What is the Eligibility for UPSC Exam?

We totally understand your excitement to become a part of India’s elite bureaucracy! The first thing you need to check before applying for the IAS exam is UPSC eligibility criteria. The UPSC eligibility criteria are mentioned in the official notification released by the UPSC. The official calendar for the exam has already been released. The notification for UPSC Exam 2021 will be released in February 2021 that will contain the details about the eligibility criteria for UPSC.

However, on the basis of previous years’ notification, we have discussed the UPSC Exam Eligibility 2021 below for your convenience. The UPSC Exam eligibility 2021 is set on different parameters including nationality, educational qualification, age, nationality, etc, all of which are discussed in this article.

UPSC Exam Eligibility

You need to qualify the below parameters to be eligible for the UPSC Civil Services Exam:

IAS Age Limit 21 to 32 years
Age relaxation As per category (mentioned below)
Educational qualification for UPSC Civil Services Graduation from any recognized university
Nationality Indian

Following points should be kept in mind while appearing for IAS Exam 2020:

UPSC Eligiblity – Age Limit

UPSC has a fixed number of attempts and eligibility criteria with respect to age for the UPSC examination. Here’s the list of category-wise age limit and the number of attempts:

Category Upper Age Limit for UPSC Maximum Number of Attempts
General 32 6
Economically Weaker Section (EWS) 32 6
OBC 35 9
SC/ST 37 Unlimited (Up to age limit)
Defence Services Personnel 35 9
Persons with Benchmark Disability 35 9

It is important to note that an attempt is counted when you appear for the Prelims examination. Hence, if you’ve filled the examination form and not appear for the exam, your attempt will not be counted.

UPSC Eligibility – Educational Qualification

The eligibility conditions for UPSC exam with respect to educational qualification is given below :

  • The candidate must hold a graduation degree from a government-recognized university.
  • Candidates who are in their final year or awaiting results are also eligible to appear for UPSC preliminary Examination.

UPSC Eligibility Criteria – Nationality

For IAS and IPS:

  • Candidate must be a citizen of India

All other Services:

Candidate must be either:-

    • A citizen of India, or
      A subject of Nepal, or
      A subject of Bhutan, or
      A Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
      A person of Indian origin (PIO) who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zaire and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
    • The candidates belonging to categories (2), (3), (4) and (5) should furnish a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India. Such candidates may take the exam before getting the said certificate of eligibility, but he/she would get the offer of appointment only after the certificate has been issued by the Government of India.

Note: A person belonging to categories (2), (3) and (4) are not eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service (IFS).

So, here is a brief overview of the UPSC Eligibility Criteria. If you’ve any queries regarding the same, you can get in touch with our expert counselors.

UPSC Exam Eligibility Related Faq’s:

Q: Can I give UPSC exam after 12th?

Ans: No, you are not eligible for UPSC exam after 12th. The minimum educational qualification required to take on the IAS exam is graduation. You have to have a degree from a recognized university to attempt the IAS exam conducted by the UPSC every year.

Q: When can I apply for UPSC exam?

Ans: The Civil Services Examination (CSE) notification will be released on February 12, 2020. Candidates can apply online until March 3, 2020. The preliminary exam will be held on May 31 and Main exam in the month of September.

Q: How many attempts are there for IAS?

Ans: UPSC allows only 6 attempts for general category candidates till 32 years of age, nine attempts for OBC candidates till 35 years of age, and unlimited attempts for SC ST candidates till 37 years of age.

Q: How to Apply for UPSC IAS 2020 Exam?

For your ease we have listed down step by step process and some relevant information needed while filling the application form. Let’s look at the Application Process for UPSC IAS 2020 Exam:

Step-1: Go to the Official Website of UPSC

The submission of application will be online only through the official website of UPSC – http://www.upsconline.nic.in

Note: All IAS aspirants have to register separately for IAS Prelims and IAS Mains. Application for IAS Prelims will not be considered for IAS Mains.

Step-2: Part-I Registration

Fill in your Personal details like Name, Gender, Category, and Nationality, etc., your Educational Qualification, Present Address, Photo ID Proof Details and Civil Services (Main) Examination Details.


  • Star marked fields are essentially to be filled by the candidate.
  • Candidates should note that No change will be allowed in the Specific Details like the Center of Examination, Optional Subjects, Medium of Examination, Compulsory Indian Language for Civil Services (Main) Examination and in the Specific Details like the Center of Examination and Optional Subjects for Indian Forest Service (Main) Examination once submitted. Hence, you are advised to be careful while filling these details.

Candidates need to confirm whether they are claiming age relaxation:

Q: Which is the highest post in UPSC?

Ans: Chief Secretary is the highest post in IAS. The highest post in the State is that of the Chief Secretary. At the top of the hierarchy of IAS officers is the Cabinet Secretary in the union government.

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