Indian Foreign Service Exam: Eligibility, Dates for IFS Exam

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Indian Foreign Service Exam

Indian Foreign Service Exam: IFS is one of the most preferred and demanding services in the country. Candidates who want to become an IFS officer need to pass the Civil Services Exam which is the toughest exam conducted by the UPSC. IFS officers deal with cultural relations, diplomacy, and external affairs related to the country.

Candidates who will pass the UPSC CSE exam can select IAS, IPS, IRS, and IFS according to their rank. An IFS officer represents the country internationally and also deals with the country’s external affairs. In this blog, we have mentioned all the details about Indian Foreign Service.

Exam NameUPSC Civil Services Exam
UPSC CSE Mains Exam date15 to 24 Sept 2023
Conducted ByUPSC
Training CentreSushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi
Official Website

Indian Foreign Service Exam Dates

The exam date of the Indian Foreign Service Prelims is released by the conducting body. As mentioned earlier, UPSC CSE exam is the only exam for selecting candidates for IAS, IFS, IRS and more. Interested candidates who have applied 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.
EventsDates (2023)
Notification Date1 February 2023
Application Start Date1 February 2023
Application Last Date21 February 2023
Exam Date- Prelims28 May 2023
Exam Date – Mains15 to 24 September 2023

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.

PaperNo. of QuestionsDurationTotal Marks
General Studies I1002 hours200 (+2 marks per question)
General Studies II(CSAT)802 hours200 (+2.5 marks per 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 SubjectDurationNatureTotal Marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian Language3 hoursQualifying (25% Marks required)300
Paper BEnglish3 hours300
Essay3 hoursMerit Ranking in Nature250
Paper 1General Studies I3 hours250
Paper 2General Studies II3 hours250
Paper 3General Studies III3 hours250
Paper 4General Studies IV3 hours250
Paper 5Optional I3 hours250
Paper 6Optional II3 hours250

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:

IFS Prelims General Studies Paper 1
IFS Prelims General Studies Paper 2 (CSAT)
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skillsDecision-making and problem-solvingBasic numeracy (Class X level)Comprehension; Logical reasoning and analytical ability; General mental ability;Data interpretation
IFS Mains
  • Indian LanguageComprehension of given passagesPrecis WritingUsage and VocabularyShort EssaysShort EssaysIndian Foreign Service Syllabus for Essay
IFS Mains General Studies I to IV
  • Indian Art and CultureGeography and Indian Society.PolityGovernancePolitical Science and International Relations
IFS Mains Optional Paper I and IICandidates 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 bachelors/masters 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.

Age Limit

The minimum age limit to sit for the Indian Foreign Service exam is 21 years. However, maximum age limit for this can varry for different category.

  • 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.

IFS Results 2023

The IFS final result 2023 will be released in three stages that are prelims, mains and interview. It is expected to be out soon along with the cadre allocation list and ranks. The result PDF comprises the roll numbers of the candidates selected for the exam. Candidates can check the result on the official website of UPSC.

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.


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.

What is the full form of IFS?

The full form of IFS is Indian Foreign Services.

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.

How to become IFS officer?

To be a decorated officer in Indian Foreign Service, candidates need to pass the civil service exam conducted by UPSC.

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. For info related to government job exams, visit Indian exam page.

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