NDA Eligibility Criteria 2021- Age Limit, Qualification & Physical Standards

NDA Eligibility 2021 – The NDA eligibility criteria are decided by the Union Public Service Commission. Candidates willing to appear for NDA exams can apply for the same only if they fulfill the prescribed NDA Eligibility Criteria.

The eligibility criteria of NDA comprise four main aspects that are mandatory for applicants to fulfil. The four main aspects of NDA eligibility are:

  1. NDA Age Limit, Marital Status & Gender
  2. NDA Citizenship/Nationality
  3. NDA Educational Qualification
  4. NDA Physical/ Medical Qualification

This article will discuss the above-mentioned NDA eligibility criteria in detail. Aspirants of Indian Defense Services must meet the National Defense Academy Exam eligibility conditions. 

The UPSC prescribes NDA/ NA eligibility in detail in the official notification. The Commission has released the notification for UPSC NDA 2 2021 exam on June 9th, 2021. Candidates can check the NDA Notification to dive deep for relevant details. 

Aspirants of other Government exams can check the linked page for the latest information regarding upcoming exams. 

NDA Eligibility

Through the official notice, UPSC releases a detailed description of the Naval Academy eligibility condition mandatory for the exam. Aspirants must go through NA eligibility conditions because:

  1. Mere issue of Admission Certificate to the candidate will not imply that his candidature has been finally cleared by the Commission
  2. UPSC conducts verification of eligibility criteria with reference to original documents.
  3. Verification is done, once the candidate qualifies for the interview and Personality Test.
  4. The conducting body has the right to reject the candidature of the applicant at any stage of recruitment in case he/she is found to be not fulfilling the required criteria and,
  5. If the candidate is appointed, in such a case he/she is liable to be removed from service.
  6. A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him by the Government of India.

Detailed NDA Eligibility is as mentioned below:

Eligibility For NDA – Age Limit, Sex & Marital Status

NDA I Age Limit – Only unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 2nd July 2002 and not later than 1st July 2005 fulfil the eligibility for NDA exam.

NDA Age Limit Age for Unmarried Male Candidates
Lower Age Limit 15.7 years (not earlier than 02nd July 2002)/ 16 years during the commencement of course
Upper Age Limit 18.7 years (not later than 1st July 2005)/ 19 years during the commencement of course

NDA II Age Limit – Only unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 2nd January 2003 and not later than 1st January 2006 are eligible for NDA exam.

NDA Age Limit Age for Unmarried Male Candidates
Lower Age Limit 15.7 years (not later than 1st January 2006)/ 16 years during the commencement of course
Upper Age Limit 18.7 years (not earlier than 2nd January 2003)/ 19 years during the commencement of course

To put it simply, candidates should be between the age of 16.5 years and 19.5 years to be eligible for the exam.

Important Note – 

  1. Females and married male candidates are not eligible to apply for NDA Exam.
  2. The date of birth mentioned in the application must be the same as that entered in the Matriculation/ 10th/ Secondary School Leaving Certificate.
  3. Candidates need to submit certificates for proof of age after the declaration of the result of the written exam.
  4. Candidates must undertake not to marry until they complete their full training. A candidate who marries subsequent to the date of his application though successful at this or any subsequent Examination will not be selected for training. A candidate who marries during training shall be discharged and will be liable to refund all expenditure incurred on him by the Government.

Candidates willing to appear for NDA examination must go through the detailed NDA Syllabus and exam pattern to kickstart their preparation. 

NDA Eligibility – Nationality / Citizenship

Candidates willing to appear for the National Defense Academy or Naval Academy exam are required to fulfil the NDA eligibility condition in terms of Nationality Or Citizenship.

Only the aspirants who fulfil the following conditions of nationality will be allowed to appear for the examination. 

  1. A citizen of India, or
  2. A subject of Nepal, or
  3. A subject of Bhutan, or
  4. A Tibetan refugee permanently settled in India from and before January 1, 1962.
  5. A person of Indian origin migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, East African countries of Uganda, Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Zaire, Zambia, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (2), (3), (4) and (5) presents a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India to the recruiting body.

However, the Certificate of eligibility will not be necessary in case of candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal.

Eligibility for NDA – Education Qualification 

The  Union Public Service Commission has set a minimum level of education qualification that a candidate must possess to be eligible for NDA examination.

Aspirants must have passed at least 12th Board exam to appear for NDA/NA examination. The detailed NDA education Qualification required is highlighted below:

Education Qualification – NDA Eligibility
For Army Wing of NDA 12th Class pass of the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent examination conducted by a State Education Board or a University.
For Air Force and Naval Wings of NDA & for the 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme at the Indian Naval Academy 12th Class pass of the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent with with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics conducted by a State Education Board or a University.

Important pointers –

  • Aspirants appearing in Class 12th or equivalent examination are eligible to apply
  • Aspirants who are appearing in the 11th class exam are not eligible for this examination
  • Candidates appearing in the 11th class exam are not eligible for this examination.
  • Those candidates who have yet to qualify in the 12th class or equivalent examination and are allowed to appear provided they submit proof of passing the 12th class or equivalent examination by the prescribed date (i.e. 24th June, 2022) and no request for extending this date will be entertained on the grounds of late conduct of Board/University Examination, delay in declaration of results or any other ground whatsoever.

