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U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Study in the States

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Use the Study in the States glossary to define key terms throughout the F and M student process in the United States. If you are a current or prospective student, select “students” to see terms that specifically relate to you—from visas, to forms, benefits, and more. School officials should select “schools” to find more information on certification, responsibilities, and how to help their F and M students. You can also sort terms by selecting the letter of the alphabet a term begins with.

H-1B cap gap

The period of time between the end of an individual’s F-1 student status and the beginning of the individual’s H-1B status.

H-1B Status

Temporary employment authorization for a nonimmigrant who performs services in a specialty occupation and has a bachelor’s degree or higher. Employers petition for H-1B status to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on a nonimmigrant’s behalf.


A best practice for students to keep all important documents, like their Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” or passport with them, instead of packing them in checked luggage.