- The candidate must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university to take the UPSC exam.
- Even those candidates who have written the final year exams of the qualifying exam (bachelor’s degree) and are awaiting results can apply. Also, candidates who would write the final exam are also eligible to apply for the IAS prelims exam. But, these candidates must produce proof of passing the exam while applying for the IAS mains exam.
- Candidates who have appeared at an examination the passing of which would render them educationally qualified for the Commission’s examination but have not been informed of the results ,will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination. All candidates who are declared qualified by the Commission for taking the Civil Services (Main) Examination will be required to produce proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination failing which such candidates will not be admitted to the Main Examination. The applications for the Main Examination are called sometime in the month of August/September.
- In exceptional cases the Union Public Service Commission may treat a candidate who has not any of the foregoing qualifications as a qualified candidate provided that he/she has passed examination conducted by the other Institutions, the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission justifies his/her admission to the examination.
- Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications which are recognised by Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.
- Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S. or any other Medical Examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the Examination provided they submit along with their application a copy of certificate from the concerned authority of the University/ Institution that they had passed the requisite final professional medical examination. In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce at the time of their interview original Degree or a certificate from the concerned competent authority of the University/Institution that they had completed all requirements (including completion of internship) for the award of the Degree.
- For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, a candidate must be a citizen of India.
- For other services, a candidate must be either:
- 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 with the intention of permanently settling in 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 with the intention of permanently settling in India.
- Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.
- Provided further that candidates belonging to categories (b), (c) and (d) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.
Note: A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination but the offer of appointment may be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate has been issued to him/her by the Government of India.
A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on the 1st of August of respective year. Necessary action to make corresponding changes in respective Rules/Regulations pertaining to various services is being taken separately.
The upper age limit prescribed above (of not having attained the age of 32 years as on 1st August) will be relaxed as in:
|For candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe||Upto a maximum of 5 years|
|For candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates||Upto a maximum of 3 years|
|In the case of Defence Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof||Upto a maximum of 3 years|
|In the case of ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/ SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service as on 1st August (of the year in which s/he is appearing for the Preliminary Examination) and have been released (i) on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1st August of the year in which he/she is appearing for the Preliminary Examination) otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or (ii) on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or (iii) on invalidment.||Upto a maximum of 5 years|
|In the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1st August of the year in which s/he is appearing for the Preliminary Examination and whose assignment has been extended beyond five years and in whose case the Ministry of Defence issues a certificate that they can apply for civil employment and that they will be released on three months’ notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment.||Upto a maximum of 5 years|
|For blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped candidates||Upto a maximum of 10 years|
Upper age limit is also calculated on the date Aug 1. This means if the candidate is appearing for 2020 prelims, he/she should be below the mentioned maximum limit by Aug 1, 2020. Upper age limit is fixed different for different categories, which is as given below.
- Upper age limit for General category: 32 years.
- Upper age limit for OBC: 35 years.
- Upper age limit for SC/ST: 37 Years.
- Upper age limit for Defense Services personnel disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof: 35 years.
- Upper age limit for Ex-servicemen including Commissioned Officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service: 37 years.
- Upper age limit for blind, deaf-mute and Orthopaedically handicapped persons (general category): 42 years.
Apart from the mentioned limits, OBC/ SC/ ST candidates will get the benefit of cumulative age relaxation. This means age relaxations gets added in special cases, say, for example, if the person is OBC + Ex-servicemen, he will get an extension of 3 + 5 = 8 years, ie his upper age limit now stands at 40 years.
A general category candidate has an age limit of 32 years, but that doesn’t mean that he can write this exam as many times as he wishes. There are some restrictions on the number of times this exam can be taken, which again is different for different categories.
- The number of attempts for IAS exam: General Category: 6 attempts till 32 years of age*
- The number of attempts for IAS exam: OBC: 9 attempts till 35 years of age.
- The number of attempts for IAS exam: SC/ST: unlimited attempts till 37 years of age.
* Physically Handicapped /disabled candidates belonging to General category will get the benefit of 9 attempts till the age prescribed by UPSC – 42 years.