U.S. remains the top choice for students to study abroad

“International student mobility is as important today as ever, and we believe the United States is the best destination for students to study and earn their degrees. Education is a pathway to a greater future and international educational exchange has the power to transform students’ trajectories.” — Assistant Secretary of State Marie Royce

The United States is the Number 1 destination in the world for international students to study, thanks to its diverse education sector.

For the fifth year in a row, the United States hosted over 1 million international students during the 2019–2020 academic year, says the latest Open Doors report produced by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Open Doors report kicks off the 21st annual International Education Week (IEW), a joint initiative of the U.S. departments of State and Education to highlight the mutual benefits of international education and exchange among countries around the world.

“We are encouraged to see a fifth year of more than 1 million international students in the United States before the pandemic,” said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

During the 2019–2020 academic year, the most international students came to the United States from China, India and South Korea. Students from Bangladesh increased by 7% from the previous year.

The most popular study destinations for international students were California and New York, according to the report. Texas and Massachusetts were the third and fourth top choices for international students because of the number of top universities in those states.

More than half of international students majored in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field, with business and management and social sciences the next leading fields of study.

The United States isn’t only a destination for students to study STEM, though. This year also saw a 2.2% increase in international students studying fine and applied arts.

Meanwhile, students from the United States continue to pursue undergraduate study abroad programs at high rates. Over 347,000 American students studied abroad during the 2018–2019 academic year, a 1.6% increase from the year before.

Here are top 5 reasons why studying in the US could be the best decision of your life:

1. Academic excellence

The US boasts of some of the finest universities, a lot of which consistently rank in the world university rankings. American institutions are also known to have high academic standards, follow rigorous practices to maintain quality and are well-supported to be able to offer excellent education to its students. As per the QS World Ranking 2019. 33 of the top 100 universities are from the US. Similarly, Times Higher Education Ranking has also ranked seven of the American universities in its top 10 list of universities.

2. Flexible education system

American universities and colleges offer a myriad of courses and programs to choose from. You have the freedom to not only select the course content, but also the structure. At the undergraduate level, you have the liberty to pursue different courses before they you declare your major at the end of the second year. This helps to explore your subject interest and then decide without much hurry. Similarly, for your graduate studies, you can choose your preference and when you progress for your dissertation, you can focus on the ideas you want to emphasise upon.

3. Excellent support system for international students

American universities understand the struggles of international students and therefore conduct regular orientation programs, workshops and trainings to offer assistance. In fact, the international student office helps students like you to get accustomed to a new kind of lifestyle – whether it is an academic query, cultural or social, the staff will be there to assist you round the clock.

4. Cultural diversity

The US is a melting pot of different cultures, races and ethnicities. Its diverse environment ensures that there is acceptance among all communities and there is no room for any sort of discrimination. You’ll be learning with students from different regions of the world thereby making it a rich and stimulating education experience. Growing in the midst of diversity will provide you with strong personality traits and skills that will be valuable in the international market. These days employers prefer students with a multi-cultural background, which you would get a great taste of in the US. A one of a kind international exposure, the US will help you explore variety of cuisines, customs, festivals and art too.

5. Lively and vibrant campus life

It’s a known fact that campus life of the US is matchless. Irrespective of the university you study in, you will find yourself in the midst of new cultural experiences and the American way of life. Embrace it and open yourself up to new ideas and new people.

US universities and colleges offer three intakes. Intakes may also be referred to as term in some institutions. The three intakes available in the US are:

  • Fall: Starts in August/September
  • Spring: Starts in January; it’s best for you if you miss the September/Fall intake
  • Summer: Available for limited programs and colleges, the Summer intake usually starts around May

Applying for a US student visa? Here’s help

The US Government provides an opportunity to all Bangladeshi students to study in the country but as a prerequisite, you’ll have to obtain a student visa first. The visa you need will depend on your age and the type of study you wish to pursue in the US. Here’s an overview of the types of study visas and their application requirements:

The US Government offers three different student visa types:


Types of student visa



F-1 Student Visa

to study at an accredited US college or university or to study English at an English language institute


J Exchange Visa (J-1)

for participation in an exchange program, including high school and university study


M Student Visa (M1)

for non-academic or vocational study or training in the US

*For detailed information, please visit the US Government’s Department of State website

As a primary step, you must first apply and be accepted by a US school or university that is certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Once accepted, you will receive a Form I-20 from the institution’s international student office, which is a paper record of your information in the database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

For an exchange visitor visa, you’ll have to file your application under J-1 visa, and as a pre-requisite, you have to submit DS-2019 form that will be given by your sponsoring US institution.

Documents required for a US student visa

When applying for your student visa for the US, you will generally need:

  • A valid passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the US (unless exempt by country-specific agreements)
  • Acceptance at a SEVP approved school and your Form I-20
  • Application fee payment for the SEVIS
  • Non-immigrant visa application and the Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Your photograph in the requested format, and number
  • If you are opting for Optional Practical Training (OPT), then in addition to the Form I-20, you must apply to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Some additional documents that might be required include:

  • Academic preparation documents such as transcripts, diplomas, degrees or certificates
  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds to maintain your living expenses throughout the period of your stay in the US. This may include:
    • Bank statements
    • Financial undertaking by a sponsor to cover your accommodation and living costs
    • A scholarship program
  • Evidence that you will leave the US once you have completed your course of study. This can be in the form of an air ticket out of the US to your home country

You may also have to appear for a personal interview at the US embassy or consulate. 

