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Immigration Update

H-1B "Cap Gap" Provisions for F-1 Students
MVA Immigration Team
April 23, 2008

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) has recently announced "Cap Gap" provisions for F-1 students who are beneficiaries of H-1B petitions selected in the fiscal year 2009 H-1B lottery process.  This measure automatically extends the F-1 status and the Optional Practical Training (OPT) of  F-1 students to cover the gap between the expiration of a student’s F-1 status and the H-1B employment start date of October 1.

To obtain the automatic extension,  the F-1 student must be the beneficiary of an H-1B petition filed with an October 1 , 2008 employment start date and have requested a change of status.  If a change of status was not requested because the student was not eligible for one when the petition was filed, please contact your MVA Immigration Team Case Manager and they will request the change of status for the student employee now.     

Please note this extension of status and OPT is a separate benefit from the New F-1 OPT Regulations  to provide 12-29 month OPT extensions for F-1 students in STEM occupations.  This "Cap Gap" OPT extension does not require that the employer first enroll in E-verify  and it is not limited to students with degrees in certain fields. 

Should you have questions on these "Cap Gap" provisions, please contact your MVA Immigration Team contact