NDA Eligibility Criteria 2024 | Age Limit & Qualifications

April 29, 2024
nda eligibility

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Table of Contents

Are you endeavoring to join the Indian Defence Force? Willing to know about NDA eligibility?  The National Defence Academy (NDA) exam is the most desirable exam for candidates aspiring to join the defense forces after completing the 12th exam. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the NDA exam twice a year, for which both male and female candidates can apply.

NDA exam is the Defence entrance exam to get admitted into NDA’s Army, Navy, and Air Force wings and for the Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC). This article discusses the NDA eligibility criteria and the qualifications. 

nda eligibility

National Eligibility Criteria 2024: Highlights

The National Defence Academy exams’ highlights are discussed here.

Exam NameNational Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination, 2024
Conducting BodyUnion Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam LevelNational Level Examination
FrequencyConducted twice a year (April and September)
Selection StagesTwo stages: Written exam, SSB Interview
Exam ModeOffline
Exam LanguagesEnglish Hindi
Number of Applicants5.3 Lakh candidates (As per 2020 data)
Exam PurposeAdmission intoNational Defence Academy – Army, Navy, and Airforce wings Indian Naval Academy Courses (INAC)
Exam FeesINR 100 for male candidates belonging to the General and OBC categories.Free for candidates from the SC and ST categories, women candidates, and sons of JCOs, NCOs, and ORs.
Subjects and Exam durationGAT – 2 hrs 30 minsMath – 2 hrs 30 mins(Conducted on the same day)
Official website upsc.gov.in

Read on to learn in detail about the NDA eligibility criteria for the exam applicants. 

NDA Eligibility Criteria 2024

The NDA eligibility criteria, exam dates, syllabus, rules, regulations, etc., are specified by the UPSC. The UPSC issues notifications every year regarding the specifications of the exam, held in April and September. Candidates who have completed or have appeared for the 12th exam can apply. However, the candidates should meet specific NDA eligibility criteria. The NDA eligibility criteria are based mainly on 

  • Age and Marital status 
  • Educational Qualification
  • Physical and Mental Fitness
  • Nationality 

These NDA eligibility guidelines are specified in the official UPSC notification for the NDA exam, 2024. The notification has the below-mentioned details about the exam.

Male and Female candidates who meet the specified NDA eligibility criteria can apply for the exam. Candidates should fill in the NDA application form online. The application form has two parts. Part I of the application form contains all the personal information, and the registration ID is generated. Using the Registration ID, Part II has to be filled. Part II includes all the payment information. Once the payment is made online or offline, a printout of the application form must be maintained.

To be eligible for the Entrance exam, candidates must meet the following NDA eligibility criteria specified by the UPSC. Let us discuss each criterion in detail.

NDA Eligibility Criteria, 2024: Nationality

The candidates must fall under either of the following three categories to qualify for the NDA exam.

  1. A citizen of India
  2. A subject of Nepal
  3. A PIO (Person of Indian Origin) who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and East African Countries (Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, and Ethiopia) intends to settle down in India permanently.

Candidates falling under the (ii) and (iii) should produce an eligibility certificate issued by the Government of India. However, this certification is not necessary for candidates belonging to the Gorkha community of Nepal. 

NDA Eligibility Criteria, 2024: Age Limit

Only candidates who fall between 16.5 and 19.5 years during the NDA exam are eligible to attend the NDA exam. It is a must for the male and female candidates to be unmarried until they complete the training period. If candidates fail to comply with these NDA eligibility criteria, they will be disqualified.

As per the NDA Eligibility norms issued by the UPSC, the NDA age eligibility for lower and the upper limit are mentioned below for clarity. Those wishing to apply for NDA exam II, 2024 should meet the NDA age limit.

