UPSC Eligibility for Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination

The candidates who are applying for the UPSC CDS Exam should ensure that they fulfill all the eligibility criteria. Their admission to all the stages of the examination is conditional and completely based on fulfilling the mentioned eligibility criteria.

Candidates should know that a mere issue of an e-Admit card doesn’t imply that their application has been finally approved by the Commission. The Commission also undertakes verification on eligibility conditions with reference to the original documents submitted by the candidates and this will be conducted for those candidates who qualify in the interview for personality test.

Below given are the CDS Eligibility Criteria which every candidate should ensure to satisfy.

  1. NATIONALITY
  2. AGE LIMIT, SEX, AND MARITAL STATUS
  3. EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
  4. PHYSICAL STANDARDS
NOTE: THE COMMISSION WILL NOT ENTERTAIN ANY REQUEST FOR WITHDRAWAL OF APPLICATION RECEIVED FROM A CANDIDATE AFTER HE/SHE HAS SUBMITTED HIS/HER ONLINE APPLICATION FOR COMBINED DEFENCE SERVICES EXAM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Nationality

A candidate must be unmarried and must either be:

  1. a Citizen of India, or
  2. a subject of Bhutan, or
  3. a subject of Nepal, or
  4. a Tibetan refugee came to India before 1st January 1962 with an intention to settle down in Indian permanently, or
  5. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Burma,East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and or Vietnam with an intention to settle down in India permanently.

Candidates who belong to the aforementioned (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v) categories should possess a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India.

For candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal the Certificate of eligibility is not required.

Candidates admission to the exam does not require the certificate of eligibility, however, they have to submit the necessary certificate given to them by the Govt. at the time of interview failing which the candidature could be cancelled.

Educational Qualifications

Candidates applying for the CDS Exam should ensure that they have the requisite minimum qualification, which is one of the eligibility criteriaamong the others.

Below given is minimum educational qualification which candidates should have obtained in order to apply for this examination.

SL. NO. CDS Course Minimum Educational Qualification
1. Indian Military Academy (IMA) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent
2. Indian Navy Academy (INA) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent/Institution
3. Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) Degree of a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering
4. Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) SSC (Non-Technical) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent

Candidates who are studying in the final year/semester Degree course and have yet to pass the final year degree examination can also apply given that they do not have present any backlogs from the previous semester/year and such candidates are required to submit the proof of passing the degree examination at the time of commencement of the course in the below-given address and on or before the mentioned dates.

SL. NO. Course Name Address Last Date of Submission
1 IMA/OTA- SSC as candidate’s first choice IHQ of MoD (Army), Rtg `A’. CDSE Entry, West Block III, R. K. Puram, New Delhi-110066 IMA on or before 1st January 2019
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai on or before 1st April 2019
2 Navy first as candidate’s first choice Naval HQ “DMPR” (OI & R Section), Room No. 204, ‘C’ Wing, Sena Bhawan, New Delhi-110011 on or before 1st January 2019
3 Air Force as candidate’s first choice PO3(A)/Air Headquarters, ‘J’ Block, Room No. 17, Opp. Vayu Bhawan, Motilal Nehru Marg, New Delhi-110 106 on or before 13th November 2018

Candidates failing to submit their proof of passing the graduation degree examination by the mentioned date will be rejected.

NOTE

  • Candidates who chooseAir Force /Army/Navy as their first preference should produce the proof of graduation conditional certificates on the date of commencement of the Services Selection Board (SSB) Interview at the Services Selection Centre.
  • Candidates withprofessional and technical qualificationsfrom a university/institution recognized by the government which is consideredsame as the professional and technical degrees are also eligible for admission to the examination.
  • In special cases, the Commission may consider a candidate, who has not obtained any of the qualifications mentioned above as educationally qualified given that the candidate has obtained qualifications the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission validatesthe candidate’s admission to the examination.
  • Air Force candidates who are suspended from Flying training for failure to learn flying would be engaged in the Navigation Branch of the Indian Air Force(IAF). This again depends on the availability of vacancies and satisfying the prescribedrequirements which include 60 percent marks in graduation.

