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Call for Applications: The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES)
October 3, 2023


The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program provides scholarships for high school students to study for one academic year in the United States. YES students live with a host family, attend an American high school, acquire leadership skills, and engage in activities to learn about U.S. society and values; they also help educate Americans about their home country and culture.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the YES program was established by the U.S. Congress in 2003 to improve understanding between countries with significant Muslim populations and the United States. YES students serve as “youth ambassadors” of their home country, forming a cultural bridge of understanding by forming lasting relationships with their host families and communities.

After their year in the United States, YES alumni can look forward to participating in the active Libyan YES alumni network.


  • Student must be a citizen of Libya; and a resident of Libya at the time of application;
  • Student needs to have been resident in Libya for at least the past three years;
  • Student must be enrolled in a secondary school at the time of application, in grades 10 or 11 (first or second year of secondary school) for the academic year 2023-2024;
  • Be between the ages of 15-17.5 by the start of program (August 15, 2024);
  • Have an average grade of at least B average or better for the past three academic years (without failing grades);
  • Demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English (B average in English for the past three academic years). Applicants must meet a minimum English proficiency requirement, which will be measured by a test;
  • Demonstrate maturity, good character, academic excellence, flexibility and commitment to promoting cross-cultural understanding;
  • Receive parental approval for travel and participation in the program.
  • Must not be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and not born in the United States; and,
  • Meet U.S. J-1 visa eligibility requirements (for instance, U.S. citizens are not eligible for J-1 visa).


To apply for the program, students must complete the online application available hereThe deadline is November 3, 2023.

Incomplete applications will NOT be considered.


The program can support students with disabilities and encourages their participation. The Department of State and the YES program work with Mobility International (MIUSA) to provide students with disabilities leadership-building workshops, appropriate information, and support as needed to enhance their year in the United States. Students with disabilities must also meet the above eligibility requirements.


There are multiple rounds to the YES application and selection process. All applicants are required to take an English proficiency exam, write a proctored essay, complete a YES program application, and participate in group and individual in-person interviews. All candidates are selected on the basis of merit.

Pre-Application: Eligible students interested in applying are asked to fill out the Kennedy-Lugar YES preliminary application form available online. A complete application must contain: Kennedy-Lugar YES preliminary application form; a copy of the student’s school transcripts (grades) for the last three years; a scanned passport or birth certificate, and a current photo. No translation of documents is necessary. Incomplete applications will NOT be considered.

English Language Proficiency Test and Essays: Pre-selected applicants will be invited to sit for an English Language Proficiency Test and write proctored essays;

Full Application: Selected applicants will be invited to complete the full YES application;

ELTiS, and Essays: Selected applicants will be invited to sit for English Language Test for International Students (ELTiS) online and write proctored essays.

Interviews: Candidates who pass the English language proficiency exams (oral test and ELTiS) and whose applications are accepted will be invited for group and individual interviews.

Each candidate’s application and supporting documents will be reviewed in Washington, DC before the status of finalist or alternate is confirmed.

Deadline for submitting the application is November 3, 2023. All eligible students from across Libya are encouraged to apply.

For more information about the Youth and Exchange Study Program, please go to: http://www.yesprograms.org/

For questions, and further information please contact Libya@AMIDEAST.org or LibyaUSAExchanges@state.gov.