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UPSC Age Limit and UPSC Eligibility for IAS Exam

UPSC Notification 2021 Download

i) UPSC Age limit

The age limit for UPSC applies equally to all the services for which the UPSC selects candidates. The eligibility of nationality and educational qualifications are the same for all students. However the number of attempts and age limits vary. The diagram below shows clearly the UPSC exam age limit for different communities based on age limit and the number of attempts within that age limit. For Physical abilities the eligibility varies from service to service. Please visit our UPSC jobs page to see details of service on pages dedicated to them.

A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 32 years on 1st August of the year of examination if he is a general category student / aspirant. The upper age limit for IAS as well as all other services as explained in diagram above is relaxed for OBC, SC, ST and other categories of aspirants. The age limit for UPSC has been very well explained in the video below. Watch it to get a clear understanding of the age limit for OBC and other categories. The IAS age limit for female is the same as male. There is no discrimination based on gender.

IAS Academy Bangalore

UPSC Age Limit Explained

UPSC age limit relaxation for OBC SC/ST

  1. Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste (SC) or a Scheduled Tribe (ST).
  2. Up to a maximum of three years in the case of candidates belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC) who are eligible to avail of reservation applicable to such candidates.
  3. Up to a maximum of five years if a candidate had ordinarily been domiciled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to the 31st December, 1989.
  4. Up to a 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.
  5. Up to a maximum of five 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 and must have been released.
  6. On completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year from 1st August) 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 invalid.
  7. Up to a maximum of five years in the case of ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years Military Service as on 1st August 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.
  8. Up to a maximum of 10 years in the case of blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped persons.

UPSC gives cumulative age-relaxation for age limit

Candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes who are also covered under any other clauses of para 3(ii) (b) above, viz. those coming under the category of Ex-servicemen, persons domiciled in the State of J & K, blind, deaf-mute and orthopedically handicapped etc. will be eligible for grant of cumulative age-relaxation under both the categories.

The term ex-servicemen will apply to the persons who are defined as ex-servicemen in the Ex-servicemen (Re-employment in Civil Services and Posts) Rules, 1979, as amended from time to time.

The age concession under para 3(ii) (b) (v) and (vi) will not be admissible to Ex-Servicemen and Commissioned Officers including ECOs/SSCOs who are released on own request.

Notwithstanding the provision of age-relaxation under para 3 (ii) (b) (vii) above, a physically disabled candidate will be considered to be eligible for appointment only if he/she (after such physical examination as the Government or appointing authority, as the case may be, may prescribe) is found to satisfy the requirements of physical and medical standards for the concerned Services/posts to be allocated to the physically disabled candidates by the Government.

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ii) Number of Attempts within Age Limit

The UPSC has raised the upper age limit and number of attempts of applicants of the Civil Service Examination with effect from 2015. The upper age limit will be 32 years for the unreserved (general) category with 6 attempts. It will be 35 years for OBC candidates with 9 attempts; and will be 37 years for SC/ST candidates with unlimited number of attempts. For physically handicapped candidates the age limit is 42, 45 and 47 years for General, OBC and SC/ST category respectively while the number of attempts is 9 for General and OBC and unlimited for SC/SC category.

UPSC age limit & Attempts in Tabular Format

Category Maximum Age No. of Attempts
General 32 6
OBC 32+3=35 9
SC/ST 32+5=37 As many as upto age limt
Physically disabled
(Blind, Deaf-mute, Orthopedic)
32+10=42 if general then 9
OBC then 9
SC/ST- then upto age limt
J&K domicile if general then 32+5=37
OBC then 32+5+3=40
SC/ST then 32+5+5=42
PH then 32+5+10=50
depending on above categories viz.Gen, OBC, SC/ST, Disabled
Disabled serviceman discharged from duty if general then 32+3=35
OBC then 32+3+3=38
SC/ST then 32+3+5=40
Ex-serviceman with five years duty* specific condition on page2 of notification if general then 32+5=37
OBC then 32+5+3=40
SC/ST then 32+5+5=42

