There are various criteria established by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) for eligibility to appear in the exams for CDS (Combined Defence Services). These comprise of parameters like age, education qualification, and nationality.

The CDS Exams are scheduled twice in a year called CDS 1 & 2. These are generally conducted in February and November respectively of each year. Here are all the eligibility norms that a candidate needs to fulfil to get to appear in the exams:


1. Should be Indian citizen.

2. There are also provisions for migrant from Nepal, Tibet or Bhutan who are residing as refugees in India.

3. In addition, the exam also admits candidates from Burma, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaire, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Vietnam. All these candidates need to serve additional criteria and fulfil the rules laid by the Government of India to be eligible for the exams.

UPSC CDS Age Limit

Courses Age Limit Qualification Marital Status
Indian Military Academy (IMA) 19 – 24 years Recognized University Degree or equivalent qualification Unmarried
Indian Naval Academy (INA) 19 – 24 years Engineering Degree from a recognized Institute Unmarried
Air Force Academy (AFA) 20 – 24 years Recognized University Degree (with Mathematics and Physicsin Class XII) or Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Unmarried
Officers’ Training Academy (OTA – Men) 19 – 25 years Recognized University Degree or equivalent qualification Both Unmarried and Married
Officers Training Academy (OTA – Women, Non-Technical) 19 – 25 years Recognized University Degree or equivalent qualification Unmarried, Widow and Divorcee


Physical Standards

Candidates must fulfill the following norms:

1. Candidates must be physically fit as per the defined standards of UPSC.

2. Candidates must have a good physical and mental health and there should be no disability or deformity that may affect the ability or efficiency to perform their duty.

3. There should be no physical weaknesses or limitations. Weight should be within the defined range.

4. The minimum required heights for males are157.5 cm for Army, 162.5 cm for Airforce, and 157 cm for Navy. The minimum acceptable height for women candidates is 152 cm for all the forces.

5. There’s an exception to the clause of required height. The candidates who belong to the North-Eastern region, generally from the Garhwali and Gorkha tribes, are given a slackening of 5 cm in height. And those who come from Lakshadweep get a relaxation for 2 cm of height.

6. No woman who is detected with pregnancy during the course of selection or training would be considered admissible and would be debarred from the entrance process.

7. Candidates should have adequately amassed structure of teeth with a minimum of 14 dental points (A fuller 32 teeth jaw is measured to have 22 dental point).

8. Eyes – You are advised to go through detailed examinations and tests under team of commissioned offices and ophthalmologists to rule out any chance of eye defect or disease. This is to make sure that the candidate can see all the colours and has an upright binocular vision. The idea here is to see if they can recognize all the colours.

9. Knock Knee, flat foot, heart murmur, vax in ear, bend elbows are some of the common problems. You may therefore undergo medical test at your convenience.

Conduct of Examination

1. CDS 1 – February each year
2. CDS 2 – November each year

CDS 1 exams are conducted for the course which begins in January next year and CDS 2 for the course beginning in July next year.

Note: There may be variations in QR. You must go through the advertisement published by UPSC at the time of declaring dates for filling up application forms.

Preparing for CDS Exam

We recommend that you start preparing for written examination, physical fitness and SSB at least one year in advance to achieve success and be high order of merit. For detailed guidance, you may visit KDA at your convenience. Our aim is to ensure maximum talented youth to join Armed Forces with ease to serve the Nation.


Kargil Defence Academy is located in Jaipur only. Beware of institutions defaming the name of this prestigious institution in other parts of the country.


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