Age Limit, Sex, and Marital Status

The minimum and the maximum age limit of the candidates applying for this exam should be as given below.

SL. NO. COURSE in CDS AGE LIMIT SEX/GENDER MARITAL STATUS
1 Indian Military Academy (IMA) 18-23 Years (as on 2018) Only Male Unmarried
2 Indian Naval
Academy (INA)
18-23 Years (as on 2018) Only Male Unmarried
3 Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) 20-24 Years (as on 2019) Upper Age Relaxation Only Male Unmarried
(Candidate below 25 years of age must be unmarried)
up to  26 Years* Conditional
4 Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) 18-23 Years (as on 2018) Male and Female Male Unmarried
Female Unmarried; issueless widows divorcees who are not remarried; (and a divorcee candidate should have possession of divorce documents

For Indian Military Academy (IMA)
Candidates must be unmarried.
Candidates should not be born before 2nd January 1995 and not after 1st January 2000.

For Indian Naval Academy (IMA)

Candidates must be unmarried.
Candidates should not be born before 2nd January 1995 and not after 1st January 2000.

For Indian Air Force Academy (IMA)

Theage of the candidates should be between 20 and 24 yearsas on 1st January 2019 i.e.a candidate should not be born before 2ndJanuary 1995 and after 1stJanuary 1999.

Candidates choosing for IMA are eligible for age relaxation up tothe age of 26 years(i.e. a candidate should not be born before 2nd January 1993 and not before 1st January 1999)which is applicable only if candidates have a valid and recent Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India)

NOTE:

  • Candidate below 25 years of age must not be married.
  • Marriage is not permitted during training.
  • Married candidates above 25 years of age are eligible to apply but during training period they will neither be provided accommodation for familyor spouse nor can they live with family out of the premises.

For Officers’ Training Academy(SSC Course for men)

  • Candidates must be unmarried.
  • Candidates should not be born before 2nd January 1994 and not after 1st January 2000.

For Officers’ Training Academy— (SSC Women Non-Technical Course)

  • Candidates must be unmarried.
  • Candidates must not be born before 2nd January 1994 and not after 1st January 2000.
  • Candidates who are issueless widows and divorcees can also apply but they should not be remarried and divorcee candidates should have divorce documents.

NOTE

Male candidates who are divorcee/widower are not treated as unmarried for the admission in IMA/INA/AFA courses and for that reason, they are not eligible for these courses.

Proof of Date of Birth

The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) or Matriculation or as mentioned in a certificate recognized by an Indian University that is considered equal to Matriculation.

  • Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate; or
  • A certificate recognised by an Indian University as the same to Matriculation; or
  • An extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University and the extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University; or
  • Higher Secondary Examination Certificate or an equivalent examination certificate.
  • These certificates are required to be submitted only after the announcement of the result of the written part of the CDS exam.

Documents not accepted for age proof/DOB

Affidavits; Birth extracts from Municipal Corporation; Horoscopes, Service records and any other similar documents or certificates will not be accepted by the Commission as proof of date of birth.

In case, if the date of birth is not mentioned on the Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination Certificateand only age is mentioned, then in such case candidates should submit a self-attested copy of Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination Certificate from the Headmaster/Principal of the Institution from where the candidates had passed the Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination which has their date of birth and exact age as recorded in the Admission Register of the Institution.

NOTE

  • The Commission accepts the Date of Birth as recorded in the Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination Certificate or an equivalent certificate and if there is any change in the date of birth mentioned on the Online Application form and the on Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination Certificate or an equivalent certificate in such case the candidates’ candidature shall be cancelled or rejected and a disciplinary action will be taken against the candidates
  • The Commission will not entertain any request for change in the date of birth or any other changes after the submission of online application form.

