CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023, Check Age Limit & Educational Qualification 

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CDS Eligibility Criteria

CDS Eligibility Criteria – The Union Public Service Commission had released a notification on 17th May 2023 announcing the UPSC CDS II examination 2023. The last date to submit the application form for the UPSC CDS II was 6th June 2023. UPSC conducts the Combined Defense Services examination twice a year in February and September.

These examinations are held to admit eligible and efficient aspirants into the Indian Military Academy (INA), Indian Naval Academy (IMA), Indian Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officer’s Training Academy (OTA).  UPSC has already released CDS II 2023 examination date schedule with the official calendar.

As per the notice, the UPSC will conduct the CDS II examination on 3rd September 2023. The CDS II Selection Process is divided into two stages-  the Written examination and the Staff Selection Board Interview. Continue reading for details of the UPSC CDS Eligibility.

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023

Candidates must note the following points concerning the UPSC CDS Eligibility:

  1. The Union Public Service Commission has the right to reject the candidature of any applicant at any stage of the selection process if they do not fulfil the required eligibility criteria.
  1. If a candidate is selected and found ineligible later, the UPSC  will remove them from service.
  2. UPSC does verification of the eligibility criteria with original documents. A candidate is called for the interview and Personality Test after they pass the document verification process.
  3. A candidate whose certificate of eligibility is necessary may be allowed to take the exam, but the offer for admission to the Academy will be given only after the necessary eligibility certificate is issued to them by the Government of India.

UPSC CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023

Candidates must fulfill these five UPSC CDS eligibility conditions to fill the application form for the UPSC CDS II examination:

  • Nationality 
  • Age Limit, Gender, and Marital Status
  • Educational Qualification
  • Physical Qualification
  • Medical Qualification

The detailed information of the eligibility criteria is given below:

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023 – Nationality

To be eligible for the UPSC CDS II examination, candidates must meet the criteria for nationality and citizenship.

Aspirants willing to apply for the CDS exam must be –

  1. A citizen of India, or
  2. A subject of Nepal, or
  3. A subject of Bhutan, or
  4. A Tibetan refugee who is permanently settled in India from and before 1st January 1962.
  5. A person of Indian origin migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, East African countries of Uganda, Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Zaire, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Vietnam to settle in India permanently.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories 2, 3, 4, and 5 possesses a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India and presents the same to the recruiting body. The Certificate of eligibility will not be necessary in the case of candidates who are Gorkhas of Nepal.

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023 – Age, Gender, and Marital Status:

  • For IMA (Indian Military Academy) – only unmarried male candidates are born on or after 2nd January 1997 and not later than 1st January 2002 are eligible.
  • For INA (Indian Naval Academy) – Only unmarried male candidates born on or after 2nd January 1997 and not later than 1st January 2002 are eligible.
  • For AFA (Air Force Academy) – 20 to 24 years as of 1st January 2021 (born on or after 2nd January 1997 and not later than 1st January 2001). The upper age limit for the candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot License issued by DGCA (India) is relaxed up to 26 years (born on or after 2nd January 1995 and not later than 1st January 2001) only are eligible.
  • Candidates below the age of 25 years must be unmarried. 
  • Marriage is not allowed during the training period.
  • Married candidates above the age of 25 years are eligible to apply, but during the training period, they will neither be given married accommodation nor can they live with family out of the premises.
  • For OTA (Officers’ Training Academy) (SSC Women Non-Technical Course) – Unmarried women, issueless widows (who are not remarried), and issueless divorcees (in possession of the divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible. They should be born on or after 2nd January 1996 and not later than 1st January 2002.
  • For OTA (Officers’ Training Academy) (SSC Course for Men) – Only unmarried male candidates born on or after 2nd January 1996 and not later than 1st January 2002 are eligible.
  • Widowers/divorcees will not be treated as unmarried males for admission in IMA/INA/AFA/OTA and are not eligible to apply.

