UPSC Eligibility Criteria 2023 – IAS Age Limit, Qualification, Nationality
Topics Covered: UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria 2023: Nationality, Age Limit, Age Relaxations, Educational Qualification, Number of Attempts, Restrictions on Applying, and Medical & Physical Standards
The UPSC Civil Service examination is one of the most reputed and popular exams held in the country.
Along with the prestige, comes a huge competition for the recruitment to the various posts in the civil services which is considered a reason for its competent nature as only a few applicants make it to the final list.
Given the difficulty level, there is however no change in the number of candidates who apply for the exam each year with sincerity and dedication.
While hard work is a necessity, before planning to prepare for the exam, it is important for candidates to know about the key aspect of the exam process which is, the UPSC Eligibility criteria.
Having an in- depth knowledge about the eligibility requirements is the very initial step in the exam procedure as it will ensure your successful application for the exam and avoid any last – minute challenges.
Therefore, to help you with that, in this page, I will be discussing in detail all the information related to the UPSC Eligibility criteria which includes the nationality, age limit, educational qualifications, number of attempts, age relaxations, medical & physical standards and much more.
So, without further ado, let’s begin to understand the eligibility criteria for UPSC CSE.
Table of Content – UPSC Eligibility Criteria for IAS Exam
|UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria|
|Age Limit||21 to 32 years (must not have touched the 32nd year)|
|Age Relaxation||As per category (mentioned in section below)|
|Educational Qualification||Graduation (Bachelor)|
|Number of Attempts||6 - General
9 - OBC, PwBD
Unlimited - SC/ST
|Nationality||Indian Citizens Only|
UPSC Exam Eligibility 2023
Latest Update: The latest information regarding the UPSC eligibility criteria 2023 has been issued according to the UPSC notification 2023. The link to pdf providing the latest details of the updated IAS eligibility criteria is attached here.
The UPSC Exam Eligibility provides the basis which needs to be fulfilled by a candidate in order to appear for the UPSC CSE exam 2023.
To begin with, you must have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible to take the IAS exams, and that is just one aspect of the eligibility criteria.
So first and foremost, to be eligible to appear for the UPSC exam, you need to make sure that you meet the required educational qualifications.
Apart from that, there are other aspects of the exam eligibility which I will discuss further starting with the UPSC exam eligibility of Age Limit.
UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Age Limit
The criteria for age limit forms a crucial part for the UPSC exam eligibility requirements. According to the UPSC eligibility criteria 2023, as of 01st August 2023, the age limit for candidates belonging to different categories is as follows:
- Gen: The minimum age to apply is 21 years, while the maximum age is 32 years for the applicants.
- OBC: For candidates from this category, the age limit is 21 years to 35 years.
- SC/ST: The age limit for candidates from this category varies from 21 to 37 years.
- PwBD: The applicants belonging to this category, the minimal age limit is at 21 years and upper age limit is up to 42 years.
The UPSC last revised the age limit criteria in 2015. With that said, let’s understand the age eligibility for various categories.
If you are a candidate of the general category, you must be at least 21 years and must not have reached the age of 32 years as of 1st August of the year of examination.
For e.g., to apply for UPSC CSE 2023, the candidate must have been born not earlier than presumably 2nd August 1991 and not later than 1st August 2002.
UPSC IAS Updated Age Limit Summary
|Category||Minimum Age||Relaxation||Maximum Age|
|General||21 Years||No Relaxation||32 Years|
|OBC||21 Years||32+3 Years||35 Years|
|SC/ST||21 Years||32+5 Years||37 Years|
|Physically disabled (Blind, Deaf-mute, Orthopedically handicapped)||21 Years||32+10 Years||42 Years|
|Ex-serviceman discharged from duty due to disability||General: 21 Years||32+3 Years||35 Years|
|OBC: 21 Years||32+3+3 Years||38 Years|
|SC/ST: 21 Years||32+3+5 Years||40 Years|
|Ex-serviceman discharged after 5 years duty||General: 21 Years||32+5 Years||37 Years|
|OBC: 21 Years||32+5+3 Years||40 Years|
|SC/ST: 21 Years||32+5+5 Years||42 Years|
For the various categories of SC/ST/OBC/others, various age limit relaxations have been provided which we will look into in the subsequent section.
