How to Apply

The 2020 - 2021 program is no longer accepting new applicants. To register to be notified when the 2021 - 2022 application becomes available, register here

View last year's application here.

Watch the video below to learn more about the YES Abroad application process. 

Basic Eligibility Information

The below eligibility details are for the 2020 - 2021 program. This page will be updated with the 2021 - 2022 eligibility information once it becomes available in the fall of 2020.

  • U.S. citizen
  • 15-18.5 years of age at start of program 
  • Enrolled in high school (including home school) at the time of application
  • For the following countries, prior French skills are required: Morocco, Senegal
  • The YES Abroad program seeks applicants of all racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and welcomes students with disabilities. 

For complete eligibility information, please see "Additional Eligibility Requirements" listed below.

Additional Eligibility Information

The Youth Programs Division of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) seeks to make youth exchange programs funded by ECA available to a wide and diverse American audience. ECA also seeks to prevent conflict of interest issues from arising with regard to Department employees and federal award recipients who are involved in particular scholarships and exchange programs.

This eligibility policy is in addition to any program specific requirements and applies only to U.S. participants in the following programs sponsored (funded) by the Youth Programs Division, and only for programs that include travel outside of the United States:

  • Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES Abroad)
  • National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)
  • Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX)
  • American Youth Leadership Program (AYLP)
  • Youth Leadership Program (participants who traveled overseas only)
  • Youth Ambassadors Program

Participation in Multiple Programs

Participation in more than one of the above-listed Youth Programs Division-sponsored exchange programs is permitted only in the following circumstances:

  • The programs do not take place in the same calendar year.
  • The first program in which the individual participated was a short-duration program of eight (8) weeks or less AND the second program is a semester or academic year program.

Alumni of the semester and academic year programs are NOT eligible to apply for any of the programs listed above. Under no circumstances may an individual participate in more than two of the above-listed programs.

Family Members of Department Employees

Family members of employees of the Department whose official duties involve an ECA Youth Programs Division exchange program would be precluded from applying for that program. This is because there would be a conflict of interest or the appearance thereof if employees engage in official matters that affect the interests of their family members. In circumstances where a family member other than a spouse or dependent child wants to participate in a program in which the employee has official duties, the appropriateness of the employee engaging in such matters should be discussed with a Department Ethics attorney.

Family Members of Affiliated Private Sector Employees

Family members of employees of ECA-funded implementers of grant programs and Department contractors whose official duties involve a particular ECA-funded youth exchange program are technically ineligible for that program. Family members include spouse and dependent children.

Would you like to nominate another student to apply for YES Abroad? If so, please visit the nomination form here.