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023 – Age Limit and Marital Status

AcademyAge Limit Marital Status
Indian Military Academy (IMA)19 – 24 YearsUnmarried
Indian Naval Academy (INA)19 – 22 YearsUnmarried
Air Force Academy19 – 23 Years<25 years unmarried or >25 years both married and unmarried.
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course)19 – 25 YearsUnmarried females, issueless widows who haven’t remarried, and issueless divorcees who have not remarried are eligible.
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for Men)19 – 25 YearsUnmarried

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023Educational Qualification

The Union Public Service Commission sets the minimum qualification a candidate must have to apply for the examination. The minimum qualification required to appear for the CDS II examination is Graduation from a recognized university. The details are given below:

Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA)Bachelor’s Degree From a recognized university
Indian Naval Academy (INA)Bachelors in Engineering from a recognized University
Air Force Academy (AFA)Graduation (with Physics and Mathematics at Class 12) or Bachelor of Engineering

Important Note –

  1. Graduates with the first choice as Army, Navy, or Air Force are to submit proof of Graduation or provisional certificates on the date of commencement of the SSB Interview at the SSB.
  2. Candidates who are studying in the final year or final semester of a degree course should submit the original passing certificate issued by the university during the SSB- interview. The date of issue of the certificate must be before the specified date declared by the commission.
  3.  Candidates debarred by the Ministry of Defence from holding any type of commission in the Defence Services are eligible to apply for the examination.

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023 – Physical and mental standards

The candidates should be mentally and physically fit as per the guidelines of the Union Public Service Commission. A good number of qualified candidates get disqualified on medical grounds. So, the candidates are strongly advised to get their medical examination done before applying for the CDS II examination.

Common issues found are:

  • Deviated Nasal Septum
  • Wax (Ears)
  • Hydrocele / Phimosis
  • Condition of Overweight
  • Conditions of  Underweight
  • Under Sized Chest
  • Piles
  • Tonsillitis
  • Gynaecomastia
  • Varicocele

Permanent body tattoos on the face or any part of the body are not approved of. If found, candidates will be barred from further selection. Tribes with tattoo marks on the body or face per existing traditions and customs will be permitted on a case-to-case basis.

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023 for Male in Army and Navy

CDS Age-wise Height and Weight
Height in Centimetres (Without Shoes)Weight (Kgs)
18 years20 years22 years24 years

CDS Physical Eligibility for Male Candidates in the Air Force 

Height (mm)Weight (Kgs)
15- 17 years18-22 years23-27 years28-32 years33-37 years38-42 years43-47 years>48 years

CDS Physical Eligibility for Female Candidates – Height & Weight Standards

Height in Centimetres (Without shoes)Weights (Kgs)
18 years20 years30 years

Important Details

  • The minimum height to qualify for male candidates is 157.5 cm. (162.5 cm for Air Force and 157 cm for Navy)
  • For Women candidates, the minimum height to qualify is 152 cm.
  • For candidates from Lakshadweep, the minimum height to qualify can be reduced by 2 cm. 
  • For Gorkhas and individuals from the hills of the North-Eastern region of India, Garhwali, and Kumaon, the Minimum height to qualify is 152 cm.
  • The minimum height for all entries is 148 cm after all types of relaxations.

The UPSC CDS Eligibility for medical and physical standards covers height & weight for different age groups, the vision standards for Naval officers, the hip-waist ratio, body mass index, and others. So, candidates are advised to read the official notifications carefully to clarify various aspects of UPSC CDS Eligibility.

General standards for the Body

  1. The Body Mass Index (BMI) should be below 25.
  2. All biochemical metabolic parameters must be within the normal limits
  3. The waist-hip ratio must be below 0.9 for male candidates and below 0.8 for female candidates.
  4. Waist Circumference must be less than 90 cm for male candidates and 80 cm for female candidates. 

UPSC CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023 – Other Physical Standards 

Besides the height and weight ratio, there are various other physical standards to be met for a candidate to be eligible for UPSC CDS.

