The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) – Indian Foreign Services Exam is a highly prestigious and competitive exam conducted by the UPSC to recruit candidates for the Indian Foreign Service. The exam is highly coveted among students who aspire to pursue a diplomacy and international relations career. The Indian Foreign Service is responsible for representing India in diplomatic missions, negotiating treaties, and promoting India’s interests abroad. The UPSC IFS Exam 2023 will be conducted in three stages: the preliminary exam, the main exam, and the interview. The preliminary exam will be held on June 2, 2023, and the main exam will be held in September 2023.
To be eligible for the UPSC IFS Exam 2023, candidates must be Indian citizens between 21 to 32 years of age, hold a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university, and meet the physical and medical standards prescribed by the UPSC. The selection process for the UPSC IFS Exam is highly competitive. It requires candidates to have a deep understanding of international affairs, strong communication skills, and an aptitude for analytical thinking. The UPSC IFS Exam is considered one of the toughest exams in India and demands rigorous preparation in terms of subject knowledge and overall personality development. However, with the right approach and guidance, cracking the UPSC IFS Exam 2023 can be an enriching experience for candidates who want to make a difference in India’s global engagement.
In September 1946, on the eve of India’s independence, the govt of India decided to make a service called the IFS for India’s diplomatic, consular, and commercial representation overseas. In 1947, there was a consistent change of the Foreign and Political branch of the British Indian government into what then, at that point, turned into the new Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, and in 1948 the first batch was recruited under the combined examination system of the Union Public Service Commission.
Below are the essential highlights of the IFS 2023 Recruitment examination:
|Exam Name||Indian Foreign Service Examination|
|Conducted by||Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)|
|Exam Level||National Level|
|Exam Frequency||Once a year|
|Mode of Exam||Offline (Pen and Paper)|
|Stages of Exam||2 stages: Preliminary and Main|
|Eligibility Criteria||Indian Citizen with a Bachelor’s degree|
|Age Limit||21 to 32 years|
|Exam Pattern||Prelims: 2 papers (MCQ)|
|Mains: 6 papers (4 compulsory and 2 optional)|
|Interview||Personality Test (275 marks)|
|Syllabus||History, Polity, Economics, Geography, International Relations, Current Affairs, and General Knowledge|
|Application Fee||Rs. 100 (except for SC/ST/female candidates)|
|Salary Range||Rs. 56,100 – Rs. 2,50,000 per month|
|Job Location||Indian Missions/Embassies abroad and Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi|
According to the official UPSC calendar, the UPSC IFS Exam Date 2023 for Prelims has been announced, with the exam set to take place on May 28th, 2023. The notification for the exam was released on February 1st, 2023. The previous year, the Prelims exam was held on June 5th, 2022. The Indian Foreign Service Exam will be conducted in two shifts:
|Events||IFS Exam Date 2023|
|Notification release date||01 February 2023|
|Application Date||01 February 2023|
|Last Date of Application||21 February 2023|
|UPSC Indian Foreign Service Exam Date – Prelims||28 May 2023|
|Mains Exam Date||15 September 2023 onwards|
IFS has no prerequisites or physical requirements. The eligibility criteria for Indian Foreign Service are identical to those for UPSC eligibility, elaborated in the CSE Notification. The comprehensive eligibility requirements for IFS comprise three aspects:
No minimum qualifying percentage is required to apply for the Indian Foreign Service Exam, and candidates who have graduated from a recognized government institution or college are eligible. Individuals in their final year of graduation can also appear for the exam.
To be eligible for the Indian Foreign Service, a candidate must fall under one of the following categories:
The UPSC determines the age limit for the Indian Foreign Service, with age being calculated as of August 1st of the year in which the exam takes place. Candidates must be at least 21 years old to be eligible for the IFS exam. The maximum age limit for the IFS Exam is also calculated as of August 1st.
|Category||Minimum Age Limit for IFS||Maximum Age Limit for IFS||Number of Attempts|
|IFS Age Limit for SC/ST||21||37||Unlimited|
Every year, the Indian Foreign Service Exam application form is released by UPSC, which eligible candidates can fill out on the UPSC official website. To apply, candidates must complete the UPSC Online Application before the deadline. Here are the steps to follow for filling out the application form:
To be eligible to join the Indian Foreign Service, candidates must pay a fee of ₹100/- (Rupees One Hundred only). There are several ways to make a payment, including remitting money at any branch of the State Bank of India or using a Visa, Master, or RuPay credit or debit card, as well as SBI’s internet banking services. However, female, SC, ST, and Persons with Benchmark Disability candidates are exempted from paying the fee.
If you choose the “Pay by Cash” option, you must print the Pay-in-slip generated by the system during part II registration and deposit the fee at an SBI Branch counter on the next working day only.
|Categories||Application Fee Amount|
|Female/ SC/ ST/ PwBD||Exempted|
UPSC offers the facility to withdraw the appliance form for the IFS exam before the exam. They introduced the facility a few years ago, as only half the candidates who fill out the application form appear for the exam.
