Eligibility Criteria For UPSC Exam

What is the eligibility for UPSC exam?

The IAS exam is open to almost all people in the country who are graduates. However, there are a few eligibility conditions that the candidate must satisfy if they wish to take the UPSC civil services exam. In this article, we discuss the complete eligibility criteria for the UPSC IAS exam.

IAS Eligibility Overview:

IAS Age LImit 21 to 32 years
Age relaxation As per category (mentioned below)
Educational qualification for IAS Graduation
Nationality Indian citizens only

The candidate should have completed 21 years as on 1st August 2019 (for the UPSC CSE 2019) and not completed 32 years as on 1st August 2019 (relaxations as discussed below will apply).

Category Upper Age Limit Number of Attempts
General 32 6
OBC 35 9
SC/ST 37 Unlimited (Up to age limit)
General Physically Disabled 35 9
OBC Physically Disabled 38 9
SC/ST Physically Disabled 40 Unlimited (Up to age limit)
Disabled servicemen (General) 35
Disabled servicemen (OBC) 38
Disabled servicemen (SC/ST) 40


Defense Servicemen: Disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.

In the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of 5 years Military Service as on 1st August, 2019 and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defense issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months’ notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.

The academic eligibility for IAS:

  • Minimum qualification for UPSC exam: The candidate 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. All such candidates who are eligible to appear for IAS exams 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.
  • Medical students who have passed final year of MBBS, but are yet to complete their internship also have eligibility for IAS. Although, along with the Main Examination application, a certificate of course completion (including internship) from the concerned authority of the University/Institution has to be submitted.

Nationality eligibility criteria for IAS:


  • Candidate must be a citizen of India


  • 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 the intention of permanently settling in India, or
    5. A person of Indian origin (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 with the intention of permanently settling in India.
  • The candidates belonging to categories (B), (C), (D) and (E) should furnish a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India. Such candidates may take the exam before getting the said certificate of eligibility, but he/she would get the offer of appointment only after the certificate has been issued by the Government of India.
  • POINT TO NOTE: A person belonging to categories (B), (C) and (D) are not eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

UPSC 2019 related queries

  • What is the age limit for UPSC civil services 2019?
  • A candidate belonging to the General category giving the UPSC prelims 2019 should not have completed 32 years as on 1st August 2019. Candidates belonging to other categories have relaxations to the upper age limit.


  • How many attempts are there for the IAS exam?
  • A general category candidate has 6 attempts in the UPSC IAS exam. OBC candidates have 9 attempts, SC/ST candidates have no bar on the number of attempts (they can take the exam until they reach the upper age limit), general and OBC physically disabled candidates have 9 attempts, and SC/ST physically disabled have no bar on the number of attempts.


  • Is there any reservation for ex-servicemen in the UPSC exam?
  • Yes, ex-servicemen are given age relaxations of up to 5 years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of 5 years Military Service.


  • Is there a minimum percentage required in graduation for IAS exam?
  • No. Candidates only have to be graduates from a recognised university. There is no minimum graduation percentage required for IAS eligibility.


  • What is the salary of an IAS officer?
  • The basic entry-level pay of an IAS officer is Rs. 56,100. Officers are also given other benefits like residences, official vehicles, etc.


  • What is the highest post an IAS officer can reach in his career?
  • The highest position an IAS officer can aspire to is the Cabinet Secretary of the country.


  • Is there lateral entry in the IAS?
  • The government had proposed lateral entry into the civil services in 2018. In July 2018, a little more than 6000 candidates had applied. But the government wanted detailed information on the candidates and so, a fresh advertisement was issued. But nothing has come so far regarding lateral entry.

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