I am in F-1 status and I have been working on initial OPT that is about to expire. My employer filed a cap-subject H1B petition in the first week of April and the USCIS issued a receipt notice for it. …

… Because of the pending H1B petition, my SEVIS record was automatically updated showing a cap-gap period until Sep 30th. I would like to apply for the 24-month OPT STEM extension, just in case my H1B petition will not be approved. Can I do that?


According to information posted on the USCIS website, “[s]tudents who are eligible for a Cap-Gap extension of post-completion OPT employment and F1-status may apply for a STEM OPT extension during the Cap-Gap extension period.” However, in practice, both students and their DSOs have been reporting problems in being able to request STEM OPT extensions to start at any point prior to October 1st, which follows the end of the maximum available cap-gap period. The issue here is what would happen if the cap-gap period abruptly ends prior to September 30 because of a denial / revocation / withdrawal of the pending H1B petition. In such a case, it has been suggested that the DSO contact USCIS with a request to move the requested start date for the STEM OPT extension accordingly. (12.May.2017)

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