Minimum Age LimitBorn before 7th January 2007* (16 years during the examination)
Maximum Age LimitBorn after 2nd January 2004* (19 years during the examination)

*Both dates inclusive

Only unmarried candidates within this NDA age limit are eligible for the 2024 exam. There should be no discrepancy between the Date of Birth mentioned in the application and the Matriculation or Secondary Board Exam certificates. There are no relaxations provided for candidates under any category.

The selected candidates should sign an undertaking stating they will not get married until they complete the training. Failing to do so, they will be debarred from NDA. Moreover, they have to refund any expenses incurred by the Government during training. 

NDA Eligibility Criteria, 2024: Educational Qualification

Candidates wishing to join the NDA and INAC must meet specific educational qualifications as specified by the NDA eligibility norms. The NDA eligibility criteria for each wing are tabulated for better understanding. 

For the Army Wing of the NDAPassed Class 12/HSC in the 10+2 pattern of schooling or equivalent exams conducted by the State Education Board or university
Airforce and Naval Wings of NDAPasses Class 12/HSC with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics in the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent exams conducted by the State Education Board or University
10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme at the Indian Naval AcademyPasses Class 12/HSC with Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics in the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent exams conducted by the State Education Board or University

NDA Eligibility Criteria for Candidates Pursuing Class 12

Candidates appearing for the Class 12/equivalent exam can also apply for the exam provided they meet the NDA Eligibility Criteria. They should produce their original Class 12 certificates once they clear the written exam and qualify for the SSB interview. If they cannot produce them during the SSB Interview, they should forward duly attested photocopies to the respective HQ before the specified date. The originals of the attested photocopies should be sent to

Army Head QuartersDirector General of Recruiting, Army HQ, West Block III, RK Puram, New Delhi – 110066.
Naval HeadquartersNaval HQ, DMPR, OI & R Section, Room No. 204, ‘C’ Wing, Sena Bhavan, New Delhi – 110011.

Candidates appearing for Class 11 exams are not eligible for NDA exams.

NDA Physical Fitness: Undesirable Health Issues

The candidates should meet the NDA physical Eligibility to join the armed forces. Those candidates who have cleared the written exam and the SSB Interview will be examined for physical Fitness. They will undergo various tests at the Military Hospital to check if they meet the NDA physical eligibility specified by the UPSC. 

Candidates who have cleared the written exam and the interview might still be rejected based on medical grounds. So, to avoid last-minute disqualifications, they are advised to get themselves medically examined. They have to ensure that they comply with the NDA eligibility criteria before they apply for the exam. 

The following is the list of minor undesirable health issues leading to ineligibility.

  1. Wax (Ears)
  2. Deviated Nasal Septum
  3. Hydrocele / Phimosis
  4. Overweight / Underweight
  5. Under-sized chest
  6. Piles
  7. Gynaecomastia
  8. Tonsillitis
  9. Varicocele

These are generally applicable for male and female candidates. 

NDA Women Physical Eligibility Criteria 2024

In addition to these NDA physical eligibilities, female candidates will be further examined by a female Medical Officer or a Lady Gynaecologist. The following inspections are done based on NDA women’s eligibility.

  1. External Genitalia
  2. Hernial Orifices and the Perineum
  3. Stress urinary incontinence or genital prolapsed outside introitus
  4. Breast lumps and Galactorrhoea
  5. Ultrasound examination of abdomen and Pelvis

Female candidates will be eliminated if they are declared unfit under the following circumstances.

  1. Primary or secondary amenorrhoea
  2. Severe menorrhagia and/or severe dysmenorrhea
  3. Stress urinary incontinence
  4. Congenital elongation or prolapsed cervix
  5. Pregnancy
  6. Complex ovarian cyst of any size
  7. Simple ovarian cyst more than 6cm
  8. Endometriosis and Adenomyosis
  9. Submucous fibroid of any size
  10. Broad ligament or cervical fibroid of any size
  11. Single Fibrous Uterus more than 3cm in diameter
  12. More than two uterus fibroids more than 15mm in diameter each
  13. Fibroids causing disorientation of the endometrial cavity
  14. Congenital urine anomalies 
  15. Acute or chronic pelvic infection
  16. Disorders of sexual differentiation

The NDA physical eligibility criteria are further tabulated for understanding.

