International Students & Scholars Program, U.Va.

International Students & Scholars Program

A Division of the International Studies Office

Scholarship
Community

OPT Cap-Gap Extension

A student in an active period of post-completion or STEM OPT who is the beneficiary of an H-1B petition filed on their behalf is eligible to remain in the U.S. and to continue working after the expiration of their EAD if:

  1. A timely-filed cap subject H-1B petition on the former student's behalf is pending or approved. The petition must include a change of status request effective October 1 to H1-B.  Petitions requesting consular notification are not eligible for this extension.
  2. The start date of the H-1B petition is October 1 of the same calandar year; and
  3. The former student has otherwise maintained all the terms and conditions of his or her F-1 visa status.

The extension is an automatic benefit that extends one's F-1 status and empioyment authorization until October 1 of the same calendar year.  This presumes the student was in F-1 status and OPT was active at the time the H1-B petition was filed.  Students in their grace period at the time of filing are not employment authorized.

Note that if the above-referenced H-1B petition is rejected, revoked, withdrawn or denied, the student's employment authorization is immediately terminated and he or she enters the F-1 grace period.

Students may request a new I-20 from the ISO  documenting their eligibility for the Cap Gap extension.  Also see the USCIS webpage on Cap-Gap regulations.