RESTRICTIONS ON MARRIAGE FOR INDIAN MILITARY ACADEMY COURSE OR INDIAN NAVAL ACADEMY COURSE OR IN THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY COURSE OR OFFICERS’ TRAINING ACADEMY:

  • Candidates for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) Course or Indian Naval Academy (INA) Course or Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) Course or women candidates joining Officers’ Training Academy must agree to not marry until they complete their entire training.
  • A candidate who marries following to the date of his/her application and though clears the exam will not be selected for training.
  • Candidates who marryin the course of training will be removed and they will be responsible to repay all expenditure incurred on him/her by the Government.
  • Candidates should agree to not marry until they complete their full training.

Physical Standards

For admission to the Combined Defence Services Examination candidates must be physically fit and satisfy thementioned physical standards.

Candidates who have been recommended by the SSB will undergo a medical examination by a Board of Service Medical Officers. Women candidates should also undertake Medical Examination by a Medical Board comprising male/female doctors/specialists/Gynaecologist. There will be a Lady Medical Officer as a Member of Board. Only those candidates who are declared fit by the Medical Board will be admitted to the Academy.

The candidate must be physically fit according to the prescribed physical standards which are briefed below:

  1. The candidate must be in good physical and mental health and free from any disease/disability which is likely to hamper the competent performance of duties.
  2. There should be no indication of weak constitution, physical deficiencies or overweight.
  3. The minimum acceptable height
    • for male candidates is 157.5 cm. (157 cm for Navy and 162.5 cm for Air Force).
    • For Women candidates’ minimum standard height is 152 cm.
    • For Gorkhas and persons belonging to hills of North-Eastern region of India, Garhwali and Kumaon, the Minimum acceptable height will be 5 cm less.
    • In case of candidates from Lakshadweep, the minimum acceptable height can be reduced by 2 CM

These concessions are not applicable for Air Force Height.

NOTE

  • If candidates are found unfit medically, then such candidates will be rejected on medical grounds.
  • Permanent body tattoos
    • only permitted on inner face of the forearm (i.e. from inside of elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of palm/back (dorsal) side of hand).
    • on any other part of the body are not acceptable and candidates will be disqualified from further selection.
    • Candidates who belong Tribes group with tattoo marks on the face or body according to their existing custom and traditions will be acceptableand depends on case by case.
  • Candidates declared unfit will be intimated by the President of the Medical Board and procedure for request for an Appeal Medical Board (AMB) will also be stated to the candidate.

SL. NO. CDS Course Minimum Educational Qualification
1. Indian Military Academy (IMA) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent
2. Indian Navy Academy (INA) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent/Institution
3. Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) Degree of a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering
4. Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) SSC (Non-Technical) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent

+ NATIONALITY

Nationality

A candidate must be unmarried and must either be:

  1. a Citizen of India, or
  2. a subject of Bhutan, or
  3. a subject of Nepal, or
  4. a Tibetan refugee came to India before 1st January 1962 with an intention to settle down in Indian permanently, or
  5. a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Burma,East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and or Vietnam with an intention to settle down in India permanently.

Candidates who belong to the aforementioned (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v) categories should possess a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India.

For candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal the Certificate of eligibility is not required.

Candidates admission to the exam does not require the certificate of eligibility, however, they have to submit the necessary certificate given to them by the Govt. at the time of interview failing which the candidature could be cancelled.

+ EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

Educational Qualifications

Candidates applying for the CDS Exam should ensure that they have the requisite minimum qualification, which is one of the eligibility criteriaamong the others.

Below given is minimum educational qualification which candidates should have obtained in order to apply for this examination.

SL. NO. CDS Course Minimum Educational Qualification
1. Indian Military Academy (IMA) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent
2. Indian Navy Academy (INA) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent/Institution
3. Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) Degree of a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering
4. Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) SSC (Non-Technical) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent

Candidates who are studying in the final year/semester Degree course and have yet to pass the final year degree examination can also apply given that they do not have present any backlogs from the previous semester/year and such candidates are required to submit the proof of passing the degree examination at the time of commencement of the course in the below-given address and on or before the mentioned dates.

