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UPSC Eligibility Criteria 2024 – IAS Age Limit, Qualification, Nationality, Attempts

Topics Covered: UPSC Eligibility Criteria 2024: Nationality, Age Limit, Age Relaxations, Educational Qualification, Number of Attempts, Restrictions on Applying, and Medical & Physical Standards

The UPSC Civil Service examination is one of the most reputed and popular exams held in the country.   

As the factor of prestige is attached to the exam, lakhs of aspirants prepare for the exam with a dream of becoming a civil servant.  

But as the famous quote goes “To achieve great things, you must deserve before you desire”, and the truth of this statement applies when preparing for an exam like UPSC CSE.  

You see while hard work is a necessary aspect in the preparation for UPSC exam, just like other entrance exams, it is important for candidates to check their suitability for the exam in the first place.

Yes, you have guessed it right, I am talking about UPSC eligibility criteria.  

Having an in- depth knowledge about the eligibility requirements is the very initial step in the exam procedure as it will ensure no last-minute confusion during the application process for the exam.

There are many aspects that comprise the UPSC eligibility criteria which include minimum educational qualifications required to sit for the exam.

Aside from this, the UPSC eligibility also consists of age limit and total number of attempts with which you shall have an idea on the availability of time and total chances you are provided to give your best efforts for the exam.

Now, that I have talked about the significance of knowing about these factors, don’t you think the next step should be to proceed and learn about in detail?

Well, have no worries as I will discussing all the aspects related to UPSC eligibility criteria 2024 in a comprehensive and structured manner.

This shall help you give a clear picture and solve your all doubts whether you are suitable to appear for the UPSC CSE 2024 before you decide in your mind to prepare for the same.  

So, without further ado, let’s get started.  

Table of Content – UPSC Eligibility Criteria for IAS Exam

UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria
Age Limit21 to 32 years (must not have touched the 32nd year)
Age RelaxationOBC - 3 years
SC/ST - 5 years
PwBD - 10 years
Educational QualificationGraduation (Bachelor)
Number of AttemptsGeneral - 06
OBC & PwBD - 09
SC/ST - Unlimited
NationalityIndian Citizens Only

What is the UPSC Exam Eligibility Criteria 2024? 

The official notification for UPSC CSE 2024 has been released on 14th February 2024. The notification contains details related to UPSC eligibility criteria which includes age limit, educational qualifications and nationality.  

The UPSC Exam Eligibility provides the basis which needs to be fulfilled by a candidate to appear for the UPSC CSE exam 2024.    

Talking about the age limit for the UPSC exam, while the minimum age is 21 years, the maximum age is 32 years for candidates. 

Another aspect of UPSC eligibility comprises of required educational qualifications. You must have a bachelor’s degree (graduation) to be eligible to take the IAS exam. 

Apart from that, I will discuss further information, starting with the UPSC exam eligibility of Age Limit.   

The link to pdf providing the latest details of the updated IAS eligibility criteria is attached here. 

Exam Eligibility Criteria for UPSC CSE

UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Age Limit

The age limit is a crucial part for the UPSC exam eligibility requirements. According to the UPSC eligibility criteria 2024 as of 01st August 2024, the age limit for candidates belonging to different categories is as follows: 

  • Gen: The minimum age to apply is 21 years, while the maximum age is 32 years for the applicants.   
  • OBC: For candidates from this category, the age limit is 21 years to 35 years.  
  • SC/ST: The age limit for candidates from this category varies from 21 to 37 years.  
  • PwBD: The applicants belonging to this category, the minimal age limit is at 21 years and upper age limit is up to 42 years.   

To provide you an example, in order to apply for UPSC CSE 2023, the candidate must have been born not earlier than presumably 2nd August 1992 and not later than 1st August 2003.   

