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The U.S. immigration regulations specify that the duration of status (D/S), and any post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization, will be automatically extended for an F-1 student who is in a valid period of OPT, has timely-filed an H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1 of the current year. An automatic cap-gap extension of an F-1 student's duration of status also applies to the duration of status of the student's dependents in F-2 status, but does not grant work authorization to the F-2 dependents.


STEP 1: Confirm Eligibility

The student must be in a valid period of OPT (end date is April 1 or later) and have filed an H-1B petition that:

  • has been timely filed.
    "Timely filed means that the H-1B petition (indicating change of status rather than consular processing) was filed during the H-1B acceptance period, which begins April 1st, while the student's authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect (including any period of time during the academic course of study, any authorized periods of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), and the 60-day departure preparation period, commonly known as the 'grace period'".
  • requests an employment start date of October 1 of the current year.
  • requests a change of status, not consular processing.
  • the student must not have violated the terms or conditions of his or her F-1 status.
  • If an H 1B cap-subject petition is filed for a F-1 student who has entered the 60-day grace period, the student will receive the automatic extension of his or her F-1 status, but will not be authorized to work since the student was not authorized to work at the time H-1B petition was filed.

STEP 2: Submit Your Request for an Updated I-20

  • Log in to .
  • Go to "Services" tab.
  • Select "F-1 Cap-Gap I-20 Request".
  • Fill out your request.
  • Choose your "Document Delivery Preference".
  • Upload a PDF copy of your H-1B Receipt or Approval Notice.
    If you do not yet have an H-1B Receipt Notice, you must upload the following three documents together in lieu of the H-1B Receipt or Approval Notice:
    • I-797 receipt showing you were selected in the lottery.
    • Letter from your attorney confirming the filing of the H-1B petition and requesting a change of status.
    • Copy of the express mail receipt.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your current OPT EAD card.
  • "Submit" your request.

STEP 3: Receive Your Updated I-20

  • Your new I-20 reflecting your CAP-GAP extension will be issued within 5 business days.
    • Note that if you do not yet have an I-797 receipt notice for the H-1B application, your I-20 will only be extended only until June 1. Once you receive the H-1B receipt, you will need to submit another "F-1 Cap-Gap I-20 Request" in iPortal and we will send you a new I-20 with the Cap Gap extension through September 30.
  • You can check the status of your request anytime by logging in to iPortal and clicking on "My Requests" tab.
  • A notification email will be sent to you when your document is ready.
  • Sign your new I-20 when you receive it, and keep your previous I-20 for your records, do NOT throw it away.