The Combined Defence Services Examination Information

What is CDS (I) and (II) Exam?

The "Combined Defence Services" (CDS) Examination is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the recruitment of candidates into the Indian Military Academy, Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. The UPSC will conduct the CDS exam twice a year in the month of February and September.  Candidates who aim to serve the nation by joining the defence forces can start applying for the CDS examination. In order to apply online for the CDS examination, candidates should meet all the eligibility requirements set by the Commission. The selection of the candidates will be based on the written examination followed by an interview for intelligence and personality test. The shortlisted candidates will be placed at the respective academies based on the preference and merit.

Name of the Academy

  1. Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
  2. Indian Naval Academy Ezhimala
  3. Air Force Academy Hyderabad
  4. Officers’ Training Academy (SSC Men) Chennai
  5. Officers Training Academy (SSC Women) Chennai

CDS Exam Details


Combined Defence Service (CDS)

Organising body

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Application Mode


Application Fee

General/OBC/EWS –Rs .200/- Female (All Categories)/SC/ST/PH - Exempted

Exam Mode



Twice a Year

Number of Vacancies

400 (approximately)

Selection Process

Written Test and SSB Interview

Admit Card Mode


Official Website


Eligibility Criteria

  1. Physical Criteria
  • Candidates must be physically and mentally fit according to prescribed physical standards for admission to CDS (I) & CDS (II) 2020.
  • A candidate who has resigned or withdrawn on disciplinary grounds from any of the training academies of Armed Forces is not eligible to apply.
  • Permanent body tattoos are only permitted on inner face of the forearm, i.e. from inside of elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of palm/back (dorsal) side of the hand.
  • Permanent body tattoos on any other part of the body are not acceptable and candidates will be barred from further selection. Tribes with tattoo marks on the face or body as per their existing custom and traditions will be permitted on a case to case basis.
  • The concessions are not applicable for Air Force Height and Weight standards are mentioned i the official notification for Army and Navy only. Interpolation for weights against height not mentioned may be done.


  1. Nationality
  • A candidate must be either:
  1. a Citizen of India, or
  2. a subject of Nepal, or
  3. a subject of Bhutan, or
  4. a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  5. 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 (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 not, however, be necessary in the case of candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal.


  1. Educational Qualification:
  • For I.M.A. and Officers’ Training Academy-Degree of a recognised University or equivalent.
  • For Indian Naval Academy-Degree in Engineering from a recognised University/Institution.
  • For Air Force Academy-Degree of a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or Bachelor of Engineering.


  • Graduates with the 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.
  • Candidates who are studying in the final year/semester Degree course and have yet to pass the final year degree examination can also apply provided candidate.
  • Should not have any present backlog up to the last semester/year for which results have been declared up to the time of submission of application and they will be required to submit proof of passing the degree examination at the time of commencement of course.
  • Candidates must be physically fit according to physical standards for admission to Combined Defence Services Examination (I) & (II), 2020 as per guidelines are given in the official notification.

Age Limit :

  • Age Limits, Sex and Marital Status for CDS I & II 2020:

For IMA –

  • Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than January 02, 1996, and not later than January 01, 2002, only are eligible.

For Indian Naval Academy –

  • Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than January 02, 1996, and not later than January 01, 2001, only are eligible.

For Air Force Academy –

  • 20 to 24 years as on January 01, 2020, i.e. born not earlier than January 02, 1996, and not later than January 01, 2000, (Upper age limit for candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxable up to 26 yrs, i.e. born not earlier than January 02, 1994, and not later than January 01, 2000) only are eligible.

For Officers' Training Academy — (SSC Course for men)

  • Unmarried male candidates born not earlier than January 02, 1995, and not later than January 01, 2021, only are eligible.

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 January 02, 1995, and not later than January 01, 2001.


  • Candidate below 25 years of age must be unmarried. Marriage is not permitted during training.
  • Married candidates above 25 years of age are eligible to apply but during training period they will neither be provided married accommodation nor can they live with family out of the premises.

 Roles and Responsibilities

  • If you are selected in one of the branches of armed forces then you are set for your rest of the life Apart from getting pay, perks and pension you also get many benefits that are missing from a private job Your job can be challenging depending upon which type of armed force you join Your job can be very tough and disciplined so you have to prepare yourself for it After successful completion of Combined Defence Services training, the candidates pass out in the rank of a designated officer will be entitled to the pay and allowance of the rank


The salary of all CDS posts is as follow:



Lieutenant Level 10

₹ 56,100 - 1,77,500

Captain Level 10 B

₹ 6,13,00 - 1,93,900

Major Level 11

₹ 6,94,00 – 2,07,200

Lieutenant Colonel Level 12A

₹ 1,21,200 – 2,12400

Colonel Level 13

₹ 1,30,600-2, 15,90

Brigadier Level 13A

₹ 1,39,600-2,17,600

Major General Level 14

₹ 1,44,200-2,18,200

Lieutenant General HAG Scale Level 15

₹ 1,82,200 - 2,24,100

HAG+Scale Level 16

₹ 2,05,400 – 2,24,400

VCOAS/Army Cdr/ Lieutenant General (NFSG) Level 17

₹ 2,25,000/-(fixed)

COAS Level 18

₹ 2,50,000/-(fixed)

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