Foreign national students who want to study in the U.S. usually apply for the F-1 visa. Vocational students most often apply for M-1 status. This would include colleges, universities and language institutes.
F-2 status is for dependent and allows your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to join you in the U.S. while you study. Note that you should bring them with you when you visit the consulate to apply for your F-1 visa. If your spouse and/or dependent children are joining you later, they will need to submit a copy of your USCIS Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status – for Academic and Language Students) and documents proving their relationship to you to the U.S. embassy staff. The F-2 status of spouse and children is dependent upon your F-1 status. As soon as you are no longer an F-1 student, your family will lose their F-2 status.
The M-1 visa is offered to students who wish to pursue full-time study at an USCIS-approved vocational or non-academic school in the U.S. For example, flight schools would issue M-1 visas.
You must apply to and be accepted by a USCIS-approved school before applying for this visa. You will also need to be able to prove to the U.S. consulate that you have the money to afford to both go to school and take care of your expenses while in the U.S.
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may join you in the U.S. if they have nonimmigrant M-2 status. Although M-1 and M-2 visa holders are not allowed to work, M-1 holders may apply for an extension of up to six months for practical training. If you lose your status, your spouse and children will also lose their status.