IAS Exam Eligibility, Age Limit, Attempts, Qualification

This article is your one-stop to know all the details about the eligibility for the IAS exam. The eligibility discussed here is according to the most recent notification released by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). Hopefully, this article will answer all the questions regarding the number of attempts allowed, age limits, educational qualification, vacancies and selection, list of services, nationality, etc., according to the specifications of UPSC for the UPSC CSE exam popularly known as the IAS Exam. 

ias eligibility

Nationality of the Candidate 

  • The candidate must be a citizen of India for the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and Indian Foreign Service. 
  • For other services, the candidates must belong to the following categories: 
  • A citizen of India 
  • A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan 
  • A Tibetan refugee who had permanently settled in India before 1 January 1962 
  • A person of Indian Origin but has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, or Vietnam intending to permanently settle in India. 

What are the Required Educational Qualifications to Appear for UPSC CSE/ IAS Exam? 

The candidate should have acquired a minimum of one of the following degrees (graduated): 

  • Any University incorporated by an act of the Central or State Legislature in India. 
  • Educational Institutions established by an act of Parliament. 
  • Declared as a deemed university under section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. 
  • A degree received via correspondence or distance education. 
  • A degree from an open university. 
  • Possess an equivalent qualification. 

Note: Students currently in the final year can also apply for the Exam, but they will need to submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority of their institute/university at the time of the Main Examination. Failing to do this, the candidates won’t be allowed to attend the Exam. 

What is the Minimum Age Required to Appear for UPSC CSE/ IAS Exam? 

To appear for the IAS Exam, the minimum age limit is 21 years. The candidate must have attained 21 years of age on 1 August of that particular year of Exam. If the candidate appears for 2020 prelims, they should have completed 21 years of age as of 1 August 2021. 

What is the Maximum Age Limit Allowed to Appear for UPSC CSE/ IAS Exam? 

Even the Upper age limit/ Maximum Age limit is calculated by 1 August. The upper age limit is different for different categories, which are as below: 

  • For General Category: 32 years. 
  • For OBC: 35 years. 
  • For SC/ST: 37 years. 
  • For Defense Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence: 40 years. 
  • For Ex-Servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service: 37 years. 
  • For ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service, the limit is 32 years. 
  • For PwD candidates, the limit is 37 years. 
  • For Domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1989, the limit is 32 years. 
  • For the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category, the standard age limits apply. 
  • For the blind, deaf-mute, and orthopedically handicapped persons (General Category): 42 years. 

Note: OBC/SC/ST candidates, apart from the mentioned limits, get the benefit of cumulative age relaxation. Cumulative age relaxation means in special cases, age relaxation gets added. For example, if the candidate is OBC and an Ex-serviceman, they will be granted an age relaxation of 3+5=8 years, making the upper age limit 40 years. 

How Many Attempts are Permitted for UPSC CSE/ IAS Exam? 

Now, the upper age limit doesn’t grant permission for any candidate to write the Exam how many times ever they want. There’s a limit on the number of attempts permitted for the Exam, and it’s different for different categories, just like the age limit. 

  • General Category: 6 attempts until the age of 32 years. 
  • OBC: 9 attempts until the age of 35 years. 
  • SC/ST: Unlimited attempts until the age of 37 years. 

Note: Physically Handicapped/ Disabled candidates who belong to General Category will get the benefit of 9 attempts till the age of 42 years as prescribed by the UPSC. 

Vacancies and Selection 

The number of vacancies varies every year. The number of candidates that clear the preliminary Exam is usually 11 to 12 times the number of vacancies. The number of candidates selected for the interview is twice the number of vacancies. Reservation for SC/ST/OBC is applied to each level of the selection process as per the existing policies. 

List of Services 

Following are the services which one gets on qualifying the Civil Service Examination. 

All India Services 

Central Services (Group A) 

Group B Services 

How are the Attempts for the UPSC CSE Exam Calculated? 

Your attempt will be counted if you appear for any one of the papers of the Civil Services Preliminary Exam. If you have submitted the application but did not appear for any of the papers of the Civil Services Preliminary Exam, your attempt will not be counted. 

The Notification 

 It is always suggested that the aspirants clear their queries related to the UPSC CSE/ IAS Exam from the official notification. It has all the details you are looking for regarding the UPSC CSE/ IAS Exam, including further details about age relaxations, medical requirements for various services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, etc., and the entire UPSC Syllabus is given in the notification as well. 

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