F-1 student “Cap-gap” only valid through Sep. 30

F-1 student “Cap-gap” only valid through Sep. 30

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If you are in F-1 status and have a pending cap-gap H-1B petition, stop working; continuing to work risks your lawful presence in the U.S. Here’s why:

The F-1 student “cap-gap” expired on Sep. 30, meaning that if you have a pending H-1B petition as of Oct. 1 and continue to work, you are at risk of accruing “unlawful presence,” according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The cap-gap extends your student status and work authorization through Sep. 30, filling the gap between the end of your F-1 student status and Oct. 1,  the beginning of the new fiscal year when H-1B visas take effect. The cap gap only allows you to remain working through Sep. 30; even if you have a pending H-1B petition as of Oct. 1, you are not authorized to work and doing so risks your lawful presence in the U.S.

According to USCIS, F-1 students with cap-gap H-1B petitions pending on or after Oct. 1 may remain in the U.S. without accruing unlawful presence, “provided they do not work without authorization.”

You can continue to work only if you have a pending change of status petition with work authorization that extends beyond Sep. 30.