SL. NO. Course Name Address Last Date of Submission
1 IMA/OTA- SSC as candidate’s first choice IHQ of MoD (Army), Rtg `A’. CDSE Entry, West Block III, R. K. Puram, New Delhi-110066 IMA on or before 1st January 2019
Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai on or before 1st April 2019
2 Navy first as candidate’s first choice Naval HQ “DMPR” (OI & R Section), Room No. 204, ‘C’ Wing, Sena Bhawan, New Delhi-110011 on or before 1st January 2019
3 Air Force as candidate’s first choice PO3(A)/Air Headquarters, ‘J’ Block, Room No. 17, Opp. Vayu Bhawan, Motilal Nehru Marg, New Delhi-110 106 on or before 13th November 2018

Candidates failing to submit their proof of passing the graduation degree examination by the mentioned date will be rejected.

NOTE

  • Candidates who chooseAir Force /Army/Navy as their first preference should produce the proof of graduation conditional certificates on the date of commencement of the Services Selection Board (SSB) Interview at the Services Selection Centre.
  • Candidates withprofessional and technical qualificationsfrom a university/institution recognized by the government which is consideredsame as the professional and technical degrees are also eligible for admission to the examination.
  • In special cases, the Commission may consider a candidate, who has not obtained any of the qualifications mentioned above as educationally qualified given that the candidate has obtained qualifications the standard of which in the opinion of the Commission validatesthe candidate’s admission to the examination.
  • Air Force candidates who are suspended from Flying training for failure to learn flying would be engaged in the Navigation Branch of the Indian Air Force(IAF). This again depends on the availability of vacancies and satisfying the prescribedrequirements which include 60 percent marks in graduation.

+ AGE LIMIT

Age Limit, Sex, and Marital Status

The minimum and the maximum age limit of the candidates applying for this exam should be as given below.

SL. NO. COURSE in CDS AGE LIMIT SEX/GENDER MARITAL STATUS
1 Indian Military Academy (IMA) 18-23 Years (as on 2018) Only Male Unmarried
2 Indian Naval
Academy (INA)
18-23 Years (as on 2018) Only Male Unmarried
3 Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) 20-24 Years (as on 2019) Upper Age Relaxation Only Male Unmarried
(Candidate below 25 years of age must be unmarried)
up to  26 Years* Conditional
4 Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) 18-23 Years (as on 2018) Male and Female Male Unmarried
Female Unmarried; issueless widows divorcees who are not remarried; (and a divorcee candidate should have possession of divorce documents

For Indian Military Academy (IMA)
Candidates must be unmarried.
Candidates should not be born before 2nd January 1995 and not after 1st January 2000.

For Indian Naval Academy (IMA)

Candidates must be unmarried.
Candidates should not be born before 2nd January 1995 and not after 1st January 2000.

For Indian Air Force Academy (IMA)

Theage of the candidates should be between 20 and 24 yearsas on 1st January 2019 i.e.a candidate should not be born before 2ndJanuary 1995 and after 1stJanuary 1999.

Candidates choosing for IMA are eligible for age relaxation up tothe age of 26 years(i.e. a candidate should not be born before 2nd January 1993 and not before 1st January 1999)which is applicable only if candidates have a valid and recent Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India)

NOTE:

  • Candidate below 25 years of age must not be married.
  • Marriage is not permitted during training.
  • Married candidates above 25 years of age are eligible to apply but during training period they will neither be provided accommodation for familyor spouse nor can they live with family out of the premises.

For Officers’ Training Academy(SSC Course for men)

  • Candidates must be unmarried.
  • Candidates should not be born before 2nd January 1994 and not after 1st January 2000.

For Officers’ Training Academy— (SSC Women Non-Technical Course)

  • Candidates must be unmarried.
  • Candidates must not be born before 2nd January 1994 and not after 1st January 2000.
  • Candidates who are issueless widows and divorcees can also apply but they should not be remarried and divorcee candidates should have divorce documents.

NOTE

Male candidates who are divorcee/widower are not treated as unmarried for the admission in IMA/INA/AFA courses and for that reason, they are not eligible for these courses.

Proof of Date of Birth

The date of birth accepted by the Commission is that entered in the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) or Matriculation or as mentioned in a certificate recognized by an Indian University that is considered equal to Matriculation.

  • Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate; or
  • A certificate recognised by an Indian University as the same to Matriculation; or
  • An extract from a Register of Matriculates maintained by a University and the extract must be certified by the proper authority of the University; or
  • Higher Secondary Examination Certificate or an equivalent examination certificate.
  • These certificates are required to be submitted only after the announcement of the result of the written part of the CDS exam.

Documents not accepted for age proof/DOB

Affidavits; Birth extracts from Municipal Corporation; Horoscopes, Service records and any other similar documents or certificates will not be accepted by the Commission as proof of date of birth.

In case, if the date of birth is not mentioned on the Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination Certificateand only age is mentioned, then in such case candidates should submit a self-attested copy of Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination Certificate from the Headmaster/Principal of the Institution from where the candidates had passed the Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination which has their date of birth and exact age as recorded in the Admission Register of the Institution.

NOTE

  • The Commission accepts the Date of Birth as recorded in the Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination Certificate or an equivalent certificate and if there is any change in the date of birth mentioned on the Online Application form and the on Matriculation/Higher Secondary Examination Certificate or an equivalent certificate in such case the candidates’ candidature shall be cancelled or rejected and a disciplinary action will be taken against the candidates
  • The Commission will not entertain any request for change in the date of birth or any other changes after the submission of online application form.

RESTRICTIONS ON MARRIAGE FOR INDIAN MILITARY ACADEMY COURSE OR INDIAN NAVAL ACADEMY COURSE OR IN THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY COURSE OR OFFICERS’ TRAINING ACADEMY:

  • Candidates for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) Course or Indian Naval Academy (INA) Course or Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) Course or women candidates joining Officers’ Training Academy must agree to not marry until they complete their entire training.
  • A candidate who marries following to the date of his/her application and though clears the exam will not be selected for training.
  • Candidates who marryin the course of training will be removed and they will be responsible to repay all expenditure incurred on him/her by the Government.
  • Candidates should agree to not marry until they complete their full training.

+ PHYSICAL STANDARDS

Physical Standards

For admission to the Combined Defence Services Examination candidates must be physically fit and satisfy thementioned physical standards.

Candidates who have been recommended by the SSB will undergo a medical examination by a Board of Service Medical Officers. Women candidates should also undertake Medical Examination by a Medical Board comprising male/female doctors/specialists/Gynaecologist. There will be a Lady Medical Officer as a Member of Board. Only those candidates who are declared fit by the Medical Board will be admitted to the Academy.

The candidate must be physically fit according to the prescribed physical standards which are briefed below:

  1. The candidate must be in good physical and mental health and free from any disease/disability which is likely to hamper the competent performance of duties.
  2. There should be no indication of weak constitution, physical deficiencies or overweight.
  3. The minimum acceptable height
    • for male candidates is 157.5 cm. (157 cm for Navy and 162.5 cm for Air Force).
    • For Women candidates’ minimum standard height is 152 cm.
    • For Gorkhas and persons belonging to hills of North-Eastern region of India, Garhwali and Kumaon, the Minimum acceptable height will be 5 cm less.
    • In case of candidates from Lakshadweep, the minimum acceptable height can be reduced by 2 CM

These concessions are not applicable for Air Force Height.

NOTE

  • If candidates are found unfit medically, then such candidates will be rejected on medical grounds.
  • Permanent body tattoos
    • only permitted on inner face of the forearm (i.e. from inside of elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of palm/back (dorsal) side of hand).
    • on any other part of the body are not acceptable and candidates will be disqualified from further selection.
    • Candidates who belong Tribes group with tattoo marks on the face or body according to their existing custom and traditions will be acceptableand depends on case by case.
  • Candidates declared unfit will be intimated by the President of the Medical Board and procedure for request for an Appeal Medical Board (AMB) will also be stated to the candidate.

SL. NO. CDS Course Minimum Educational Qualification
1. Indian Military Academy (IMA) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent
2. Indian Navy Academy (INA) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent/Institution
3. Indian Air Force Academy (IAFA) Degree of a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering
4. Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) SSC (Non-Technical) Degree from a recognised University or equivalent