CDS Eligibility Criteria 2021 - Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the exam conducting body for the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination. UPSC is also responsible for releasing the CDS eligibility 2021. All aspiring candidates wanting to appear for CDS 2021 should be graduates and between the age group of 19 to 25 years. CDS eligiblity criteria 2021 is based on age limit, educational qualification, nationality and more. Candidates wanting to apply for CDS exam 2021 must fulfill the CDS eligibility criteria as prescribed by UPSC. Applicants should read the CDS 2021 eligibility criteria carefully before filling the CDS 2021 application form . CDS exam is conducted twice a year for recruitment of candidates to different posts in the Indian Defence Services. To Know more about the CDS eligibility criteria 2021 check the article below.

Latest: CDS 2 result 2019 has been released on the November 2 at the official website.
CDS 1 application form 2021 has been released on October 28 at the official UPSC website, along with the CDS 01/2021 notification . CDS 02/2020 admit card has been released on October 15 at the official website.

CDS Exam 2021 Overview

Exam name

Combined Defence Services Examination

Commonly known exam name

CDS Exam

Conducting body

Union Public Service Commission

Frequency of exam

Twice a year

Mode of application


Mode of exam


Application fee

Rs 200

CDS Eligibility Criteria 2021 - As Per UPSC Guidelines

Candidates applying for Combined Defence Services examination should go through the UPSC prescribed eligibility guidelines before proceeding to fill the CDS application form. Below mentioned are some of the CDS eligiblity 2021.

CDS Exam 2021 - Nationality

Candidates applying for the CDS examination must fall in one of the below mentioned categories to be eligible for CDS. Check the table below.

CDS 2021 nationality eligibility criteria

Citizen of India

Subject of Bhutan

Subject of Nepal

Tibetan refugee who came to India before January, 1962, with the intention to permanently settle in India

Person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka & East African Countries with the intention to permanently settle in India.

Note- For more detailed information on the CDS 2021 eligibility check the official notification.

CDS Age Limit

Age eligibility criteria for all applicants for various courses is given in the table below. And there is no age relaxation for reserved category candidates in the CDS examination.

CDS age criteria for UR candidates

CDS 2021 Courses

CDS Age Limit 2021

Marital Status

Indian Military Academy

19 to 24 years


Indian Naval Academy

19 to 24 years


Air Force Academy

20 to 24 years


Officers' Training Academy (Men)

19 to 25 years

Unmarried & Married

Officers Training Academy (Women, Non-Technical)

19 to 25 years

Unmarried, Widow & Divorcee

CDS Education Qualification

CDS recruitment is done for various courses in the three Indian Defence Services - Army, Air Force and Navy, which have different minimum educational qualification requirements. Educational requirements for all the different CDS courses are mentioned in the table.

CDS 2021 educational qualification

CDS Courses

CDS 2021 Educational Qualification

Indian Military Academy

Bachelor's Degree from a recognised University or equivalent institute

Indian Naval Academy

Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from a recognised University/ College

Air Force Academy

Bachelor's Degree from a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor degree in engineering

OTA (Men)

Bachelor's Degree from a recognised University or equivalent institute

OTA (Women - Non-Technical)

Bachelor's Degree from a recognised University or equivalent institute

CDS Exam 2021 - Physical Fitness

Candidates applying for CDS should be physically fit in all aspects as prescribed by the three defence departments i.e. Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. Below given are a few points for the physical standards required for the CDS exam.

  1. Applicants must be physically fit as per the prescribed physical standard of UPSC and the relevant defence department

  2. Applicants must be in good physical and sound mental health and free from any disease/ disability that can interfere in the performance of their duties

  3. There should be no evidence of bodily defects or overweight

  4. The minimum height requirement for male applicants is 157.5 cm. for Army, 157 cm for Navy and 162.5 cm for Air Force

  5. The minimum height of female candidates should be 152 cm for OTA (non technical).

  6. Candidates belonging to Gorkhas and hills of North-Eastern region of India, Garhwali and Kumaon, 5 cm height relaxation is provided in the minimum acceptable height. In case of applicants from Lakshadweep, 2cm relaxation is provided

  7. Applicants should have a sufficient number of natural teeth. A minimum of 14 dental points will be acceptable for CDS recruitment. If all 32 teeth are present, the total dental points are 22.

  8. Check the vision standard for all the defence services in the tables below:

CDS visual standard for Air Force



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 of not more than plus 3.5 D including Astigmatism

Manifest hypermetropia of not more than plus 3.5 D including Astigmatism.

CDS visual standard for Navy

Uncorrected without glass - 6/12

Corrected with glass - 6/6

Limits of Myopia - 1.5

Limits of Hypermetropia +1.5

For more detailed information on the CDS 2021 eligibility criteria check the CDS official notification.

CDS Application Form 2021

Candidates who fulfill the CDS eligibility criteria are eligible to fill the CDS 2021 application form . The application form for CDS 1 exam will be released on the UPSC website on October 28, 2020. To apply for the CDS 2021 examination candidates first need to register themselves and then fill the CDS form. To successfully complete the CDS 2021 application process candidates must pay a fee of Rs 200 for general category applicants and NIL for reserved category and female candidates.

