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IAS, IPS Exam Eligibility | Eligibility criteria for UPSC Civil Services

UPSC Eligibility Criteria, IAS Eligibility Criteria

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Civil Services Examination (CSE): Am I eligible?

Every year approximately 10 lakh aspirants apply for the Civil service examination and nearly half of them appear in prelims to get into the prestigious civil services. It is a dream job for many. Being a civil servant offers something that many top corporate jobs, businesses, and even reputed government jobs can’t. It could be power, fame, prestige, self-actualization, perks, or an opportunity to serve the nation.

Many young aspirants start preparing for CSE just after completing their intermediate (12th standard) but it is very vital for a candidate, especially for a fresher to know the right time to prepare for the civil services exam. This is not as simple as it sounds. Many deserving candidates fall short of their attempts because they come to know about the existence of the Civil Services Examination (CSE) very late in their life when they are on the verge of completing the maximum age limit.

It takes time to understand the demand for this examination and everybody has his/her speed of assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Having no time or a lesser number of attempts due to age issues creates additional pressure on the candidate. The point is that it is crucial to know the various eligibility criteria to prepare in the best possible way and start at the right time in advance. Knowing all the UPSC eligibility criteria thoroughly, in fact, makes you smarter and gives you an edge over others who are unaware (believe it or not) because then you can plan your UPSC journey (the journey of a lifetime) in a manner best suitable for you.

In light of that, below are the various UPSC eligibility criteria you must know to give your best shot.



For Indian administrative service, Indian Foreign Service, & Indian Police Service

  • A candidate must be a citizen of India.

For other services

  • A candidate must be a citizen of India/ Nepal/Bhutan.
  • A Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January 1962 to permanently settle in India. or
  • If you are from Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, or other above-mentioned countries (having the intention of permanently settling in India), knowing only the fact that you are eligible for such coveted posts will boost your confidence, and surely, you would not want to miss this chance.

If you are from Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, or other above-mentioned countries (having the intention of permanently settling in India), knowing only the fact that you are eligible for such coveted posts will boost your confidence and surely, you would not want to miss this chance.

Many youngsters from such countries live in India yet are unaware of this golden opportunity in their way.

By studying the job profiles, you are eligible for, you can choose one dream job  that you’re passionate about and it will motivate you in your hard times throughout the UPSC journey.

A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.

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You should be at least 21 years of age to sit in the Civil Services Examination. Further, you can give your valid number of attempts until you attain 32 years. (Relaxations described below excluded)

SC/ST Five years
OBC Three years
Defence Services Personnel Three years
Ex-servicemen Five years
Number of papers Prelims: 2
Mains :9
Blindness and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, leprosy cured, dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy, autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability, mental illness, and multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness. Ten years
If you are domiciled in U.T of Jammu and Kashmir/ Ladakh Five years


The candidate must hold a degree, or possess an equivalent qualification to fulfill the eligibility criteria for IAS. Your degree should be recognised either by an act of parliament or state legislature or University Grants Commission. To bring socio-economic balance in our society, the government encourages women to apply for CSE in large numbers.

Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results are also eligible to appear for the Preliminary Examination.

Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination.

The UPSC may in exceptional cases treat a candidate without the foregoing requisite qualification as an eligible candidate if he/she has passed an examination conducted by other institutions, the standard of which justifies his / her admission in the opinion of the Commission.

Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognised by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees can also appear for Civil Services Examination.


Every candidate appearing at the examination, who is otherwise eligible shall be permitted six attempts at the examination.
Age Educational Qualification No. of Attempts
General 21-32 Years Graduate (any stream) Six
OBC 21-35 Years Graduate (any stream) Nine
SC/ST 21-37 Years Graduate (any stream) Any number of attempts till the age limit


General 21-42 years Nine
OBC 21-42 years Nine
SC/ST 21-47 years Any number of attempts till the age limit

What will count as an attempt at the Civil Services Examination?

An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be deemed to be an attempt at the Civil Services Examination If:

The appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.

If a candidate just applies for UPSC CSE but doesn't appear, that won't be counted as an attempt by UPSC.

If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he/she shall be deemed to have made an attempt at the Examination.


A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Service on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete at this examination. In case such a candidate is appointed to the IAS/IFS after the Preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination, is over and he/she continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be eligible to appear in the Civil Services (Main) Examination.


The UPSC prescribes some eligibility criteria for successful candidates to be appointed for service. There are some Physical standards for UPSC civil services, specifically for the technical services like the Indian Police Service (IPS), the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS), Delhi Andaman and Nicobar Police Service (DANIPS), Pondicherry Police Service (PONDIPS), and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) such as height, weight, chest, etc. But the other non-technical services don’t require them and only some basic demands of physical health are mandatory to be satisfied by the candidates.
According to the Rule, 21 at Civil Services Examination prescribed by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) states that, “An applicant must be in a good mental and bodily health and free from any physical flaw which is likely to interfere with the discharge of his duties and responsibilities as an officer of the service.”

Below you can find the physical eligibility criteria for the UPSC exam:

  • There is no height, weight, and chest girth minimum requirement as such for candidates for the IAS, unlike the technical services. However, if the candidates’ measurements are disproportionate as regarded by the medical board, the candidates can be hospitalized for investigation and a chest X-ray can be taken. Please note the technical services have certain minimum requirements.
  • Candidates should have a proper vision in the eyes. Corrections permitted are spectacles, CL, and refractive surgery like LASIK, ICL, IOL, etc. Those who have myopia with macular degenerative changes will be declared unfit for service in the IAS. People with a squint in the eyes are fit for service. Night blindness is also not a ground for candidates to be declared unfit.
  • Blood pressure over 140/90 should be subjected to further testing in the hospital to ascertain whether the abnormal BP is temporary due to excitement, etc., and not an indication of any disease. Only candidates free from any complication of hypertension will be declared fit for service.
  • Only candidates free from any complication of diabetes mellitus will be declared fit for service.
  • The hearing ability of the candidate should be ‘good’ in each ear and he/she should also be free from any disease of the ear. In case of a defect, the candidate should be subjected to further tests to see if the defect can be remedied by a hearing aid or an operation.
  • Pregnant female candidates will be fit except for those services that require physical training. In such cases, the candidates will be declared fit after confinement.
  • Candidates’ teeth should be in ‘good order’.
  • The heart and lungs of the candidate should be fine.
  • There should not be any abdominal disease.
  • The feet, hands, and limbs are well-formed and there should be no restriction on joint movements.
  • There should not be any congenital malformation or defect.
  • There should not be any sign of acute or chronic disease indicating an impaired constitution.
  • Candidates should bear marks of efficient vaccination.
  • The candidates should not have any communicable diseases.
  • Candidates with grade I hemorrhoids are declared fit.
  • Diseases like hernia, varicose veins, hydrocele, hemorrhoids, etc. are declared temporarily unfit and should be declared fit after successful surgery.
  • Candidates with malignancies at the time of entry to service are declared unfit.
  • Candidates with transplanted organs are declared unfit. An exception is made only for a corneal transplant.
  • These were some of the criteria which will surely guide you in your UPSC journey. Now it's time for you to start as wise people believe that the early you start, the early you get results.

These were some of the criteria which will surely guide you in your UPSC journey. Now it's time for you to start as wise people believe that the early you start, the early you get results.