The Indian Foreign Services report to the Ministry of External Affairs for the Government of India. Their work is entitled to Group A and Group B of the Central Civil Services (CCS). It was established in 1783 as the Indian Foreign Department by the East India Company to conduct business with foreign European powers.

Eventually, on the 9th of October in 1946, the Indian Government established it as the Indian Foreign Services to take care of India’s diplomatic, consular, and commercial representation overseas. India’s first foreign secretary appointed in 1948 was Kumara Padmanabha Sivasankara Menon, a.k.a. K.P.S. Menon.

In the following article, you can find Indian Foreign Service eligibility criteria along with the main functions of an IFS officer.

Indian Foreign Service Eligibility

Several rules need to be followed before one applied for the Indian Foreign Services. These eligibility rules mentioned below apply to the male, female, and transgender candidates all the same. You can find a detailed list of Indian Foreign Services Exam eligibility and syllabus here.

Also Read : Indian Forest Service Salary: Benefits and Perks Received by IFoS Officers

Age Limit

The following table represents the minimum and maximum age limits for the different categories. The candidates must be graduates in any discipline from a recognized university or institution.

Category Minimum Age Limit Maximum Age Limit
General 21 30
OBC 21 33
SC/ ST 21 35
Residents of Jammu & Kashmir 21 35


The candidates should be either of the following to be eligible to become an IFS officer-

  • An Indian Citizen
  • A Subject of Nepal
  • A Subject of Bhutan
  • A Tibetan Refugee in India as a Permanent Resident
  • An Indian Origin Individual from Burma, Pakistan, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia, Sri Lanka or from Vietnam planning on becoming a permanent citizen of India

Other Requirements

  • Knowledge of politics and cultures of different Countries in the World
  • Updated with the latest information in other Countries
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Excellent Leadership Skills

Duties and Responsibilities of an IFS Officer

Members of the IFS can work as the Ambassador, High Commissioner, Consul General, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, and Foreign Secretary among others. Their duties as a Career Diplomat are to project India’s interests, both at home and abroad, on a variety of issues including bilateral political and economic cooperation, trade and investment promotion, cultural interaction, press and media liaison, and other multilateral issues. Some of their duties and responsibilities in addition to those mentioned above, are as follows-

  • Represent India in embassies, high consulates, and in missions to world multilateral organizations such as the UN.
  • Promoting relations with receiving states and their people.
  • Reporting developments in the county of posting which are likely to influence India’s policy formulations.
  • Report on the developments of the country they’re posted in, to help India form foreign relations with the said country.
  • Extending consulate facilities to foreigners and Indian nationals abroad.
  • Negotiating with the authorities of the receiving state to come to agreements on various issues.


There are various perks enjoyed by the IFS officials other than their salaries. It is known to be one of the most rewarding professions that require strong negotiation and analytical skills on the part of the candidates.

There are no physical requirements for the exam and Beno Zephine, the first visually impaired Indian Diplomat is proof of the same. One of the lesser-known facts about the IFS is that the first female Indian diplomat was Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, sister of the first Prime Minister of independent India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. For more such informative blogs on UPSC and a great solution to your IAS preparation woes, sign up here.

Also Read: IFS vs IFS: Differences between the Indian Foreign Services and Indian Forests Services

Content Protection by
Indian Foreign Service Eligibility: Duties and Responsibilities of an IFS Officer
Article Name
Indian Foreign Service Eligibility: Duties and Responsibilities of an IFS Officer
What are the eligibility criteria to become an Indian Foreign Services Officer? What are the duties and responsibilities of an IFS Officer? Click here to know it all and more.
Publisher Name
UPSC Pathshala
Publisher Logo