Foreign nationals in F-1 status with Optional Practical Training (OPT) that expires between now and October 1, 2017 are able to get their OPT extended through September 30, 2017. To do so, they must take the H-1B I-797 receipt notice, demonstrating that the case filed on their behalf has been selected in the H-1B lottery, to their university’s Designated Student Officer (DSO) in order for the school to issue a new Form I-20 with an annotation that the OPT has been extended through September 30, 2017. This new I-20 with extended OPT will extend their employment authorization until September 30, 2017. Please note, however, if the H-1B is not adjudicated until after October 1st, the work authorization will not extend past September 30th. In that case, those foreign nationals will have to stop working until the H-1B is approved.
Those in the US in any other visa status must continue to maintain their current status until their H-1B petition is approved. If approved before October 1, 2017, they must continue to maintain status until their H-1B is effective on October 1, 2017. If approved after October 1st, the foreign national must maintain a valid status through the date of approval. If the petition was filed as a change-of-status request, traveling internationally while the petition is pending will cause that change-of-status request to be denied. The H-1B petition can still be adjudicated, but beneficiaries will have to leave the US to obtain a visa abroad and return to the US in order to obtain H-1B status on or after October 1st.
Everyone selected in the H-1B lottery must also keep in mind that just being picked in the lottery does not mean that the petition was approved—only that the case will have the opportunity to be adjudicated. Over the next few months, USCIS will be working through all the H-1B petitions selected so everyone will hear back from them once their case has been decided. Good luck!