UPSC Exam Eligibility Criteria  – Highlights, Age limit, Education Qualifications, Number of Attempts

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) releases the UPSC eligibility criteria for IAS or Civil services examination in the official UPSC notification. UPSC CSE eligibility criteria is one of the main aspects that candidates must carefully go through before submitting their UPSC IAS exam application form.  The eligibility of aspirants are determined by factors like age limit, education qualification, minimum percentage scored in board exams and graduation, among others.

Here candidates will find detailed information on the UPSC exam eligibility criteria.

UPSC Exam Eligibility – Latest Exam Updates

According to the UPSC CSE notification 2021, the mains is ongoing. Until now, 3 days of exams are already over and 2 days of exam will be conducted on the 15th and 16th of January 2022. The UPSC IAS eligibility criteria include 5 sections to which the candidates must adhere –

  • Educational Qualifications
  • Age limit
  • Nationality
  • Physical Standard
  • Number of Attempts

UPSC has modified the eligibility criteria of the civil services examination. According to the affidavit submitted in Supreme Court, the students who have exhausted their number of attempts last year but are eligible for the IAS exam 2021 will be provided with an extra attempt. This is a one-time facility that the UPSC and Union Government have collectively agreed to give to students who fulfil the age criteria defined in the UPSC IAS notification.

Read UPSC IAS Exam Latest Dates Updates here

Important Dates

EventDates
UPSC CSE 2021 notification4th March 2021
IAS application form 20214th March 2021
Last date to fill the IAS application 202124th March 2021
UPSC CSE, IFoS exam centre change window12th to 19th July 2021
26th to 30th July 2021
IAS admit card 2021 (Preliminary Exam)16th September 2021
IAS pre exam date 202110th October 2021
UPSC Result 2021 (Prelims)29th October 2021
IAS 2021 admit card 2021 (Mains Exam)17th December 2021
IAS 2021 mains exam date7th, 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th January 2022
UPSC Result 2021 (Mains)To be Announced

UPSC Exam Eligibility – Highlights

The first step in starting the preparation for the Civil Services Exam is obtaining accurate information on the eligibility criteria. The eligibility category includes age, age relaxation, education qualification, nationality and number of attempts and physical fitness.

Age limit for the exam21 to 32 years of age
Age relaxationGeneral, SC/ST, OBC, Defense Personnel, EWS
Educational qualificationGraduation in any field
NationalityIndian citizens 

Let’s get into more details on each category of eligibility criteria for the exam.

UPSC Exam Eligibility – Age Limit

To be eligible to sit for the UPSC IAS exam 2022, a candidate must be 21 years and above and below 32 years as on 1st August 2022.

The table below shows the age limit for each category of applicants.

CategoryAge (Relaxation)No. of attempts allowed
General/EWS326
OBC35 (3 years relaxed)9
SC/ST37 (5 years relaxed)Unlimited (Up to age limit)
Defence Services Personnel35 (3 years relaxed)9
Persons with

Benchmark Disability (PwD)

42 (10 years relaxed)Unlimited (Up to age limit)

Defence Servicemen, who have been disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof have special relaxation on the number of times they can attempt a Civil Services exam –  9 times.

In case an ECOs/SSCOs personnel has completed an initial period of assignment of 5 years in Military Service on 1st August 2022 and has successfully got an assignment extension beyond those five years, he/she may get a certificate or permit by the Ministry of Defense to apply for civil employment and are released on 3 months notice from military duty on getting selected in the UPSC exam.

Read More : Civil Services (IAS) Exam – Notification, Application, Syllabus, Vacancies

UPSC Exam Eligibility – Educational Requirements

The minimum educational criteria for UPSC exam are:

  • Candidates must hold a degree from Government-recognized universities or possess an equivalent qualification.
  • Candidates who are in their final year or awaiting results are also eligible to appear for UPSC Preliminary Examination. They must produce proof of having passed the said examination along with the application for the main IAS examination.
  • Candidates having professional and technical qualifications, recognized by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees, are also eligible.
  • Medical students who have passed the final year of MBBS degree, but have not completed their internship are also eligible for IAS. A certificate of course completion (including an internship) from the concerned authority of the university/institution has to be submitted.

UPSC Exam Eligibility – Nationality

If you are planning for the IAS or IPS exam, you must be a citizen of India to be eligible to apply for the civil services exam.

For all other services: Candidate must be either 

  1. A citizen of India, or
  2. A subject of Nepal, or
  3. A subject of Bhutan, or
  4. A Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 with an intention to settle in India.
  5. A PIO who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire and Vietnam to settle in India.
  6. Candidates who belong to 2-5 categories should furnish a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India. They will have to take the exam before getting the said certificate of eligibility and they will get the offer of appointment only after the certificate has been issued.
  7. A person belonging to categories 2-4 are not eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).Scholarship Registration, Get Scholarship Update

UPSC Exam Eligibility – No. of Attempts

A candidate is allowed a maximum of six attempts in the Civil Services exam. However, the restriction of the number of attempts is not applicable for candidates belonging to the SC/ST category. Candidates belonging to OBC and Persons with Benchmark Disabilities are allowed a maximum of nine attempts in the exam. No. of attempts becomes a crucial factor in applying for the Civil Services Exam.

If a candidate appears in any one paper of the Prelims Exam, then it is considered that he/she has made an attempt in the Civil Services Exam. Around 50% of candidates appear in the IAS Prelims exam and the rest of the candidates do not appear to keep their number of attempts intact. This is the reason why UPSC has kept an application withdrawal facility so that students who decide at the last moment to not appear for the scheduled exam can withdraw from the exam.

The candidates who are appointed to Indian Administrative Services or Indian Foreign Services  and continue to be a member of that service are not eligible to compete in the IAS Exam again. They need to resign to compete again in the Civil Services Exam. An existing IPS officer can again appear for the Civil Services Exam but the candidate cannot opt for police service.

UPSC Exam Eligibility – FAQs

Q. What is the age limit for UPSC IAS exam?

Candidates applying for this exam must not be younger than 21 years of age and not older than 32 years. However, there is age relaxation for reserved categories.

Q. Is there any lateral entry to IAS positions?

The government had proposed lateral entry into the civil services in 2018. But there are no updates so far.

Q. Is there any reservation for ex-servicemen in the Civil Services Exam?

Ex-servicemen, in the case of ECOs/SSCOs, who have completed an assignment period of 5 years Military Service and have been released, get an age relaxation of up to 5 years.

Q. What is the minimum percentage required in graduation for qualifying the Civil Services exam?

No such stringent criteria is mentioned. Candidates only have to be a graduate/ bachelor degree holder from a recognised university. There is no minimum graduation percentage required.

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