An F-1 visa allows foreigners to pursue education (academic studies and/or language training programs) in the United States; students must maintain a full course of study. F-1 visas are only issued in U.S. embassies and consulates outside the United States.
Prospective students must first apply to desired schools and, once accepted, obtain from them an I-20 form in order to apply for an F-1 visa. F-1 students must show that they are able to support themselves during their stay in the U.S., as their opportunities for legal employment are quite limited.
F-2 visas are given to dependents of an F-1 student. F-2 visa-holders are prohibited from any form of compensated employment. However, minor children may attend public schools.