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Cap Gap Extension

Students on Post-Completion OPT Who Have Filed for an H-1B

The government has provided an extension of work authorization or legal stay for students on post-completion OPT, known as the "cap gap" extension, who filed a timely application for an H-1B with an October 1 start date. This does not apply if your employer has filed for consular processing. Your employer may ask you to request an I-20 from the OGS so that your work eligibility form (Form I-9) can be updated. This page explains how to apply for a new I-20 to reflect your “cap gap” extension.

Eligibility

First, confirm with your employer that the organization is not considered exempt from the H-1B quota. Students who work for exempt employers are not eligible for an OPT extension. Your employer should also make sure you qualify for the H-1B cap-gap extensions:

  1. You must be the beneficiary of an H-1B petition that has been timely filed;
  2. that requests an employment start date of October 1 of the following fiscal year; and
  3. that requests a change of status.

You and your employer or attorney must review the cap gap extension information at the USCIS website (or you can enter "cap gap" in the search box on the home page of USCIS). The USCIS site explains how and if you are able to work while on the “cap gap extension”.
You must not have violated the terms or conditions of your F-1 status while on OPT. Consult with an OGS advisor if you have any concerns.

Procedure to Apply for Cap Gap I-20

Consult with your attorney or employer in order to ascertain your H-1B petition status and secure the documents you need to submit to the OGS.

Update your Employer Information and Address on our OPT Survey.

Please submit the following documents to the OGS via fax, mail, or email:

1. For a properly filed H-1B petition: A statement from the employer that the student is the beneficiary listed on a properly filed H-1B petition and proof of delivery to a USCIS Service Center showing the date of receipt.

For a receipted or approved H-1B petition: A copy of the Form I-797 and/or the I-797 receipt number.

Ask your employer or attorney if you are not certain which category you fall into if you are not sure.

2. An email or cover-letter stating:

  • your employer's name and full address (what was used for your H-1 application)
  • the date you started your employment with your H-1 employer
  • your supervisor's name and contact number
  • your job title
  • your current mailing address, email address, and phone number
  • copy of your current EAD
  • a copy of your current I-94 record
  • a copy of your current passport expiration/biography page/s

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. If you wish to have your Cap Gap I-20 sent to you and request this via email OR you want an adviser in the OGS to speak to your employer directly, you must complete this form and email/fax/mail the OGS the completed form.

Processing Time

Processing of “cap gap” I-20s sometimes require a data fix in the SEVIS database by the government, thus students should allow for a processing time of at least three weeks for an I-20.

Additional Information

  • You must inform the OGS if your H-1B petition is denied or withdrawn.
  • The U.S. government does not recommend travel outside of the U.S. during the cap gap extension period. Consult with your attorney for guidance regarding any travel outside of the U.S.
  • The 90-day “unemployment clock” applies during the “cap gap” employment period.
  • The OGS provides H-1B guidance only to individuals sponsored to work at New York University. Students must seek advice and information from the company’s immigration attorney or a private immigration attorney regarding work visas. Workshops presented by immigration attorneys are sometimes held at NYU and are announced in our biweekly newsletter. Alumni may attend as space allows.

Need to report a change while on
post-completion OPT?

Update your address, employer, status information and more.

Click here.


Information about Post-Completion OPT, the OPT STEM and Cap Gap extensions

Read the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Policy Guidance.

View the PDF here.

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