Office of International Programs
Students participating in OPT who have petitioned for a change of status to H1-B may experience a "gap" between the expiration of F-1 nonimmigrant status and the requested start of the H1-B nonimmigrant status. To cover this "gap", USCIS provides an automatic, temporary extension of F-1 status and work authorization while the H-1B petition is being processed.
- This benefit is offered only from April 1 to October 1 and only in conjunction with a corporate H-1B petition that is pending or approved with an October 1 start date.
- The extension begins the day after the OPT Employment Authorization Card end date and ends on October 1.
- Students may request an I-20 that contains cap-gap notations documenting the extension of F-1 status and employment authorization.
- Students remain in F-1 status until the H-1B start date.
- If the H-1B petition is denied or withdrawn and the OPT period has ended, the student's F-1 status ends 60 days from the date posted on the denial/withdrawal. Please notify the international student advisor.
- There is always a risk of refusal of re-entry to the US if a student travels internationally while a petition is pending.
The cap-gap relief extension of status and work authorization is managed by USCIS and automatically tied to your H-1B petition. You may request a Form I-20 that documents the cap-gap relief extension from the UT Tyler international student advisor. Email firstname.lastname@example.org from your Patriot email account. Attach a copy of your H-1B receipt or approval notice and provide delivery instructions for your document.
The "cap-gap" I-20 will include a paragraph on page three indicating the extension of F-1 status and employment authorization. For more information, contact the international student advisor.