*Please note that these are the basic requirements, speak with your GRC counsellor for a detailed list of documents required for visa processing

F-1 Student visa

Most students who wish to pursue their studies overseas opt for the F-1 Student Visa. There are three major steps to its procedure, being:

Step 1

SEVIS fee and I-20 form collection

Once you pay the SEVIS fee, you are given an I-20 form from your new school or college. Duly fill the form and bring along for your F-1 interview.

Step 2

VISA fee and form collection

Pay your visa fee at the designated bank and collect the visa form. Duly fill the form and bring along for your interview.

Step 3

VISA interview

Schedule a visa interview with the US embassy in your country. The waiting time may vary depending on the visa type. Once you complete the interview successfully, you’ll receive your visa 120 days in advance.

P.S: You can move to the US only 30 days before the start date of your program.

Applying for your visa online

You’ll have to apply for your student visa application online using the US Embassy Bangladesh website. Remember, your application date is the date when your application fee is paid.

How can GRC help with your visa application?

If you’re an GRC student with an offer letter from any of our partner institutions in the US, we can advise you on how to go about the entire process. We’ll make sure you are fully informed on the latest visa requirements and conditions; also help you prepare the right documents for your submission.
Our team of experts will direct you to the official websites and to authorised immigration representatives to ensure you have the latest applications forms and guidance. To reduce the hassle, we can also help to certify, translate and courier your documents.

Visa fee

As an applicant from outside the US, you will have to pay US$160 as an application visa fee (do check the latest fee when applying here.)

There is now a US$350 SEVIS fee on F and M visa applications and US$220 on most of the J Visa applications, this includes the cost of the computer system which is used to record your stay in the United States (SEVIS).

English language requirements

To gain your US student visa, you’ll have to provide evidence of proficiency in the English language. This usually means passing a secure English language test to be able to prove your communication and correspondence skills.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is the world’s most popular high-stakes English language proficiency test for study, work and migration, with more than three million tests taken in the past year. The IELTS results are recognised by more than 10,000 organisations, including educational institutions, employers, professional associations and governments, in 140 countries around the world.

US educational institutions require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 bands.

(Know more about IELTS)

When you first arrive in the US, you must:

  • Contact your designated school official on a priority basis
  • Contact your designated school official again, no later than the program start date listed on your Form I-20

Making sure your visa remains valid

Once you get your visa, there are several things you need to do to ensure it remains valid, including:

  • Fulfilling the purpose for why the Department of State issued the visa
  • Following the regulations associated with that purpose

While studying in the US, you will need to observe the following rules:

  • You must attend and pass all of your classes. If you are finding your studies too difficult, you should speak with your designated school official (DSO) immediately
  • If you think you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your Form I-20, you must talk to your DSO about requesting a possible program extension
  • You must take a full course of study each term. If you cannot study full-time, contact your DSO immediately
  • You cannot drop below a full course of study without consulting with your DSO

You can always contact us for a free counselling session and we can guide you on how to go about the entire visa application process.

Step 1

  1. Get free counselling with GRC expert to get a proper planning and tips to choose suitable University
  2. Submit all required documents
  • Photocopies of all academic certificates/transcripts
  • Copies of Passport
  • 2 copies of photograph
  • File opening charge of BDT 5,000 (Non-refundabe)

Step 2

  1.  Get all the academic documents attested/notarized by the Institution/Educational Board/Foreign Ministry/ (depending on the particular University requirement)
  2. Post graduate student needs CV, two Letter of Reference (LOR) and Work Experience as per University requirement.
  3. Bank solvency certificate as per the institutional requirement.
  4. Pay University application fee (Non-refundable) and courier fee BDT 2,000 per University (if needed)

Step 3

  1. The prospective institution may take 3 to 6 weeks to confirm the admission
  2. I-20 will be received
  3. Pay tuition fees according to University’s requirement.
  4. Service charge BDT 5,000 (Non-refundable)

Step 4

  1. Student needs to submit their sponsor’s paper. Anyone can be the sponsored (First blood sponsor is preferred)
  2. Minimum 1 year equivalent tuition fees and living cost has to be shown in sponsor’s bank account for at least 3-4 months.
  3. Sponsor amount may vary depending on sponsor’s relation and number of dependents.
  4. Basic papers needed from the sponsor, example: Bank certificate; TIN certificate; Salary certificate; Job certificate; Trade license; Property valuation information and affidavit if financial support etc. (GRC will guide the student regarding this part as it depends on sponsor’s profile)


Step 5

  1. Student will submit visa application, once all the above mentioned preparations are done.
  2. Visa application fees USD 160 and SEVIS fee USD 350 (Non-refundable)
  3. Visa interview date will be in next approx. 15 days (depends on the rush)
  4. GRC will guide for travel plan.

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