I am a student with F-1 status and have an optional practical training (OPT) employment authorization (EAD).
I have filed for H1B with one of the employer but my OPT is going to expire well before H1B official Oct 1 start date.
Can I continue to work after my OPT expires based on cap-gap?
Yes, you can use the Cap-Gap if you file your H1B application as and when USCIS starts accepting them on April 1.
Till what date can cap-gap OPT be extended?
You are allowed to extend the duration of F-1 status and any current employment authorization (EAD) until the first day of the new fiscal year i.e. September 30.
When does Cap-Gap time starts?
The “Cap-Gap” time starts from the date, F-1 student’s status and work authorization (OPT EAD) expires, and ends on the start date of their approved H-1B employment.
Why Cap-Gap occurs?
Cap-Gap occurs because an employer may not have the option of filing H1B for the F-1 student at the time his/her OPT EAD is officially expiring.
Is H1B consular processing allowed with cap-gap OPT extension?
NO. Only H1B application with change of status is allowed to be eligible for cap-gap OPT extension.
When can I start working on H1B?
The H1B applications are accepted by USCIS each year starting April 1 and if approved, the earliest that the employee can start working is Oct 1 of the same year.
H1B is not selected in Lottery or denied
If the H1B petition is not selected in the lottery, or if the petition is denied, the cap-gap period terminates automatically.
H1B application pending on Oct 1
If the H1B petition is still pending on October 1st, and your OPT work authorization has already expired, you have to stop working until the H1B petition is adjudicated.
H1B application approved to start on Oct 1
If approved, You can start working for H1B employer from Oct 1.