I am a student in F-1 status working on OPT. My OPT will expire in early May. In April, my employer will file an H1B petition for me for the start date of October 1st this year. …

… I heard that there is expected to be a lottery again this year for H1B petitions that will be accepted for processing by USCIS. Will I be able to continue working past the expiration of my OPT? Does it depend on whether my H1B petition is picked in the lottery?


It is estimated that USCIS will notify H1B petitioners whether their petitions are accepted for processing by June 2nd. Therefore, if your petition was properly filed, you may continue working until June 2nd, followed by the 60-day grace period until August 2nd. If your petition is receipted by or before June 2nd, you will be eligible for the full cap-gap period through September 30th, unless the petition is denied, withdrawn or revoked.

In previous years, it has been typical not to know if the petition was picked in the lottery until after June 2nd. If that is the case, working past June 2nd – assuming that your petition will be accepted for processing – is not advisable. Please note, however, that if you stop working after June 2nd, and learn later that your petition was receipted, you may resume your employment under the cap gap, but the time that you were not employed will count towards the 90-day maximum unemployment limitation. (26.Feb.2016)

Questions frequently reach us from students on a variety of matters. This is a sample question, answered by an attorney in our firm. More information can be found in the student section of MurthyDotCom.

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