Ultimate Guide For CDS Exam Eligibility Criteria with PDF Format

CDS exam eligibility

UPSC conducts the CDS exam every year to screen young men and women eligible for admission to the Indian Naval Academy (INA), Indian Military Academy (IMA), Air Force Academy (AFA), and Officers Training Academy (OTA).

Everyone knows that lots of candidates apply for the CDS exam every year. And You are also want to apply for the CDS exam.

The full form of the CDS exam is the Combined Defence service.

So, the first question that will come to your mind is “Am I eligible for this CDS exam or not?“.

Don’t worry about that

In this article, I will show you in-depth eligible criteria for the CDS exam. Check your CDS exam eligibility from this article.

And If you’re eligible for this exam you must definitely apply for this post.

Because this post gives you the two most important factor of life is High salary(Approx 1lacs+ per month), and High Respect.

So, let’s get started


1. Nationality For CDS Exam 

Check the following points to know about what nationality is required for the CDS exam eligibility in detail. Candidate Must be

  • A Citizen of India
  • A Citizen of Bhutan or Nepal
  • A Tibetan candidate who comes to India before January 1st, 1962, and wants to settle permanently in India.
  • A person who comes to permanently settle in India from the migrating country of India like- Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and East African Countries (Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, and Ethiopia or Vietnam).


He will also have to produce a migration certificate and a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India.

For Gorkha subjects of Nepal candidates, are not required to show any kind of certificate of CDS eligibility.


2. Education Qualification For CDS 

For every candidate who wants to apply for the CDS exam 2021, You must need a degree of graduation. Check below for detailed information.

For Air Force Academy, candidates have a need Graduation degree from a recognized university(with maths and physics at 10+2) or a bachelor’s degree in Engineering.


AcademiesEducational qualification
For IMA and OTA CandidatesMust have Graduation from a recognized university
Indian Naval Academy (INA)Must have an engineering degree from a recognized university/institute
Air Force Academy (AFA)have a Bachelor Bachelor of Engineering or Graduation (with Physics and Mathematics at Class 12)


Also, keep in mind these points

  • You can apply for a position even if you are in the final year of graduationBut you must submit your graduation degree before the SSB interview.
  • The date of issue in the certificate of degree and the specified date declared by UPSC must be earlier than the date of issue. Otherwise, their candidature will be canceled.
  • Candidates who are denied any kind of commission in the Defense Services by the Ministry of Defense will not be eligible for admission to the examination.


3.CDS Exam previous year question paper 

We are providing the last few year’s CDS exam previous year’s question paper for free. This exam was conducted in offline mode.

Here, Question papers have been providing separately for Mathematics, English, and General Knowledge(GK).

Click To Download Previous Year Question Paper of CDS Exam

Benefits of Solve CDS Previous year Question paper

      • CDS previous year’s question paper will help you to get an idea about, types of questions, and time spent on each question.
      • CDS Exam previous year’s question paper practice helps you decide how much time you devote to a particular question.
      • Also, find our strengths and weaknesses to improve preparation.
      • Previous year’s question paper and mock tests help you to revision and practice.

Also, Check Other UPSC exam previous year question paper topics

Also, Check Other UPSC exam previous year question paper topics

CDS Exam      IAS Exam      NDA & NA Exam

IES Exam        IFS Exam

4. CDS Exam Syllabus And Exam Pattern

After applying for the CDS exam, first, you need to know about the CDS exam syllabus and Exam Pattern.

In fact, a better understanding of the CDS syllabus and the latest CDS exam pattern is important for the candidate to strategically plan the preparation for the CDS exam.

So, Click the below link to

Download and read the Syllabus and Exam Pattern


5. Age LImit, Gender, and Marital Status for CDS 2021

According to the UPSC, the Candidate must have unmarried.

Divorced/Widower candidates are not eligible for the CDS exam and Chennai courses as they are considered married.

Below the table, I show you in detail

AcademyAge Limit GenderMarital Status
Indian Military Academy (IMA)19 – 24 YearsMaleUnmarried
Indian Naval Academy (INA)19 – 22 YearsMaleUnmarried
Air Force Academy19 – 23 YearsMale<25 years unmarried or >25 years both married and unmarried.
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course)19 – 25 YearsFemaleUnmarried Women, issueless widows who have not remarried, and issueless divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible.
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for Men)19 – 25 YearsMaleUnmarried



Certificate Issue: UPSC will accept only those date of birth which is recorded in Secondary School Examination Certificate or any Indian recognized University.

Candidate’s DOB recorded by the admission commission. Hence, no change will be allowed on any ground at a later date or in the subsequent examination.

Other Documents: 12th mark sheet, category certificate, radar card/pan card, etc are acceptable.

If it is found that the date of birth or any certificate does not match with the valid proof, disciplinary action will be taken against them by the commission under the rules.


