H-1B Cap Gap Respite

Due to the reason that the H-1B visas for corporate starts on October 1 and the students  mostly complete their graduation in the month of May or in December, most often there is a breathing time in between the end date for  OPT and the beginning date for  H-1B. As a remedial measure for this, the USCIS offers a provisional F-1 status extension as well as work authorization at the time of the processing of the H-1B application.

  • This advantage is extended only from the month of April 1 to October 1 and only offered in combination with an application for the H-1B visa which is awaited or sanctioned with a start date of October 1.
  • The extension facility commences the very same day after the conclusion date of OPT EAD date and closes on the 1st of October.
  • You are facilitated to access an I-20 which shows such an extension.
  • Your status stays as F-1 till the beginning date for H-1B.
  • In case your H-1B application is rejected or kept pending and in case  you have finished your OPT, then your status closes  60 days beginning  from the date indicated on your rejection/ held back. You need to inform the International students service facility of your University.
  • Always there is a risk for a student facing refusal to re-enter U.S. provided, the student makes an international journey, when the application is kept pending.


What is meant by “Cap Gap” Extensions and Who are all Entitled? 

  • In case you satisfy all the ensuing entitlement conditions, then you stand a god chance of getting eligible for F-1 status extension  and entitlement for employment, in order  to wrap  “cap gap “time period:
  • You have maintained in a proper manner the F-1 status
  • You are in a job which is  as per H-1B cap
  • Your job provider has filed an application for H-1B for getting “Alteration of Status” (it is not a “Consular Notification”) either on the 1st of April or after that.
  • Your EAD closes in between the 1st of April and 30th of September.
  • You have filed an H-1B application prior to your EAD expiry.


What should I do in case my Cap-Gap Extension appeal is still waiting with USCIS in case my OPT ends?

As per  the new regulation, the extension for Cap-Gap is a time period in which the status of an eligible F-1 OPT student  is naturally get extended in order to cover the gap between the close of the F-1 status and the beginning  of the  H-1B status. In case the student comes under a period of approved post-completion OPT on the date or after 1st April, the student is entitled for extension, the post-completion OPT of the student is naturally get extended. Hence, the student gets permitted to pursue his job with his employer during the time when the request for Cap-Gap is awaited.

Relevance of Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students, after finishing their degree at graduate level degree level in the United States are facilitated to undergo the OPT. The sole aim of OPT is to throw open an avenue for accessing an employment experience in the area of study which he student is undergoing. The Operational Practical Training (OPT) is recognized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) lasts for a period during which time the undergraduate as well as the under graduate students holding the F-1 status and have finished or have been undergoing their degrees for over nine months are allowed  by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to pursue some work for a maximum period of one year on a student visa without the necessity of accessing  a work H-1B visa for attaining the  practical training in support of  their domain  of study. 

These F-1 Visa students are allowed a total period of 12 months time for getting practical training, that is approved by the degree study adviser, which can be spread over between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as well as OPT.  Some of the students who hold the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree may be entitled to an extra 17 months of OPT apart from the normal 12-months of OPT. 

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) is provisional employment approval that facilitates F-1 students an occasion to use apply their understanding accessed in the classroom to a realistic work experience outside the campus.

  • Students who look forward to get an employment have to make an application for OPT.
  • Students mostly are entitled to make an application for OPT lasting for a total period of 12 months.  
  • Students are facilitated to make use of the OPT during the course of their study (pre-completion OPT) or once they finish their study (post-completion OPT).
  • In order to enroll for the pre-completion OPT, the students can apply for OPT at the USCIS up to a period of 90 days before getting enrolled themselves for full-time for an academic year or 90 days prior to the desired job beginning date for those students who have already satisfied the academic year conditions. You can enquiry at the International Student officer for further information.
  • Students are facilitated to make use of the pre-completion OPT as full time (with a minimum of 20 hours per week), or as part time (20 hours or less per week) and reduce it at a half time rate. You need to remember that full time work is not allowed when the school session is going on.
  • Students who desire to undergo the post-completion OPT can make an application at the USCIS up to 90 days prior to the date of the finishing of programme. You need to apply in advance! Do not hang around to get an offer for job. It is not necessary for you to get an employment offer, in order to make an application for post-completion OPT. You cannot work until you receive OPT approval.  If an International student intends to make application for post-completion OPT, the starting date ought to be before 60 days of the conclusion date of the studies by the student. Hence, an OPT application ought to be received by mail and approved for processing by the USCIS before 60 days after the date of completion of program. You can visit the official website of USCIS to get to know more on this.
  • Remember, the Post-completion employment ought to be full time (for a minimum of 20 hours per week).
  • Those students who stay back in the U.S. to undergo a second higher degree may be entitled for an extra period of OPT (For instance, OPT after completion of BA and then OPT after completion of masters or PhD).


  • In order to get entitled for initial 12 months OPT period, the student:
  • Needs to be a full-time student who is registered for a minimum of one full academic year
  • Has to be present in person in the United States
  • Has to possess a valid F-1 status while submitting the application
  • Needs to have a desire to work or intent to work in a professional development occasion directly connected with the major domain of study.