International Student & Scholar Services


  • Int'l Student / Scholar Svcs
    Fax: 202-885-3354
    Butler Pavilion, Room 410

    ISSS office walk-in advising hours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Tuesdays: 12:00 noon - 5:00 p.m.

    Bakar, Senem S
    Director, International Student & Scholar Services

Mailing Address

H-1B Cap Gap 2008

Note that new legislation will be passed each year.

The following information is taken from USCIS Frequently Asked Questions.

What is the H-1B cap?

The cap is the congressionally-mandated limit on the number of individuals who may be granted H-1B status during each fiscal year. For FY08, the cap is 65,000, with certain statutory cap exemptions.

What is the F-1/H-1B “cap-gap”?

Cap-gap occurs when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization expire before they can start their approved H-1B employment beginning on October 1.

How is the cap-gap situation changed under the interim final rule?

• F-1 students on post-completion OPT maintain valid F-1 status until the expiration of their OPT. Once that OPT has ended, if an H-1B application has not been filed, they are authorized to remain in the United States for up to 60 days to prepare for departure.

• Under this rule, the F-1 status of students is automatically extended if:

1. the student's employer or future employer has filed an H-1B petition (with an October 1 employment start date),

2. this petition is filed during the period in which H-1B petitions are accepted for that fiscal year, and

3. the student notifies ISSS of the H-1B filing.

• If the H-1B petition filed on behalf of the student is selected, the student may remain in the United States and, if on post-completion OPT, continue working until the October 1 start date indicated on the approved H-1B petition.

• The automatic extension terminates when USCIS rejects, denies, or revokes the H-1B petition.

• The student may benefit from this provision only if s/he has not violated her or his status.


A student has post-completion OPT from May 15, 2007 - May 14, 2008. On April 1, 2008 the student's employer files an H-1B petition for the student. The H-1B is approved to start on October 1, 2008. Between May 14, 2008 (when the OPT ends) and October 1, 2008 (when the H-1B begins) the student's OPT and F-1 status can be extended. The student does not have to leave.

When the student receives notification of their H-1B approval, s/he needs to fax a copy to ISSS at (202) 885-3354 with her or his AU ID number, email, and phone number. ISSS will then follow up with the student on the next steps of the extension process.

More information:

NAFSA Regulatory Updates