Students Applying for H1B Visa 2016: Pay Attention to Cap Gap

If you are an international student in USA on F-1 visa applying for H1B visa for 2016, don’t forget your cap-gap requirements.

What is “Cap-Gap”?

It is the “gap” period between the end of F-1/ Optical practical training (OPT) status and the beginning of H-1B status, if the F-1 status is not extended for qualifying students. It is termed “cap-gap” as it allows students with pending H-1B to remain on F-1 status.  There are two types of “cap-gap” petitions:

1. For H-1B petitions filed
2. For H-1B petitions receipted or approved

How to Apply?

To apply for Cap-gap, you may need all or some of the required information. For more information regarding your “cap-gap” application contact your international student office and/or your attorney or employer.

  1. Contact the international student center in your university with following documents
    1. Copy of your current EAD
    2. Copy of your current I-20
    3. Copy of your current I-94 records
    4. Copy of your current passport expiration and biography page
    5. Copy of your  I-797 Receipt of acceptance at USCIS or approval notice from USCI
  2. Create an Email/cover-letter with the following info:
    1. Your Sevis number
    2. Your employer’s name and full address
    3. Date you start employment as H-1 employer
    4. Your job tittle and supervisor’s name and contact
    5. Your current mailing address, email address and phone

Processing Time

The processing “cap-gap” I-20 may require data fix in the SEVIS database by the government, which requires a three week processing grace period. Therefore, please allow a processing time of at least three weeks for your new I-20.

Additional Information

Here are some additional guidelines. Please take legal counsel for your employer if necessary:

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