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CAP GAP Extensions

***Because LSUHSC is a cap exempt employer, the cap gap extension is NOT available to F-1 students if LSUHSC has filed an H1B petition on their behalf.****

What is the F-1 cap gap extension?

An additional period of work authorization provided for some F-1 students on Post Completion OPT or an additional period of authorized stay for F-1 student without OPT.

Who qualifies for the cap gap extension?

Students in a valid period of F-1 Post Completion OPT:

  • Whose OPT end date is before October 1st AND

  • Whose cap subject employer has timely filed (during the H1B acceptance period, beginning April 1st) a change of status H1B petition on their behalf with a 10/01 start date.

F-1 Students who are employment authorized (Post Completion OPT) at the time H1B petition is filed have continuing work authorization until a decision is made on the H1B petition. If approved, work authorization is automatically extended until September 30th. If the H1B is denied, revoked or withdrawn during the cap gap period, the student's OPT authorization ends 10 days after the date of the denial, revocation or withdrawal (not the date the notice is received). The student retains the option of using their 60 grace period which begins on the date of denial, revocation or withdrawal.

Students in valid F-1 status (D/S) as indicated on their I-20:

  • Who are no longer in their approved OPT period when the H1B petition is filed (usually April 1st) but are still in valid F-1 status during a grace period that will end before October 1st.

  • Whose cap subject employer has timely filed (during the H1B acceptance period, beginning April 1st) a change of status H1B petition on their behalf with a 10/01 start date.

F-1 Students who are not employment authorized at the time of the H1B filing do NOT receive additional or continuing work authorization, only their F-1 duration of status is extended until a decision is made on the H1B petition filed on their behalf. If approved, F-1 status is extended until September 30th. If the H1B is denied, revoked or withdrawn during the cap gap period, the student retains the option to use their 60 grace period which begins on the date of denial, revocation or withdrawal.

How do I know if my employer is cap subject?

There is no definitive list of cap subject employers. However, many not for profit, research and higher education institutions are cap exempt. The following types of employers qualify as cap exempt:

  • Institutions of Higher Education

  • A non-profit entity related to or affilated with an Institution of Higher Education

  • A non-profit research organization or government research organization

How can I obtain an I-20 that shows my cap gap extension?

If you would like an "cap gap I-20," for documentation purposes, please provide a written request with the following documentation via email (InternationalServices@lsuhsc.edu)  to LSUSHC International Services:

  • Verification from your employer that they are "cap subject" AND

  • A copy of the I-797 Receipt Notice for your H1B petition (The Receipt Number is NOT sufficient) and a copy of the I-129 petition filed OR

  • If you do not yet have the Receipt Notice, a copy of the I-129 petition and proof of filing from your employer OR a copy of the notice from USCIS that your H1B petition has been "wait-listed."

An SEVP Fact Sheet on cap gap extension is available for Students to provide to their employers to facilitate continued employment during the cap gap period. The sheet explains how your employer should document your continued work authorization. A "cap gap I-20" IS necessary for I-9 reverification purposes (See Employer I-9 Handbook M-274, page 21).

If the USCIS CLAIMS system has not automatically updated your F-1 SEVIS record with the H1B petition information, International Services will have to request a SEVIS data fix from the SEVIS Helpdesk before your "cap gap I-20" can be issued. Data fixes sometimes take several weeks, so please get your request in as soon as the H1B petition has been filed on your behalf. 


Travel during cap gap extension

F-1 Students under the cap gap extension may NOT travel outside of the U.S. and return in F-1 status. If students under cap gap leave the U.S., they will be unable to return until their H1B petition is approved, and an H1B entry visa is obtained (unless visa exempt.). H1B beneficiaries are permitted to enter the U.S. up to ten days prior to the start of their approved H1B period, for cap subject employers, the start date will be October 1st, at the earliest.

More information is available on the USCIS cap gap webpage.