USCIS has remedied the ironic situation in which the H-1B applicants most in need of cap-gap relief were being excluded due to a requirement of the new regulation that the petition be marked for “change of status.”
To rectify the problem, USCIS is allowing the petitioners to request a change of status to make these employees eligible for the cap gap relief under the new regulation.
The request for change of status must be made within 30 days after receiving a receipt notice. Petitioners should not apply until a receipt notice is received.
USCIS explains the process as follows:
To request a change of status in lieu of consular notification, petitioners (or authorized representatives) should send an e-mail with the request to the USCIS service center where their petition is pending within 30 days of the issuance of the receipt notice.
The requests should include the receipt number and both the petitioner’s and beneficiary’s name, date of birth, I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) number, and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) number.
Special email addresses for each service center have been established specifically for this purpose. These addresses are listed below and are posted on USCIS’ website.
E-mail addresses for requesting change of status are:
Vermont Service Center
– Premium Processing cases: Vscppcapgap@dhs.gov
– Non-Premium cases: Vscnonppcapgap@dhs.gov
California Service Center
– Premium Processing cases: email@example.com
– Non-Premium cases: firstname.lastname@example.org
If an F-1 student, who is the beneficiary of a selected 2009 H-1B petition, has a pending request to change to a status other than H-1B but now wants to file under the process outlined above, he or she should withdraw the previously filed change in accordance with established procedures.
For more information, please see the USCIS announcement.