IAS Eligibility

6 minute read
IAS Eligibility

Indian Administrative Service or the IAS exam, which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission is one of the toughest exams in India taken by Indian candidates as well as by those who belong to some of the neighbouring countries. Those who clear the coveted exam are selected for a wide range of All India and Central Services like IPS, IFS, IRAS, IRS, ITS, etc. However, to appear for the exam, one has to fulfill the eligibility criteria as set by the constitutional body. So, in this blog, we will highlight the key IAS eligibility criteria which you should know about.

General Overview

Before we dive deep into IAS eligibility criteria, let’s first understand the exam pattern. The IAS examination is a year-long process and consists of three levels namely, Prelims, Mains, and Personal Interview. While the prelims examination is MCQ based, mains is subjective. The general highlights of the examination have been tabulated below.

Prelims exam duration 4 hours
Total marks of Prelims 400 marks
Negative Marking 1/3rd of the total marks allotted to the question
Mains exam duration 3 hours for every paper
Mains weightage 1750 marks
Negative Marking Not applicable
Language Both exams can be given in either Hindi or English medium

We have collated some tips and suggestions for you to ace the IAS interview!

IAS Eligibility Overview

Scores of candidates appear for the coveted exam every year. But often, their applications get rejected due to many reasons, not fulfilling the IAS eligibility is one such factor. It is thus advised to be familiar with prerequisites in order to avoid rejection. So, to answer the question “What is the eligibility criteria for IAS?” We have listed the details in the table below. 

Age Limit 21-32 years
IAS Educational Qualification Minimum Graduation
Relaxations Varies based on the category a candidate belongs to [Refer below]
Nationality for IAS Indian Nationals

 IAS Eligibility in Detail

The eligibility criteria for IAS exam is complex and has various parameters to evaluate candidate’s abilities. Let us look at the details of the IAS eligibility criteria-


Consideration of Nationality is very essential in the case of candidates who give civil service examinations because they will be serving our country in the future. There are certain guidelines for this specific category which we are providing for your knowledge.

1. For the IAS, IPS and IFS the candidate should be an Indian national.

2. For other services, applicants can be a citizen of India or Nepal or a subject of Bhutan.

3. Tibetan refugees who entered India before 1st January 1962 with the motive of settling here permanently are also eligible.

4. Persons of Indian origin who have migrated from Kenya, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zaire, Zambia, Malawi or Ethiopia can also apply. 

Note – The people (except Indian nationals) from these other categories would have to furnish an eligibility certificate from the government of India to be able to get the position after clearing the exam.

Educatioal Qualification

Various educational requirements that you have to meet to be able to apply are given below –

1. The candidate must be at least a graduate from a recognized university. This is the minimum education qualification required to be able to give UPSC exams.

2. Those who have appeared for the final year of graduation and are awaiting results or are about to appear for the final year of graduation are eligible to appear for the Prelims examination. However, they have to provide results of the same while applying for the Mains examination.

3. The candidates who have professional or technical degrees like BTech from a government recognized university or equivalent are also eligible for appearing in these examinations.

4. Those who have completed their MBBS or medical studies but have not yet completed their internship fulfil the IAS eligibility criteria. However, they need a certificate of completion of the professional MBBS degree at a later stage.

Age Limit

Age Limit in civil services is an essential factor of the eligibility criteria. Therefore candidates who want to apply for the UPSC Exam should check the details given below properly before filling the online application form.

1. The minimum age of the candidate to fulfil the IAS eligibility should be 21 years [must not be born after 1st August 1999].

2. The maximum age is 32 years for the general category [not born before 2nd August 1988]

3. However, there is age relaxation for the below candidates.

Categories Relaxation Upper Age limit after relaxation
SC/ST candidate 5 years 37
OBC 3 years 35
Defense service personnel 3 years 35
ECOs/SSCOs and ex-servicemen  including commissioned officers who have rendered services for at least 5 years 5 years 37
Blind, deaf or mute and orthopedically handicapped person 10 years 42

Number of Attempts

Due to the high difficulty level of this exam. Candidates are provided with the opportunity of multiple attempts if they don’t clear it in one go. The number of attempts depends on the category of the applicant. To make it easier for you we have provided the categories and the number of attempts each category is permitted to make. 

Categories Number of attempts
1. For General candidates 6 attempt
2. SC/ST candidates No limit
3. OBC candidates 9 attempts
4.  For physically handicapped candidates who belong to the General or OBC categories 9 attempts and those in SC/ST groups- No limit on attempts

Some Tricks for Clearing IAS Examination

Understanding the IAS eligibility parameters is just a needle in a haystack. The Civil service exam is one of the most coveted yet toughest exams to prepare for. Building a strong foundation in basic concepts and staying abreast with current affairs can help you clear the exam with flying colours. Below mentioned are a few tips which can help you prepare better for IAS exam:

  • There is negative marking involved in the prelims examination. Hence, it is not advised to randomly guess the answers.
  • Reading newspapers and current affairs magazines on a daily basis can be of great help.
  • There are some IAS books such as Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth, India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra and so on that are revered for UPSC preparation. You can take notes from such guides for important topics. 
  • Restrict yourself to only a few books and revise form them on a regular basis.
  • The editorial part of a reputed English newspaper should be read daily to enhance the knowledge base and improve English writing skills.
  • If eliminatory techniques are to be used during the examination, it has to be done very carefully and accuracy can come only with practice. Thus, solve as many mock papers as you can for both, prelims and mains and assess the mistakes you made. 


Who can apply for UPSC 2021?

The eligibility criteria for applying is given above in detail for the benefit of applicants.

Can I become IAS at 21?

Yes, the lower age limit is 21. You can become an IAS at 21 and if you do not crack it in the first go do not worry. You can have multiple attempts for fulfilling your dream.

Is 27 too late for UPSC?

Not at all. In fact 27-28 is the average age of applicants who clear the exams. At this age you have better chances of cracking UPSC exams due to increase in maturity level. So do not worry about it and go ahead. You can even try multiple times. Just don’t give up.

Can 12th pass apply for UPSC?

No, the minimum education qualification to apply for UPSC is at least Graduation from a recognized college. So you should first complete graduation and then apply for UPSC.

Does UPSC give more attempts in 2021?

Candidates who exhausted their last attempt in CSE 2020, will now have one more chance in UPSC 2021. The Central Government has decided to extend 1 more attempt to all those candidates who had given their last UPSC attempt in UPSC CSE 2020. This is due to the Covid pandemic and is only a one-time relaxation. This will not be extended to candidates who have not exhausted their permissible number of attempts or who are age-barred from taking the CSE.

How can I apply for IAS 2021?

The process for application is very simple. Register online on UPSC website. Fill the application form and provide the documents that are asked for. Pay the application fee and download your application form. That’s all you have to do to apply for IAS 2021.

We hope this blog regarding IAS eligibility criteria was helpful for you. Needless to say, with so many paths available after graduation, choosing the one that aligns with your professional goals can be tedious. But don’t worry. Reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu who will help you choose a suitable course and university and will provide assistance in completing all the application formalities!

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