Indian Foreign Service Exam 2023: Eligibility, Important Dates, Exam Pattern

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Indian Foreign Service Exam

The Indian Foreign Service or IFS is one of the best services in the UPSC exam other than IAS, IPS and IRS. An IFS officer represents the country internationally and also deals with the country’s external affairs. The Indian Foreign Service exam is conducted by the UPSC each year as Civil Services Examination. The candidates who will qualify for the Civil Service exam will get the IFS cadre according to rank. The candidates who have a dream and want to give the Indian Foreign Service exam then the article will cover every detail about the Indian Foreign Service examination.

Particulars Details
Exam Name Indian Foreign Service
Exam Short Name IFS
Conducted By UPSC
Training Centre Sushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi
Official Website

Indian Foreign Service Important Dates

The exam date of the Indian Foreign Service Prelims is released by the conducting body. The exam will be conducted on the 28th of May 2023. Interested candidates who will be applying for the examination must check the dates below as the exam will be conducted in two shifts which are as follows:

Shift 1: General Studies Paper-1: 9:30 A.M to 11:30 A.M.

Shift 2: General Studies Paper-2 (CSAT): 02:30 P.M. to 04:30 P.M.

Events Dates (2023)
Notification Date 1 February 2023
Application Start Date 1 February 2023
Application Last Date 21 February 2023
Exam Date- Prelims 28 May 2023
Exam Date – Mains 15 September 2023 onwards

Must Read: IFS Exam Pattern (IFos)

Indian Foreign Service Exam Pattern

The candidates who are appearing for the IFS exam must know the pattern. To know a deep understanding of the IFS Exam Pattern 2023 candidates may check the below-mentioned table:

IFS Prelims

The IFS Prelims consist of two papers which are MCQ based. The General Studies-1 paper is considered for the cutoff, while the CSAT paper is the only qualifying paper where candidates need to secure at least 33% to pass.

Paper No. of Questions Type Duration Total Marks Negative Marks
General Studies I 100 Objective 2 hours 200 (+2 marks per question) Yes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)
General Studies II(CSAT) 80 Objective 2 hours 200 (+2.5 marks per question) Yes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)

IFS Mains

The Indian Foreign Service exam pattern for Mains includes 9 papers in total. In the below-mentioned table, the candidates will get to know the complete exam pattern for the IFS Mains:

Paper  Subject Duration Nature Total Marks
Paper A Compulsory Indian Language 3 hours Qualifying (25% Marks required) 300
Paper B English 3 hours 300
Essay 3 hours Merit Ranking in Nature 250
Paper 1 General Studies I 3 hours 250
Paper 2 General Studies II 3 hours 250
Paper 3 General Studies III 3 hours 250
Paper 4 General Studies IV 3 hours 250
Paper 5 Optional I 3 hours 250
Paper 6 Optional II 3 hours 250

IFS Interview

The candidates who cleared the Mains exam have to appear for the final round which is the Interview round. The candidates appearing for the interview must prepare a Detailed Application Form or DAF. The second part of the Indian Foreign Service interview consists of questions which will be based on the candidate’s service preference. For IFS, questions may generally arise from recent international events, International Organizations, India’s stand on recent issues on the global level, etc.

Also read: How to Become an IFS Officer?

Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus

The students who are preparing for the Indian Foreign Services must know the exam syllabus as it will give an idea of the topics that are required to be covered while preparing for the exam. The syllabus of Indian Foreign Service 2023 is mentioned in the below table:

Exams Syllabus
IFS Prelims General Studies Paper 1 History of India and Indian National Movement.Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights, Issues, etc.General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change, that do not require subject specialization.Current events of national and international importance.Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, and Economic Geography of India and the World.Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.General Science
IFS Prelims General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT) Interpersonal skills, including communication skills; Decision-making and problem-solving; Basic numeracy (Class X level), Comprehension; Logical reasoning and analytical ability; General mental ability; Data interpretation
IFS Mains Indian Language: Comprehension of given passages, Precis Writing, Usage and Vocabulary, Short Essays, Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versaEnglish: Comprehension of given passages, Precis Writing, Usage and Vocabulary, Short EssaysIndian Foreign Service Syllabus for Essay: Candidates are required to write essays on a total of two topics, selecting one from each section.
IFS Mains General Studies I to IV The GS Paper 1 includes History, Indian Art and Culture, Geography, and Indian Society. The GS Paper 2 includes Polity, Governance, IR, and more, Political Science and International Relations UPSC Syllabus. The GS Paper 3 includes Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management. The GS Paper 3 can be easily covered through Current Affairs and the economic development part through the Economy Notes for UPSC.
IFS Mains Optional Paper I and II Candidates can choose any optional subject from the list of Optional Subjects for UPSC. The UPSC has 48 optional subjects

