Cap-Gap Extension

The cap-gap extension is available to F-1 students who are beneficiaries of a timely filed H-1B extension but whose F-1 status (OPT or the 60-day grace period following the end of OPT) ends between April 1 and October 1 of the current year.  
 

Eligibility

You are eligible for the cap-gap extension if you are in active F-1 status and are the beneficiary of an H-1B petition that:

  • has been filed on or after April 1 of the current year, and prior to the end of the 60-day grace period following the end date of your EAD card for post-completion or STEM OPT (not available for students authorized for pre-completion OPT)
  • is subject to the H-1B annual cap
  • requests an employment start date of October 1 of the current year
  • requests a change of status

If you are the beneficiary of a H-1B petition filed while you were on a valid period of post-completion or STEM OPT, then you are eligible for an automatic extension of your OPT authorization to September 30 of the current year.

If you are the beneficiary of an H-1B petition filed while you were in the 60-day grace period following your post-completion or STEM OPT, then you are eligible for an automatic extension of your F-1 status (but not work authorization) to September 30 of the current year.
 

How to Apply

Upload a copy of your I-797 Receipt Notice or Approval Notice to the Cap-Gap Extension e-form in UA International. If your employment or address has changed, you should also resubmit the OPT Reporting e-form in UA International.

Normal processing time is 10 business days.

If you have any questions, please send an email to intl-opt@email.arizona.edu, or call the ISS front desk at (520) 621-4627 to schedule an appointment with an international student advisor (phone appointments are available for students outside of Tucson).  Please be aware that advisors at International Student Services are not immigration attorneys. We can provide general information about the cap-gap extension and maintenance of your F-1 record while on OPT, but we cannot provide detailed information about the eligibility requirements, processing or maintenance of status for H-1B.
 

Additional Resources

Read more about the cap-gap extension in the SEVP OPT Policy Guidance.