How long can I stay in the United States?
You are allowed to stay in the United States for as long as you are enrolled as a full-time student in an educational program and making normal progress toward completing your course of study. If approved, you also will be allowed to stay in the country up to twelve additional months beyond the completion of your studies to pursue practical training. At the end of your studies or practical training, you will be given sixty days to prepare to leave the country. See 8 CFR Section 214.2: (Special requirements for admission, extension, and maintenance of status.) for more complete time limits.
How can I extend my stay as a student in the United States?
You do not need to apply to extend your stay in the United States as long as you are maintaining your student status and making normal progress toward completing your academic course of study. The designated school official (DSO) from your school will write down a completion date on your INS Form I-20 A-B (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status for Academic Students). Under normal circumstances, you should be able to complete your studies by this date. If you need to extend your stay for compelling academic or medical reasons, then you and the designated school official (DSO) should fill out INS Form I-538 (Certification By Designated School Official) and send it to the INS student data center at least 30 days before the completion date listed on INS Form I-20 A-B.
Will I get a work permit?
You may be allowed to work on-campus or off-campus (after the completion of your first year of study) under limited circumstances. See the rules on student employment at 8 CFR 214.2 (f). This document specifically deals with the issue pertaining to "Students in colleges, universities, seminaries, conservatories, academic high schools, elementary schools, other academic institutions, and in language training programs."
You may also wish to discuss employment with the designated school official (DSO) at your school. Your accompanying spouse and child may not accept employment.