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

Civil Services Examination (CSE): Am I eligible?

  • Each year, about one million candidates apply for the Civil Service Examination (CSE), with almost half appearing for the prelims.
  • CSE is a highly desirable career path due to the power, fame, prestige, self-actualization, perks, and opportunities it offers.
  • Many aspirants begin preparing for CSE right after completing their intermediate education, but it is critical to start preparing at the right time.
  • Late awareness of CSE eligibility criteria can lead to a shortage of attempts or age-related pressure.
  • Knowing the eligibility criteria thoroughly can help candidates plan their journey in the best possible way and gain an edge over competitors who are unaware.
  • Below are the various UPSC eligibility criteria that candidates must be aware of before giving the exam.

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Nationality Eligibility for Different Services:

  • Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, and Indian Police Service:
  • The candidate must be a citizen of India.

Other Services:

  • The candidate must be a citizen of India, Nepal, or Bhutan.
  • Tibetan refugees who arrived in India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently settling in India are also eligible.
  • Candidates from Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, or other mentioned countries, with the intention of permanently settling in India, can also apply.

Eligibility Certificate:

  • If an eligibility certificate is necessary for a candidate, they can still apply for the exam.
  • However, the candidate will only be offered an appointment after obtaining the necessary eligibility certificate issued by the Government of India.

Choosing Your Dream Job:

  • By understanding the eligibility criteria for different services, candidates can choose their desired job profiles that they are passionate about.
  • Having a clear goal and motivation can help candidates throughout their UPSC journey.



  • To be eligible for IAS, candidates must have a degree or an equivalent qualification recognized by the University Grants Commission, or an act of parliament or state legislature.
  • The government encourages women to apply for CSE to bring socio-economic balance in society.
  • Candidates awaiting their qualifying exam results can appear for the Preliminary Examination.
  • Candidates who have completed their final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but have not yet completed the internship can appear for the Main Examination.
  • In exceptional cases, the UPSC may treat a candidate without the necessary qualifications as eligible if they have passed an exam from other recognized institutions.
  • Candidates with professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees can also appear for CSE.
  • The Commission may set age limits and number of attempts for different categories of candidates.


Every candidate appearing at the examination, who is otherwise eligible shall be permitted six attempts at the examination.


What counts as an attempt in the Civil Services Examination?

  • An attempt at the Civil Services Examination (CSE) will be counted if a candidate appears for any of the papers in the Preliminary Examination.
  • If a candidate fills out their details on the answer sheet of the Preliminary Examination, it will be counted as an attempt, even if they did not appear for any of the papers.
  • If a candidate appears for any of the papers in the Main Examination, it will be counted as an attempt.
  • If a candidate’s application is rejected by the Commission or their candidature is cancelled by the Commission at any stage, it will be counted as an attempt.
  • If a candidate is unable to appear for any of the papers in the Preliminary Examination or the Main Examination, it will not be counted as an attempt.


If you’re already appointed to IAS/IFS:

  • You can’t compete in the Civil Services Examination again.
  • If you’re appointed to IAS/IFS after the Preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination is over and you continue to be a member of that service, you can’t appear for 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. 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:

  • No height, weight, or chest girth minimum requirement
  • Proper vision with correction allowed
  • Good hearing ability and no ear disease
  • Blood pressure and diabetes complications-free
  • Teeth in good order, heart and lungs fine, no abdominal disease
  • Well-formed feet, hands, and limbs with no joint restriction
  • No congenital malformation or acute/chronic disease
  • Efficient vaccination, no communicable diseases
  • Grade I hemorrhoids declared fit, other diseases declared temporarily unfit
  • Malignancies or transplanted organs make candidates unfit
  • Pregnant female candidates fit except for services requiring physical training.
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