What is YES Program?

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program was established in October 2002. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, along with the U.S. exchange community, recognized the importance of youth exchange as a key component to building bridges between citizens of the United States and countries around the world, particularly those with significant Muslim populations.

The program officially launched in the Philippines in 2004 in hopes to expand communication between the people of the United States and the Philippines in order to promote mutual understanding and respect. Since then over 558 Filipino students have completed the YES program and now participate as alumni.

YES Program supports students with disabilities and encourages their participation. The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) works with a separate organization to provide students with disabilities with leadership-building workshops and appropriate information and support as needed to enhance their experience in the United States.

Name of Program: Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program
Country: United States of America (USA)
Program Type: Government Fully-Funded Scholarship
Program Duration: 10 months
Program Start Date: August 2023
Program End Date: June 2024
Placement: American High School and Host Family
Deadline of Application: Friday, October 7, 2022

Memorandum of Agreement of AFS Philippines & The U.S. Embassy in Manila


1. Duly Accomplished YES Pre-Application Form for 2023-2024

2. Recent 2×2 ID-sized photo with white background attached to the application form.

3. Signed Certification and Consent Form by a parent or legal guardian.

4. Photocopy of Authenticated PSA Birth Certificate.

5. Photocopy of most recent Form 137 or transcript of records from your Philippine high school.

6. Photocopy of valid or government ID (School ID or Passport)

Note: Pre-Application form with incomplete information and requirements will not be accepted.

Click here to download Pre-Application Form

More Information

In keeping with the U.S. Government-sponsored initiatives, dedicated to democratic reform, the competition for the Youth Exchange and Study scholarship is merit-based and open at no cost to all applicants who meet the following requirements:

  1. Be between the ages of 15-18 by the start of program;
  2. Be enrolled in 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade at the time of application;
  3. Be among the top 25% of academic performance in grade level;
  4. Have the equivalent of a B average or better without failing grades;
  5. Meet the U.S. J-1 visa eligibility requirements (for instance, U.S. citizens are not eligible for J-1 visa);
  6. Be a citizen of the Philippines residing in the Philippines, at the time of application, selection, and preparation for travel. Preference will be given to participants who have spent more than 50% of the last 5 years in the Philippines and have current family plans of returning to the Philippines after the program; 
  7. Not have spent a total of more than 90 days in the U.S. in the last five (5) years.
  8. Applicants must have a valid Philippine passport, PSA authenticated birth certificate and DSWD independent travel clearance (for minors) (Note: DSWD Travel Clearance may be submitted after being selected as finalist);

Important Note: All immediate family members of AFS Philippines-administered sponsored programs scholars & alumni (ASEAN, ACCU-UNESCO, Akiko’s Wish, Egypt educator, JENESYS, Kizuna, AFS INT Diversity, YES, PYLP, AAI Journalism Grant, Kamenori, NEXT 50, Hiroshima, corporate scholarships, etc.) up to the first degree (by birth or by marriage), as well as AFS Philippines staff and board members up to the third degree (by birth or by marriage), are regretfully automatically disqualified from any of the full scholarship exchange programs.

Additional Note: Priority will be given to the students of families with low income (ITR of parents must be included in the pre-application form)