UPSC IAS Updated Age Limit Summary
CategoryMinimum AgeRelaxationMaximum Age
General21 YearsNo Relaxation32 Years
OBC21 Years32+3 Years35 Years
SC/ST21 Years32+5 Years37 Years
Physically disabled (Blind, Deaf-mute, Orthopedically handicapped)21 Years32+10 Years42 Years
Ex-serviceman discharged from duty due to disabilityGeneral: 21 Years32+3 Years35 Years
OBC: 21 Years32+3+3 Years38 Years
SC/ST: 21 Years32+3+5 Years40 Years
Ex-serviceman discharged after 5 years dutyGeneral: 21 Years32+5 Years37 Years
OBC: 21 Years32+5+3 Years40 Years
SC/ST: 21 Years32+5+5 Years42 Years
For the various categories of SC/ST/OBC/others, various age limit relaxations have been provided which we will look into in the subsequent section. 
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UPSC Age Limit Relaxations for ST/SC/OBC

  1. The candidates who belong to SC or ST category, there is an age relaxation of up to a maximum of 5 years.  
  2. For category from OBC category, the age relaxation is up to a maximum of 3 years.  
  3. In case you are Defence Services personnel and got disabled while in combat with a hostile foreign country or in a disturbed area and are released, an age relaxation of up to a maximum of 3 years is given.  
  4. For applicants who are an ex-serviceman, Commissioned Officer, or SSCO/ECO, having served 5 years in the Military and are released, there is an age relaxation of 5 years.  
      • This holds true for completion of service assignments, including the ones that are due to be completed within a year from the 1st of August 2024, other than the way of discharge or dismissal on account of inefficiency or misconduct, or on account of being physically disabled due to military service, or on being invalid.  
      • A 5-year relaxation is given if you are an ECO/SSCO having completed an initial assignment period of 5 years of military service as of the 1st of August 2024, but the assignment has been extended beyond the 5 years period.  
      • In such cases the Ministry of Defence issues certificates through which you can apply for civil employment. Through them, you can be released on a 3 months’ notice period in case of selection, from the date of receipt of the appointment offer.  
    1. In case you are a candidate from PwBD category, i.e., deaf-mute, or blind, or orthopedically handicapped person, relaxation up to a maximum of 10 years is granted.   

Special Case Scenarios

The UPSC has shared some special case scenarios for Age Limit Eligibility through its official notification (link provided below):  

    • If you belong to any of the categories of ST/SC/OBC and also under the category of ex-servicemen/blind/deaf-mute/orthopedically handicapped etc, you will be eligible for the grant of cumulative age relaxation under both the categories.  
    • For age relaxation on the basis of physical disability, you need to meet the physical and medical standards under the category of PwBD by the government. You need a certificate of disability issued by the govt. or a valid appointing authority.  
    • The term Ex – servicemen will apply to the person who are defined so by the Ex – servicemen (Re – employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.  

You can check the exam dates for UPSC 2024 by referring to the latest notification for UPSC CSE.

With that, the section of UPSC Age Limit 2024 comes to an end. Now, let’s move to another aspect of eligibility criteria, which is the UPSC Educational Qualification.  

UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Minimum Educational Qualification

The minimum UPSC educational qualification required for candidates to appear for the exam is to possess a graduation degree from a recognized university. 

ExamEducation Qualification
Civil Service Exam• You should have a bachelor’s degree certificate recognized by the govt or possess an equivalent qualification.

• In the case that you possess a professional or technical bachelor’s degree like BE or MBBS recognized by the govt, you’d be considered eligible to appear for the UPSC exam.

An important point to note here is that the bachelor’s degree of the candidate must be recognized from any university as follows: 

  • Incorporated by an Act of the State and Central Legislature of India,  
  • or any institute of education established by an Act of the Parliament of India,  
  • or one that is declared to be a deemed university under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act of 1956.   

If you want to cover the important topics for CSE syllabus, you can check the recommended books for UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains booklist.   

