Eligibility Criteria for UPSC IAS Exam

UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria : Indian Administrative Service is among the most prestigious services of the country. Every year, lakhs of candidates appear in the civil services examination with a dream of entering into this elite service. On the contrary, only a few candidates are able to make it to the IAS

The UPSC releases its exam calendar one year in advance and the notification for the IAS exam is released 3-4 months before conducting the first stage of the examination. Here, we will discuss the IAS exam eligibility criteria in a precise manner.

Must be an Indian Citizen

  • First and the foremost requirement of the UPSC IAS eligibility criteria is your nationality. Putting it simply, a candidate who wishes to apply for the IAS, IPS or IFS shall be an Indian citizen
  • A person belonging to some other country is not eligible to become a part of Indian Administrative Services.

Age Of The Candidate

The second important requirement is that you have to comply with the UPSC qualification age limit. Accordingly, a candidate shall not have age less than 21 years and more than 32 years as on date provided in the official notification. Generally, it is the 1st of August of the year in which you are applying for the exam. For instance, for the 2020 exam, the age criteria need to be fulfilled on August 1, 2020

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Interestingly, there is upper age limit relaxation for several categories as under :

  • In the case of SC/ST candidates Maximum of five years
  • Maximum of three years in the case of Other Backward Classes (OBC) candidates
  • Maximum of three years in the case of Defence Services Personnel, who have got disabled in war during tension with any foreign country or an operation in the disturbed area.
  • In the case of ex-servicemen having completed military service of five years are also eligible for the age relaxation of a maximum of 5 years.
  • Up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of physical disability like vision, hearing ability, and others as provided in the official notification.

However, there is no lower age relaxation provided by the UPSC. Candidates shall verify their age in advance to become eligible to sit in the exam.

Educational Qualifications For The Exam

The minimum educational qualification for IAS is that the candidate must be a graduate from any University that is established under the act of State or Union legislature or a deemed University set up under the UGC Act, 1956, or possess an equal qualification.

Moreover, a candidate who is in the final year of graduation is eligible to appear for the preliminary examination, provided that they produce the proof of completion in the DAF (Detailed Application Form) while applying for the Mains examination if they qualify the first stage.

Number Of Attempts Permissible

Six attempts are permissible for any eligible candidate willing to sit in the exam. Furthermore, several relaxations are provided as under: 

  • In the case of the SC/ST category, a candidate can attempt the exam any number of times complying with the age criteria. 
  • In the case of the OBC category, a candidate can attempt the exam nine times. The relaxation will be available to the candidates who are eligible to avail of the reservation under the recognized category. 
  • The candidates of Persons with Benchmark Disability will be eligible for as many attempts that are available to other normal candidates belonging to of his or her community (SC/ST/OBC), subject to the condition that a General/EWS category candidate with a Benchmark Disability is eligible to give nine attempts.
General Category6 attempts till 32 years of age
OBC9 attempts till 35 years of age
SC / STUnlimited attempts till 37 years of age
Physically Handicapped / Disabled candidates belonging to General category9 attempts till the age prescribed by UPSC – 42 years

Additionally, a person who is serving as an IAS or IFS is not eligible to appear for the examination. 


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