Indian Foreign Service Exam Eligibility Criteria

The candidates who are applying for the Indian Foreign Service exam must know that before applying for the exam they have to go through certain eligibility criteria. Below mentioned are the eligibility criteria for the IFS exam:


The nationality of a candidate must be either of the following:

  • The candidate must be a citizen of India
  • The candidate must be a subject of Bhutan
  • The candidate must be a Tibetan refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, for permanent settlement in India.
  • The candidate must be a subject of Nepal.
  • The candidates must be a migrant from any of the following countries for permanently settling in India: Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam.

Educational Qualifications

  • Candidate must have a degree from any of the recognised universities or must have an equivalent qualification.

Number of Attempts

  • Every candidate appearing at the examination, who is otherwise eligible, must be permitted six attempts at the examination.
  • The number of attempts permissible to candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC) who are otherwise eligible shall be nine.
  • A person with a benchmark disability belonging to the General and EWS Category shall be eligible for nine attempts.

Indian Foreign Service Exam Age Limit

The age of the candidates must be from the 1st of August of the year in which the exam is conducted. The minimum age limit to sit for the Indian Foreign Service exam is 21 years. Even the upper age for the IFS Exam is calculated as of 1st August.

  • For the EWS category, the minimum age is 21 years and the maximum age is 32 years
  • For SC/ST the minimum age is 21 years and the maximum age is 37 years.
  • For the General category, the minimum age is 21 years and the maximum age is 32 years.
  • For the OBC category, the minimum age is 21 years and the maximum age is 37 years.

Indian Foreign Service Exam Application Process

UPSC releases the Indian Foreign Service Exam application form every year, and the eligible candidates can fill up the application form on the official website of UPSC. To apply, the candidate must fill out the UPSC Online Application before the last date. Below mentioned are the steps to fill out the application form:

  • Visit the official website
  • Then the homepage will appear
  • Click on the Examination Tab and select ‘Active Examination’
  • Then click on Apply button.
  • Fill in all the details asked in the application form
  • Then upload the latest photograph and signature.
  • Then before submitting the application check the application form.
  • Click on the Submit button.

Application Fees

Candidates are required to pay the fees of INR 100/- either by cancelling the money in any Branch of the State Bank of India or by using a Credit/Debit Card or by using Internet Banking of SBI. Female/SC/ST/Persons with Benchmark Disability candidates are free from making the payment of the application form. Applicants who choose the “Pay by Cash” mode should print the system-generated Pay-in-slip during part II registration and deposit the fee at the counter of the SBI Branch on the next working day only.

Indian Foreign Service Exam Results

The IFS final result 2023 is expected to be out anytime soon along with the cadre allocation list and ranks. The result PDF comprises the roll numbers of the candidates selected for the exam.

Indian Foreign Service Training

After the selection for Indian Foreign Services through the UPSC exam the Officer Trainees undergo a comprehensive training program intended to give them diplomatic knowledge, qualities, and skills. The probationers commence their training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussourie, and thereafter they join the Sushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi.


Q1- What is the date of the IFS exam in 2023?

The Indian Foreign Service exam date 2023 is 28 May 2023, for the preliminary stage, and those who are able to clear the Prelims appear for the next stage, i.e. Mains. The Mains exam will begin from 15 September 2023 onwards.

Q2- What is the full form of IFS?

The full form of IFS is Indian Foreign Services.

Q3- Who conducts the Indian Foreign Service Exam?

The Indian Foreign Service Exam is conducted by Union Public Service Examination. UPSC conducts a common Civil Services Examination to hire 24 different Civil Services, including the Indian Foreign Service.

The blog has covered all the details of the Indian Foreign Service Exam. For more such updates keep an eye on the official website of Leverage Edu, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter for up-to-date information. For info related to government job exams, visit Indian exam page.

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