IFS is an acronym for Indian Foreign Service. UPSC initiates its recruitment drive through the Civil Service Examination to the Indian Foreign Service. IFS individuals represent the country at a global level. IFS manages India’s external affairs like trade, diplomacy, and social relations.

Additionally, IFS is responsible for outlining the Government’s international strategies and the management of Indian missions abroad. Also, it is the most mainstream job after IAS.

Likewise, consistently in this office, UPSC presents 17-18 vacancies every year. To summarize, the competition is very intense among the applicants. Further, this is probably one of the smallest cadres in the country.

What is IFS?

The Indian Foreign Service is the regulatory diplomatic service under Group A and Group B. It is one of the Central Civil Services of the administrative and executive part of the Government of India.

Who are the Members of IFS?

The Indian Foreign Service is the regulatory civil and diplomatic body under Group A and Group B. It is one of the services which manages the administrative and the executive part of the government.

Use of an IFS?

An IFS frames the foreign diplomatic and civil policies of a government. They also manage the administration of governments missions abroad.

Also Read: How Long is the Training Period for an IFS Trainee at the FSI, and What Happens after That?

Indian Foreign Service Exam 2021 Eligibility Criteria


There are several nationality criteria that a candidate must meet before he/she can be eligible for the IAS post:

  1. Must be a citizen of India
  2. Can be a subject of Nepal
  3. Can be a subject of Bhutan
  4. Can be any Tibetan refugee who came to India before 1st January 1962 for permanent residency.
  5. Any immigrant from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam permanently settling in India.

Educational Qualification

The candidate must possess some basic skills before being able to sit for the IFS.

Required skills are:

  1. Good decision-making abilities.
  2. Very good communication skills
  3. Perfect knowledge about current affairs
  4. Knowledge about foreign nations
  5. Leadership capability
  6. Good analytical ability

Age Limit

Apart from some exceptions, the candidate must be of a minimum of 21 years of age and maximum of 30 years as of 1st August of the year of examination.


  1. Maximum 5 years for SC/ST candidates.
  2. Maximum 3 years for OBC candidates.
  3. Maximum 5 years for candidates from Jammu and Kashmir
  4. Maximum 5 years for Defence Services Personnel
  5. Maximum 5 years for Commissioned officers and ECOs/SSCOs who have given at least 5 years of their life to the military regime.
  6.  Maximum 10 years for Blind, Deaf, Mute and Orthopaedically handicapped.

Maximum number of Attempts

There is also a bar for the maximum number of attempts

a candidate can take:

  1. 7 attempts for General Category.
  2. No restrictions for SC/ST.
  3. Maximum 7 attempts for OBC candidates.

Also Read: IFS Shivani Gupta Biography: The Chartered Accountant Who Cleared UPSC in Her First Attempt

Indian Foreign Service Syllabus and Examination Pattern

The IFS exam consists of 3 parts mainly:

The Prelims

The Prelims comprise 2 papers. The two papers contain 200 marks each and are of 2 hours each. In addition, both the two tests are multiple-choice questions. Also, the language of the papers is available in both Hindi and English. Nonetheless, blind applicants get an additional 20 minutes for each paper.

The Mains

The competitors who crack Prelims are allowed to sit for the Mains. In any case, the mains consist of a total sum of 1750 marks. Additionally, the last rundown is made on the amount of interview and mains marks. Be that as it may, paper A and B is of 300 marks and of 250 marks respectively. Following are the paper pattern in the mains:

  • Paper 1 (Language chosen by the candidate)
  • Paper 2 (English)
  • Paper 3 (Essay)
  • Paper 4 – General studies I
  • Paper 5 – General studies II
  • Paper 6 – General studies III
  • Paper 7 – General studies IV
  • Paper 8 – Optional paper 1
  • Paper 9 – Optional paper 2

The Interview

The last and last stage is the Interview and it comprises 275 marks. In any case, it ought to be noticed that it is quite difficult to crack both Prelims and Mains. Additionally, the interview is substantially more than just rote learned information. The interview board members assess the type of applicant and check whether he/she is eligible for the post or not. Likewise, the interviewee should be aware of pretty much all the current affairs of the country and the world.

Then again, the candidate ought to sit for a few mock Interviews to set themselves up. On the off chance that you don’t as of now know, the competitors chosen for the Interview are twice the number when contrasted with the number of vacancies available.

Accordingly, the interviewee is chosen based on sound judgment and presence of mind. Different elements that influence the choice are judgment ability, persistence, mindfulness, ethics and substantially much more. The Interview board will test the personality of the applicant and not simply his/her knowledge. These are completely tried in the initial first two rounds.

Also Read: How do We face a Problem in an IAS Interview? Here’re the Dos and Don’ts to Score Better

Roles and Responsibilities of an IFS officer

An IFS has many roles and responsibilities:

  1. Represents India in the embassies, high commissions, multilateral organizations and consulates.
  2. Protects the country’s national interests in the country where the officer is posted.
  3. Improves foreign relations between his country and the country where the person is posted.
  4. Informing his country about foreign policies in the country where he is posted
  5. Represent India in international forums and the platforms where the person is posted. He is a very important piece for his country and helps in shaping up the economy and diplomacy of his country.
  6. Manages all diplomatic relations between the two countries.
  7. Keep updating the Indian MEA about recent developments in the country where the person is appointed.

Also Read: IFS Officer Facilities: Free Air Travel, Blue Car Plate, Free Housing, And Lot More!


If you want to pursue your career in IFS and need some expert tips and test material to crack IFS, checkout UPSC Pathshala, the best UPSC coaching site. For more information click on the link and prepare yourself for the battle. All the best!

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Indian Foreign Service Exam 2021: Here’s All You Want to Know about IFS Syllabus, Eligibility & More
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Indian Foreign Service Exam 2021: Here’s All You Want to Know about IFS Syllabus, Eligibility & More
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