How to Apply
The 2021 - 2022 program is no longer accepting new applicants. To register to be notified when the 2022 - 2023 application becomes available, register here.
Basic Eligibility Requirements
The below eligibility details are for the 2021 - 2022 program. This page will be updated with the 2022 - 2023 eligibility information once it becomes available in the fall of 2021.
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- You must be 15-18.5 years of age at start of program
- You must be enrolled in high school (which includes home school) at the time of application.
- The YES Abroad program seeks applicants of all racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds; sexual orientations; and welcomes applicants with disabilities.
- Applicants of all grade-point averages and academic performance are encouraged to apply.
For additional eligibility information, please see "Additional Eligibility Information" below.
Additional Eligibility Information
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) offers many opportunities for American youth to participate in international exchanges. ECA seeks to represent the diversity of America in these youth exchange programs and to make sure the selection process is fair and transparent. Strong selection preference is given to those who have not previously participated in one of the exchange programs listed below or lived abroad for six months or more during the past five years. This eligibility policy applies to the following programs, which take place outside the United States:
- Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES Abroad)
- National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)
- Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX)
- Youth Leadership Program (participants who traveled overseas only)
- Youth Ambassadors Program
Current or Previous Participant in ECA Exchanges
U.S. citizens who are current or past participants in any of the above mentioned programs are not eligible to participate if:
- The two programs take place in the same calendar year.
- The individual is currently participating, or has already participated, in an academic year program. Current or past participants in a short-duration program of eight (8) weeks or less are not eligible for another short-duration program but are eligible for an academic year program. The restrictions above apply only to in-person programs taking place outside the United States.
- Participation in a virtual program does not make the applicant ineligible for programs of any length. An individual may not participate in more than two of the above-listed programs, unless one of the programs was completely virtual.
Family Members of Department Employees
For a period ending one year following the termination of such employment, association, or service:
- Employees of the U.S. Department of State/U.S. Agency for International Development are ineligible. This provision includes all employees, paid or unpaid (including part-time or temporary employees, consultants, externs, interns, fellows and personal services contractors).
- Immediate family members (e.g., dependent children) of employees of the U.S. Department of State/U.S. Agency for International Development are ineligible. This provision includes all employees, paid or unpaid (including part-time or temporary employees, consultants, externs, interns, fellows and personal services contractors). Self-supporting children who live apart from their parents are qualified to participate.
- Employees (and their immediate family members) of private and public agencies under contract or grant with the U.S. Department of State who perform services on behalf of U.S. Department of State exchange programs are ineligible.
Would you like to nominate another student to apply for YES Abroad? If so, please visit the nomination form here.