UPSC Exam Eligibility 2021 | IAS Age Limit, Qualification, Number of Attempts

We understand your excitement to become a part of India’s elite bureaucracy! However, the first thing you need to check before applying for the IAS exam is the UPSC Exam Eligibility criteria. UPSC Exam Eligibility is a set of different parameters including nationality, educational qualification, age, etc, that you must qualify to apply for this exam. We’ve discussed all the IAS eligibility criteria in this article.

UPSC Exam Eligibility Snapshot

Broadly, you need to qualify the below parameters to be eligible for the UPSC Civil Services Exam:

Age Limit

21 to 32 years

Age relaxation

As per category (mentioned below)

Number of Attempts

06 (General and EWS) ; 09 (OBC); SC/ST (Upto age limit)

Educational qualification for UPSC Civil Services

Graduation from any recognized university


Indian (For IAS and IPS);

UPSC Exam Eligibility 2021 - Age Limit

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


Upper Age Limit for UPSC

Maximum Number of Attempts




Economically Weaker Section (EWS)








Unlimited (Up to age limit)

Defence Services Personnel



Persons with Benchmark Disability



It is important to note that an attempt is counted when you appear for the Prelims examination. Even if you’ve appeared in any one of the exams, your attempt will be counted. This is also one of the major reasons for absenteeism in the Prelims Exam. Only about 50% of the applicants who fill the form appear for the examination. If you’ve filled the examination form and not appear for the exam, your attempt will not be counted.

Further, the person who has already joined the services of IAS or IFS officer cannot write the examination again. However, an IPS can write the examination to compete for IAS rank

UPSC Exam Eligibility 2021 - Educational Qualification

UPSC does not discriminate against candidates based on their scores in graduation. Hence, there is no minimum qualifying percentage as the IAS eligibility condition. The UPSC eligibility conditions for the UPSC exam concerning educational qualification is given below:

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

UPSC Exam Eligibility Criteria - Nationality

UPSC has defined the eligibility criteria in its notification for all the services. The citizens of other countries can also apply for UPSC under certain conditions, all of which are mentioned below. It is important to note that the eligibility criteria concerning the nationality of the applicant are mentioned post-wise:

For IAS and IPS:

  • The 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 to permanently settle 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 intending to permanently settle 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 Exam Eligibility Criteria. If you’ve any queries regarding the same, you can get in touch with our expert counselors. Career Launcher brings you comprehensive courses to prepare for UPSC CSE Prelims and UPSC CSE Mains from the convenience of your home. Enroll in our course and get an edge over your peers with our expert guidance. Get in touch with our course counselors to get more information regarding our courses.

FAQs regarding UPSC Exam Eligibility

The age limit for unreserved candidates is 32 years. However, there are certain age relaxations for category students which are mentioned in the table above.

A general candidate can appear a maximum of 6 times.

There is no such relaxation for EWS category students. Hence, the maximum number of attempts for the EWS category is 6 times.

An OBC category student gets 9 attempts for UPSC CSE.

There is no such criterion. You only need to have a graduation degree from a recognized university.

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