UPSC CDS 2020 Eligibility criteria - UPSC CDS 2020 Eligibility criteria

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is going to conducts Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination for recruitment of various vacancies under the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, and Officers Training Academy. The following are the eligibility details to apply for the Combined Defence Services Exam.

1. Nationality: 

A candidate must be either
(i) A citizen of India, or
(ii) A subject of Nepal, or
(iii) A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Srilanka or East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or from Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.
Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (ii) and (iii) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India.

2. Age Limit:

(i) For IMA: Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 02-07-1997 and not later than 01-07-2002
(ii) For Indian Naval Academy: Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than 02-07-1997 and not later than 01-07-2002.
(iii) For Air Force Academy: Unmarried male candidates age between 20 to 24 years as on 1st July, 2021 i.e. born not earlier than 02-07-1997 and not later than 01-07-2001 (Upper age limit for candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxable upto 26 yrs.i.e. born not earlier than 02-07-1995 and not later than 01-07-2001).
(iv) For Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for Men): Male candidates (unmarried) born not earlier than 02-07-1996 and not later than 01-07-2002.
(v) 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 02-07-1996 and not later than 01-07-2002.

Note: Male divorcee/widower candidates can not be treated as unmarried male for the purpose of their admission in IMA/INA/AFA/OTA, Chennai courses and accordingly they are not eligible for these courses.

3. Educational Qualification:

(i) For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy: Degree of a recognized University or equivalent.
(ii) For Indian Naval Academy: Degree in Engineering from a recognized university/institution.
(iii) For Air Force Academy: Degree of a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.

Note: Those candidates who are studying in the final years Degree course and have yet to pass the final year Degree examination are also eligible to apply.

4. Physical Standards: 

Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Combined Defence Services Examination (II) 2020.

Combined Defence Services 2020: Physical Standards for Male and Female: 

Candidates must be physically and mentally fit as per the guidelines of UPCS. A good number of qualified candidates get disqualified on the medical grounds. Therefore candidates are strongly advised to get themselves medically tested before applying for CDS Exam. the most commonly found defects are :

  1. Wax (ears) 
  2. Deviated Nasal Septum
  3. Hydrocele/Varicocele/Phimosis
  4. Overweight/Underweight 
  5. Piles 
  6. Gynaecomastia 


Permanent body tattoos are strictly prohibited whether it is on their body parts except the inner face of the forearm i.e. inside of elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of palm/back (dorsal) side of the hand. Candidates with tattoos from specific Tribes on their face or body as per their existing customs and traditions will be permitted to a case basis.

Heights and Weights Standards :

The minimum acceptable height for male candidates is 157.5 cms. (157 cms for Navy and 162.5 cms for Air Force). Women candidates’ minimum acceptable height is 152 cms. For Gorkhas and individuals belonging to hills of the North-Eastern region of India, Garhwali and Kumaon, the Minimum acceptable height will be 5 cms less. In the case of candidates from Lakshadweep, the minimum acceptable height can be reduced by 2 cms.

General standards for Body :

  • Body Mass Index should be below 25.
  • Waist Hip ratio should be below 0.9 for males and 0.8 for females. 
  • Waist Circumference should be less than 90 cm for males and 80 cm for females. 
  • All biochemical metabolic parameters should be within normal limits.

Other Physical Standards for Army, Navy, and Air Force: 

Other than heights and weight ratio, there are several physical criteria which candidates should meet to prove their physical fitness:

Visual Standards: 

UPSC has specified three types of visual standards for all academies: 

For IMA and OTA: 

  • Uncorrected vision(max allowed) - 6/60 &6/60 
  • BCVA - Rt 6/6 & Lt 6/6
  • Myopia - < -3.50 D Sph ( including max astigmatism ≤ +/- 2.0 D Cyl) 
  • Hypermetropia - <+3.50 DSph ( including max astigmatism ≤ +/- 2.0 D Cyl) 
  • Lasik/equivalent surgery - Permitted
  • Colour perception: CP II 



Vision (corrected) better eye 6/6 and worse eye 6/12

Vision(corrected) better eye 6/6, worse eye 6/12

Myopia of not more than minus 3.5 D

Myopia 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.

 For Naval Candidates:

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

For Air Force : 

Candidates who habitually wear spectacles are not eligible for Air Force.

Minimum distant vision 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in other correctable to 6/6 only.

