• Written By Monica_Kumari
  • Last Modified 24-07-2023

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023: Age Limit, Qualification & Physical Standards


CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination twice a year, in April and September. UPSC CDS 2023 Phase 2 will be conducted on September 3, 2023. The selection process for the CDS exam consists of a written exam and an SSB interview. Candidates must meet the eligibility requirements before applying for the CDS examination.

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The CDS eligibility criteria consist of nationality, educational qualification, age limit, marital status, and physical standards. Candidates must have completed graduation or at least be appearing for the final exam of the degree. Check out the article to know the age limit, eligibility criteria and more prescribed by the UPSC to be eligible for the CDS Exam.

UPSC CDS Eligibility 2023

Go through the below-tabulated data to get an overview of the UPSC CDS 2023 eligibility criteria:

Exam NameCombined Defence Services Examination
Conducting BodyUnion Public Service Commission
Frequency of the ExamTwice a Year
CDS Age LimitBetween 19 to 25 Years
Educational QualificationGraduation in Any Disciple From a Recognized University

Before filling out the CDS application form, candidates seeking the Combined Defence Services test must check the UPSC eligibility requirements from the below section.

CDS Exam Eligibility 2023 – Nationality

Candidates must be unmarried and either be;

a. An Indian citizen, or

b. A subject of Nepal, Bhutan, a Refugee of Tibet who migrated to India before 1962, or

c. A person of Indian Origin (PIO) who migrated from Sri Lanka, Burma, Pakistan, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, East African countries of Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanent settlement in India.

Note: Candidates belonging to (b) and (c) must provide a certificate of eligibility issued by the Indian government with an exception for the Gorkha subjects of Nepal.

CDS Exam Eligibility 2023 – Educational Qualification

The educational qualification required for UPSC CDS are tabulated below:

Job TypeEducational Qualification
Indian Military Academy (IMA)Graduate Degree (Recognised University)
Indian Naval Academy (INA)B. Tech or B.E. Degree (Engineering From a Recognized University)
Air Force Academy (AFA)B. Tech / B.E. degree
Degree (With Physics and Maths in 10+2 Level)

Educational Qualification Highlights

  • Final-year students from the above-mentioned courses are also eligible to apply provided they do not have backlogs. The candidate must provide a passing certificate within the prescribed time set by UPSC.
  • Candidates opting for Army/Navy/Air Force as their first choice must submit a graduation/provisional certificate as proof at the time of the SSB Interview.
  • Applicants who are suspended from holding any type of commission in the Defence Services by the Ministry of Defence are not eligible.
  • Candidates who fail to learn flying during the training in the Air Force will be absorbed in Navigation/Ground Duty (Non-Tech) Branches of the IAF (subject to vacancy availability).

Age Limit for CDS 2023

The age and sex requirements for UPSC CDS are as under:

Defense AcademyBorn Not Earlier ThanBorn Not Later ThanSex
Indian Military Academy (IMA)2nd January 20001st January 2005Male
Indian Naval Academy (INA)2nd January 20001st January 2005Male
Air Force Academy (AFA)2nd January 19981st January 2004
Officers Training Academy (OTA)- SSC Men2nd January 19991st January 2005Male
Officers Training Academy (OTA)- SSC Women2nd January 19991st January 2005Female

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  • 1st Step: Visit Embibe’s official website, i.e., Embibe.
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  • 3rd Step: Select a Goal as ‘Defence’ under the Government Job section.
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Age and Sex-related Highlights

  • The birth certificate provided must be a Matriculation/Secondary School Examination Certificate or a certificate recognized by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or an extract from a Registrar of Matriculates maintained by a University.
  • Candidates must submit the above-mentioned certificates proving their date of birth only after the result declaration of the written examination.
  • Candidates’ date of birth mentioned while applying must match the date of birth on their Matriculation/Secondary School Examination Certificate or an equivalent certificate.
  • No changes concerning the date of birth will be entertained at later stages of the application process.
  • Any variance in the date of birth of the candidate will lead to disciplinary action by the UPSC.
  • In case the date of birth is not mentioned in the above documents, candidates must submit an additional document that is either a self-attested/certified copy of the Matriculation/Secondary School Examination Certificate or a self-attested/certified copy of a certificate from the Headmaster/Principal of the Institution from where the candidate has passed the Matriculation/Secondary School Examination with a record of their admission.