Visual Standards: 

The commission has specified three visual standards for all the academies: 

For IMA and OTA

Vision (corrected) better eye 6/6 and worse eye 6/12Vision(corrected) better eye 6/6, worse eye 6/12
Myopia of not more than minus 3.5 DMyopia of not more than minus 5.5 D
Manifest hypermetropia should be less than plus 3.5 D, including Astigmatism.Manifest hypermetropia should be less than plus 3.5 D, including Astigmatism.
  • Uncorrected vision(maximum allowed) – 6/6 and 6/6
  • BCVA – Right 6/6 and Left 6/6
  • Myopia – < -3.50 D Sph ( including maximum astigmatism ≤ /- 2.0 D Cyl) 
  • Hypermetropia – < 3.50 dSph ( including maximum astigmatism ≤ /- 2.0 D Cyl) 
  • Lasiksurgery – Permitted
  • Colour perception: CP II 

 For Naval Candidates:

  • Uncorrected (without glasses): 6/12, 6/12 
  • Corrected (with glasses): 6/6, 6/6 
  • Limit of Hypermetropia : 1.5D 
  • Limit of Myopia: -1.5D
  • Limit of Colour Perception: I
  • Binocular Vision: III 

For Air Force Candidates:

Candidates who habitually wear spectacles are not eligible for Air Force. Minimum distant vision 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other correctable to 6/6 only.

Hypermetrical Colour-Vision CP 1:

  • Manifest Myopia: Nil
  • Hypermetropia: 2.0 d Sph   
  • Astigmatism : 0.75 D Cyl (with 2.0 D- Max)
  • Retinoscopic Myopia: –0.5 in any meridian

Maddox Rod Test:

 At 6 meters:

  • Eso-6 prism D
  • Exo-6 prism D
  •  Hypo-1prism D 
  • Hyper-1 prism D

 At 33 cm:

  • Eso-6 prism D 
  • Exo-16 prism D 
  • Hypo-1 prism D
  • Hyper-1 prism D

Lasik/Equivalent Surgery

Candidates who have undergone kerato-refractive procedures must show operative notes or certificates from the medical center specifying the type of surgery, date, and procedure. The candidates must meet the following additional criteria to be considered fit: 

  • Age more than 20 years at the time of surgery.
  • Minimum 12 months post the LASIK
  • The axial length by IOL Master is equal to or less than 26 mm
  • Central corneal thickness equal to or more than 450 µ  
  • Residual refraction of less than or equal to /- 1.0 D incl cylinder.
  • A normal healthy retina. 

Spinal Conditions for the Air Force

Past medical history of diseases or injury of the spine or sacroiliac joints preventing the candidate from leading a normal life can cause rejection for commissioning in IAF. History of spinal fracture or prolapsed intervertebral disc and surgical treatment for these conditions will declare the candidate unfit. Following conditions detected in the medical examination will disqualify the candidate:

  • The granulomatous disease of the spine
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Osteoarthrosis, spondylosis, and degenerative joint disease
  • Non-articular rheumatism 
  • Disorders including dermatomyositis, SLE, vasculitis, and polymyositis.
  •  Spondylolisthesis/ spondylosis
  • Compression- fracture of the vertebrae
  • Scheuermann’s disease
  • Loss of cervical lordosis.
  •  Unilateral/ bilateral cervical ribs with circulatory or neurological deficit.

Hearing Standards for the Air Force

Conditions to be fulfilled for the ear and hearing standards are:

  • Speech test: Reduction of > 600 cm in FW/CV is not acceptable. 
  • Audiometric Test: Audiometric loss should not be < 20 dB in frequencies between 250 &8000 Hz. 
  • A radical/modified radical mastoidectomy disqualifies a candidate even if a good hearing is preserved.
  •  Cases of cortical mastoidectomy in the past with tympanic membrane intact, normal hearing, and having no evidence of the disease might be considered.
  • Cases of chronic otitis externa accompanied by exostoses or unduly narrow meat will be disqualified.
  • Tympanoplasty Type I is acceptable twelve weeks after surgery if the ear clearance test in the altitude chamber is normal. 