Hypermetropia Colour vision CP-1 :

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

Maddox Rod Test:

  •  at 6 meters :
  • Exo-6 prism D
  • Eso-6 prism D
  •  Hyper-1 prism D
  • Hypo-1prism D 
  •  at 33 cms :
  • Exo-16 prism D 
  • Eso-6 prism D 
  • Hyper-1 prism D
  • Hypo-1 prism D

Lasik/equivalent surgery: 

Candidates who have undergone any kerato-refractive procedures are required to show certificate/ operative notes from medical centre specified the date, type of surgery and procedure.) The candidates also keep the additional criteria to be made FIT: 

  • Age more than 20 yrs at the time of surgery.
  • Minimum 12 months post LASIK
  • Central corneal thickness equal to or more than 450 µ 
  • Axial length by IOL Master equal to or less than 26 mm 
  • Residual refraction of less than or equal to +/- 1.0 D incl cylinder, (provided acceptable in the category applied for). 
  • Normal healthy retina. 
  • Corneal topography and ectasia markers can also be included as additional criteria.

Hearing Standards for Air Force:

Conditions related to ear and hearing standards are:

  1.  Speech test: Free Field hearing loss is a cause for rejection. Any reduction of less than 600 cm in CV/FW is not acceptable. 
  2. Audiometric Test: Audiometric loss should not be greater than 20 dB, in frequencies between 250 and 8000 Hz. On the recommendation of an ENT Specialist, an isolated unilateral hearing loss up to 30 db may be condoned provided ENT examination is otherwise normal. 
  3. A radical/modified radical mastoidectomy entails rejection even if completely epithelialized and good hearing is preserved. Cases of cortical mastoidectomy in the past with the tympanic membrane intact, normal hearing and presenting no evidence of disease may be accepted. 
  4. Cases of chronic otitis externa accompanied by exostoses or unduly narrow meatii will be rejected. Exaggerated tortuosity of the canal, obliterating the anterior view of the tympanic membrane will be a cause for rejection.
  5. Tympanoplasty Type I is acceptable twelve weeks after surgery, provided ear clearance test in altitude chamber is normal. The following middle ear conditions will entail rejection:- 
  6. Attic, central or marginal perforation. 
  7. Tympanic membrane scar with marked retraction.
  8. Tympanoplasty Type II onward but not type I. 
  9. Calcareous plaques (tympanosclerosis) if occupying more than 1/3 of pars tensa. 
  10. Middle ear infection. 
  11. Granulation or polyp in the external auditory canal. 
  12. Stapedectomy operation. 
  13. Otosclerosis 
  14. Meniere’s disease
  15. Vestibular dysfunction including nystagmus of vestibular origin.
  16. Bell’s palsy following ear infection. 

Spinal Conditions for Air Force :

Past medical history of diseases or injury of the spine or sacroiliac joints, either with or without objective signs which have prevented the candidate from successfully following a physically active life, is a cause for rejection for commissioning in IAF. History of spinal fracture/prolapsed intervertebral disc and surgical treatment for these conditions will entail rejection. The following conditions detected during the medical exam will disqualify a candidate for Air Force service. 

  1. Granulomatous disease of the spine
  2. Arthritis/Spondylosis:
  3. Rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders
  4. Ankylosing spondylitis
  5. Osteoarthrosis, spondylosis and degenerative joint diseases
  6. Non-articular rheumatism (e.g. lesions of the rotator cuff, tennis elbow, recurrent lumbago etc.)
  7. Miscellaneous disorders including SLE, dermatomyositis, polymyositis, vasculitis.
  8.  Spondylolisthesis/spondylolysis/spondylosis
  9.  Compression fracture of vertebrae
  10. Scheuermann’s disease (Adolescent Kyphosis)
  11. Loss of cervical lordosis when associated with clinically restricted movements of the cervical spine.
  12.  Unilateral/bilateral cervical ribs with a demonstrable neurological or circulatory deficit.

Physical Conditioning:

Prospective candidates are advised to keep themselves in good physical condition by following the under mentioned routine:

  • Running: 2 to 4 km in 15 minutes
  • Pushups & Sit-ups: Minimum 20 each
  • Chin-ups: Min. 8
  • Rope Climbing: 3 to 4 meters
  • Skipping

Dental conditions:- 

Conditions related to Dental standards and problems for CDS candidates are: 

1.    Incipient pathological conditions of the jaws, which are known to be

progressive or recurrent. 

2.    Significant jaw discrepancies between upper and lower jaw which may

hamper efficient mastication and/or speech will be a cause for rejection.

3.    Symptomatic Temporo-Mandibular Joint has clicking and tenderness is subject to rejection. 

4.    A mouth opening of less than 30 mm measured at the incisal edges, Dislocation

of the TMJ on wide opening.

5.     All potentially cancerous conditions.

6.     Clinical diagnosis for submucous fibrosis with or without restriction

of mouth opening.

