Indian Foreign Service 2023: Latest News, Eligibility, Salary & Vacancies

May 29, 2023

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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.

Indian Foreign Service

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.

Indian Foreign Service 2023: Overview

Below are the essential highlights of the IFS 2023 Recruitment examination:

Exam NameIndian Foreign Service Examination
Conducted byUnion Public Service Commission (UPSC)
Exam LevelNational Level
Exam FrequencyOnce a year
Mode of ExamOffline (Pen and Paper)
Stages of Exam2 stages: Preliminary and Main
Eligibility CriteriaIndian Citizen with a Bachelor’s degree
Age Limit21 to 32 years
Maximum Attempts6
Exam PatternPrelims: 2 papers (MCQ)
 Mains: 6 papers (4 compulsory and 2 optional)
InterviewPersonality Test (275 marks)
SyllabusHistory, Polity, Economics, Geography, International Relations, Current Affairs, and General Knowledge
Application FeeRs. 100 (except for SC/ST/female candidates)
Salary RangeRs. 56,100 – Rs. 2,50,000 per month
Job LocationIndian Missions/Embassies abroad and Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi    

Indian Foreign Service Exam Dates 2023

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:

  • Shift 1, which includes General Studies Paper-1, from 9:30 A.M to 11:30 A.M,
  • Shift 2 includes General Studies Paper-2 (CSAT) from 02:30 P.M. to 04:30 P.M.
Events          IFS Exam Date 2023
Notification release date01 February 2023
Application Date01 February 2023
Last Date of Application21 February 2023
UPSC Indian Foreign Service Exam Date – Prelims28 May 2023
Mains Exam Date15 September 2023 onwards

Indian Foreign Service Eligibility Criteria 2023

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:

  • Age limit for IFS examination
  • Educational qualifications for IFS
  • Nationality


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:

  • Be a citizen of India.
  • Be a subject of Nepal.
  • Be a subject of Bhutan.
  • Be a Tibetan refugee who migrated to India before 1st January 1962 with the intention of settling permanently in India.
  • Be a person of Indian origin who migrated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Burma, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia, Zaire, or Vietnam with the intention of settling permanently in India.

IFS Age Limit

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.

  • For candidates in the general category, the upper age limit for the IFS Exam is 32 years.
  • Candidates belonging to Scheduled Tribes or Scheduled Castes may be eligible for a relaxation of the upper age limit of up to five years.
  • OBC candidates may be eligible for a relaxation of up to three years, allowing them to sit for the UPSC Exam until they are 35.
CategoryMinimum Age Limit for IFSMaximum Age Limit for IFSNumber of Attempts
General Category2132       6  
EWS Category21326
IFS Age Limit for SC/ST2137Unlimited

How to apply for IFS Exam 2023?

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:

  • Go to the official website.
  • The homepage will appear.
  • Click on the Examination Tab and select ‘Active Examination’.
  • Then, click on the Apply button.
  • Fill in all the required details on the application form.
  • Upload the latest photograph and signature.
  • Review the application form before submitting it.
  • Finally, click on the Submit button to complete the application process.

Application Fee

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.

CategoriesApplication Fee Amount
Female/ SC/ ST/ PwBDExempted
Others₹ 100/-

UPSC Application Withdrawal

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:

  • Visit the official UPSC website.
  • Click the link to withdraw the appliance form under the ‘What’s New’ section.
  • Click on the ‘click here link’ to proceed.
  • After reading the instructions, click on the ‘Yes’ button.
  • Enter your registration ID and click on the ‘Continue’ button.
  • Proceed to withdraw the appliance form.
  • Take a print of the receipt after successful withdrawal.

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.

Indian Foreign Service Admit Card 2023

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:

  • Visit the official website.
  • Find the section labeled ‘e-Admit Cards’.
  • Locate and click on the option for ‘e-Admit Cards for various UPSC exams’.
  • Click the button labeled ‘Click Here’.
  • Read the instructions thoroughly and select ‘Yes’ to proceed.
  • Choose the option ‘By Registration Id’ or ‘By Roll Number’.
  • Download your Admit Card and keep a printout for future reference.


