The CDS OTA exam is one of the exams offered by the UPSC. The CDS stands for central defence service and OTA stands for officers training academy.

These exams are completely different and have different sets of eligibility. The OTA exam eligibility is different when compared to CDS exam eligibility.

Let’s understand the different eligibility criteria and understand what is OTA in CDS?

CDS Physical Eligibility for Female

Females are allowed to join the force from the OTA exam. And the CDS eligibility for females is different than for men. The CDS physical eligibility for a female is:

  • Has to be at least 19 years old before writing the exam and cannot be more than 25 years old whilst appearing for the exam.
  • The candidate can be unmarried, widowed or divorced and has not remarried.
  • Tattoos are allowed only on the inner elbow to the wrist area and the back of the palm. Tattoo anywhere else will lead to disqualification
  • Women need to have a minimum height of 148 cm
Height (in cm) Weight in (kgs)

Along with Age groups

20 years 25 years
148 39 41
150 40 42
153 42 43.5
155 43 44
158 45 46
160 46 47
163 47 49
165 49 51
168 50 52

What is OTA in CDS?

Now, OTA in CDS is very much different from the regular CDS exam. The regular CDS exam is only for men who wish to serve in the Indian Army, Indian Navy or the Indian Air Force. Their service is a long-term service or a permanent commission.

On the other hand, OTA in CDS is applicable for both males and females. The service through OTA is called short service commission as they are allowed to stay in service only up to 10-14 years. If the candidate wants to have more than 14 years of commission, they will have to apply for a permanent commission.  The request for PC will be granted if the candidate is worthy of holding the service for a longer period of time.

The examination pattern for CDS and CDS OTA is different too. The CDS exam has three parts whereas the CDS OTA exam has only two parts.  The CDS OTA exam has only two parts.

Also Read: CDS OTA Exam Pattern: Check-out CDS OTA Exam Syllabus, Question Papers, and More

CDS Exam Eligibility

The eligibility for Indian Military and OTA exam eligibility requires any graduation degree from a recognised university.

For the Indian Navy, an engineering degree from a recognised university is required.

For in the Indian Airforce a graduation or bachelor degree of engineering is must with Physics and Mathematics compulsory as subjects in 12th grade.

The age criteria are different for each service is different. For the Indian army, it is 19-24, for the Indian Navy, it is 19-24.

For Indian Air Force it is 20-24 and the upper age is relaxable up to 26 years only for those who hold a current and valid commercial pilot license that is issued by DGCA (INDIA)

For OTA (female and male) it is 19-25.

Also Read: CDS OTA Training Period: All you Need to Know about OTA

Marital Status

  • For the Indian Army, the candidate must be unmarried.
  • For the Indian Navy, the candidate must be unmarried.
  • For Indian Airforce candidates below 25 years of age must be unmarried. Married candidates above the age of 25 are eligible to apply but no married accommodation will be given nor can they live with family out of premises during training.
  • For men in OTA they have to be unmarried whereas female candidates have to be unmarried or should have issueless divorce (who have documentation of divorce) and are not remarried, are widowed and have not remarried.
  • A male divorcee or widower candidate cannot be treated as unmarried and thus is not eligible for any service.

Application Fee

Candidates that wish to apply for the exam are required to pay a fee of INR 200 either by using NetBanking facility of State Bank of India or by using Visa/MasterCard/Rupay Credit or Debit cards.

Candidates can also deposit the fee in any branch of SBI through cash. Those who opt for payment by cash method need to print the system generated slip and deposit the fee on the next working day itself.

Female, SC and ST candidates do not have to pay any fees. They are exempted from paying fees for the exam.


Candidates that wish to write the CDS exam from UPSC should know the two exams that exist for CDS.

There is a CDS OTA and CDS exam. The CDS OTA is for short service commission. A female candidate can only appear for the OTA exam.

The eligibility criteria for the CDS exam is explained. Hope this article helps!

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CDS OTA eligibility: Everything to Know About the CDS OTA Exam of UPSC
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CDS OTA eligibility: Everything to Know About the CDS OTA Exam of UPSC
Are you interested to appear for the CDS exam? Wondering about the difference between CDS and CDS OTA? Click on the link to know more about the eligibility criteria for CDS and OTA
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UPSC Pathshala
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