Skip to main content

Apply to

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 2022 YTILI Fellowship Application is now closed.

Please note that if safe travel is not possible at the time of the YTILI Fellowship, this program will be conducted virtually.


Candidates will be considered without respect to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexuality, national origin, disability or any other protected characteristic as established by U.S. law. Applicants with disabilities are eligible and encouraged to apply for the YTILI Fellowship Program. The YTILI Fellowship Program is open to young entrepreneurs who meet the following criteria: 

  • Are between the ages of 25 and 35 by March 15, 2022 when the  application closes. 

  • Are a citizen and resident of one of the following countries: Albania, Andorra, 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, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom. 

  • Be a citizen and resident of the eligible country for which the applicant is applying (Note: Citizens of eligible countries residing in a different eligible country due to specific geo-political reasons may apply and will be considered by the Department of State on a case-by-case basis).

  • Business or social entrepreneur with a demonstrated track record of at least two years of experience successfully managing an entrepreneurial venture in their home countries.

  • Demonstrated commitment to develop, enhance, or lead an existing venture. During the application process, successful candidates must provide a well-articulated action plan they will work to refine and for which they will seek support during their fellowships.

  • Committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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

  • Demonstrated proficiency in both written and oral English.

  • 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. 

  • Preference will be given to candidates who have not previously participated in U.S. Government programs or spent significant amounts of time in the United States.

Please note:

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

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, we invite you to visit or your home country's U.S. Embassy website 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 on 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


    Semi-finalists will be invited to participate in a virtual interview with U.S. embassies representatives, 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 

February 1, 2022 

YTILI application deadline 

March 21, 2022, by 11:59 pm EST

(Extended deadline 3/21/2022) 

Semi-finalists are selected and interviews scheduled  

June - July 2022 

Finalists and alternates selected/announced

Summer 2022 

2022 YTILI Fellows announced

Fall 2022

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

Winter 2023

2022 YTILI Opening Conference in Chicago, IL 

Early Spring 2023

U.S. Fellowship experience 

Early Spring 2023 

YTILI Closing Conference in Washington, D.C. 

Spring 2023

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

Spring 2023

Reciprocal Exchanges in various European countries 

Summer 2023

YTILI Application and Selection Frequently Asked Questions

© 2023 WorldChicago, All rights reserved.