H-1B is a work visa that is sponsored by an employer. There are a limited number of H-1Bs available each fiscal year, for most employers, and this limit is often called the “H-1B cap.”
New H-1Bs become effective each October 1, but the application period for most employers begins six months earlier April 1. The “cap gap” occurs when a student’s F-1 status and/or OPT expire before their approved H-1B begins October 1.
You should wait to request the Cap-Gap Extension Form I-20 to be issued until you have your H-1B receipt notice.
Upon receiving your request, the DSO will reprint the Form I-20 for you. If USCIS and SEVIS have made the proper updates, it will take up to five (5) business days to reprint your updated Form I-20. The student will need to indicate a preferred delivery method (Certified Mail, Regular mail or Pick Up).
Students who remain in the U.S. under the “Cap Gap” must continue to report employment information and address changes. The ninety (90)-day unemployment limit continues during the cap gap extension period.
In case your H-1B petition gets denied or withdrawn, the “cap gap” extension of employment will be immediately terminated and you will have sixty (60) days from notification of denial to depart the U.S. If however, the denial is because of a status violation, there is no grace period.
If your H-1B is not approved by September 30, you must stop your employment and you will have the standard sixty (60)-day grace period from the Cap Gap end date September 30 to depart the U.S. or apply for SEVIS transfer.
Additional important information regarding Cap Gap can be found here.
We strongly encourage you to consult with your employer's immigration attorney regarding any questions relating to H-1B.