For withdrawing the IFS form, here are the steps to follow:
Candidates must note that there is no provision for a refund of the appliance fee on withdrawal of the application form. Per the official notification, they will not refund the application fee under any circumstances.
In May 2023, the IAS Preliminary Admit Card for 2023 will be published on the official website by the Commission, according to their announcement. Those who have registered for the Civil Services Examination (CSE) Preliminary can access the website using their login credentials to download their IAS Prelims Admit Card 2023. Furthermore, the UPSC hall ticket for the aforementioned exam will remain accessible on the website until May 28, 2023, which is the exam date. In case of any difficulty or discrepancy in downloading the e-admit card, candidates are advised to contact the Commission immediately. Moreover, a roster of contenders who have retracted their web-based submissions for the 2023 Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination has been issued by the UPSC.
If you’re wondering about the steps to download the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination E-Admit Card 2023, follow the instructions below:
MAINS IFS 2023
The UPSC is preparing to administer the Civil Services Mains Exam for 2023, and those who have qualified for the IFS Mains Exam can obtain their Admit Cards from the official website in the near future. To obtain the UPSC Mains Admit Card 2023, aspirants must enter their login credentials on the website, such as their roll number or registration number. The Commission has announced that the Civil Services Mains 2023 exam will be held on September 15, 2023.
Here are the steps to download the e-Admit Card for the UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam 2023:
Upon downloading the UPSC admit card, candidates must ensure all the details are accurate. The following are the crucial details to verify on the UPSC admit card:
Please note that the following important instructions regarding your admission to the examination:
The IFS Exam employs a specific pattern to evaluate a candidate’s academic proficiency. Those who intend to take the IFS Exam must thoroughly review the entire exam pattern and adjust their preparation accordingly. The exam pattern for the Prelims, Mains, and Interview rounds is described below. Aspirants must comprehend the UPSC Exam Pattern and tactically approach each stage of the IFS Exam to achieve good scores.
The Preliminary Indian Foreign Service exam pattern includes two MCQ-based papers.
a. General Studies-1 and General Studies-2 (CSAT) are included.
b. The General Studies-1 paper determines the cutoff, while the CSAT paper is the only qualifying paper in which candidates must earn at least 33% to pass.
c. The marks obtained in the prelims are not used in the final merit list.
d. Both papers are worth 200 marks, and each paper has a time limit of 2 hours.
|Paper||Type||No. of questions||UPSC Total Marks||Duration||Negative marks|
|General Studies I||Objective||100||200 (+2 marks per question)||2 hours||Yes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)|
|General Studies II (CSAT)||Objective||80||200 (+2.5 marks per question)||2 hours||Yes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)|
The Indian Foreign Service exam consists of a total of 9 papers for the Mains stage. The first two papers, Compulsory Indian Language and English, are of a qualifying nature. Apart from these, the Mains papers comprise 1 Essay paper, 4 General Studies papers, and 2 Optional Subject papers. The Mains exam score is important in determining the rank and service allocation.
Here’s a breakdown of the exam pattern:
|Paper A||Compulsory Indian Language||Qualifying (25% Marks required)||3 hours||300|
|Paper B||English||Qualifying (25% Marks required)||3 hours||300|
|Essay||Merit Ranking in Nature||3 hours||250|
|Paper I||Merit Ranking in Nature||General Studies I||3 hours||250|
|Paper II||Merit Ranking in Nature||General Studies II||3 hours||250|
|Paper III||Merit Ranking in Nature||General Studies III||3 hours||250|
|Paper IV||Merit Ranking in Nature||General Studies IV||3 hours||250|
|Paper V||Merit Ranking in Nature||General Studies V||3 hours||250|
|Paper VI||Merit Ranking in Nature||General Studies VI||3 hours||250|
Having successfully cleared the Mains level, the candidate has already accomplished a significant part of their journey towards becoming an Indian Foreign Service Officer. To prepare for the IFS Officer Interview, it is crucial to thoroughly familiarize oneself with the Detailed Application Form (DAF). Making notes and pointers on all the questions asked in the DAF is highly recommended, as most interview questions are typically based on it, forming the foundation of the interview process. The second segment of the IFS interview will comprise questions related to the candidate’s service preferences. In this portion, candidates can expect questions about recent international events, international organizations, India’s stance on current global issues, and other relevant topics.
