If you are presently working on OPT, with an H1B filed this year, you should be aware that additional steps may be necessary to maintain status under cap-gap.
In some instances, your OPT employment authorization may expire in spring or summer after an H-1B cap petition has been filed, and before the H-1B effective date of October 01. You may also be eligible for 17-month STEM extension based on your program of study.The time after OPT expires but before the H-1B takes effect is known as the “cap gap.”
If you have a cap gap, you may get employment authorization extended by contacting your university to get the gap covered. Please note that this extension is not automatic and you must plan in advance to ensure that your University provides the necessary extension(s)
In order to obtain proof of continuing status, you should go to your Designated School Official (DSO) with evidence of a timely filed H-1B cap petition, it would be best if it is a COS (change of status) than for consular processing. If your OPT expires in June or later, you better to get the H1B Receipt Notice and bring a copy to your DSO. The DSO will issue a cap-gap I-20 Form showing an extension until September 30th.
If your F-1 expires in April or May and if you do not have an H1B receipt notice, you may bring a copy of the petition and a FedEx, UPS, or USPS Express/certified mail confirmation, please check with your Employer. If the DSO is satisfied, you will get a preliminary cap-gap I-20 showing an extension until June 1st and when you get the H1B receipt, go back to the DSO for the remainder of the cap gap extension.
Please note that once you get a cap-gap extension, you should not take the rsik of traveling outside the United States during the cap gap period. You may become ineligible to be admitted/re-enter in your F-1 status.