On an F-1 visa, you must enroll full-time in an academic or language program and continue taking classes for the entire duration of your visa stay. There are no specific time limits for this type of visa, as long as you maintain your status as a full-time student in good academic standing. An F-1 visa holder may not take up paid employment.
F-2 visas, on the other hand, are given to the spouse and/or dependents (unmarried and under the age of 21) of the primary F-1 holder. Someone with an F-2 visa may stay in the U.S. for as long as the primary F-1 visa holder maintains valid F-1 status. There are some special benefits for F-2 visa holders. Dependent children in grades K-12 are able to attend public or private school. Spouses may not work and may not study full-time. They can, however, study part-time for any subject they’d like, including avocational or recreational study.
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