IFS Prelims Syllabus
|General Studies Paper 1||National and international current affairs of significance.India’s history and its struggle for independence.Geography of India and the world, encompassing physical, social, and economic dimensions.Indian politics and governance, featuring the constitution, political system, Panchayati Raj, public policy, rights concerns, and other related issues.Economic and social growth, including sustainable development, poverty, inclusion, demographics, social sector initiatives, and other related topics.General topics on environmental ecology, biodiversity, and climate change that do not necessitate specialized knowledge.General science.|
|General Studies Paper 2||Interpersonal skills, including communication skills.Logical reasoning and analytical ability.Decision-making and problem-solving.General mental ability.Basic numeracy at Class X level, which includes numbers and orders of magnitude, their relations, etc.Data interpretation at Class X level, which includes interpreting charts, graphs, tables, and data sufficiency.|
IFS Mains Syllabus
|Paper A||Compulsory Indian language||Comprehension of given passages Precis Writing Usage and Vocabulary Short Essays Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.||300|
|Paper-II||General Studies I||General Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)||250|
|Paper III||General Studies II||General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)||250|
|Paper IV||General Studies III||General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)||250|
|Paper V||General Studies IV||General Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)||250|
|Paper VI||Optional I||Optional Subject – Paper 1||250|
|Paper VII||Optional II||Optional Subject – Paper 2||250|
Here’s a list of the optional subjects available for the Main Examination:
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
Commerce and Accountancy
Political Science and International Relations
Literature of any one of the following languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English
The Indian Foreign Service (IFS) exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to the Indian Foreign Service. The exam is conducted in three stages: Preliminary Examination, Main Examination, and Interview/Personality Test. Here’s how to check and download the IFS exam result for all levels:
The result of the Preliminary Examination is usually declared within a month of the exam date. Candidates can check the result on the official website of UPSC (https://www.upsc.gov.in/) by following these steps:
The Main Examination result is usually declared after one to two months of the exam date. Candidates can check the result on the official website of UPSC by following these steps:
To download the result, candidates can follow these steps:
the cut-off marks for the previous year’s (2021) IFS Exam in a tabular form:
|Stage||Category||Cut-off Marks (out of 1200)|
Note: The cut-off marks for the IFS Exam vary yearly and are subject to change based on various factors. These are just the previous year’s cut-off marks and should only be taken as a reference.
When selected for the Indian Foreign Service through the UPSC Exam, Officer Trainees (OTs) undergo a comprehensive training program to equip them with diplomatic knowledge, skills, and qualities. The training begins at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussourie, and continues at the Sushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi.
At the Sushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute, the OTs receive focused training in various disciplines. The course’s primary objective is to instill a deep understanding of history, diplomacy, and international relations, as well as general economic and political principles in the officers.
Upon completing the Indian Foreign Service training program, the OTs are assigned a compulsory foreign language (CFL). Following a short period of desk attachment at the Ministry of External Affairs, they are posted to an Indian Mission in a foreign country as Third Secretary, where their CFL is the native language, and enrolled in a language course. The OT is expected to attain proficiency in their CFL and pass the requisite examination before being confirmed in their role.
IFS Officer’s initial salary in India is around 60,000 INR per month, including perks and allowances. The salary increases with promotions. However, the salary of IFS Officers appointed outside India is different due to the special foreign allowance they receive, which significantly increases their monthly salary.
Apart from salary, IFS Officers are also entitled to the following benefits:
Here is the tabular form of the Indian Foreign Service Officer’s Salary as per their grade:
|Grade||Rank||Basic Pay/Grade Pay|
|Junior Time Scale||Under-Secretary||₹8000/₹5400|
|Senior Time Scale||Under-Secretary||₹10700/₹6600|
|Junior Administrative Scale||Deputy Secretary||₹12750/₹7600|
|Selection Grade||Counselor Director||₹15100/₹8700|
|Senior Administrative Scale||Joint Secretary||₹18400/₹10000|
|High Commissioner/Ambassador||Foreign Secretary||₹26000 (Fixed)|
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It’s a prestigious job as you’re serving and representing the state. An IFS officer represents the state in various countries. So, you ought to mold your personality accordingly. The advantages and perks are very eye-catching but the responsibilities are very stressful.
An IFS officer can choose any three places according to the vacant posts. If he/she is lucky, he/she can get one among the three places of his/her choice.
Clause 8(1) of the IFS (conduct and discipline) Rules, 1986, says no member of the service shall marry a person aside from an Indian citizen “without the prior permission in writing of the government.”
To be eligible for the Indian Foreign Service Exam 2023, candidates must meet the following requirements:
Nationality: Candidates must hold Indian citizenship.
Age: Candidates must be between 21 and 32 years old as of August 1st, 2023.
Education: Candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized university.
Yes, there is a penalty for wrong answers in the Preliminary Examination. For each incorrect answer, one-third of the marks allotted to that question will be deducted. However, there is no negative marking in the Main Examination.
The salary structure of an Indian Foreign Service officer varies based on their rank and experience. At the entry-level, the pay scale is INR 56,100-1,77,500 per month. Additionally, they are entitled to various allowances such as travel, dearness, and accommodation allowances.