F-1 "Cap-Gap" and Work Authorization Update

October 2, 2018

F-1 students who were working pursuant to “cap-gap” and have an H-1B petition that remains pending must have stopped working as of September 30, 2018. The good news is that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has confirmed that F-1 students who were working pursuant to “cap-gap” may generally remain in the U.S. while the change of status petition is pending without accruing unlawful presence – as long as these F-1 students do not work without authorization or otherwise violate their F-1 status.

What is “Cap-gap?” 

The F-1 visa student visa is for foreign nationals who wish to study in the U.S. Typically, USCIS allows an F-1 student who is the beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B cap-subject petition requesting a change of status to H-1B to have F-1 status and current employment authorization extended through September 30th. 

“Cap-gap” provides a way of filling the gap between the end of F-1 status and beginning of H-1B status.  The “cap-gap” period starts when F-1 student status and work authorization expire, and they are extended through September 30th and have requested October 1st as the start date of H-1B employment. 

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Managing Partner Sara E. Herbek at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

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