In spring 2020, USCIS changed the H-1B petition filing process:
- Employers must register an individual request to USCIS for each H-1B petition they want to file for the fiscal year (FY). They do this electronically before April 1.
- By March 31, USCIS notifies employers of the first round of petitions that they may file.
- USCIS may later add more rounds of selected employers for filing petitions until the FY cap is met. See the USCIS H-1B Electronic Registration Process for more information.
Note: If the employer and petition are not selected, the student is not eligible for the cap gap extension at all during this FY.
- Selected employers have a 90-day window to file the selected petitions.
USCIS adjudicates the filed petitions. Since selected employers have a 90-day filling window to submit petitions, students and petitioners must work closely to ensure:
- Petition is filed before the student’s OPT authorization expires, so the student can legally continue working.
- Petition is filed before the end of the student’s grace period, so the student can legally stay in the United States until the H-1B takes effect.