Regarding the eligibility criteria, there are some exceptions in the educational qualifications that the candidates must be aware of: 

Some Exceptions:

  1. Final year of your graduation –  
      • In case you are in your final year of college or are intending to appear for the final examination of your bachelor’s degree course, and are awaiting the results of the same, you are eligible to apply for the prelims exam of the CSE. 
      • In case you clear the UPSC prelims round and are planning to appear for the Mains exam, you’d need to produce the proof of your graduation by attaching your bachelor passing certificate to your application for the Mains exams.
  2. Graduation from other universitiesIn exceptional cases, the UPSC may allow you to appear for the IAS exams even if you do not have a graduation degree from the universities as listed above but have passed your final year exam from any other institute, the standard of which is approved by UPSC to appear for the CSE.
  3. Technical and Professional QualificationsIf you possess professional and technical qualifications which are recognized by the govt. as equivalent to professional and technical degree, you will be eligible for this exam.  
  4. Final exam of MBBS/ Medical courseIn case you have passed the final exam of your MBBS course or any other medical course but are yet to complete your internship, then:  
    • You will still be provisionally allowed to appear for UPSC Mains, if you submit a copy of the certificate from your university/institute of having passed the final medical exam along with your application.  
    • In this case, you need to possess an original degree or a certificate from your university attesting that you have completed what is needed (including the completion of internship) for the award of the degree during the Interview round.  

To know more about the nature of examination, you can take a look the UPSC previous year question papers 

That concludes this section, let’s move to the section on the number of attempts. 

UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Number of Attempts

For candidates belonging to different categories, the provision for number of attempts to sit for UPSC exam is as follows:

    • The candidates belonging to the general category are granted a maximum of 6 attempts.  
    • For the OBC candidates, a maximum of 9 attempts, & for the ST/SC candidates, an unlimited number of attempts.  
    • The maximum number of attempts for the category of PwBD General and OBC candidates is 9 attempts, whereas, for the ones from the ST/SC categories, the number of attempts is unlimited.  

To provide a better perspective, I have mentioned all the information about the number of attempts in the table below.

CategoryMaximum Age (should not have touched the age of:)
SC/STAs many as he/she can until upper age limit reached
Physically disabledGeneral: 9 attempts
(Blind, Deaf-mute, Orthopedically handicapped)OBC: 9
SC/ST: As many as he/she can until upper age limit reached
Ex-serviceman discharged from duty due to disabilityAs per categories mentioned above, i.e., Gen, OBC, SC/ST, Disabled
Ex-serviceman discharged after 5 years dutyAs per categories mentioned above, i.e., Gen, OBC, SC/ST, Disabled
Knowing more about trends in UPSC cutoff in last few years will help you assess the difficulty level of this exam.

UPSC IAS Exam Eligibility: Nationality

To appear for the UPSC IAS exams you need to be a citizen of India, for all other services, you must be either: 

  1. A citizen of India,
  2. Or a subject of Nepal,
  3. Or a subject of Bhutan,
  4. Or a refugee from Tibet that came to India before the 1st of January 1962 with the intention of settling in India permanently.
  5. Or an individual with Indian origin who has migrated from Burma, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, East African countries of Uganda, Zambia, Zaire, Kenya, the united republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia, & Vietnam, with the purpose of settling permanently in India.


  • If you belong to categories b), c), d), and e), then you’d need a certificate issued by the govt. of India to be eligible.  
  • Also belonging to the b), c), d), and e). Categories will bar you from being eligible to be appointed to the Indian Foreign Services. 

Note: In case that you need to produce an eligibility certificate from the govt., you shall be allowed to appear for the exam, but your appointment may only be granted when you have submitted the aforenoted eligibility certificate issued by the Indian Government.  

You can check the IAS Officer Salary to know details like allowances, salary structure and perks associated with the job.  

Let’s move on to the section on UPSC IAS Age Limit Criteria. 

UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Restrictions on Applying for the Examination

  1. If you are already appointed to the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) or Indian Foreign Services (IFS) on the result sheets of an earlier exam and also continue to be a member of any of the 2 services, then you will not be eligible to appear in the exams that particular year.
  2. If you are already appointed to the Indian Police Services (IPS) on the result sheets of an earlier exam and continue to be an IPS officer, then you will not be eligible to opt for the IPS in the exams for the particular year. 

You can also check the UPSC preparation page for Commerce & Management which I have provided to help you prepare for the exam effectively.  

UPSC IAS Eligibility Criteria: Medical and Physical Standards

You must make sure that you are physically fit and capable for the job as tasking as that of an IAS officer. For that, you’d need to match up to the physical standards for admission to Civil Services Examination, 2024.