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:

  • Go to the official website of UPSC.
  • Navigate to the “Admit Card” section.
  • Click on the link that says “E-Admit Cards for various Examinations of UPSC.”
  • Search for the UPSC Civil Services 2023 Main Exam e-Admit Card link.
  • Click on the link to access the Admit Card page.
  • Provide your login details, such as your roll number.
  • Submit the details to download the IFS Main Exam Admit Card.
  • Download and print a copy of your Admit Card to carry to the examination center.

Details on Admit Card

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:

  • Examination Date
  • Name of the Candidate
  • Roll Number
  • Photo Identity Card (e.g., Aadhaar Card Number)
  • Father’s Name
  • Mother’s Name
  • Examination Centre
  • Venue of the Examination
  • Candidate’s Photograph
  • Registration ID located beneath the photograph
  • Examination Schedule

Please note that the following important instructions regarding your admission to the examination:

  • You will not receive an Admission Certificate through postal mail.
  • Carefully review your e-Admit Card and immediately report any discrepancies to UPSC.
  • You must bring your e-Admit Card to each session to gain admission to the Examination Hall. Keep it safe until the written result is declared, as it will be required for Service Selection Boards.
  • You are responsible for the safe keeping of your e-Admit Card. If someone else uses your card, you must prove you did not use an impersonator.
  • Your answer scripts will not be evaluated and your candidature may be canceled if you appear at a center or sub-center other than the one specified on your e-Admit Card.
  • If your e-Admit Card does not have a clear photograph or signature, you must bring a valid photo identity proof such as Passport, Aadhar Card, Driving Licence, Voter I Card, etc., and three passport-size photos (one for each session) along with a declaration.
Earn in Six-figures with chegg

Indian Foreign Service Exam Pattern

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.

IFS Prelims Exam Pattern

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.

PaperTypeNo. of questionsUPSC Total MarksDurationNegative marks    
General Studies IObjective100200 (+2 marks per question)2 hoursYes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)    
General Studies II (CSAT)Objective80200 (+2.5 marks per question)2 hoursYes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)  

IFS Mains Exam Pattern

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:

  • Compulsory Indian Language – Paper A
  • English – Paper B
  • Essay
  • General Studies – 1: Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society
  • General Studies – 2: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations
  • General Studies – 3: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management
  • General Studies – 4: Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude
  • Optional Subject – Paper 1
  • Optional Subject – Paper 2
PaperSubjectNatureDurationTotal Marks
Paper ACompulsory Indian LanguageQualifying (25% Marks required)3 hours        300
Paper BEnglishQualifying (25% Marks required)3 hours        300
EssayMerit Ranking in Nature 3 hours        250
Paper IMerit Ranking in NatureGeneral Studies I3 hours        250
Paper IIMerit Ranking in NatureGeneral Studies II3 hours        250
Paper IIIMerit Ranking in NatureGeneral Studies III3 hours        250
Paper IVMerit Ranking in NatureGeneral Studies IV3 hours        250
Paper VMerit Ranking in NatureGeneral Studies V3 hours        250
Paper VIMerit Ranking in NatureGeneral Studies VI3 hours        250

Indian Foreign Service INTERVIEW

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.

Indian Foreign Service Syllabus 2023

IFS Prelims Syllabus

General Studies Paper 1National 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 ACompulsory Indian languageComprehension of given passages Precis Writing Usage and Vocabulary Short Essays Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa.300
Paper BEnglish 300
Paper IEssay 250
Paper-IIGeneral Studies IGeneral Studies-I (Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society)250
Paper IIIGeneral Studies IIGeneral Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)250
Paper IVGeneral Studies IIIGeneral Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)250
Paper VGeneral Studies IVGeneral Studies -IV (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)250
Paper VIOptional IOptional Subject – Paper 1250
Paper VIIOptional IIOptional Subject – Paper 2250

Here’s a list of the optional subjects available for the Main Examination:

Optional SubjectAgriculture
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
Civil Engineering
Commerce and Accountancy
Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Medical Science
Political Science and International Relations
Public Administration
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  

Indian Foreign Service Result 2023

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:

Preliminary Examination Result:

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 ( by following these steps:

  • Visit the UPSC website and click on the ‘Examination’ tab.
  • Click on the ‘Active Examinations’ tab and select ‘Indian Foreign Service (Preliminary) Examination’.
  • Click on the link for the Preliminary Examination result.
  • The result will be displayed in a PDF format. Candidates can search for their roll number to check their result.