UPSC Age Limit Relaxations for ST/SC/OBC
- The candidates who belong to Scheduled Caste (SC) or a Scheduled Tribe (ST), there is an age relaxation of up to a maximum of 5 years.
- For Other Backward Classes (OBC) the age relaxation is up to a maximum of 3 years.
- In case you are Defence Services personnel, you’d be granted an age relaxation of up to a maximum of 3 years and got disabled while in combat with a hostile foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof.
- For applicants who are an ex-serviceman, Commissioned Officer, or SSCO/ECO, and have served a minimum of 5 years in the Military as of the 1st of August 2023 and have been released, there is an age relaxation of up to a maximum of 5 years.
- The aforementioned holds true in case of completion of service assignments, including the ones that are due to be completed within a year from the 1st of August 2023, other than the way of discharge or dismissal on account of inefficiency or misconduct, or on account of being physically disabled due to military service, or on being invalid.
- A maximum of 5 years relaxation is given if you are an ECO/SSCO having completed an initial assignment period of 5 years of military service as of the 1st of August 2023, but the assignment has been extended beyond the 5 years period.
- In such cases the Ministry of Defence issues certificates through which you can apply for civil employment. Through them, you can be released on a 3 months’ notice period in case of selection, from the date of receipt of the appointment offer.
Special Case Scenarios
The UPSC has shared some special case scenarios for Age Limit Eligibility through its official notification (link provided below):
- If you belong to any of the categories of ST/SC/OBC and also come under the category of ex-servicemen/blind/deaf-mute/orthopedically handicapped etc, you will be eligible for the grant of cumulative age relaxation under both the categories.
- However as for the provision of age relaxation by virtue of physical disability, you will be considered eligible for it only if you are blind/deaf-mute/orthopedically handicapped & also found to satisfy the level of physical and medical standards required to be allocated under the category of PwBD by the government. This can be proved only after you produce a certificate of disability issued by the government or a valid appointing authority.
- Also, the term Ex – servicemen will apply to the person who are defined as so by the Ex – servicemen (Re – employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.
Access the official notification for UPSC CSE on the linked blog.
With that, the section of UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Age Limit comes to an end. Now it’s time we shift our focus to another aspect of eligibility criteria, which is the UPSC Educational Qualification.
UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Minimum Educational Qualification
I have written the UPSC educational qualifications Criteria in detail below:
To appear for the UPSC IAS exam you must have proof that you are a graduate from a centrally or state-recognized university.
- You should have a bachelor’s degree certificate recognized by the govt or possess an equivalent qualification.
- In the case that you possess a professional or technical bachelor’s degree like BE or MBBS recognized by the govt, you’d be considered eligible to appear for the UPSC exam.
An important point to note here is that the bachelor’s degree of the candidate must be recognized from any university incorporated by an Act of the State and Central Legislature of India, or any institute of education established by an Act of the Parliament of India, or one that is declared to be a deemed university under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act of 1956.
Regarding the eligibility criteria, there are some exceptions in the educational qualifications that the candidates must be aware of:
- Final year of your graduation –
- In case you are in your final year of college or are intending to appear for the final examination of your bachelor’s degree course, and are awaiting the results of the same, you are eligible to apply for the prelims exam of the CSE.
- In case you clear the UPSC prelims round and are planning to appear for the Mains exam, you’d need to produce the proof of your graduation by attaching your bachelor passing certificate to your application for the Mains exams.
- Graduation from other universities – In exceptional cases, the UPSC may allow you to appear for the IAS exams even if you do not have a graduation certificate from the universities/institutes as mentioned above but have passed your final year graduation examination from any other institute, the standard of which in the perception of the UPSC justifies your eligibility to appear for the Civil Services exam, e.g., Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, etc.
- Technical and Professional Qualifications – In case you possess professional and technical qualifications which are recognized by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree, you can also be eligible for this examination.
- Final exam of MBBS/ Medical course– In case you have passed the final examination of your MBBS course or any other medical course but are yet to complete your internship, then:
- At the time of your application for the UPSC Mains exams, you will still be provisionally allowed to appear for it, provided that you submit along with your application a copy of the certificate from your university/institute that you have passed your final medical exam.
