F-1 “Cap-Gap” and Work Authorization Update

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

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.

Learn more about corporate immigration challenges. Download and read our free eBook: 10 solutions to Corporate Immigration Challenges.