CDS Exam Eligibility – Marital Status

The following table provides information on the CDS 2023 applicants must have the following marital status:

Type of JobMarital Status
Indian Military Academy EligibilityUnmarried Male Candidates
Naval Force Academy EligibilityUnmarried Male Candidates
Eligibility for Air Force AcademyA. Below 25 Years of Age, Male Candidates Must Be Unmarried.
B. And, Married Candidates Above 25 Years Are Also Eligible, but They Are Not Allowed to Live With Their Family Beyond the Premises.
C. During the Training Period, It Is Mandatory for the Candidates Not to Marry.
Eligibility for Officers Training Academy (SSC for Men)Unmarried Male Candidates
Eligibility for Officers Training Academy (SSC for Women)A. Unmarried Women
B. Issueless Widows Who Have Not Remarried
C. Issueless Divorcees With Divorce Documents Who Have Not Remarried

Marital Status Highlights

Male divorcee or widower is not eligible for the Combined Defense Services exam because they do not come under the unmarried male category.

CDS Exam Eligibility – Physical Standards

The Medical Board of UPSC will examine the entire body of all candidates to check if they are fit to work under military deployment. So it is mandatory for the candidates to check if they comply with all physical standard guidelines set by UPSC.

  • Only those who are physically and mentally fit as per UPSC guidelines will be eligible for admission.
  • Candidates with permanent body tattoos on the inner side of the elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of the palm/back (dorsal) side of the hand will only be eligible. Tattoos on any other part of the body will lead to disqualification.
  • The candidate must be from any disease or disability for the efficient performance of CDS duties.
  • Candidates must meet visual and hearing standards set by UPSC. The standards might vary depending on the role candidates are applying for.
  • Male candidates with a minimum height of 157.5 cm (157 cm for the Navy and 162.5 cm for the Air Force) and women with a minimum height of 152 cm will be eligible for the CDS 2 examination.
  • Mal-development or impairment of bone and joint functions will lead to the disqualification of the candidate.
  • A previous history of mental breakdowns will also lead to candidature failure.
  • Candidates must be medically capable of undergoing training and military duties in the Armed Forces.
  • Any deformities or abnormalities in the body will lead to the ineligibility of the candidate.

Also, check:

CDS ExamCDS Recruitment Notification
CDS Application FormCDS Exam Pattern
CDS Cut-offCDS Syllabus
CDS Exam DatesCDS Books
CDS PreparationCDS Selection Process
CDS Question PapersCDS Exam Centres
CDS Admit CardCDS Answer Key

FAQs on UPSC CDS Eligibility Criteria

Below are the most frequently asked questions on UPSC CDS Eligibility Criteria:

Q.1: Can final-year candidates apply for CDS?
Ans: Yes, final-year graduate candidates can apply for CDS. However, they will be admitted to the exam provisionally. They need to produce certificates of having passed the relevant degree at the time of document verification.

Q.2: Can women apply for UPSC CDS, and what is the CDS eligibility for females?  
Ans: Yes, women can apply for CDS Exam, but they are eligible to join OTA only.

Q.3: What is the age limit for CDS?
Ans: The age limit for AFA is 19 to 24 years, whereas it is 19 to 24 years for Naval Academy. The age limit for OTA is 19 to 25 years.

Q.4: I have done graduation in Computer Science. Am I eligible to appear for the Indian Naval Academy?
Ans: Except for IMA, as prescribed by UPSC, you need to have an Engineering degree. For IMA, any graduate degree is enough.

Q.5: How many attempts are there for the CDS exam?
There is no limit on the number of attempts in the CDS exam.

We hope this detailed article on CDS Eligibility 2023 helps you. Stay tuned to embibe.com for the latest news and updates on CDS 2023!

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