- In such a case, during the Interview round, you would need to produce your original degree or a certificate from your university attesting that you have completed all that is needed (including the completion of internship) for the award of the degree.
To know more about the nature of examination, you can take a look the UPSC previous year question papers
That concludes this section, let’s move to the section on the number of attempts.
UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Number of Attempts
Along with the age limits, the UPSC had also increased the number of attempts for applicants of the Civil Services Exams in the year 2015.
According to the amendment, the provision for number of attempts is as follows:
- The candidates belonging to the general category had been granted a maximum of 6 attempts.
- For the OBC candidates, a maximum of 9 attempts, & for the ST/SC candidates, an unlimited number of attempts.
- The maximum number of attempts for the physically disabled general and OBC candidates is 9 attempts, whereas, for the ones from the ST/SC categories, the number of attempts is unlimited.
To put things in a better perspective, I have mentioned all the information about the number of attempts in the table below. Do check it out.
|Category||Maximum Age (should not have touched the age of:)|
|SC/ST||As many as he/she can until upper age limit reached|
|Physically disabled||General: 9 attempts|
|(Blind, Deaf-mute, Orthopedically handicapped)||OBC: 9|
|SC/ST: As many as he/she can until upper age limit reached|
|Ex-serviceman discharged from duty due to disability||As per categories mentioned above, i.e., Gen, OBC, SC/ST, Disabled|
|Ex-serviceman discharged after 5 years duty||As per categories mentioned above, i.e., Gen, OBC, SC/ST, Disabled|
I hope the table above helps you view all the exhaustive texts written before from a comprehensive and birds-eye point of view.
Aside from knowing about the number of attempts, the UPSC cutoff in last few years would help you assess the difficulty level of this examination.
UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility: Nationality
To appear for the UPSC IAS exams you need to be a citizen of India, for all other services, you must be either:
- A citizen of India,
- Or a subject of Nepal,
- Or a subject of Bhutan,
- Or a refugee from Tibet that came to India before the 1st of January 1962 with the intention of settling in India permanently.
- Or an individual with Indian origin who has migrated from Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, East African countries of Uganda, Zambia, Zaire, Kenya, the united republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, & Vietnam, with the purpose of settling permanently in India.
- If you belong to categories b), c), d), and e), then you’d need a certificate issued by the govt. of India to be eligible.
- Also belonging to the b), c), d), and e). Categories will bar you from being eligible to be appointed to the Indian Foreign Services.
Note: In the case that you are a candidate that needs to produce a certificate of eligibility from the government, you shall be allowed to appear for the exam, but your offer of appointment may only be given when you have submitted the aforenoted certificate of eligibility issued by the Indian Government.
You can check the IAS Officer Salary to know details like allowances, salary structure and perks associated with the job.
Let’s move on to the section on UPSC IAS Age Limit Criteria.
UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Restrictions on Applying for the Examination
- If you are already appointed to the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) or Indian Foreign Services (IFS) on the result sheets of an earlier examination and also continue to be a member of any of the 2 services, then you will not be eligible to appear in the exams that particular year.
- If you are already appointed to the Indian Police Services (IPS) on the result sheets of an earlier examination and continue to be an IPS officer, then you will not be eligible to opt for the IPS in the exams for the particular year.
You can check the UPSC preparation page for Commerce & Management. I have provided to effectively prepare for the examination.
UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Medical and Physical Standards
You must make sure that you are physically fit and capable for the job as tasking as that of an IAS officer. For that, you’d need to match up to the physical standards for admission to Civil Services Examination, 2023.
These standards are decided on as per the guidelines given in Appendix-III of Rules for Examination published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary dated February 02, 2023.
That brings us to the end of this somewhat long and detailed article. I hope it has helped you clear up all your doubts about the various UPSC eligibility criteria.
Having said that I now bid farewell. Until next time.
Have a great day!
About Anuj Jindal
Anuj Jindal, the founder, is an ex-manager from SBI, with an M.Com from Delhi School of Economics. He also has a JRF in Commerce & Management and NET in HRM, along with more than 5 years of experience in the field of Education.
