UPSC Eligibility Criteria 2020 - Education, Age limit, Attempts

UPSC Eligibility Criteria 2020 - UPSC conducts civil services exam to recruit candidates for elite government services IAS, IPS, IFS and IRS services. The minimum educational eligibility to apply for the IAS exam is a bachelor's degree. The age limit eligibility is 21 years lower limit and 32-year upper limit. 

In this article, we have curated the detailed UPSC eligibility criteria that the candidates must fulfil to be eligile for the exam. 

IAS Eligibility 2020 - Overview

IAS exam age limitations

Minimum Age - 21 years

Maximum Age - 32 years

IAS exam educational qualifications

Graduation from the recognised University

IAS exam attempts details

6 attempts in General

Nationality for IAS exam

Indian Citizens

Age relaxations for IAS exam

Relaxations are provided based on category and services

 Read More: IAS Exam Pattern

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IAS Eligibility 2020- Minimum Education Qualification

To appear for the civil services exam, UPSC has set some minimum eligibility criteria to apply for the IAS exam. Candidates who wish to become IAS officers must hold an undergraduate degree from a recognized university that is incorporated by an Act of Parliament or which is to be declared as a Deemed University by the University Grants Commission (UGC) or he/she must possess an equivalent qualification for IAS Exam. 

But there are few circumstances and exemptions under which candidates will be eligible to apply for IAS exam:

  1. If you are a candidate waiting for the final year result or studying the final year of college, you are still eligible to apply for the IAS exam but you need to submit the degree at the time of appearing IAS mains exam.
  2. Candidates who have professional and technical degrees as recognized by the Indian Government are also eligible for the IAS exam.
  3. UPSC will provisionally allow candidates with MBBS degree or candidates who have qualified other medical courses but not completed their internship. Candidates need to submit a certificate from the respective university or college at the time of Online submission of IAS application.
UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria

IAS Eligibility - Age Criteria

UPSC has set the age limit to apply for the civil services exam. The minimum age criteria to apply for the IAS exam is 21 years and the maximum (upper age limit) is 32 years. The age limit criteria for IAS 2020 exam is that candidates must not be born earlier than 02nd August 1988 and not later than 01st August 1999.

Some relaxations have been given to candidates belonging to certain reserved categories as mentioned below: 


Upper Age Limit

Number of Attempts


32 years



35 years 



37 years

Till the age limit


37 years

Till the age limit

PH Candidates

42 years

For General & OBC 9 attempts

J&K Residence

General - 37 years 

OBC - 40 years 

SC/ST - 42 years 

PH - 50 years

Till the age limit

Disabled servicemen discharged from duty

(3 years relaxation)

General - 35 years

OBC - 38 years

SC / ST - 40 years

General - 6

OBC - 9

SC / ST - Till age limit

Ex-serviceman with five years duty (5 years of relaxation)

General - 37 years

OBC - 40 years

SC / ST - 42 years

General - 6

OBC - 9

SC / ST - Till age limit


  1. Candidates belonging to SC / ST category will be given maximum age relaxation of five years. 
  2. Candidates from Other Backward Classes (OBC) category shall be given relaxation of upto three years. 
  3. Candidates domiciled in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) during the period of January 01, 1981 to December 31, 1990 will be given relaxation of upto five years. 
  4. Relaxation of maximum of three 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, will be given. 
  5. Five years age relaxation is provided to the Candidates belonging to ex- servicemen including Commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered Military services for at least five years as on August 01, 2018 and have been released 
  • on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from August 01, 2018 otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency or 
  • on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service or 
  • on invalidment or 
  • Relaxation of up to a maximum of five years will be given in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service as on August 01, 2018 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.

Read More: IAS Exam Notification

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UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility - Nationality

For All India Services (IAS and IPS), the candidate must be a citizen of India.

For Other Services like IRS, IAAS, IRTS etc., the candidate must be either

  1. a Citizen of India, or
  2. a Citizen of Nepal, or
  3. a Subject of Bhutan, or
  4. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  5. 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 or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Note 1: Provided that a candidate belongs to categories (2), (3), (4) or (5), he/she must have a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India.

Note 2: Further, candidates belonging to categories (2), (3) or (4) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service.

Note 3: 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.

Candidates applying for the Civil Service examination should ensure that they fulfil all eligibility conditions and criteria for admission to the examination. Their admission to all the stages of the examination will be purely provisional subject to satisfying the prescribed eligibility conditions. The issuance of admission certificate to the candidate will not imply that his/her candidature has been finally cleared by the UPSC. UPSC takes up verification of eligibility conditions with reference to original documents only after the candidate has qualified for Interview/ Personality Test.

Read More: IAS Exam Syllabus

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IAS Eligibility - Physical Standards

For candidates willing to opt for IPS, they have to undergo a strict physical standards test in order to qualify for the service.

The details of the physical criteria are as given below - 

  • Height: A minimum height of 165 cm for men and 150 cm for women. The minimum height is relaxable to 160 and 145 cm for men and women respectively in the case of candidates belonging to ST and to races such as Gorkhas, Garhwalis, Assamese, Kumaonis, Nagaland Tribals, etc.
  • Chest: The minimum chest girth, fully expanded: 84 cm for men and 79 cm for women. Expansion of 5 cm for both men and women
  • Eyesight: A distant vision of 6/2 or 6/ 9 for worse eye and 6/6 or 6/9 vision for good eye. Near vision of J2 for worse eye and J1 for good eye. No inherent night blindness & stereoscopic vision
  • Hearing: Good listening and normal ear cavity; 1000-4000 frequency hearing impairment should not be more than 30 decibels
  • Nasal: candidate should not stutter while speaking
  • Ladies should not be pregnant at the time of the medical test

Non-Eligible candidates for IAS Exam

In the UPSC civil services exam, there are several cases where candidates will not be eligible to apply for IAS exam. Here we have listed a few of the occasions where candidates are not eligible for IAS exam.

  • A candidate who has been appointed as IAS Officer / IFS officer from the earlier examinations conducted by UPSC will not be eligible to apply for IAS exam.
  • If such is the case then candidates will be appointed to the IAS/IFS after the conduction of IAS Prelims. Candidate of such case will continue to be a member of that service and he/she shall not be eligible to appear in IAS Main exam. 
  • If a candidate is appointed to IAS or IFS after he/she sits for IAS Main before the announcement of IAS Exam Result thereof and continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall not be eligible for appointment to any service on the basis of IAS Result.

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UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility Criteria FAQs

Q. What is the age limit for UPSC IAS Exam?

A. The upper age limit for UPSC IAS exam is 32 years. But UPSC has provided some relaxation to OBC, SC, ST and PH categories

Q. How many attempts are there for the UPSC IAS Exam?

A. In civil services exam, UPSC has provided 6 attempts to appear for IAS exam. There are few exemptions for OBC, SC, ST and PH candidates.

Q. What is the minimum percentage of marks required in graduation to apply for IAS Exam

A. There is no minimum percentage of marks set by UPSC. Candidates should hold a valid degree from a recognised university.

Q. Can 10th / 12th pass candidates appear for IAS exam?

A. No. 10th / 12 pass is not the minimum qualification for IAS exam. The minimum qualification is degree.

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