NDA Physical Fitness: Case of Body tattoos

NDA eligibility norms permit permanent tattoos only in some instances.

  • Candidates with permanent tattoos on the inner side of the forearm (from the inside of the elbow to the wrist) are permitted.
  • Permanent tattoos on the palm’s reverse side, the hand’s dorsal side, or any other body part are not permitted.

In a particular case, tribes with tattoos as a part of their current customs and tradition are permitted after evaluation on an individual case basis. The Comdt Selection center will authorize such unique case selections. 

NDA 2024 Height and Weight Requirements for Army

Before listing the weight and height requirements, let us understand the basic NDA physical eligibility.

  1. Body Mass Index should be below 25
  2. Waist to Hip ratio
    1. Males – less than 0.9
    2. Females – 0.8
  3. Waist circumference
    1. Males – 90 cm
    2. Females – 80 cm
  4. Metabolic parameters should be within normal limits 

The weight and height of candidates in different age groups based on the NDA eligibility criteria are tabulated below for your quick reference. 

Height in cmWeight in kg for the appropriate age and weight
Minimum weight17 to 20 years20 (+1 day) to 30 years30 (+1 day) to 40 yearsAbove 40 years
19165.7 80.383.987.691.2
20777.1 94.398.6102.8107.1

NDA Physical Eligibility 2024: Additional Information

Specific essential points to be remembered to comply with NDA Physical Eligibility Criteria:

  • Candidates with height and weight lesser than the minimum limit will be rejected.
  • Candidates with weights higher than the specified limit will be exempted if they provide evidence of bodybuilding, wrestling, and boxing at the National level.
  • Below 17 years of age, candidates must comply with the ideal weight and height specified by the “Indian Academy of Paediatrics.”
  • The minimum height requirement for candidates is 157 cm, but candidates belonging to the Gorkhas, Garhwal, and Kumaon should have a minimum height of 152 cm.
  • For candidates below 18 years, a growth allowance of 2 cm is allowed.

Before applying for the exam, make sure you go through the NDA eligibility criteria and the allowances properly. 

NDA Weight and Height Requirement for Airforce

Candidates applying for the Indian Airforce need to fulfill the NDA physical eligibility specified below. A 10% variation on the upper side is tolerated. The candidates should follow know about these criteria to avoid rejections in later stages.

Height in cmWeight in kg
16 – 17 years17 – 18 years18 – 19 years


Candidates with weights heavier than the maximum limit should provide proof of participation in heavy lifting, boxing, and bodybuilding at a national level. But the basic requirements should be fulfilled.

  1. BMI – not more than 27
  2. A waist-Hip ratio is less than 0.9 for males and 0.8 for females
  3. All Bio-chemical metabolic parameters within specified limits

If the candidate is applying for a flying position, the minimum height requirement is 162.5 cm for male and female candidates. The leg length, thigh length, and sitting height for the flying crew as mentioned in the NDA eligibility criteria are as follows:

ParametersMale CandidatesFemale Candidates
Minimum (cm)Maximum (cm)Minimum (cm)Maximum (cm)
Sitting height81.596.081.596.0
Leg Length99.0120.099.0120.0
Thigh length64.064.0

NDA Weight and Height Requirements for Indian Navy

Candidates who have cleared the written exam and the SSB Interview must meet the NDA Physical eligibility to be admitted into the Indian Navy. This is done to assure that the candidate is in the best physical and mental form, aiding them to perform their duties at their best. The weight-height chart is given below.