Aspirants of NDA exam can check the related links given below-

NDA Eligibility – Physical Standards

To fulfil the NDA Eligibility, applicants must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination as per guidelines mentioned in the notification. 

The minimum acceptable height is 157cms (162.5 cms. for the Air Force), however, certain exceptions are allowed to candidates based on the region they belong to. The standard for height and weight based on the age-group is given below:

Physical Standard For NDA 
Height (in cm) for ARMY/AIR FORCE Weight (in Kgs) for Different Age Groups
15-16 Years 16-17 Years 17-18 Years 18-19 Years
152 41 42.5 44 45
155 42 43.5 45.3 47
157 43 45 47 48
160 45 46.5 48 49
162 46 48 50 51
165 48 50 52 53
167 49 51 53 54
170 51 52.5 55 56
173 52.5 54.5 57 58
175 54.5 56 59 60
178 56 58 61 62
180 58.5 60 63 64.5
183 61 62.5 65 66.5

Note – 

  1. 10% variation on the higher side of average acceptable.
  2. Height relaxable up to 2.5 cms where the Medical Board certifies that the candidate is likely to grow and come up to the required standard on completion of his training.
  3. Candidates from the hills of North-Eastern India, Gorkhas, Garhwal and Kumaon, the minimum height acceptable is 5 cms less than the above-mentioned figures. 
  4. Exemption of 2 cms in minimum height standard is given to candidates of Lakshadweep region.

Physical Standards for Navy

Aspirants who wish to join the Navy are required to fulfil the following requirements –

  1. Sitting Height: The minimum of 81.50 cms and maximum is 96 cms
  2. Leg Length: The minimum of 99 cms and maximum of 120 cms
  3. Thigh Length: Maximum of 64 cms

Height and Weight requirements for Navy in detail-

Height (In cms) for NAVY Weight (in kgs) for Different Age Groups
  20 years 18 years 16 years
152 46 45 44
155 47 46 45
157 49 47 46
160 50 48 47
162 52 50 48
165 53 52 50
167 55 53 52
170 57 55 53
173 59 57 55
175 61 59 57
178 62 61 59
180 64 63 61
183 67 65 63

NDA Eligibility – Visual Standards

The following visual standards must be met to be eligible for NDA exam:

NDA – Vision Standard For ARMY
Distance Vision (Corrected) Better Eye 6/6; Worse Eye 6/9
Colour vision CP-III (Defective Safe).
Myopia should not be more than -2.5D

Hypermetropia should not be more than +3.5D 


NDA -Vision Standards for Air Force
Candidates who wear spectacle Not eligible for Air Force
Minimum distant vision 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in other

correctable to 6/6 only for Hypermetropia

Colour vision CPI Hypermetropia: +2.0 D Sph Manifest Myopia: Nil Retinoscopic Myopia

: 0.5 in any Meridian permitted Astigmatism : + 0.75 D Cyl (within + 2.0 D.Max)


NDA – Vision standard for Navy
  • Uncorrected without glass -6/6, 6/9
  • Corrected with glass – 6/6, 6/6
  • Limits of Myopia – –0.75
  • Limits of Hypermetropia – +1.5
  • Binocular vision – III
  • Limits of colour perception – I

Also, aspirants must get themselves medically examined to ensure that they do not suffer from any of the following minor conditions as well-

  • Wax (Ears)
  • Deviated Nasal Septum
  • Hydrocele / Phimosis
  • Condition of Overweight / Underweight
  • Under Sized Chest
  • Piles
  • Tonsillitis
  • Gynaecomastia
  • Varicocele

The NDA eligibility in terms of physical and medical standards is much more than what is mentioned above. Hence, candidates are advised to go through the official notification for further clarification on National Defense Academy Eligibility Criteria. 

NDA Notification 2021 PDF – Download PDF Here

Aspirants appearing for NDA exams must go through the Competitive Exam Preparation Strategies to plan out a good study schedule and leave no stone unturned for exam preparation.

Frequently Asked Question – NDA Eligibility

Q.1. Who sets the NDA eligibility criteria?

Ans. UPSC is the conducting body of NDA exam, hence it is the authoritative body to set the National Defence Academy/ Naval Academy eligibility conditions.

Q.2. What is the minimum educational qualification to be eligible for NDA examination?

Ans. To appear for the NDA/NA exam candidates must have passed at least 12th Board exam.

Q.3. What is the maximum number of times a candidate can take the NDA exam?

Ans. As per the notification, there is no such number of attempts mentioned. Candidates can appear for the exam till he/she meets the age limit criteria.

Q.4. What are the minimum and maximum NDA age limit requirements to appear for the exam?

Ans. The lower age limit says candidates should be 16 years during the commencement of course while the upper age limit to appear for NDA exam says candidates must be 19 years during the commencement of course i.e. candidates should be between the age of 16.5 years and 19.5 years to be eligible for the exam.

Q 5. Are the candidates appearing in Class 12 eligible for NDA exam?

Ans. Yes, candidates who are in Class 12 fulfil the requirement of NDA age limit.

Q 6. Are there any physical and medical requirement for NDA examination?

Ans. Yes, candidates are required to be physically and medically fit based on the standards mentioned in the official notification.

Q 7. Are married female candidates eligible to appear for NDA Exam?

Ans. No female candidates, as well as married males, are eligible to appear for the National Defence Academy/ Naval Academy exam.

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