On March 31st of each year, otherwise known as “H-1B Eve” it is important to refresh our memories about the automatic “cap gap” extension that will apply again this year. ICE recently published a memo of FAQs to help students and employers http://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/cap_gap_factsheet.pdf.
As long as a student is in valid OPT at the time of filing an H-1B Petition on April 1st (or within the appropriate filing window), that student may continue to work past his/her OPT expiration as long as the H-1B case remains pending. As soon as the case is rejected by the lottery or denied, the automatic OPT extension is also terminated. For those who are selected from the lottery and approved, the OPT extension will cover employment during the entire period from April 1st until October 1st when the H-1B visa becomes valid. If you have additional questions about working or traveling while benefiting from the “cap cap” provisions, please contact our office.