Following middle-ear conditions will entail rejection:- 

  • Attic, marginal or central perforation. 
  • Tympanoplasty Type II
  • Tympanic membrane scar. 
  • Calcareous plaques if occupying <1/3 of pars tensa. 
  • Infection of the middle ear
  • Stapedectomy operation. 
  • Granulation/ polyp in external auditory-canal
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Otosclerosis 
  • Bell’s palsy following an ear infection
  • Vestibular dysfunction 

Physical Conditioning

The candidates are required to have a good physical condition by following the under mentioned routine:

  • Running: 2 km to 4 km in 15 minutes
  • Chin-ups: Minimum 8
  • Push-ups and Sit-ups: Minimum 20 each
  • Skipping
  • Rope Climbing: 3 to 4 meters

Chest Conditions

Tuberculosis (TB) or evidence of TB, lung lesions, heart, musculoskeletal lesions will declare the candidate unfit.

Abdomen and Genitor-urinary System Problems like Hernia, varicocele, undescended testis, organomegaly, horseshoe kidney, solitary kidney, cysts in the kidney, cysts in the liver, Gall bladder stones, ureteric and renal stones, deformities or lesions of urogenital organs, sinuses, piles, and lymphadenitis can disqualify a candidate on medical grounds.

Nervous System: 

  • Tremors and speech impediments are not allowed.
  • Imbalance, too, is not allowed.

Skin Problems: Vitiligo, warts, haemangiomas, corns, dermatitis, and skin infections, hyperhidrosis, and growth too will disqualify a candidate.

Dental Conditions

The following will be a cause for rejection of candidates:

  • Significant jaw discrepancies between and lower and upper jaw hampering efficient speech or mastication.
  • A mouth-opening of >30 mm measured at incisal edges
  •  Dislocation of TMJ on wide opening.
  • Incipient pathological conditions of the jaws.
  • Symptomatic Temporo-Mandibular Joint having tenderness and clicking.
  • All potentially cancerous conditions.
  • Submucosa fibrosis with/ without the restriction of mouth opening.
  • Poor oral health-periodontal pockets, visible calculus, and bleeding gums.
  • More than two Loose teeth
  • Cosmetic/ post-traumatic maxillofacial surgery will be considered unfit for a minimum of 6 months from the surgery date.
  • If a malocclusion is hampering maintenance of good oral hygiene, general nutrition, and the performance of duties.

The following conditions, if detected on the X-ray exam, will disqualify a candidate’s entry to the Indian Naval Academy and Indian Military Academy:

1.    The granulomatous disease of the spine.

2.    Arthritis 

-Rheumatoid arthritis and associated disorders

-ankylosing spondylitis

3.    More than mild Kyphosis/ Lordosis.

4.    Scoliosis is more than 100 degrees as measured by Cobb’s method.

5.    Herniated nucleus pulposus.

6.    Spondylolisthesis, or Spondylosis, or Spondylolysis.

7.    Sacralisation Disease.

8.    Compression fracture of Vertebra.

9.    Cervical ribs with demonstrable neurological and Circulatory deficit.

10.    Presence of Schmorl’s node at more than one level.

11.     Atlanto-occipital and atlantoaxial anomalies.

12.    Incomplete Sacralisation Unilateral or Bilateral.

13.    Spina Bifida is other than SV 1 and LV 5.

14.    Any other abnormality, if so considered by specialist

General Guidelines of the Medical standards

To be declared as a medically fit person, a candidate must have perfect physical and mental health. They must be free from diseases or syndrome. The detailed guidelines of the Medical standards need to be eligible for the Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy, and Officer’s Training Academy are:

  1. The candidate should be free of any medical condition that leads them to visit the medical facilities and use any aid or drugs.
  2. There should be no proof of imperfect development of any system, congenital deformities, malformation, diseases, and syndromes. 
  3. No swellings, including cysts, tumours, and swollen lymph nodes  
  4.  No sinus or fistula issues.
  5.  No hyper/ hypopigmentation or any other disease of the skin. 
  6. No hernia.
  7. No scars which can impair functioning and cause disfigurement.
  8. No arteriovenous malformations.
  9. No malformation of the face and head, including deformity, asymmetry, fractures, and depression of the bones of the skull.
  10. No disease, disability, congenital anomaly, or syndrome of cartilages and bones of the nose, nasal polyps, or disease of the uvula, nasopharynx, and accessory sinuses. There should be 
  11. No nasal deformity 
  12. No features of chronic tonsillitis.
  13.  No disease, syndrome, and disability of the throat and palate tonsils.
  14. No disease or injury affecting the normal functioning of either mandibular joint. 
  15. No disease, syndrome, and disability of the heart and blood vessels, including genetic, congenital, hypertension, and conduction disorders. 
  16. No evidence of pulmonary tuberculosis or previous history of this disease.
  17. No chronic disease of the lungs and chest, including allergies or immunological conditions, musculoskeletal deformities of the chest, and connective tissue disorders
  18.  No disease of the digestive system.
  19. No abnormality of the liver and pancreas 
  20. No disease, syndrome, and disability of any endocrine system and reticuloendothelial system. 
  21. No diseases of the genito-urinary system ( malformations, atrophy, and hypertrophy of any gland or organ) 
  22. No active, latent or congenital venereal disease. 
  23. No history or evidence of epilepsy, mental disease, enuresis, and incontinence of urine.
  24. No deformity or disease of the musculoskeletal system and the joints.
  25. No congenital and hereditary disease or disability.

The following ocular diseases will make a candidate unfit :

  1. Ptosis.
  2. Pterygium
  3. Corneal Opacity.
  4. Uveitis
  5. Lenticular opacity.
  6. Nystagmus
  7. Entropion or Ectropion.
  8. Night blindness
  9. Squint.
  10. Naso-Lacrimal occlusion
  11. Retinal lesions.

The candidates must read the notification carefully. Also, get a medical check-up done beforehand to know if they can apply for the UPSC CDS examination. 

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2023 – Conclusion

Now that the UPSC CDS II examination date is fast approaching, you must become earnest about your preparation and revision. You must be already well prepared for the examination. Continue your preparation as you have been doing already.

While preparing so earnestly for the UPSC CDS II examination, you must also pay attention to your physical and mental wellness. You must eat right, healthy, and well. Indulge in some appropriate physical activity that will strengthen you physically.

Practice at least 15 to 20 minutes of meditation to keep yourself calm and peaceful. Be positive. Your hard work and diligence will certainly make your dream come true.

UPSC CDS Eligibility CRITERIA 2023 – Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1. What is the minimum educational qualification to apply for the UPSC CDS II examination?

Ans. The candidate must be a graduate of a recognized University.

Q2. What are the age requirements for UPSC CDS II?

Ans. The Age requirements are:
INA- Indian Naval Academy- 19 to 22 years
AFA- Air Force Academy- 19 to 23 years
INA- Indian Military Academy- 19 to 24 years
OTA- Officers Training Academy- 19 to 25 years

Q3. How many attempts are allowed for the UPSC CDS II examination?

Ans. You can apply and appear for the UPSC CDS examination till your age permits.

Q4. Can students in the final year of their graduation apply for the UPSC CDS examination?

Ans. Yes, candidates in the final year/ semester can apply for the UPSC CDS examination. They will be admitted to the examination on a provisional basis. The candidate must produce the passing certificate during the document verification process

Q5. Is it possible for women to apply for the UPSC CDS examination?

Ans. Yes, women can apply for the UPSC CDS examination, but only for the Officers Training Academy.


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