Other Related Articles

CDS Admit Card 2021

CDS Cut Off 2021

CDS Exam Pattern 2021

CDS Syllabus 2021

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) - CDS Eligibility Criteria 2021 - Check CDS Nationality, Age Limit, Qualification

Question: When will the CDS 1 2021 notification be released?


UPSC will release the CDS 1 2021 notification on October 28, 2020.

Question: What is the minimum age limit required to appear for the CDS exam?


The minimum age required to appear for the CDS exam is 19 years.

Question: Where can I check the CDS Result?


The result of CDS 2021 is made available on the UPSC official website - www.upsc.gov.in.

Question: Are girls eligible to appear for the CDS exam?


Yes, girls are eligible to appear for the CDS examination.

Question: Is there any relaxation in the age criteria for reserved category applicants in the CDS exam?


No, there is no age relaxation in the CDS exam for any category.

Latest Articles

CDS Answer Key 2021 - Download CDS Official & Unofficial Answer Key

CDS answer key 2021 - Applicants can check the CDS 2021 answer key, important dates, score calcul...

CDS Cut off 2021 - Expected & Previous Year UPSC CDS Cut off

CDS Cut off 2021 - CDS 2 2019 final cut off released on November 05. Union Public Service Commiss...

CDS 2021 (I & II) - Check Exam Dates, Registration (Open), Admit Ca...

CDS exam 2021 - Candidates can check the various details about the CDS exam such as registration,...

CDS Notification 2021 - Check Registration (Open), Dates, Registrat...

CDS Notification 2021 - UPSC will release the notification of Common Defence Services. Know here ...

UPSC CDS Admit Card 2021 - Download CDS Hall Ticket Direct Link Here

CDS Admit Card 2021 - UPSC has released CDS 2 admit card on October 15, 2020. UPSC will release t...

Questions related to CDS

Showing 569 out of 569 Questions

hi everyone...my dob is 15-02-1997 can i give cds 2 2021 as i will be turning 24 in feb 2021 m i eligible fr cds 2 niv attempt ?

U. Janani 28th Nov, 2020

Hey Ankita!

The Age Eligibility Criteria for CDS Exam such as Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy and Naval Academy is from 19 to 24 years. For Officer's Training Academy, it is 19 to 25 years. So, on the whole, you can apply for CDS Exam because you satisfy their Age Eligibility Criteria.

All the best!


what is the difference beteween NDA and CDS exam?

chinchujoseph1993 26th Nov, 2020


Hope you are doing good.

The National Defence Academy (NDA) and the Combined Defence Services (CDS), both are exams conducted by the UPSC to join The Triservice in India.

Below I have mentioned some differences between both the exams:





16.5-19.5 Years

19-25 Years



Male and Female

Educational Qualification



Duration of Training

4-4.5 Years

18 months for IMA Cadets

37-40 months for Navy Officers

74 months for Air Force Officers

Hope this helps

Good Luck


My date of birth is 23 April 1997. am i eligible for CDS exam phase II 2021 ?

aswathypadinjakkara 26th Nov, 2020

Hello nitin

Combined Defence Services is conducted twice a year by UPSC.Age limit is as follows

Indian Military Academy 19-24yrs

Indian Naval Academy 19-22yrs

Air Force Academy 19-23 yrs

Officers Training Academy -19-25 yrs

You are eligible for officers training academy. For officers training academy the candidate born not earlier than 2nd july 1995 and born not later than 1st july 2001 is preferred.

Go through the details regrading the eligibility criteria before application.


I am born on 8 february 2001 am I eligible for cds exam in 2023

Karam Vir 25th Nov, 2020


The minimum age for joining to any of the forces coming under CDS is 19 years and the maximum age is 25 years for OTA and 24 Years for IMA, AFA, INA. So, in 2023, you will complete your 22 years So, you are very much eligible to write the CDS examination in 2023. Read more here: https://competition.careers360.com/articles/cds-eligibility-criteria


i am diploma mechanical engg.and will complete my Btech ...after that for which exam i should prepare or which will be easy it will be AFCAT,CDS,or UPSC&MPSC,ISRO exam...which will be easy and in less time cracking ?

Anirudh Singh 24th Nov, 2020


Each and every exam for job prospectus or graduation is difficult. Depending on your interest and the career you wish to pursue. If you wish to go in Civil Services then UPSC, if you wish to be in research and sciences then ISRO Exam is the way to go, AFCAT is for  Commissioned Officers in Flying, Ground Duty (Technical) and Ground Duty (Non-Technical) branches.

These all are somewhat mutually exclusive, that means if you prepare for one you might not have enough time or interest for the other. Incase you have a specific query about one of these exams. Please feel free to comment.

Best of Luck

Result Predictor
Applications Open

Download the Careers360 App on your Android phone

Regular exam updates, QnA, Predictors, College Applications & E-books now on your Mobile

150M+ Students
23,000+ Colleges
500+ Exams
1500+ E-books