A student’s duration of status, and any post-completion OPT or STEM OPT work authorization, will be automatically extended for an F-1 student who is the beneficiary of a timely-filed H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1 (the first day of the following fiscal year). This is commonly known as a cap-gap extension.
Cap Gap Extensions
An H-1B is a nonimmigrant employment visa. Often students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) find that employers are willing to sponsor them and complete an H-1B petition on their behalf. This means that a student will work with their employer and their legal team regarding any and all requirements and questions when filing an H-1B petition.
Please be aware that the responsibility of the Office of Global Services (OGS) regarding H-1B petitions is minimal. The Office of Global Services (OGS) is able to issue a Cap Gap Extension I-20 to students in the following cases:
If your H-1B application was properly filed but no response has been received from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
- If your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) expires before June 1: The OGS will be able to extend your OPT authorization in SEVIS until June 1. Once your H-1B application is accepted by USCIS and you receive a receipt, you can submit a new Cap Gap I-20 Request for an OPT authorization extension through September 30.
- If your EAD does not expire before June 1 then your cap gap extension will not be available in SEVIS until your application has been accepted and receipted by USCIS. Please fill out the e-form when you have received a receipt from USCIS.
If your H-1B application was selected for wait-listing:
- If your EAD expires before July 28: the OGS will be able to extend your OPT authorization through July 28. Once your H-1B application is accepted by USCIS and you receive a receipt, please refill out the e-form to receive an I- 20 with OPT authorization extension through September 30.
If your H-1B application was approved or selected for processing (receipted):
- If your EAD expires between April 1 and September 30: the OGS will be able to issue a Cap Gap I-20 with OPT extension through September 30. Please fill out the e-form to receive an I-20 with OPT authorization extension.
- If your H-1B application was denied then your cap gap extension ends 10 days after the date of denial.
Please allow 10 business days for processing. You will receive an email when your I-20 is available for pick-up.
You can apply for a cap-gap extension I-20 from OGS at the following link: https://myissi.northeastern.edu/istart/controllers/client/ClientEngine.cfm?serviceid=EFormCapGapI20Request0ServiceProvider&menuFlag=true
A valid EAD card is one of the documents requested for re-entry when a student returns from a trip abroad. If you are on a Cap Gap Extension of OPT and no longer have a valid EAD, travel outside the U.S. is risky. Therefore, travel abroad is NOT recommended during an H-1B Cap Gap extension period.