CDS Eligibility

5 minute read
CDS Eligibility

Candidates who desire to be part of Indian Defence services can appear for this examination. It is a combined examination for recruitment in the navy, army and air force. CDS stands for Combined Defence Services Examination, held twice a year by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). Here in this blog, we will find out everything related to CDS Eligibility. 

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Let us look at the important details of the CDS exam. It is tabulated below: 

CDS Full Form Combined Defence Services
Conducting Body Union Public Service Commission 
Frequency Twice in a year
Selection Process Written testSSB interview
Contact No. 011 2309 8591

CDS Application Process 

To find out the CDS eligibility, it is also important to find out the application process for the same. The important steps are mentioned below: 

  • Visit the official website,
  • Click on the notification Combined Defence Services Examination 2021
  • Register yourself by adding the  date of birth and registration ID
  • Applicants have to fill in personal details and a scanned copy of identification card
  • Then, applicants have to upload a scanned copy of recent photograph and signature
  • Check all the details once again, Submit the application form & accept the declaration.
  • Download a copy of the application form for future reference.

CDS Application Fee

Students who apply for the CDS exam and find out that they come within the CDS eligibility, they must submit the application fees. 

  • Applicants of General category and OBC category have to pay ₹200/-
  • Female candidates & candidates of SC/ST category are not required to pay the application fee

Eligibility Criteria

Like any other examination, CDS eligibility criteria has to be met by all applicants. The eligibility criteria is broken into nationality, age, physical and marital status. 

CDS Nationality Criteria

The CDS eligibility criteria for nationality is mentioned below: 

  • Applicant must be a citizen of India
  • Tibetan refugees that are permanently settled in India before January 1, 1962
  • Citizens of Nepal & bhutan
  • Indian Citizens who migrated to Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka or East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, and Ethiopia or from Vietnam and now a permanent resident of India 

CDS Age Criteria

CDS has set age criteria for all the services. They are mentioned below: 

  • Candidates appearing for Indian Military Academy (Army) should be between 19-24 years.
  • Candidates appearing for Air Force Academy (Air Force) should be between 20-24 years.
  • Candidates appearing for Naval Academy (Navy) should be between 19-24 years.
  • Candidates appearing forOfficers Training Academy (Military ) should be between 19-25 years.

CDS Educational Qualifications

The CDS eligibility has certain educational qualifications which must be fulfilled by all applicants. 

  • For Indian Military Academy & Officers Training Academy 
    Candidates should be graduate degree holder from a recognized university. 
  • For Air Force Academy
    Candidates should have a degree in Engineering from a recognized university.
  • For Indian Naval Academy
    Candidates should have a graduation degree from a recognized university or a bachelor’s in engineering. It is mandatory to have mathematics and physics subject at the 10+2 level.

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CDS Physical Criteria

Under the CDS eligibility criteria there is a separate section for physical criteria. Majority of candidates are disqualified at this level as they fail to fulfill the physical requirements.

  • Candidates should be physically & mentally fit
  • Candidates who have permanent tattoos on their body aren’t allowed.
  • No signs of hernia on body
  •  Uncorrected Eye vision should be 6/12  on both sides and with glasses 6/6

Height And Weight

Height requirement is different for streams whereas the weight should be proportionate to the height. This criteria has to be met in order to be within CDS eligibility criteria. 

CDS Eligibility
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Gender & Marital status criteria

Tabulated below is the gender and marital status criteria under the CDS eligibility criteria. You can have a look here: 

Academy Gender Marital Status
Indian Military Academy  Male Unmarried
Indian Naval Academy Males Unmarried
Officers Training Academy (SSC Men) Male Unmarried
Officers Training Academy (SSC Women) Female Unmarried
  • Officers training academy allows female candidates who are divorcee/ Widower and not remarried
  • Air Force Academy allows male candidates who are married of age above 25 years. Candidates are  not eligible to live with the family beyond premises.
  • Candidates of Air Force Academy are not allowed to marry during training period.
  • Male candidates who are divorced/Widower are not eligible for CDS exam.

CDS Vacancy

After you find out the CDS eligibility and give the exam, you must also know about the CDS vacancy, they are tabulated below: 

Academy No. of Vacancies
Indian Military Academy 100
Air Force Academy 32
Indian Naval Academy 26
Officers Training academy (Men) 170
Officers training Academy (Women) 17


1. Is there any negative marking in the written test?

Yes, 1/3rd mark is deducted for every wrong answer.

2. How many times can an applicant appear for the exam?

Applicant can appear for exam as long as he/she fits the criteria.

3. Are female candidates eligible for the CDS exam?

Yes, Female candidates are eligible for CDS exam but will only be recruited in Officers Training Academy.

4. What is the mode of exam?

CDS exams are conducted offline.

5. How are candidates selected for SSB interview round?

Candidates are selected on the base of the marks secured in the first round i.e. Written Examination.

6. What is the best tip to crack the CDS exam?

Solving previous year sample paper questions helps in understanding the exam pattern, marking scheme and best way to crack the CDS exam.

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This was all about the CDS eligibility. We hope you found this blog helpful, and it answered all your questions. If you need help in applying for any exam or admission to any university abroad, get in touch with our Leverage Edu experts. They will guide you every step of the way! Sign up for a free session today! 

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  1. I am going to join Indian army as officer and now I am 16 years old and I am going to do diploma in civil engineering and will get 3 years of degree and then I will give CDS exam . I hope I m going in a right way to join Indian army (OTA).

    1. Hi Roshni!

      This seems like an admirable plan, all the best for your future endeavours! If you have any doubts, feel free to reach out to our experts at 1800572000.

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