Height (m)Up to 17 years17 years + 1 day to 18 years18 years + 1 day to 20 years20 years + 1 day to 30 yearsAbove 30 years
Min wt  (kg)Max wt  (kg)Min wt  (kg)Max wt (kg)Min wt  (kg)Max wt (kg)Min wt  (kg)Max wt (kg)Min wt (kg)Max wt (kg) 

NDA Eligibility Criteria for Male Candidates Applying for Navy

Male candidates should follow the guidelines provided by the NDA eligibility criteria as mentioned below.

  1. The height-weight chart is fixed for candidates belonging to all categories.
  2. Male candidates above the maximum weight limit should provide evidence about physical bodybuilding, boxing, and weight-lifting activities nationally. These candidates should meet the basic requirements.
    1. BMI – not more than 25
    2. A waist-hip ratio of less than 0.9   
    3. All Bio-chemical parameters within specified limits
  3. Candidates below the specified limit will be rejected.
  4. The minimum height requirement is 157 cm, with the following exceptions.
    1. Ladakh Tribals – 155 cm
    2. Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, and Minicoy Islands – 155 cm
    3. Gorkhas, Nepalese, Assamese, Garhwali, Kumauni, and Uttarakhand – 152 cm
    4. Bhutan, Sikkim, and North-east Region – 152 cm   
    5. Sports Personnel – 155 cm

NDA Eligibility Criteria for Female Candidates Applying for Navy

Female Candidates should make sure to meet this NDA eligibility for Females regarding the weight and height requirements.

  1. Height and weight specifications are the same for candidates from all categories.
  2. Candidates falling below the minimum level will be rejected
  3. Candidates above the maximum limits should provide proof of participating in bodybuilding, boxing, and weight-lifting at the national level. The basic guidelines are
    1. BMI less than 25
    2. Waist – Hip ratio less than 0.8
    3. All Bio-chemical parameters within the specified Range
  4. The minimum height requirement is 152 cm, with the following exceptions.
    1. Ladakh Tribals – 150 cm
    2. Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, and Minicoy Islands – 150 cm
    3. Gorkhas, Nepalese, Assamese, Garhwali, Kumauni, and Uttarakhand – 147 cm
    4. Bhutan, Sikkim, and North-east Region – 147 cm   

However, these relaxations are not applicable for the candidates applying for Pilot or Observer specializations of the executive branch.

NDA Other Eligibility and Conditions 2024

The candidates applying for the NDA exam should meet the specified NDA physical requirements. In addition, the NDA will reject candidates with certain medical conditions even if they fit into other NDA physical criteria. They are mentioned below:

  • The candidate should be in overall good health.
  • Should not exhibit imperfect developments of any organ/system or malformation.
  • Tumors/cysts/swelling in any part of the body and no swollen lymph nodes
  • Hyper/hypopigmentation and other deformations of the skin
  • Hernia and fistulas in any part of the body
  • Scars that disfigure the candidate
  • Arterio-venous malformation anywhere in the body
  • Asymmetry of the face, deformations due to fractures, or depression of bones
  • Vision impairments
  • Hearing impairments and disabilities
  • speech impediment in all forms
  • Nasal deformity and chronic tonsillitis
  • Diseases associated with the digestive system, liver, or pancreas,
  • Illnesses related to endocrinal and reticuloendothelial systems
  • Conditions of the genito-urinary system
  • Venereal diseases
  • History of mental illness, epilepsy, or enuresis
  • Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and joints
  • Congenital diseases/disability

Candidates possessing any of the above-said diseases or disabilities will be rejected, irrespective of their category and gender. 

NDA Medical Conditions during Examinations

During NDA medical examinations, candidates should be physically and mentally fit, as per NDA Eligibility standards. 

  1. The candidate should be mentally healthy and intelligent
  2. Should possess perfect hearing skills with no sign of any ENT diseases
  3. Vision should be bright and clear with no abnormalities as per their specifications
  4. No speech impediment and no glandular swelling
  5. Chest, heart, and lungs are well-formed and healthy
  6. Limbs are well-formed and thoroughly developed
  7. Feet and toes are well-formed with perfect action in all joints

NDA Medical Eligibility for Flying and Ground Duty Branches

Candidates applying for the Flying and Ground duty branches in the Indian Airforce should fulfill the NDA eligibility requirements as notified. This medical and physical fitness will be checked before the commencement of the training. This will ultimately enable them to work in any kind of environment. The candidates will be proclaimed physically fit only after sustaining under extreme conditions for an extended period. 

