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H1B and Cap Gap

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Cap Gap Extension for F-1 students

What is the Cap Gap?

The H-1B “cap gap” occurs when a F-1 student’s status and OPT work authorization expires during the current fiscal year before the student can start approved H-1B employment during the next fiscal year that begins on October 1.

For example, a student whose OPT end date is July 16, 2014, and whose employer successfully files an H-1B petition for a job that is subject to the H-1B “cap” and starts October 1, formerly needed to cease employment as of July 16, and depart the United States on September 15 (the last day of the 60-day grace period following OPT). While outside the United States, the student had to them obtain an H-1B visa, and could not re-enter the United States more than 10 days prior to the H-1B start date.

Under the cap-gap rule, a student currently on OPT who is the beneficiary of a timely-filed H-1B petition that requests an employment start date of October 1 of the following fiscal year will have his or her duration of status and OPT employment authorization extended to that date.

Should the pending H-1B petition ultimately be denied, the student will have a sixty day grace period from the notification date of the denial to depart the United States, obtain admission to a new F-1 SEVIS-approved school, or file an application for a change of status.