A candidate must be either:
(a) A citizen of India, or
(b) a subject of Nepal, or
(c) a subject of Bhutan, or
(d) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India.
(e) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Srilanka, 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 (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.
A candidate must have attained the age of 21 years and must not have attained the age of 30 years on 1st August, in the year of examination.
The upper age limit prescribed above will be relaxable in the follwing cases:
- Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe: upto a maximum of five years.
- Other Backward Classes: upto a maximum of three years.
- State of Jammu & Kashmir (Domiciled during the period from the 1st January, 1980 to 31st December, 1989): upto a maximum of five years.
- Defence Services personnel: upto a maximum of five years
(disabled in operations during hostilities with any foreign country or in a disturbed area and released as a consequence thereof)
Ex-servicemen including Commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have rendered at least five years Military Service and have been released (i) on completion of assignment otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency, or (ii) on account of physical disability attributable to Military Service, or (iii) on invalidment: upto a maximum of five years.
ECOs/SSCOs who have completed an initial period of assignment of five years of Military Service 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 month's notice on selection from the date of receipt of offer of appointment: Upto a maximum of five years.
Blind, deaf-mute and Orthopaedically handicapped persons: Upto a maximum of ten years.
NOTE I: Cumulative Age relaxation
SC, ST & OBC: Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes who are also covered under other clauses mentioned above will be eligible for grant of cumulative age-relaxation under both the categories.
Ex-servicemen eligibility: 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 will not be admissible to Ex-Servicemen and Commissioned Officers including ECOs/SSCOs, who are released on own request.
NOTE II: Date of Birth Certificate
The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognized by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation or in an extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University, which extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University or in the Higher Secondary or an equivalent examination certificate.
No other document relating to age like horoscopes, affidavits, birth extracts from Municipal Corporation, service records and the like will be accepted.
Once the date of birth is recorded in the Commission, no change is allowed subsequently (or at any other Examination of the Commission) on any grounds whatsoever.
The candidate must hold a degree of any of 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.
NOTE: Candidates who have appeared at an examination which would educationally qualify them for the UPSC examination but have not received the the results will also be eligible for admission to the Preliminary Examination. They will have to produce the proof of passing the requisite examination with their application for the Main Examination.
In exceptional cases, UPSC may treat a candidate who has not any of the foregoing qualifications as a qualified candidate, provided that he has passed examination conducted by other Institutions, which UPSC deems fit.
Candidates possessing professional and technical qualifications, recognised by Government as equivalent to professional and technical degree would also be eligible for admission to the examination.
Candidates who have passed the final professional M.B.B.S. or any other Medical Examination but have not completed their internship by the time of submission of their applications for the Civil Services (Main) Examination, will be provisionally admitted to the Examination. They will however, have to submit a copy of a certificate from the concerned authority of the University/Institution that they have passed the requisite final professional medical examination with their application. In such cases, the candidates will be required to produce original Degree or a certificate from the University/Institution at the time of their interview.
Number of attempts
The maximum number of attempts restriction is effective from the examination held in 1984. In case other eligibility conditions apply:
- General candidates: four attempts.
- Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates: No restriction.
- Other Backward Classes: seven attempts.
NOTE 1: An attempt at a Preliminary Examination is considered an attempt at the examination.
If a candidate actually appears in any one paper in the Preliminary Examination, he is considered to have made an attempt at the examination.
Notwithstanding the disqualification/cancellation of candidature the fact of appearance of the candidate at the examination will count as an attempt.
NOTE 2: Restrictions on reapplying for the examination
A candidate who is appointed to the Indian Administrative Service or the Indian Foreign Service on the results of an earlier examination and continues to be a member of that service will not be eligible to compete at this examination.
If 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 (Main) Examination notwithstanding his/her having qualified in the Preliminary Examination.
If 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.