7.    Poor oral health status in the form of gross visible calculus, periodontal

pockets and/or bleeding from gums.

8.     Loose teeth: More than two mobile teeth will render the candidate unfit.

9.    Cosmetic or post-traumatic maxillofacial surgery/trauma will be

UNFIT for at least 24 weeks from the date of surgery/injury whichever is later.

10. If malocclusion of teeth is hampering efficient mastications maintenance of oral hygiene or general nutrition or performance of duties efficiently. 

Chest Conditions:-

Tuberculosis, or evidence of tuberculosis, lesions of lungs, heart, musculoskeletal lesions of the chest wall are subject to reject.

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

Nervous system:- 

Tremors, and speech impediments, as well as imbalance, are not allowed.

Skin Problems: Vitiligo, haemangiomas, warts, corns, dermatitis, skin infections

growths and hyperhidrosis are not allowed. 

Other Important Facts: 

The following conditions detected on X-ray examination will be disqualifying for entry to Army and Navy:

1.     Granulomatous disease of spine.

2.    Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis & allied disorders and ankylosing spondylitis

3.    Scoliosis more than 100 degree as measured by Cobb's method.

4.    More than mild Kyphosis/Lordosis.

5.    Spondylolisthesis/Spondylosis/Spondylolysis.

6.    Herniated nucleus pulposus.

7.    Compression fracture of Vertebra.

8.    Sacralisation Disease.

9.    Cervical ribs with demonstrable neurological or 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 other than SV 1 and LV 5.

14. Any other abnormality, if so considered by specialist

General Guidelines of Medical standards:

 To be “Medically fit” person, candidates have to be in good physical and mental health. They also need to free from any kind of disease or syndrome. In the following paragraphs, the detail guidelines of Medical standards for IMA, INA, AFA and OTA: 

1.    The candidate also should be free of any medical conditions which leads them to visit medical facilities or use of any aid/drugs.

2.     There should be no proof of a weak constitution, imperfect development of any system, any congenital deformities/ diseases/syndrome, or malformation. 

3.    No swelling/s including tumours/cyst/swollen lymph node/s anywhere on the body will be allowed. 

4.     No sinus/es or fistula/es anywhere on the body will be considered as good health.

5.     No hyper or hypopigmentation or any other disease/syndrome/disability of the skin. 

6.    No hernia anywhere on the body. 

7.    No scars which can impair the functioning and cause significant disfigurement.

8.    No arterio-venous malformation anywhere in/on the body.

9.    No malformation of the head and face including asymmetry, deformity from fracture or depression of the bones of the skull; or scars indicating old operative interference and malformation like sinuses and fistulae etc. 

10. No impairment of vision including colour perception and field of vision. 

11. No hearing impairment, deformities/disabilities in-ears vestibule-cochlear system

12. No impediment of speech due to any aetiology. 

13. No disease/disability/ congenital anomaly/syndrome of the bones or cartilages of the nose, or palate, nasal polyps, or disease of the nasopharynx, uvula, and accessory sinuses. There should be no nasal deformity and no features of chronic tonsillitis. 

14.  No disease /syndrome/disability of the throat, palate tonsils or gums, or any disease or injury affecting the normal function of either mandibular joint. 

15. No disease /syndrome/disability of the heart and blood vessels including congenital, genetic, organic incl hypertension, and conduction disorders. 

16. No evidence of pulmonary tuberculosis or previous history of this disease or any other disease /syndrome/disability chronic disease of the lungs and chest including allergies /immunological conditions, connective tissue disorders, musculoskeletal deformities of chest.

17. No disease of the digestive system including any abnormality of the liver, pancreas including endocrine, congenital, hereditary or genetic diseases /syndromes and disabilities. 

18. No diseases/syndrome/disability of any endocrine system, reticuloendothelial system. 

19. No diseases/syndrome/disability of genito-urinary system including malformations, atrophy/hypertrophy of any organ or gland. 

20. No active, latent or congenital venereal disease. 

21. No history or evidence of mental disease, epilepsy, incontinence of urine or enuresis. 

22. No disease/deformity/syndrome of the musculoskeletal system and joints incl skull, spine and limbs. 

23. There is no congenital or hereditary disease/ syndrome/disability. 

The following ocular diseases will make a candidate unfit :

  • Ptosis.
  • Corneal Opacity.
  • Pterygium.
  • Lenticular opacity.
  • Uveitis.
  • Nystagmus.
  • Entropion/Ectropion.
  • Squint.
  • Night blindness.
  • Retinal lesions.
  • Naso-Lacrimal occlusion.