A student enrolled in a full course of study at a USCIS-designated academic institution can apply for F-1 visa status in the U.S. This does not include a public elementary school or publicly funded adult education program, or a public secondary school, unless the period of attendance is for less than 12 months and the system has been reimbursed for the full educational cost of the study.
Prospective students must be accepted by the institution and issued a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) Form I-20. Spouses and minor children may apply to accompany the F-1 visa holder as F-2 nonimmigrants, which will permit them to live and study part-time in the U.S. but not be employed. Other visas available for students and trainees are M Visas (Vocational Students) and J Visas for Exchange Visitors.
A list of USCIS designated schools may be found on the USCIS SEVIS website.