UPSC: Civil Services Exam Eligibility Criteria



The eligibility criteria for the UPSC Civil Services Examination is explained below.


Only Indian nationals are eligible for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS). For other services a candidate can be either of the following:

a. a citizen of India, or
b. a subject of Nepal, or
c. a subject of Bhutan, or
d. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India.
e. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Burma, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vietnam, Zaire or Zambia with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Candidates belonging to either categories of b., c., d. or e. must produce an eligibility certificate issued by the Government of India. Those who belong to either of b., c. or d. categories are not eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

Age Limits:

A candidate must have reached the age of 21 and must not be 32 years on 1 August of the year of taking the examination.

The upper age limit may be relaxed in the following cases:

  1. Up to five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.
  2. Up to three years if a candidate belongs to Other Backward Classes who are eligible for reservation.
  3. Up to five years if a candidate was living in the State of Jammu & Kashmir between 1 January, 1980 to the 31 day of December, 1989.
  4. Up to three years for Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with a foreign country (or in a disturbed area) and released as a result.
  5. Up to five years for ex-servicemen, including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years of military service as of 1 August, 2013, and have been released (1) on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment will be completed within one year from 1 August, 2013) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or (2) on account of physical disability from military service, or (3) on impalement.
  6. Up to five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years military service as of 1 August, 2013, whose assignment has been extended beyond five years, and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three month’s notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.
  7. Up to 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopaedically handicapped persons.

Minimum educational qualifications

  • Candidates should have a degree from any of the universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or have an equivalent qualification.

    A candidate who is in the final year of  his/her degree course can apply for and appear in the Prelim Test. However, he/she should submit proof  of  the qualification while applying in October/ November 2015 for the Main Examination, if  selected.

  • In exceptional cases, the Union Public Service Commission may treat a candidate who has not any of the foregoing qualifications as a qualified candidate provided that he/she has passed the examination conducted by the other Institutions, the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission justifies his/her admission to the examination.

  • Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications which are recognised by the Government as the equivalent to a professional and technical degree are also  eligible for admission to the examination.

  • Candidates who have passed the final professional MBBS or any other medical examination, but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the examination (provided they submit along with the application a copy of the certificate from the concerned authority that they had passed the requisite final professional medical examination). In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview the original degree or certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the degree.

Number of attempts:

Every candidate appearing for the Civil Services Examination, who is otherwise eligible, will be permitted six (6) attempts at the examination.

There is no such restriction on the number of attempts for eligible Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates.

The number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC), who are otherwise eligible, shall be nine(9). This relaxation will be available to the candidates who are eligible for the applicable reservation.

An attempt at a Preliminary Examination shall be considered to be an attempt at the examination. If a candidate actually appears for any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, this will be considered the equivalent to having made an attempt at the examination. Notwithstanding the disqualification/cancellation of candidature, the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.

Restrictions on applying for the examination:

A candidate who has already been appointed to the IAS or IFS on the basis of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service is not eligible to compete in the current examination.

In case such a candidate is appointed to the IAS/IFS after the Preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination, 2022 is over and he continues to be a member of that service, he shall not be eligible to appear in the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2023 despite his/her having qualified in the Preliminary Examination, 2022.

Also, if such a candidate is appointed to IAS/IFS after the commencement of the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2022 but before the result there of and continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be considered for appointment to any service/post on the basis of the result of this examination.

Physical standards:

Please refer to the Gazette of India Extraordinary dated 23 May, 2022 for guidelines on physical standards and physical fitness for admission to the exam.

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