UPSC CSE – Related Resources
FAQs: UPSC Eligibility Criteria for IAS/IPS Exam
Is there any limit on the number of attempts for the UPSC exam? ￼
Yes, there is a limit to the number of times you can appear for the IAS exam. Candidates belonging to the General category can appear for a maximum of 6 attempts.
However, talking about candidates belonging to the other categories the maximum number of attempts for OBC is 9, and for SC/ST & handicapped categories, there is no limit on the number of attempts till their respective upper age limits.
What is the educational qualification needed to appear in IAS exam? ￼
To be eligible for the IAS exam, a candidate needs to have a graduation degree. That is the most basic level of educational qualification necessary to appear for the IAS exam. Now, the degree can be in any stream.
Also, to note is that the degree that the candidate holds should be of a university recognized by the Government of India as a legitimate university.
What is age limit and the number of attempts permitted to sit for the UPSC Civil Services Exam? ￼
The minimum age limit required to appear for the IAS is 21 years for candidates of all categories.
As far as the upper age limit goes, it differs from candidate to candidate depending on the category they belong to. A candidate should be less than 32 years for those of the general categories, 35 years for OBC, 37 for SC/ST, and 42 for the PwBD category as of 1st August of the year of the examination.
Now coming to the number of attempts permitted to take the UPSC IAS exams, it’s 6 for general category and EWS candidates, 9 for OBC candidates, and an unlimited number of attempts for SC/ST category candidates.
Are there any age relaxations in UPSC for female candidates?
Well, as far as the UPSC is concerned, female candidates are not granted any kind of age relaxation. However, women are given the facility to apply for the exam for free though.
If you want to know about the age relaxation criteria of the UPSC, you can check it out in the article I have written above.
What is the age limit for UPSC Civil Services Exam?
According to the IAS eligibility mentioned in the UPSC notification for the given year, the minimum age limit for candidates is 21 years, irrespective of the category that he/she might belong to.
However, the upper age limit for IAS eligibility differs from candidate to candidate. The upper age limit for IAS eligibility for General candidates is 32 years, whereas for OBC candidates it is 35 years, for SC/ST it is 37, and the upper age limit for IAS eligibility for PwBD candidates is 42 years.
Is there any reservation for ex-servicemen in the Civil Services Exam?
Yes, there are reservations for ex-servicemen in the Civil Services Exam. According to the UPSC exam eligibility, the upper age limits of ex-servicemen are extended by a few years.
Also, to be noted is that according to UPSC exam eligibility, the upper age limit criteria for ex-servicemen have been divided between two different categories of ex-servicemen. The first being “Ex-serviceman discharged from duty due to disability” and the other being, “Ex-serviceman discharged after 5 years duty”.
The UPSC exam eligibility age criteria is further divided into 3 categories for each type of ex-servicemen.
So, starting with the category of “Ex-serviceman discharged from duty due to disability”, the upper age limit for General candidates is 35 years, for OBC, it is 38 years, and for SC/ST, it is 40 years.
Now, talking about the category of “Ex-serviceman discharged after 5 years duty”, the upper age limit for General candidates is 37 years, for OBC, it is 40 years, and for SC/ST, it is 42 years.
Which branch of engineering is eligible for the IAS?
Only a graduation degree certificate is required for you to be eligible to take the IAS exam, it does not matter which branch of engineering you have graduated from.
Is a diploma holder eligible for UPSC?
Nope, that’s a negative. A diploma holder is not eligible to appear for the UPSC Civil services exam, because the UPSC demands that applicants have at least a graduation degree before applying for the exam.
Can 12th passed students apply for the recruitment?
No. It is not possible for a 12th passed student to apply for the IAS exam, as the exam requires a minimum educational qualification of being a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from a government-recognized university.
So, if you are a 12th passed student, I’d recommend that you get yourself a college/university degree first, and then apply for the UPSC IAS recruitment.
Iet us now take a look at the process of the UPSC apply online.
Is there a minimum percentage required in graduation for the IAS exam?No, there is no minimum percentage required to score in your graduation to be eligible for UPSC examination. You require only a Bachelor’s degree from any government recognized university. In case you possess a technical or professional degree recognized by the government like B.Tech, BE or MBBS, you too are eligible to sit for the examination.