Am I H1-B cap exempt if I had H1-B before and used it for 5 months?


My previous H1B was valid from 4/27/2012 to 11/30/2014 and I was in H1 status for 5 months before I switched to F1. I was wondering if I’m eligible for H1B cap exempt if I want to find a job after my program is over in September. And since I’ve already used my OPT, does that mean I will only be eligible for a cap-gap exntension of status if an employer files a H1B peition for me by September? Can I start working for the company when my case is pending or do I have to wait till an approval to begin work?

Also, I’m not sure why my H1B was only valid for 2 years instead of 3. Will that affect my new petition?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can provide some answers!

I’m in the same situation. F1 to H1 (which is what I’m on now, for a little over 6 months now) and will be switching back to F1 this Fall to go to school for a year. With the applications hitting the cap so quickly this year, it’ll be great to know if I can apply for a cap-exempt H1 with a new employer next year.

Thanks in advance for your help guys, I appreciate it!

Once you have an approved petition, you become cap-exempt for next 6 years. It doesn’t matter if you move to another visa status in b/w, or if employer withdraws the petition or if you leave US - you will still be considered as cap-exempt. However, if USCIS revokes the petition (for e.g. if they determine fraud at a later stage), then you can no longer use that petition for cap-exempt purpose.

Always keep a copy of the approved petition w/ yourself for the cap-exempt purpose.