Combined Defence Services Examination, popularly known as CDS exam is conducted by UPSC twice a year. All those aspirants who wanted to serve the country through defence services gives this exam. CDS helps candidates to join Indian Military Servces (IMA), Indian Naval Academy (INA), Air Force Academy (AFA) and Officers Training Academy (OTA).

In this article we will focus on CDS Eligibility Criteria and will try to provide you proper information in this about Physical, Medical, Educational criteria for CDS Eligibility..

CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria

Name of the PostsEducational QualificationAge LimitMarital Status
Indian Military AcademyGraduation or equivalent
19 to 23Unmarried
Indian Naval AcademyGraduation in Bachelor of Engineering19 to 23Unmarried
Air Force AcademyGraduation in Bachelor of Engineering19 to 24Unmarried
Officers’ Training AcademyGraduation or equivalent19 to 24Unmarried, Married, Widow, Divorcee

Important: All the persons who are in the final year of Graduation and have now given/passed the final examination can this exam but they have to present the proof of passing the final examination before SSB interview


Conditions Of Eligibility For CDS Exam:

CDS Eligibility: Nationality

A candidate must be unmarried and must either be:

(i) a Citizen of India, or

(ii) a subject of Bhutan, or

(iii) a subject of Nepal, or

(iv) a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before the 1st January, 1962 with the intention of permanently settling in India, or

(v) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Provided that a candidate belonging to categories (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v) above shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India. Certificate of eligibility will, however, not be necessary in the case of candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal.

A candidate in whose case a certificate of eligibility is necessary, may be admitted to the examination provisionally subject to the necessary certificate being given to him/her by the Govt. before declaration of result by UPSC.

CDS Eligibility: Educational Qualifications

(i) For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy,Chennai: 

Degree of a recognised University or equivalent.

(ii) For Indian Naval Academy:

Degree in Engineering from a recognised University/Institution.

(iii) For Air Force Academy:

Degree of a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering. Graduates with first choice as Army/Navy/Air Force are to submit proof of Graduation/provisional certificates on the date of commencement of the SSB Interview at the SSB.

CDS Eligibility Criteria: Height

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

Note: These concessions are not applicable for Air Force

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CDS Eligibility: Physical Standards

CDS Eligibility Test
  1. Chest should be well developed. The minimum range of expansion after full inspiration should be 5 cms. The measurement will be taken with a tape so adjusted that its lower edge should touch the nipple in front and the upper part of the tape should touch the lower angle of the shoulder blades behind. X-ray of the chest is compulsory and will be taken to rule out any disease of the chest.
  2. If the candidate has any tattoo on the body then he will be barred from selection process.
  3. The candidates should undergo a pre medical check up for wax in ears, defects of eyes, infection of skin etc. before the SSB interview.
  4. There should be no mal-development or impairment of function of the bonesor joint.
  5. A candidate should have no past history of mental breakdown or fits.
  6. The hearing should be normal. A candidate should be able to hear a forced whisper with each ear at a distance of 610 cms in a quiet room. There should be no evidence of present or past disease of the ear, nose and throat. There is no impediment of speech.
  7. There should be no signs of functional or organic disease of the heart and blood vessels, Blood pressure should be normal.
  8. There should be no enlargement of liver or spleen. Any evidence of disease of internal organs of the abdomen will be a cause for rejection.
  9. Un-operated hernias will make a candidate unfit. In case of Hernia which has been operated, a minimum of six months must have passed prior to final medical examination.
  10. There should be no hydrocele, varicocele or piles. Urine examination will be done and any abnormality if detected will be a cause for rejection.
  11. Any disease of skin which is likely to cause disability or disfigurement will also be a cause for rejection.
  12. The candidates should have sufficient number of natural and sound teeth. A minimum number of 14 dental points will be acceptable. When 32 teeth are present, the total dental points are/ should be 22. A candidate should not be suffering from severe pyorrhoea.
  13. Vision Standards for Naval Candidates :-
Uncorrected without glasses6/12, 6/12
Corrected with glasses6/6, 6/6
Limits of Myopia-1.5D
Limits of Hypermetropia+1.5D
Binocular VisionIII
Limits of Colour PerceptionI

Candidates who are unfit or cannot appear for medical test may apply for Appeal Medical Board (AMB) to be  completed within 42 days of SMB and may request for Review Medical Board (RMB) with in one day of completion of Appeal Medical Board.

If a candidate fails to clear CDS eligibility Criteria or fails in Physical Tests for CDS eligibility, he/she will be declared failed.

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CDS Eligibility Criteria: Things to Avoid

Candidates must undertake not to marry until they complete their full training. A candidate who marries subsequent to the date of his application, through successful at the written examination or service Selection Board interview of medical examination will not be eligible for training. This is an important part of CDS Eligibility Criteria.

Note: It applies on candidates of Indian Military Academy Course or Naval Academy Course or Indian Air Force Academy Course or Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai.

Candidates who were admitted to an earlier course at the National Defence Academy, Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Officers’ Training Academy, Chennai but were removed there from on disciplinary ground will not be considered for admission to the Indian Military Academy, Indian Naval Academy, Air Force Academy or for grant of Short Service Commission in the Army.

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After admission to the Indian Military Academy or the Indian Naval Academy or the Air Force Academy, candidates will not be considered for any other commission. They will also not be permitted to appear for any interview or examination after they have been finally selected for training in the Indian Military Academy or the Indian Naval Academy or the Air Force Academy.

If you still have any doubt regarding CDS Eligibility Criteria or about CDS Eligibility for Physical Test you can ask your doubts in the comment section.


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