Avoiding a Gap in F-1 OPT Employment While H-1B Pending

USCIS is starting to issue H-1B receipts for petitions that won a lottery number.  These receipts will allow those F-1 foreign students working pursuant to their optional practical training (OPT) employment authorization document (EAD) that will expire before October 1, 2019, to extend their EAD until October 1st, unless their petition is denied before then.  This is based on the cap-gap F-1 EAD extension for those students whose H-1B petitions were filed requesting a change of status and before their EADs expired.

For these F-1 foreign students and their employers, it is very important that they try to obtain an H-1B approval by October 1st.  In the slight chance that the petition is not approved by October 1st, and the EAD expires or the F-1 student cannot file for a STEM extension before then, then the gap cap work authorization stops, although the F-1 student may remain in the US while the petition is pending.  The employers must then remove these F-1 students from payroll.   To avoid this gap in the F-1 students’ employment, the employers should seek to convert these cases to premium processing by mid-August by filing the Form I-907.