UCI International Center

F-1 Cap Gap Extension

Section 1

Current F-1 immigration regulations allow certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in F-1 status during the period of time when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization would otherwise expire through the start date of their approved H-1B employment period. This is referred to as filling the “cap-gap,” meaning the regulations provide a way of filling the “gap” between the end of F-1 status and the beginning of H-1B status that might otherwise occur if F-1 status is not extended for qualifying students.

The cap gap extension benefit will only be available to students whose H-1B petitions are filed as “change of status” in the required filing periods set by USCIS. This does not apply if your employer has filed for consular processing.

Cap Gap Extension Requirements: 

  • If your application has been filed on time for H-1B while you are in an active period of Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT Extension
  • Your H-1B will be effective on October 1

How to Apply for a Cap Gap Extension I-20:

Please upload copies of the following items to start your request for cap gap extension. Once your petition is receipted, request an automatic cap-gap extension I-20 by following the steps above. 

  • Student Visa Document Request form-- Select: Cap Gap Extension
  • Your Name and Contact Information (address, phone, email)
  • Copy of EAD Card 
  • Copy of I-797A Receipt Notice or Approval Notice; or; Proof of H-1B Application Filing

You may upload these items here as a .pdf attachment.

Receiving Your OPT Cap Gap I-20:

  • Processing time is 7 business days (day one starts the day after you submit your completed OPT I-20 Request documents)
  • I-20 visa documents will be sent electronically via an email from DocuSign