6. CDS Exam Eligibility for Physical Standards

According to the UPSC guidelines, candidates must have mentally and physically fit. A good number of qualified candidates become ineligible on medical grounds.

General standards for Body :

  • The body mass index should be below 25.
  • The waist to hip ratio should be below 0.9 for men and 0.8 for women.
  • Waist circumference should be less than 90 cm for men and less than 80 cm for women.
  • All biochemical metabolic parameters should be within normal limits.

Guidelines for tattoo:

  • Permanent body tattoos are strictly prohibited for all candidates.
  • If the candidate belongs to some specific tribes where there is a tradition of tattoos will be allowed on case to case basis


7.Download CDS Exam Eligibility PDF

Detail information about CDS Exam eligibility pdf. Downloads pdf to boost your preparation.

Click to Download CDS exam eligibility PDF

CDS Heights and Weights Standards for Males:

The minimum height for males is approx 157.5cm (but 157 cms for the Navy and 162.5 cms for Air Force).

For Female candidates, the minimum height is 152cm.

For Gorkhas and Indian north-eastern candidates, the Minimum acceptable height will be 5 cms less.

And For Lakshadweep candidates, the minimum acceptable height will be 2 cms less.


The following table mentioned standards Army and Navy candidates

Height in Centimetres (Without shoes)Weight in Kgs.
18 years20 years22 years24 years


Note:- A departure of ± 10% (for Navy) from the mean weight given in the table above is to be considered within the normal range. However, it may be waived to a certain extent on merit, in individuals with heavy bones and fat builds, as well as in individuals who are thinly built but otherwise healthy.


Height and Weight Standards (Females)

The minimum height is 152 cm. But check the detail height and weight from the given table.

Height in Centimetres (Without shoes)Weight in Kgs.
20 years25 years30 years


Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Wax (ears)
  • Deviated Nasal Septum
  • Hydrocele/Varicocele/Phimosis
  • Overweight/Underweight
  • Piles
  • Gynaecomastia
  • Tatoo


Height and Weight for air force male candidates

The allowable weight for Air Force candidates will be ± 10% of the average. (for FAT% (<20) of normal individuals).

Height in mmAge Range in Year 



8. Other Physical standard Eligibility 

Height and weight alone are not enough, many other physical parameters help the candidates to prove their physical fitness.

Physical Conditioning:

Candidate should maintain their body by following these exercise:

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

Dental conditions:-

Read the following details to know about dental conditions for the CDS exam eligibility:

  • Early pathological conditions of the jaw, which are considered progressive or recurrent.
    Significant jaw discrepancies between the upper and lower jaw may hinder efficient chewing and/or will cause speech rejection.
  • It is symptomatic temporomandibular joint clicking and tenderness that are subject to rejection.
  • Mouth openings of less than 30 mm are measured at the incision edges, displacement of the TMJ at the wider opening.
  • All possible cancer conditions.
  • Clinical diagnosis for submucous fibrosis with or without the restriction of mouth opening.
    The poor oral health condition in the form of gross visible stones, periodontal pockets, and/or bleeding gums.
  • Loose teeth: More than two mobile teeth will make the candidate unsuitable.
    Be unfit for at least 24 weeks from the date of cosmetic or post-traumatic maxillofacial surgery/trauma surgery/injury, whichever is later.
  • If malformation of teeth is hindering efficient chewing of oral hygiene or normal nutrition or efficient performance of duties.


Chest Eligibility: 

Evidence of tuberculosis, or tuberculosis, lesions of the lungs, heart, musculoskeletal lesions of the chest wall are the cause of rejection.

Abdominal and genitourinary system: Hernia, undescended testis,

  • varicocele, organomegaly, solitary kidney,
  • horseshoe kidney and kidney/liver cysts, gallstones,
  • kidney and ureteric stones,
  • lesions/malformations of the urogenital organs, hemorrhoids,
  • sinus Problems like,
  • and lymphadenitis/pathy can make a candidate rejected on medical grounds.


Visual Standard 

UPSC defines three types of visual standard for CDS exam eligibility which given below:

For OTA and IMA-

  • Uncorrected Vision VA 6/60 & 6/60
  • BCVA ratio 6/6 & 6/6
  • Myopia< –3.50 D Sph (including astigmatism)
  • Hypermetropia +3.50 D Sph including Astigmatism
  • Colour perception CP-II
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 AstigmatismManifest hypermetropia should be less than plus 3.5 D including Astigmatism.


For Naval Acadamy:

Uncorrected without glasses6/12, 6/12
Must be Corrected with glasses6/6, 6/6
Limits of Myopia-1.5D
Limits of Hypermetropia+1.5D
Binocular VisionIII
Limits of Colour PerceptionI

For Air Force:

Candidates who wear spectacle regularly are not eligible for the air force. Minimum far vision 6/6 in one eye and second 6/9.

