  4. Complete and submit the Cap-Gap I-20 Request eForm through the ISSC eForm Portal if your H-1B has been filed and your EAD expires before June 1.  Please have the following documents ready to upload:

  • A letter from your employer stating that you are a beneficiary on a properly filed H-1B petition, and

  • A copy of proof of delivery to a USCIS Service Center showing the date of receipt.


  • If already received, the Receipt Notice or Approval Notice (I-797C or I-797A).

ISSC will e-mail you when your Cap-Gap I-20 is ready. Our general processing time can take up to 10 business days. If you plan to travel during the cap-gap period, please consult with your employer/immigration lawyer as traveling or leaving the US might affect your H-1B application.

Pending H-1B

If your H-1B is still pending on October 1, please consult your employer/immigration lawyer about how to handle your employment situation.

Denied H-1B

You do not get any grace period if your H-1B petition is denied, withdrawn, revoked, rejected, or is not selected, even if the H-1B petition is approved for consular processing.  

Checking the status of an H1-B petition

There are several ways to check the status of your H-1B petition. Before following any of the methods below you will need to obtain your petition receipt number from the attorney who filed your H-1B petition.

  • Contact USCIS at 1-800-375-5283

  • Visit the USCIS website and click “Check Case Status”

  • Log into your SEVP Portal Account.  Check the end date of your OPT.  If it has been changed to September 30, you most likely have been selected.  Please contact the petitioning attorney for further information.

STEM eligible students are strongly encouraged to apply for the STEM OPT extension before the end date of their Post-OPT.  Having an approved STEM extension will continue your employment eligibility in the event your petition is not selected for processing or your petition is denied.