2021-22 Timeline


  • Discuss the program with your parent(s) or guardian(s). Review the application process together and ask them to complete the parent/legal guardian statement.
  • Start your NSLI-Y application.


  • Ask an adult (teacher, counselor, school administrator, organization counselor, coach, etc.) if he or she would be willing to complete a recommendation for you.
  • Follow NSLI-Y’s Facebook page and Twitter account for application tips and updates.
  • Participate in informational webinars about the NSLI-Y program and application. See the calendar on this page for schedule updates and registration information.
  • Request that your school send official transcripts to American Councils by upload to the application or snail mail post-marked by November 5, 2020.

October 20

  • If you believe you will be unable to complete the application online by the deadline and need to use a paper application instead, you must contact American Councils (nsliy@americancouncils.org) by October 20 to request alternative formats or accommodations.

Late October

  • Verify that your recommender knows the deadline for the recommendation is November 10 (five days after the application deadline) and is able to access the form. American Councils is unable to accept recommendations after this date. Recommenders must use the online NSLI-Y recommendation form. Mailed or faxed recommendations will NOT be accepted.
  • Review and complete your application. You are strongly encouraged to submit your application well before the deadline so that if you encounter any problems with submitting it, you will have time to contact American Councils for assistance.
  • If you have not already, ensure that your school sends official transcripts to American Councils.

November 5, 2020 (4:00 PM Eastern Time) Application is due

  • Late applications will not be accepted, including those delayed by technical problems. Do not wait until the last minute. 
  • Terms and Conditions should be signed and uploaded to the online application before submission.  If this is not possible, ensure that your Terms and Conditions signature page is postmarked by this date and mailed to:
         ATTN: NSLI-Y Processing (#1100-TC)
         American Councils for International Education
        1828 L ST NW STE 1200
         Washington, DC 20036-5136
  • Ensure that your official transcripts are uploaded to the application or postmarked by this date and mailed to:
         ATTN: NSLI-Y Processing (#1100-G)
         American Councils for International Education
        1828 L ST NW STE 1200
         Washington, DC 20036-5136
  • Applicants who experience difficulty obtaining official transcripts should contact nsliy@americancouncils.org

Note: Any technical problems with the application form should be reported to nsliy@americancouncils.org. NSLI-Y staff will assist with technical problems as much as possible. However, there is no guarantee that NSLI-Y staff can respond to inquiries received on November 5. NSLI-Y strongly encourages applicants to ask questions and submit applications well in advance of the application deadline.

  • Confirm that your parent/legal guardian and and recommender will complete their statement or recommendation by the November 10 deadline. Parents/legal guardians and recommenders must use the online NSLI-Y parent statement or recommendation form. Mailed, faxed, or emailed recommendations will NOT be accepted. You can monitor the status of your parent statement and teacher recommendation within the respective sections of your application. The status history box will display "submitted" once the recommendation or statement has been completed and received.

November 10 (4 PM Eastern Time) Parent/Legal Guardian Statements and Recommendations are due

  • Remember that both of these supplemental documents must be submitted online before November 10.
  • You can track the status of your parent/legal guardian statement and recommendation in the relevant sections of your application.


  • American Councils will notify you of your selection status. Notifications will be emailed to the primary email address provided in your application. Note that American Councils will not be able to discuss individual application determinations. 
  • Semi-finalists will receive the NSLI-Y Medical Evaluation Form when notified of their status in December. If you have been selected as a semi-finalist, schedule an appointment as soon as possible with your doctor for a physical exam. If you included an academic year preference in your application, schedule an appointment with your dentist, too. Make sure to bring your NSLI-Y Medical Evaluation Form for the doctor and dentist to complete with you. The deadline for the Medical Evaluation Form is February 18, 2021.
  • Any semi-finalist who does not have a passport, or whose passport does not have validity at least 6 months beyond the anticipated program end date should apply for a passport as soon as possible. It will be too late to wait until final notifications to apply for a passport.
    • The NSLI-Y Scholarship cannot cover the cost of obtaining a passport.
    • Semi-finalists applying for a Russian language program should apply for a new passport if their passport will not have at least 18 months validity AFTER their anticipated return to the United States.
    • Note that if you are selected for a program in China, India, or Russia, your legal guardian(s) may also be required to submit a valid passport or provide residency documentation for visa applications at the discretion of the host country/location; NSLI-Y cannot cover the cost of obtaining passports for parent(s)/legal guardian(s). Note that passport processing time is often lengthy.
    • Find information about applying for a passport here.


  • An AFS-USA coordinator will be in touch with all academic year semi-finalists to schedule their interviews. Academic year interviews will take place in December and January. Please be sure to reply and schedule your interview as soon as you are contacted. Interviews for the 2021-22 application cycle will be conducted by phone or videoconference.
  • Review the NSLI-Y Terms and Conditions again with your parent(s)/legal guardian(s). 
  • Be aware that exact program dates will not be available until finalist notifications are released. 

January – March

  • Semi-finalists for summer programs will be notified on a rolling basis if they have qualified for an interview. Only some, qualifying semi-finalists for summer programs will be interviewed. Please be sure to reply and schedule your interview as soon as you are contacted. Interviews for the 2021-22 application cycle will be conducted by phone or videoconference.

February 18 (4 PM Eastern Time) Medical Evaluation Forms are due for semi-finalists

  • Submit the completed form to American Councils by February 18, 2021 at 4 PM Eastern Time. Please note that only those applicants who have been notified of their semi-finalist status should submit this form. 
  • Semi-finalists with an Academic Year preference should submit a completed Medical Evaluation Form for Academic Year Programs.
  • The NSLI-Y Scholarship does not cover the costs associated with completing medical exams, the medical form, and the medical review.
  • Semi-finalists should be prepared to submit passport information in late February upon request.

March and April

  • Summer and academic year semi-finalists will be notified of their final status on a rolling basis by April 23, 2021. All finalists will receive information about their implementing organization and more detail about the location of their program with the scholarship offer notification. Summer program finalists will have 7 days to accept or decline the NSLI-Y scholarship. Academic year program finalists will have 14 days to accept or decline the scholarship. NSLI-Y finalists may not request a change to their assigned program location or program schedule.
American Councils and the U.S. Department of State will not discuss individual determinations about the application review.


  • All finalists’ and alternates’ medical evaluation forms are reviewed by independent medical professionals. This process is initiated only after an applicant is selected as a finalist or alternate. The medical review process may be take an extended period of time and finalists and alternates may be asked to provide additional information or clarification. NSLI-Y has a history of successfully supporting many students with unique health needs and disabilities; only in very rare cases do results of the medical review determine that a candidate does not meet medical requirements necessary for NSLI-Y program placement and participation. Timely and early communication on health needs and disability accommodations are critical. The results of the medical review will determine if a candidate meets necessary medical requirements. As described in the Terms and Conditions, withholding relevant health information or not responding to requests by provided deadlines during the review process may be cause for disqualification or termination of the scholarship.
  • Finalists will be required to participate in pre-program language preparation and language assessments and support a successful program experience. Finalists should expect to dedicate at least a couple of hours each week to these pre-program language requirements.  
  • Other preparatory activities for NSLI-Y summer programs begin in the spring; academic year students typically begin their preparation during the summer.
  • Finalists will be provided guidance to apply for a visa, if required for the host country/location. The finalist’s U.S. passport will be required for the visa application process and may not be available for international travel before program departure.  

Receive NSLI-Y Application Updates!


Questions? Need more info? Contact us at 866.790.2086 or nsliy@americancouncils.org

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