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YTILI Fellows should be passionate about his or her business or social ventures and driving innovative and positive change in their home communities. We encourage you to apply if you would like to gain professional experience, develop transatlantic relationships, and scale your business or social venture at home.

The YTILI Fellowship Program application is now closed.


Competition for the YTILI Fellowship Program is merit-based and open to young entrepreneurs and leaders in their home communities who meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants between the ages of 25 and 35 at the time of application.

  • Applicants who are citizens of the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

  • Applicants must be living and working in their country of citizenship.

  • Have at least two (2) years of experience at their current social or business venture.

  • Able to begin the YTILI entrepreneurship curriculum in November 2021 and their U.S. based experience in March – April 2022.

  • Are eligible and able to receive a U.S. J-1 Visa.

  • Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English at the time of application.

  • Are committed to returning to his or her home country after completion of the program.

  • Are not a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident of the United States or have applied for U.S. permanent residency in the past three years.

  • Are not a U.S. government employee.

  • Have not participated in an exchange visitor program sponsored or funded by the U.S. Department of State in the past five years.

  • Are not residing or working outside of Europe at the time of application.

Please note:

YTILI Fellows are not allowed to bring dependents (including spouses and children) during the U.S. Fellowship, U.S. Conferences, and the Innovation Summit.

The U.S. Department of State and WorldChicago reserve the right to verify the information included in the application. If there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible. If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, please visit for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State strives to ensure that its efforts reflect the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad. The Bureau seeks and encourages the involvement of people from traditionally underrepresented audiences in all its grants, programs and other activities and in its workforce and workplace. Opportunities are open to people regardless of their race, color, sex, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Bureau is committed to fairness, equity and inclusion.

Application Instructions

The purpose of the application is to better understand applicants' qualifications for the YTILI Fellowship Program. The application has four main sections outlined below. More detailed application instructions can be found on the application during the open application period.

  • 1

    General Information

    The purpose of this section is to collect general information to confirm certain eligibility criteria.

  • 2

    Short Answer Questions

    The purpose of this section is to highlight the applicant's experience and leadership potential for the YTILI Fellowship Program.

  • 3

    Statement of Purpose

    The purpose of this section is to evaluate the applicant's personal and professional goals and the potential impact to their home communities and the YTILI network.

  • 4

    CV Attachment & Reference Letter

    The purpose of this section is to emphasize the applicant's qualifications and experience.

Selection Process

Throughout the process, applicants will be evaluated based on their leadership abilities, community impact and engagement qualities, clarity of program goals and objectives, program and cultural preparedness, innovative mindset, entrepreneurial background, and potential for community impact after the program. There are four stages of the YTILI Fellowship Program selection process. The stages are as follows:

  • 1

    Technical Eligibility

    All applicants will be initially reviewed based on technical eligibility.

  • 2

    Application Review

    If ruled technically eligible, applicants will then move onto the Application Review stage. The U.S. Department of State, WorldChicago, and a panel of experts will evaluate the completed applications.

  • 3

    Asynchronous Interview

    Following the Application Review stage, semi-finalists will be asked to submit a pre-recorded, asynchronous interview. This asynchronous interview will be evaluated by U.S. embassies, the U.S. Department of State and WorldChicago.

  • 4


    The U.S. Department of State and WorldChicago will then select approximately 60 participants and a list of alternates. Finalists and alternates will be notified.

Selection Process and Activity Timeline



YTILI application release

January 4, 2021

YTILI application deadline

March 1, 2021 by 11:59 pm EST

Semi-finalists are selected and all applicants are notified

May 17, 2021

Semi-finalists' asynchronous interviews are due

May 31, 2021

Finalists and alternates are selected and all semi-finalists are notified

August 2021

YTILI Fellows announced

Mid-September 2021

Virtual entrepreneurship curriculum, led by DePaul University in Chicago, IL begins

November 2021

YTILI Opening Conference in Chicago, IL

March 23 – 25, 2022

U.S. Fellowship and entrepreneurship training

March 28 – April 22, 2022

YTILI Closing Conference in Washington, D.C.

April 25 – 26, 2022

Virtual entrepreneurship curriculum, led by GEA College in Slovenia, begins

June 2022

Innovation Summit in Ljubljana, Slovenia

September 12 – 14, 2022

Reciprocal Exchanges in various European countries

September 14 – 22, 2022

YTILI Application and Selection Frequently Asked Questions

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