Career Guidance Tips On How to Become An IFS Officer

If you are planning for an IFS career, you would know about it, but for the rest let us tell you, that IFS stands for Indian Foreign Service. It is a part of Civil Services under Government of India. In this blog you shall know how to become an IFS officer in India.

Among all the Civil Services, IFS is quite a popular choice among Civil Service aspirants. The kind of work develops an opportunity to do work in foreign countries and a good amount of exposure that this job gives the main factors needed for popularity that IFS enjoys among the aspirants!

IFS officers have important roles in the Ministry of External Affairs, PMO and Indian Embassies from across the world. IFS Officers are responsible for managing foreign relations with India. They are also given the tasked of diplomacy and to maintain diplomatic relations with all countries.

To say, it is a challenging and quite satisfying profession. IFS officers also earn a good salary package and additional benefits. A post which commands respect in the society.

To become an IFS officer is a tough job. It is a challenging and demanding job. Only the best candidates are selected for this post.

In order to select these deserving candidates, Government of India tasked the UPSC to conduct Civil Services examination.

To become an IFS officer, a candidate must qualify the Civil Services examination. UPSC is the body which conducts this examination.

Civil Services examination is considered among the toughest examinations in the world. The exam is conducted every year, only once. The entire exam spans over a period of one year!

The Civil Services exam has three main parts. They are:

  • Preliminary examination

  • Mains examination

  • Interview

Each year, so many candidates appear for the Civil Services preliminary examination. Among them, only a few of the candidates are selected for the mains.

The first stage of CSE is a preliminary examination. Prelims include objective type papers. Candidates who clear prelim are allowed to appear for the mains.

The second stage is mains examination. It has nine papers. Candidates who manage to clear this examination are asked to appear for the Interview, which is the final stage of CSE.

Eligibility Criteria

If you want to become an IFS officer, you must crack CSE. In order to appear for CSE, you must satisfy some requirements, mentioned below:

Educational qualifications

All candidates should have a minimum one of the following qualifications:

1) A degree from any Central, State or a Deemed University.

2) A degree through distance education.

3) A degree from Open University.

4) A qualification recognized by the Government of India is equivalent to any of the above.

The below mentioned candidates are also eligible, and need to provide proof of their eligibility:

1) Candidates who appeared in the above exams.

2) Candidates who have passed the final exam of MBBS degree but not completed an internship.

3) Candidates who qualified finals of ICSI, ICAI, and ICWAI.

4) A degree from a private university.

5) A degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities.

Age Limit

The age of the candidate should be between of 21-32 years (General category) on August 1 of the year of examination. But there is age relaxation for SC, ST, OBC and Physically Handicapped candidates.

For OBC the upper age limit is 35.

For SC and ST, the limit is 37 years.

The upper age limit gets relaxed for some candidates with respect to some other factors and physically handicapped (PH) people.


For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, the candidate should be a citizen of India.

For other services, the candidate should be one of the following:

1) A citizen of India.

2) A citizen from Nepal or of Bhutan.

A person of Indian origin but migrated from Malawi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

IFS posts and job opportunities

Candidates selected for training are given training at LBSNAA, Mussoorie. After doing a 15-week training session at LBSNAA, candidates can join the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi.

At FSI, they would get trained in areas like –

International Relations Theory

Military Diplomacy



India’s Foreign Policy

International Law

Diplomatic Practice

Posting: At an embassy, an IFS Officer offered the job of ‘Third Secretary’, which is an entry-level post. With time, he or she might get promoted to higher posts like Second Secretary, First Secretary, Counsellor, Minister, Deputy High Commissioner/ Deputy Chief of Mission/Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador/High Commissioner/Permanent Representative.

At MEA, they are offered the role as Assistant Secretary or Under Secretary. With time, they might get promoted to higher posts like Deputy Secretary, Joint Secretary, Director, Additional Secretary, Secretary and Foreign Secretary of India.

With this, we conclude our discussion about how to fulfil your desire to pursue career civil services in becoming an IFS officer. Also, keep looking into this space by career advice for posts on careers in engineering. To mention, choosing the right career is significant, so you need to be quite careful in your endeavour.

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