These standards are decided on as per the guidelines given in Appendix-III of Rules for Examination published in the Gazette of India Extraordinary.


With this, we have come to the end of the page. I have provided a detailed explanation of UPSC eligibility criteria, which include educational qualifications so that you can check your suitability for the exam.

Along with this, I have also mentioned UPSC age limit and total number of attempts so that you are aware of the total time period with which you can prepare your best for the exam.

All the best and keep learning!!

CEO of Anujjindal.in

About Anuj Jindal


Anuj Jindal, the founder, is an ex-manager from SBI, with an M.Com from Delhi School of Economics. He also has a JRF in Commerce & Management and NET in HRM, along with more than 5 years of experience in the field of Education.

UPSC CSE – Related Resources

FAQs: UPSC Eligibility Criteria for IAS Exam

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    How many attempts can I give for the UPSC exam?

    The total number of attempts is allotted to candidates based on different categories which are as follows: 

    • Candidates belonging to the General category can appear for a maximum of 6 attempts.   
    • The maximum number of attempts for candidates from OBC category is 9,   
    • For candidates from SC/ST/ PWD category there is no limit on the number of attempts till their respective upper age limits.   
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    What are the UPSC Educational Qualification Requirements?

    To be eligible for the IAS exam, a candidate needs to have a graduation degree from any stream. The degree accorded should be of a university recognized by the Government of India as a legitimate university. 

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    What is the Age Limit for UPSC General category candidates?

    For candidates belonging to General Category, the age limit for UPSC CSE for is specified as follows: 

    • The lower age limit is 21 years.  
    • The upper age limit is 32 years.  

    An important point to note here is there are no age relaxation granted for candidates from General Category.  

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    Are there any age relaxations in UPSC for female candidates? 

    No, for UPSC exam, the female candidates are not granted any kind of age relaxation. However, women are exempted from exam fee in the application process.  

    If you want to know about the age relaxation criteria of the UPSC, you can check it out in the article I have written above. 

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    What is the age limit for UPSC Civil Services Exam? 

    Talking about UPSC exam eligibility, the applicants are required to meet the following criteria: 

    • The minimum age limit required to appear for the IAS is 21 years for candidates of all categories. Whereas the maximum age limit for candidates belonging to different categories is specified as follows: 
    • The upper age limit for candidates from General category is 32 years 
    • The maximum age for candidates from OBC category is 35 years 
    • The age limit for SC/ST category candidates is 37 years.  
    • Whereas the uppermost from candidates from  PwBD category is 42 years.  


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    Is there any reservation for ex-servicemen in the Civil Services Exam? 
    • Yes, there are reservations for ex-servicemen in the Civil Services Exam. As per the UPSC exam eligibility, the upper age limits of ex-servicemen are extended by a few years.   
    • The maximum UPSC age limit criteria for ex-servicemen have been divided between two different categories of ex-servicemen.  
    • The first being “Ex-serviceman discharged from duty due to disability” and the other being, “Ex-serviceman discharged after 5 years duty”. 
    • For category of “Ex-serviceman discharged from duty due to disability”, the upper age limit for General candidates is 35 years, for OBC, it is 38 years, and for SC/ST, it is 40 years.  
    • For category of “Ex-serviceman discharged after 5 years duty”, the upper age limit for General candidates is 37 years, for OBC, it is 40 years, and for SC/ST, it is 42 years. 
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    Is a diploma holder eligible for UPSC? 

    No, a diploma holder is not eligible to appear for the UPSC Civil services exam, as the UPSC candidates must have at least a graduation degree before applying for the exam.  

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    Can 12th passed students apply for the UPSC recruitment? 

    No. It is not possible for a 12th passed student to apply for the IAS exam, as the minimum UPSC qualification for educational requirements is of being a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from a government-recognized university.  

     You can take a look at the process of the UPSC apply online. 

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    Is there a minimum percentage required in graduation for the IAS exam?
    No, there is no minimum percentage needed to score in your graduation as you only require a Bachelor’s degree from a government recognized university. It includes any technical or professional degree recognized by the government like B.Tech, BE or MBBS.

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