#32 What is the Eligibility and Criteria for Appearing in the UPSC exam?

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was formerly known as the Imperial Civil Service (ICS) is the Civil Services Examination and one of the toughest competitive exams in India. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission for the recruitment of officers for the All India Administrative Civil Service.The Indian Administrative Service is the premier administrative civil service of the Government of India. Hierarchy-wise, IAS is the highest administrative post among the 24 services like IPS, IFS etc.Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has been termed as one of the prestigious services among the 24 government services like IPS, IFS (Foreign), IFS (Forest), IP & TAFS, IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CMSE, IRTS, IRAS, IRPS, ITS, CAPF-AF to name a few.

 All these examinations are conducted by UPSC in the form of Civil Services Examination (CSE) for selecting the appropriate candidates for the jobs. Every year lakhs of candidates appear for this examination, testing their luck and hard work to get through one of these prestigious posts. An IAS can be employed by Union government, state governments and/or public-sector undertakings and gets exposure in numerous job roles like the collector, head of public sector units, commissioner, chief secretary, cabinet secretary to name a few. When on deputation outside India, the IAS officer can be engaged in inter-governmental organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the United Nations (UN), or its agencies and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to name a few.

What is the eligibility of the exam? Am I eligible for the exam?


  • Candidate must be a citizen of India.
  •  Candidate must be a citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan 
  • Candidate must be a Tibetan Refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, to be settled permanently in India.
  •  Candidates must be a person of Indian Origin who has migrated from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, or Zambia with an intention of permanently settling in India.

Educational Qualification:

  • Candidates must hold a Bachelor’s Degree from any of the recognized universities.
  • Candidates who have appeared for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results or those who are yet to appear for the qualifying examination are also eligible for the Preliminary Examination. Such candidates have to produce proof of passing the said examination along with the application for the Main Examination.

Age limit:

Your age should be a minimum of 21 years and maximum of 32 years before the exam notification .

However this age is relaxed for some cases such as:

  • 5 Years – Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST).
  •  3 Years – Other Backward Classes (OBC).
  •  3 Years – Defence Services personnel .
  • 5 Years – ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least 5 years .
  • 5 Years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs 10 Years – Blind, deaf-mute, and orthopedically handicapped persons.

Number of attempts:

  • For General Candidates: 6 attempts (Up to 32 Years) 
  • Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Candidates (SC/ST): No Limits (Up to 37 Years).
  •  Other Backward Classes (OBC): 9 attempts (Up to 35 Years) 
  • Physically handicapped- 9 attempts for general and OBC, while unlimited for SC/ST.


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