OPT H-1B Cap-Gap Extension

Duration of F-1 status and work authorization may be extended for a student on OPT who is the beneficiary of a timely-filed, non-frivolous H-1B petition requesting a change of nonimmigrant status with an employment start date of October 1 of the following federal fiscal year (October thru September). The extension of duration of status and work authorization will automatically terminate upon the rejection, denial, or revocation of the H-1B petition filed on the student's behalf.


Requests to ISSS for H-1B Receipiting Checks in SEVIS

The SEVIS record is not always an accurate reflection of the status of your H-1B petition.  Since the H-1B petition was filed by your employer, ISSS is not in a position to comment on the status of your case. If you receive notice from your employer that your H-1B was receipted, you may request a cap-gap I-20 from ISSS via iPenn.

An alternative way your employer can learn whether your petition was accepted for processing is to consult their account to see whether the check  for the H-1B filing fee has been cashed.


How to Apply

To request an updated I-20 for cap-gap extension complete the Cap-Gap Extension I-20 Request eform in iPenn.  


Things to Consider

  • This benefit is not available to the H-1B petition filed by a cap-exempt employer.

  • Students on cap-gap extensions are required to report to ISSS any change of name or address, or any interruption of such employment within 10 days. Such reporting should be done by submitting the OPT Reporting eform in iPenn.

  • The 90-day limitation on unemployment during the initial post-completion OPT authorization continues during the cap-gap extension.

  • During post-completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent upon employment.  

  • Students on cap-gap extension should not travel outside the U.S. since your OPT EAD has expired.


    • Remember to make a validation report to ISSS every six months, for details, read the Reporting Requirements while on STEM OPT 

    • STEM degree holders granted a 17-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days of unemployment during the total 29-month OPT period.


SEVP Policy Guidance