Union Public Service Commission conducts Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination twice a year, in the month of April and September. The selected candidates will get recruitment under the Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Indian Military Academy, and Indian Air Force Academy. The Union Public Service Commission has mentioned the detailed eligibility criteria in the CDS 2 Notification 2024 which has been released on 15th May 2024 for 459 vacancies. In this article, we have covered the detailed eligibility criteria required to apply for CDS. 

UPSC CDS Eligibility 2024

According to the CDS Eligibility Criteria, only unmarried male and female candidates who have completed their graduation and are aged between 19 to 25 years are eligible to apply online for the CDS Combined Defence Service Examination 2024. The selection of candidates will be based on the written test followed by an interview. The candidates who will qualify for the interview will be placed at the respective academies based on merit and choice of preference. The UPSC has set some eligibility criteria for the CDS exam, the interested candidates must read the whole article to know the age limit and eligibility criteria prescribed by the UPSC to be eligible for the CDS Exam. 

CDS 2 Notification 2024 Out for 459 Vacancies- Click to Check

CDS Age Limit 2024

  1. Only unmarried male candidates will be eligible for the Indian Military Academy, the candidates must be born between 2nd January 2001 to 1st January 2006 to get eligible.
  2. Indian Naval Academy(INA): Only unmarried male candidates will be eligible, who are born between 2nd January 2001 to 1st January 2006.
  3. Air Force Academy- The candidates whose age lies between 20 to 24 years, who are born between 2nd January 2001 to 1st January 2005 will be eligible and those who have a valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by the DGCA(India) will get an age relaxation of up to 26 years.
  4. Officers Training Academy (SSC Course for Men): Only unmarried males are eligible who were born between 2nd January 2000  and 1st January 2006.
  5. For Officers' Training Academy—(SSC Women Non-Technical Course) Unmarried women, issueless widows who have not remarried and issueless divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible. They should have been born not earlier than 2nd January 2000 and not later than 1st January 2006.

The details about age limit and marital status are given below in the table:

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 Previous Year Question Paper PDFs

CDS Educational Qualifications 2024

UPSC has set a minimum education qualification for CDS, the candidates should meet the education qualification criteria prescribed by the UPSC to get eligible for the CDS. The candidates must be graduates from a recognized university to fulfil the educational requirement. The candidates must note the instructions given below:

  1. Candidates who have filled the first choice as Army/Navy/Air Force must carry the graduation certificate in the SSB interview.
  2. The candidates who are in the final year of graduation can also apply provided they do not have any backlog, such candidates have to submit the passing degree certificate at the time of commencement of the course.

 The detailed education qualification for CDS is given below in the table: 

AcademyEducation Qualification 
Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA)Bachelor’s Degree from a recognised university
Indian Naval Academy (INA)Bachelors in Engineering from a recognised University
Air Force Academy (AFA)

Graduated with  Physics and Mathematics in Class 12th 


Bachelor of Engineering

CDS Nationality /Citizenship 2024

To be eligible for the CDS exam candidates have to meet the criteria for nationality and citizenship. Candidates who want 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. Refugees from Tibet who are permanently settled in India before January 1, 1962.
  5. An Indian origin migrated from nations like Kenya, the United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi, Zaire, Zambia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, East African countries of Uganda, and Vietnam intending to permanently settle in India.

The candidates who belong to categories 2, 3, 4, and 5 have to present a valid eligibility certificate issued by the Government of India to the recruiting body. For Gorkhas subjected to Nepal they aren’t require to present the eligibility certificate. 

Important Instructions

The candidates must check the important guidelines given below: 

  1. If candidates don’t fulfil the eligibility criteria prescribed by the commission, the candidature of such candidates will be declared null or void at any stage of recruitment.
  2. If the candidate is found guilty after the appointment, in such cases the candidate will be terminated from the services.
  3. UPSC will conduct document verification after the personality test of candidates, the candidates have to produce valid documents at the time of document verification.
  4. Male divorcee applicants will not be considered unmarried. Thus, they will not be eligible for the CDS exam.
  5. Change in date of birth will not be allowed at any stage of recruitment.
  6. The candidates aged below 25 years must be unmarried. The marriage will not be permitted during the training period.
  7. Candidates above 25 years of age will be eligible to apply for their respective academy but during the training period they will not be provided the married accommodation and they won’t be allowed to live with family outside the premises..

CDS Exam Syllabus & Exam Pattern 2024- Click Here

Read More About CDS 2024 Exam

CDS Eligibility 2024: FAQs

Ans. The maximum age limit for CDS 2024 examination is dependent on the academy, check this article we have provided the age limit required for all the academies.

Ans. Unmarried candidates who attain the age of 24 years will be eligible for CDS.

Ans. The candidate should hold a Bachelor’s Degree from a recognised university.

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