iii) UPSC Eligibility - Academic

  1. The candidate must hold a PASS BACHELOR'S degree from any of the Universities incorporated by an Act of the Central or State Legislature in India or other educational institutions established by an Act of Parliament or declared to be deemed as a University, under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
  2. Candidates who have appeared or intend to appear for the final examination and are awaiting results are also eligible to apply for the Preliminary Examination.
  3. All such candidates who qualify the Prelims examination must produce a proof of Pass Bachelor Degree to appear for the Civil Services Main Examination. This Degree has to be attached with their application for the Main Examinations.
  4. The UPSC may in exceptional cases treat a candidate without the foregoing requisite qualification as an eligible candidate if he / she have passed an examination conducted by other institutions, the standard of which justifies his / her admission in the opinion of the Commission. The criteria may apply to candidates having bachelor's degree from any reputed foreign university for example Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard etc.
  5. Candidates with professional and technical bachelor's degrees that are recognised by the Government are also eligible to apply example MBBS, BE etc.
  6. Candidates who have passed the final year of MBBS but are yet to complete the internship can also appear for the Main Examination. However, they must submit a certificate from the concerned authority of the University / Institution that they have passed the final professional medical examination along with their Main Examination application. At the Interview stage they must produce a certificate from a competent authority that they have completed (including internship) and all the requirements for the award of the Medical Degree.

iv) Restrictions on applying for IAS exam given by UPSC:

A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) on the results of an earlier examination is NOT eligible to take this examination again. In case such a candidate is appointed to the IAS/IFS after the Preliminary Examination of Civil Services Examination, is over and he/she continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall NOT be eligible to appear in the Civil Services (Mains) Examination, notwithstanding his/her having qualified in the Preliminary Examination. Also provided that if such a candidate is appointed to IAS/IFS after the commencement of the Civil Services (Main) Examination but before the result thereof and continues to be a member of that service, he/she shall NOT be considered for appointment to any service/post on the basis of the result of this examination viz. Civil Services Examination.

v) Restrictions Relaxed on applying for the IAS exam:

The candidates who are appointed to other services barring the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) on the results of an earlier examination are eligible to take this examination again.

vi) Other Eligibility Criteria:


  1. The candidate must be a citizen of India to be eligible for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS), for other services, a candidate must be either:
  2. a citizen of India,
  3. or a subject of Nepal,
  4. or a subject of Bhutan,
  5. or a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India,
  6. 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 (c), (d), (e) and (f) 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 (c), (d) (e) and (f) above will not be eligible for appointment to the Indian Foreign Service

Creamy layer in OBC:

Creamy layer is referred to the relatively forward and better-educated members of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) defined by their economic condition. Those earning more than Rs.8 lakhs per annum as a family, must appear for the UPSC exam as a general category applicant availing neither reservations nor age limit relaxations.

Apart from the economic criteria there are others who may not avail of the advantages as an OBC

  • Certain castes that come under BC and MBC.
  • Parents employed under Group A services like IPS, IAS, and IFS.
  • Parents working under Group B and C of the Central Government and,
  • Parents working under Group 1 of the State Government.
[Download PDF] FAQS for OBC Candidates

Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)

10% reservation under Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category is available for those persons who are not covered under the existing scheme of reservations for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the socially and Educationally Backward Classes.  No relaxation in age, number of attempts, fees etc. is available to them.

Eligibility for reservation under EWS?
  • A ‘general’ candidate not covered under reservation for SC, ST or OBC.
  • Family’s gross annual income should be below Rs. 8 lakhs for the previous financial year.
  • The family that includes parents and siblings or spouses below 18 years of age, should not own agricultural land of size 5 acres or above.
  • The family should also not own a residential flat of area 1000 square feet or above.
  • Nor should the family own a residential plot
    • In notified municipalities - of area 100 square yards or more
    • In other than in notified municipalities of area 200 square yards or more.

Note: A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary is eligible to take the examination but the offer of appointment may be given to only those candidates who have submitted the necessary eligibility certificate issued to him/her by the Government of India.

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

  1. What are the Job Prospects and Remuneration?
  2. Application Procedure
  3. UPSC Exams Centers
  4. Procedure of the Civil Services Examination
  5. Eligibility - Academic, Age limit and Nationality
  6. What are the Number of Attempts one can take?
  7. About Preliminary Examination
  8. About Mains Examination Syllabus
  9. UPSC Interview
  10. What are the Cut-Off Marks?
  11. How To Prepare For Prelims
  12. Strategy for General Studies Preliminary Examination 2020
  13. How to choose a Subject?
  14. List of Civil Service jobs
  15. Civil Services Vacancies(New)
  16. How to choose a Civil Service (New)
  17. Selection of Persons with Disabilities(New)
  18. Number of Candidates Appeared and Recommended
  19. UPSC contact Nos

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