September 28, 2018
USCIS has reminded F-1 students whose cap-subject H-1B petition remains pending that they risk accruing unlawful presence if they continued to work on or after October 1 (unless otherwise authorized to continue employment), as their "cap-gap" work authorization was only valid through September 30. While USCIS regulations allow an F-1 student who is the beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B cap-subject petition requesting a change of status to H-1B on October 1 to have his or her F-1 status and any current employment authorization extended through September 30, the regulations do not provide for "cap-gap" work authorization beyond September 30. Clearly, the regulations contemplated that USCIS would adjudicate all affected cases before October 1 to avoid a gap in employment. But, because USCIS has not yet adjudicated all cap-subject H-1B change-of-status petitions for all F-1 students, some beneficiaries will have to stop working. Such F-1 students generally may remain in the United States while the change-of-status petition is pending without accruing unlawful presence, provided they do not work without authorization.
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