Cap Gap Extension Information & Application

Each year, some F-1 students seek to switch from F-1 student status (a nonimmigrant classification) to H-1B temporary employment status after completing a program of study or post-completion optional practical training (OPT). However, depending on when a student began OPT, there may be a gap of time between the end of the student’s OPT and the start of a Cap-subject H-1B on October 1st of that year. To deal with this specific situation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security established regulations that automatically extend F-1 status and, if applicable, post-completion OPT employment authorization from between April 1 to Sept. 30 for eligible F-1 students with a Cap-subject H-1B petition.

This automatic extension is called a cap gap extension.

Students who are determined eligible for a Cap Gap Extension may request an I-20 which indicates their Cap Gap status using the application found below.


You may be eligible for the Cap Gap Extension I-20 if one of the following applies:

1. Your H-1B petition has already been filed and receipted, and is therefore pending or has been approved by USCIS

2. Your H-1B petition has been filed by your employer but not receipted and your OPT expires before June 1

Selection in the H-1B lottery by itself is not grounds for Cap Gap eligibility, as lottery selection is merely a preliminary step that allows an employer to file a petition with USCIS.


If you are currently eligible to apply for a Cap Gap Extension, you will need to first gather the following items:

1. H1B approval or receipt notice (form I-797)

2. Clear, legible copy of your most recent EAD

Next, you’ll need to submit an application by clicking on the button below:

Cap Gap Extension Request Application


Once you click submit please allow 5-10 business days for review of your application and I-20 processing. In most cases the finished I-20 will be uploaded to your ISSOconnect account, and you’ll be notified via automatic email to access the new document. Sometimes a delay may occur if the H1B information has not yet been updated in SEVIS. If this is your case, you will receive an email notification with further information. Please watch your inbox for updates. Otherwise we ask that you please allow the full 5-10 days for review and processing of your application. Thank you!