The candidates will be rejected and considered unfit if they fall under the following categories.

  • Spine Fractures and deformity
  • Nerve injuries causing instability
  • Extensive scarring causing deformed appearance or functional limitation
  • Large birthmarks greater than 10 cm and abnormal pigmentation

As discussed in this article, the flying branch candidates should meet the minimum and maximum NDA physical requirements.

Suggested Read: NDA Previous Year Papers – PDF Download

General Physical Standards for Officer Entry

Those candidates opting for positions in the officer cadre must fulfill certain NDA prescribed medical fitness criteria. Failure to qualify will result in debarring the candidate.

Cardiovascular ParametersNo history of chest pain, palpitation, breathlessness, fainting attacks, etc.BP should not be consistently higher than or equal to 140/90 mm of HGPast cardiac surgery
Respiratory System RequirementHistory of TB, asthma, hemoptysis, injuries to the chest, etc.Significant pleural thickening
Endocrine and Dermatological System RequirementsDiabetes MellitusFungal infection on any part of the skinA dermatologist certifies the candidate in case of any minor skin issues
Conditions affecting Upper and Lower limbDeformities of the limb amputation of a limbMalunited fractures or fractures with implants

These medical conditions will cause the candidate to be rejected.

Ineligibility for NDA Exams 2024

After all these discussions, specific candidates will still be doubtful if they are eligible to apply for the NDA exams. This section discusses ineligibility factors.

  • Candidates should be unmarried
  • Those who have withdrawn or resigned from the disciplinary ground should not apply
  • Candidates who have not cleared PABT/CPSS exams are not eligible for Airforce
  • People debarred by the Defence Ministry are not eligible
  • Students appearing for Class 11 cannot apply
  • Candidates who are pursuing Class 12 should submit their qualifying certificates before the deadline.

Also read, Top NDA Books 2024: Subject Expert Selections & Preparation Tips

Further Outlook about NDA Eligibility Criteria 

This article gives an exhaustive list of NDA Eligibility Criteria that should be fulfilled by candidates applying for the exam. Hope this article clarifies all your doubts. Please refer to the UPSC website for authentic communications and other formalities.

You can also read about Various Defence Exams available in India

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Can a student pursuing Class 12 attempt the NDA exam?

Students pursuing class 12 who meet the NDA Eligibility Criteria can apply for the NDA exam. But after clearing the exams, the candidate should present the required +2 certificates to the board before the NDA eligibility deadline. In such circumstances, the candidate should send self-attested copies to the headquarters. The NDA eligibility norms must be followed.

Can a 16-year-old attempt the NDA exam?

Yes, a 16-year-old can apply for the NDA exam, provided they are unmarried and will attain the NDA eligible age during the commencement of the training. In addition to clearing the exam and interview, they should meet the NDA eligibility criteria as mentioned in the notification.

How is the NDA physical test?

Specific NDA Physical requirements should be met by candidates to be selected for the NDA training like
1. Weight and Height Requirements
2. Vision requirements
3. Medical Qualifications
Doctors at the Military Hospital will perform these NDA eligibility tests.

What is the minimum height for NDA?

The minimum height requirement as per the NDA Eligibility criteria for the various wings of the NDA is given below.
Army – 157 cm for male candidates and 152 cm for females
Navy – 157 cm for male candidates and 152 cm for females
Airforce – 152 cm for males and 148 cm for female candidates
There are exceptions for candidates coming from specific regions and communities.

What does the NDA accept as proof of educational qualification?

NDA accepts the certificates obtained from all the recognized Matriculation/ secondary boards.