The “Combined Defence Services”Examination (CDS) is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment into the Indian Military Academy, officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy.


It is important for the candidate to be unmarried and should not be a widower or should not be a divorcee.

The highlights of eligibility standards as per Category, Age Limit, Gender and Marital Status are tabulated below:

Category Age Gender Marital Status
Indian Military Academy (IMA) 19 – 24 Years Male Unmarried
Indian Naval Academy (INA) 19- 22 Years Male Unmarried
Air Force Academy 19- 23 Years Male <25 years unmarried or >25 years married or not.
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Course for Men) 19- 25 Years Male Married or Unmarried
Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Women Non-Technical Course) 19- 25 Years Female Unmarried Women, issueless widows who have not remarried and issueless divorcees (in possession of divorce documents) who have not remarried are eligible.

Nationality Criteria

For CDS Exam, the candidate should be a subject/citizen of any 1 of the following countries/regions:

  • A citizen of India
  • A subject of Bhutan
  • A subject of Nepal
  • A Tibetan refugee who came to India before July 1, 1962 with the intention of permanently setting in India.
  • e. A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka 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 (b), (c), (d) and (e) shall be a person in whose favour a certificate of eligibility has been issued by the Government of India

Educational Qualification

All the candidates should have completed their Graduation or should be appearing for the final year degree examination. The individual educational qualification required for each institution is discussed below.

  • I.M.A. and OTA: Degree of a recognized University or equivalent.
  • Indian Naval Academy (INA): Degree in Engineering from a recognized university/institution.
  • Air Force Academy: Degree of a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.

Note: The candidates who are in the final years of their Degree Course and have yet to pass the final year Degree examination are also eligible to apply. Such candidates are required to submit the proof of passing the requisite qualifying examination by a date to be specified in the Commission’s Notice for the Examination.

Physical Criteria

To be applying for the Defence services the basic and the most important criteria for a candidate is to be physically and mentally fit. It is a category on which the candidate can look forward to serve its country in a way they want to.

It is a vital eligibility criterion for a CDS candidate. He/ she should have good mental as well as physical health.