Indian Foreign Service (IFS) 2021 Exam Eligibility Criteria

Candidates need to fulfill all the eligibility conditions for admission to the examination. Excuses on any grounds other than the grounds mentioned will not be granted. The admission of the candidates applying for the Civil Services Examination in all the stages of the examination will be provisional which will be subject to satisfying the prescribed eligibility conditions.

Only based on the issue of admission certificate, the candidate should not imply to them that his/her candidacy has been clearly approved by the commission. Commission takes up verification of eligibility conditions concerning original documents only after the candidate has qualified for Interview/ Personality Test. Here in this post, we will discuss Indian Foreign Service Eligibility criteria in detail.

New Eligibility Criteria:

With effect from 2021, the government intends to raise the upper age limit and number of attempts of applicants of the UPSC Civil Service Examination.

From the published information on the website of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, we come to know that the upper age limitation will be 37 years for the person belonging to SC/ST candidates with an unlimited number of attempts;

for OBCs with 9 attempts, the maximum age limit is 35 years 0f age; for the General category with 6 attempts it is 32years of his age, for physically disabled candidates the age limit is 42, 45, and 47 years for General, OBC, and SC/ST category respectively and the total number of attempts of General and OBC`s is 9, and for SC/ST it is unlimited, in this particular case.

Academic Qualifications required for IFS Exam:

  • The aspiring candidates must hold in the minimum a degree of any University which is incorporated by an Act of the Central/State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University Under Section -3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
    Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the qualifying examination and are awaiting results are also eligible to appear for the Preliminary Examination.
  • All such candidates who have cleared the preliminary examination and is qualified to appear for the Civil Services Main Examination must give proof of having passed the said examination along with their application for the Mains Examination.
    The UPSC may in very exceptional cases treat a candidate without the foregoing requisites of qualification as an eligible candidate if he/she has passed an examination conducted by other institutions, the standard of which justifies his/her admission in the opinion of the commission.
    candidates who have professional and technical qualifications recognized by the Government as equivalent to professional and technical degrees.
  • Candidates who have completed the final year of MBBS or any Medical Examination but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Mains Examination. It is only permissible if they submit along with with their Main Examination application a certificate from the concerned authority of the University or Institution that they have passed the final professional medical examination. At the stage of an interview, it is compulsory for them and all other aspirants to produce a certificate from a competent authority that they have completed with internship all the requirements for the award of medical Degree.

Restrictions on applying for the examination:

A candidate who has already been appointed as Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Services on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete at this examination.

In case such a candidate is appointed to the IFS/IFS after the preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination, 2021 is over and he/she continues to be an existing member of that service then he /she shall not be eligible to appear in the Civil Services Mains Examination, 2021;

their qualification in the preliminary Examination, 2021 shall not be taken into consideration.
Also if such a candidate is appointed to IFS/IFS after the commencement of the Civil Services Main Examination, 2021 but before the result thereof and continues to be a member of that service then in that circumstances he/she shall not be considered for the appointment to any service/post based on the result of this examination.

For applying for the post of IFS and IPS candidate must be a citizen of India.
For all other services candidates of the following nationality will also be allowed to appear:-
a citizen of India, or
a subject of Nepal, or
a subject of Bhutan, or
a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January 1962 intending to permanently reside in the territory of India, or
a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia, and Vietnam intending to permanently settle in India.

It is essential for a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d), and (e) shall be a person in whose favor the government of India has issued a certificate of eligibility dates belonging to categories of (b), (c), and (d) as mentioned above will not be eligible for the appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

The offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/ her by the Government of India.

UPSC under any clause will not relax the upper age limit.

Note I:
Candidates belonging to the SC & ST and the OBC`S who are also covered under any other clauses of para 3 (ii) (b) above viz. those coming under the category of Ex-servicemen, persons domiciled in the State of J & k, blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped, etc. will be eligible for grant of cumulative age relaxation under both the categories.

Note II:
The term ex-Servicemen will apply to the persons who are defined as ex-servicemen in the Ex-servicemen (Re-employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.

Note III:
The Ex-Servicemen and Commissioned Officers including ECOs/SSCOs who are released on their own request shall not be admissible under the age concession under para 3(ii) (b) (v) and (vi).

Note IV:
A physically disabled candidate shall be considered to be eligible for appointment only if he/ she is found to satisfy the requirements of physical and medical standards for the concerned Services/ posts to be allocated to the physically disabled candidates by the Government. Under such conditions provisions of age relaxation under para 3 (ii), (b) (vii) shall not be withstanding.

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  1. Diksha says:

    What”s the age to give entrance of INDIAN FOREIGN SERVICE EXAMINATION??

  2. Reshma Viswanathan says:


    I am looking at the possibility of attending the Civil Service examination. I am turning 34 yrs of age on Sep-9-2020 and belong to OBC category. Would I be able to attend the preliminary exams in June-2021 and if I clear it, attend the final exam and interview in 2021/2022.

    Your reply would be much appreciated in this concern.

    Reshma Viswanathan

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