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H1-B Temporary Work Visa

The H-1B non-immigrant visa is a temporary work visa for employment in a “specialty occupation.”  A “specialty occupation” is generally considered a professional-level position that requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a specific field of study.

Parameters of the H-1B:

  • Minimum salary is required; Labor Condition Application must be certified prior to application.
  • Initial 3-year stay; extension up to additional 3 years; limited opportunity for further extension.
  • Limited number of H-1B visas available annually.
    • H-1B fiscal year is October 1 – September 30
    • 65,000 cap (6800 reserved for citizens of Chile & Singapore)
    • 20,000 additional visas available for beneficiaries holding a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution
  • Employer is responsible for cost of return transportation for dismissed employee
H-1B Petition Process:

  • Employers must register in the USCIS registration system during the registration period and register the each intended beneficiary (employee).
  • Registration periods are announced annually by USCIS
  • If the petitioner (employer) is selected in the registration system, a complete H-1B cap-subject petition may be filed on behalf of the beneficiary (employee) within the filing period indicated on the notice.

F-1 Cap Gap:

The F-1 Cap Gap is an automatic extension of a beneficiary’s duration of status and possibly employment authorization to bridge the period of time between the end date of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) or the 60-day grace period and the start of the H-1B status.

To be eligible for an extension of duration of status, a beneficiary must be currently on approved OPT authorization or in the 60-day grace period following the completion of OPT when USCIS receives the H-1B petition requesting a change of status to begin October 1 of the current year.

While regulations state that duration of status and employment authorization “shall be automatically extended until October 1”, the Form I-20 is updated incrementally to document the student’s status and employment authorization based on the status of the H-1B petition (see below).   The automatic extension of OPT and/or duration of status is terminated upon a rejection, denial or revocation of the H-1B petition.


Status of H-1B Petition

Program or OPT End Date


SEVIS extends F-1 status and any authorized OPT until June 1


SEVIS extends the F-1 status and any authorized OPT until July 28

Pending (the H-1B petition is receipted)

SEVIS extends the F-1 status and any authorized OPT until September 30


SEVIS extends the F-1 status and any authorized OPT until September 30


SEVIS reverts F-1 status and any authorized OPT end date to the original end date


SEVIS shortens F-1 status and any authorized OPT  to the date of the rejection letter