Frequently Asked Questions
What if I am NOT eligible for the cap-gap extension?
F-1 students who do not qualify for a cap-gap extension, and whose periods of authorized stay expires before October 1st, are required to leave the United States, apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad, and then seek readmission to the United States in H-1B status, for the dates reflected on the approved H-1B petition.
What is my new OPT end date?
If your H-1B petition is approved, your OPT authorization is extended to September 30th. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to September 30th.
Can the cap-gap extension be extended past September 30thif my H-1B petition is still pending?
No, the cap-gap extension is only until September 30th. If the H-1B petition is pending beyond October 1st, you can remain in the U.S. based on the pending change of status petition. However, you must stop working until the H-1B petition is approved.
Can I travel outside the U.S. during a cap-gap extension period and return in F-1 status?
The ISSO recommends that you consult your employer's immigration specialist before traveling internationally during the cap-gap extension period.
A student granted a cap-gap extension who elects to travel outside the United States during the cap-gap extension period, will not be able to return in F-1 status. The student will need to apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad prior to returning. As the H-1B petition is for an October 1st start date, the student should be prepared to adjust his or her travel plans, accordingly.
Is there a limitation on unemployment during the cap-gap period?
Yes. The 90-day, or 150-day for STEM OPT, limitation on unemployment during the post-completion OPT authorization continues during the cap-gap extension.
What do I do if I am eligible for cap-gap and Brandeis ISSO discovers that the SEVIS system has not been updated by USCIS to reflect my pending H-1B petition?
If the ISSO checks your SEVIS record and finds that cap-gap has not automatically been applied, we will request a data fix from the SEVIS Help Desk. In these cases, we will have to submit a copy of your EAD card, your H-1B Receipt Notice or your H-1B Approval Notice.
Where can I get more info on the cap-gap extension?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides thorough cap-gap information.
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