Hypermetropia Colour Vision CP-1 should have :

  • 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)


Hearing Standard Eligibility 

Avoid these following middle ear condition

  1. Attic, central or marginal perforation.
  2. Tympanic membrane scar with marked retraction.
  3. Tympanoplasty Type II onward but not type I.
  4. Calcareous plaques (tympanosclerosis) if occupying more than 1/3 of pars tensa.
  5. Middle ear infection.
  6. Granulation or polyp in the external auditory canal.
  7. Stapedectomy operation.
  8. Otosclerosis
  9. Meniere’s disease
  10. Vestibular dysfunction including nystagmus of vestibular origin.
  11. Bell’s palsy following an ear infection.

Speech Test: Free field hearing loss is a cause of rejection. Any reduction in CV/FW of fewer than 600 cms is not acceptable.

Audiometric test: Audiometric loss should not exceed 20 dB in frequencies between 250 and 8000 Hz.

Tympanoplasty type: acceptable twelve weeks after surgery, provided the test of ear clearance in the elevation chamber is normal.

Cases of cortical mastoidectomy in the past may present with the tympanic membrane intact, normal hearing, and no evidence of disease.


Spinal Conditions for CDS Exam Eligibility:

Past medical history of diseases or injury to the spine or sacroiliac joint, which has prevented the candidate from leading a physically active life, is the reason for rejection.

Also, surgical treatment of spinal fracture/prolapsed intervertebral disc for these conditions will involve rejection.

The following condition will be detected during the medical tests a candidate will not acceptable for the air force.

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


Nervous system:-

  1. Tremors, and speech impediments, as well as incontinence, are not allowed.
  2. Skin problems: vitiligo, hemangiomas, warts, corns, dermatitis, skin infections
  3. Enlargement and hyperhidrosis are not allowed.


Other Useful Test:

For the army and navy, X-ray Examinations are also required for CDS exam eligibility.

  1. The granulomatous disease of the spine.
  2. Arthritis – Rheumatoid Arthritis and Associated Disorders and Ankylosing Spondylitis
  3. Scoliosis is greater than 100 degrees as measured by Cobb’s method.
  4. Exceeding mild kyphosis/lordosis.
  5. Spondylolisthesis / Spondylosis / Spondylolysis.
  6. Herniated nucleus pulposus.
  7. Compression fracture of the vertebra.
  8. Saccharification disease.
  9. Cervical ribs may exhibit neurological or circulatory deficits.
  10. The presence of Schmorl’s node on more than one level.
  11. Atlanto-occipital and atlantoaxial anomalies.
  12. Incomplete saccharification is unilateral or bilateral.
  13. There is spina bifida other than sv1 and lv5.
  14. Any other abnormality, if considered so by the specialist


Medical standards In CDS Exam Eligibility:

The candidate must have to be in good physical and mental health. And also free from any kind of disease or syndrome.

  • The candidate should be free from any medical condition that prompts him to visit medical facilities or use any aids/medicines.
  • There should be no evidence of weak constitution, incomplete development of any system, any congenital deformity/disease/syndrome, or deformity.
  • No swelling of any kind shall be allowed including tumor/cyst/swollen lymph node/s anywhere on the body.
  • No sinus/s or fistula/s anywhere on the body would be considered good health.
  • No hyper or hypopigmentation or any other disease/syndrome/disability of the skin.
  • There is no hernia anywhere on the body.
  • No scar can impair functioning and cause significant deformity.
  • There is no arteriovenous malformation anywhere in the body.
  • any deformity of the head and face including asymmetry, deformity from fractures, or depression of the skull bones; Or scars indicating chronic operative intervention and malformations like sinus and fistula, etc.
  • No loss of vision including color perception and field of vision.
  • Any hearing loss, deformity/disability in-ear vestibule-cochlear system
  • No disease/disability/congenital anomaly/bone syndrome or disease of nasal cartilage, or palate, nasal polyps, or nasopharynx, uvula, and accessory sinus. There should be no nasal deformity and no features of chronic tonsillitis.
  • No disease/syndrome/disability of the throat, palatine tonsils or gums, or any disease or injury affecting the normal function of any jaw joint.
  • No evidence of pulmonary tuberculosis or previous history of this disease or any other disease/syndrome/disability chronic disease of lungs and chest including allergic/immune conditions, connective tissue disorders, musculoskeletal deformities of the chest
  • No disease/syndrome/disability of any endocrine system, reticuloendothelial system.
    There is no disease/syndrome/dysfunction of the genitourinary system including malformations, atrophy/hypertrophy of any organ or gland.


Avoid these Other mistakes for CDS exam eligibility

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

Frequently Asked Question

Question: Do 12th marks matter in CDS?
Answer: No, 12th marks don’t matter for the CDS exam. Also, graduation marks do not matter for CDS Exam. The only 12th passed candidate eligible for the CDS exam.

Question: What is CDS post in the army?
Answer: The post of Chief of Defence Staff was created in January this year to handle the tri-services issues and enhance jointness among the armed forces.


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