Main Examination Result:

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:

  • Visit the UPSC website and click on the ‘Examination’ tab.
  • Click on the ‘Active Examinations’ tab and select ‘Indian Foreign Service (Main) Examination’.
  • Click on the link for the Main Examination result.
  • The result will be displayed in a PDF format. Candidates can search for their roll number to check their result.

Interview/Personality Test Result:

  • The Interview/Personality Test result is usually declared a few weeks after the test date. Candidates can check the result on the official website of UPSC by following these steps:
  • Visit the UPSC website and click on the ‘Examination’ tab.
  • Click on the ‘Active Examinations’ tab and select ‘Indian Foreign Service (Interview) Examination’.
  • Click on the link for the Interview/Personality Test result.
  • The result will be displayed in a PDF format. Candidates can search for their roll number to check their result.

To download the result, candidates can follow these steps:

  • Click on the link for the result of the respective stage.
  • Press Ctrl+F and enter your roll number to search for your result.
  • If your roll number is present in the PDF, right-click on the PDF and click on ‘Save As’ to download the result.

Indian Foreign Service Cut Off 2023

the cut-off marks for the previous year’s (2021) IFS Exam in a tabular form:

StageCategoryCut-off Marks (out of 1200)
Preliminary ExamGeneral98.00
Main ExamGeneral642
Final SelectionGeneral720

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.

Indian Foreign Service Training

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.

Indian Foreign Service Salary Structure 2023

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:

  • Accommodation
  • Water and electricity expenses borne by GOI
  • Free phone calls
  • Retirement benefits and pension
  • Government transportation
  • Security and house help
  • Medical expenses

Here is the tabular form of the Indian Foreign Service Officer’s Salary as per their grade:

GradeRankBasic Pay/Grade Pay
Junior Time ScaleUnder-Secretary₹8000/₹5400
Senior Time ScaleUnder-Secretary₹10700/₹6600
Junior Administrative ScaleDeputy Secretary₹12750/₹7600
Selection GradeCounselor Director₹15100/₹8700
Senior Administrative ScaleJoint Secretary₹18400/₹10000
High Commissioner/AmbassadorForeign Secretary₹26000 (Fixed)

Indian Foreign Service Preparation Tips

  • Understand the exam pattern: The first step to success is understanding the exam pattern. The Indian Foreign Service entrance exam typically consists of two stages: the preliminary and main exams. The initial exam tests your general knowledge and aptitude, while the main exam tests your writing and analytical skills. Be sure to study the syllabus thoroughly and understand the exam format.
  • Read widely: Reading is an excellent way to improve your general knowledge, and analytical and writing skills. Read newspapers, magazines, and books regularly, focusing on topics such as international affairs, economics, history, and politics.
  • Practice writing: Writing is a crucial skill for the Indian Foreign Service exam. Practice writing essays, letters, and reports, paying close attention to grammar, structure, and style. Get feedback from your peers and mentors, and work on improving your writing skills.
  • Use online resources: There are several online resources available that can help you prepare for the Indian Foreign Service exam. Use online study materials, mock tests, and previous year question papers to get a better understanding of the exam.
  • Join coaching classes: Joining coaching classes can be helpful in preparing for the Indian Foreign Service exam. Coaching classes provide structured guidance and help you stay on track with your preparation. Additionally, they offer the opportunity to interact with other aspirants and learn from their experiences.
  • Stay updated with current affairs: Current affairs play a vital role in the Indian Foreign Service exam. Stay updated with the latest developments in India and the world, and analyze their impact on international relations.
  • Develop a study schedule: Create a study schedule that works for you and stick to it. Allocate time for reading, writing, practicing mock tests, and revising. Regular revision is essential to retain what you have learned.
  • Stay motivated: The Indian Foreign Service exam is highly competitive, and it can be challenging to stay motivated. However, remember that hard work and perseverance pay off in the long run. Stay focused on your goals and stay positive.
  • ditionally given acceptable convenience, family help, official vehicles, safety officers, abroad investigation alternatives, and retirement advantages and benefits.

Check Out Other Police Exams :

IAS Exam Dates, Fees, Eligibility & Notification

IPS Exam Dates, Fees, Eligibility & Notification

IRS Exam Dates, Fees, Eligibility & Notification

CSAT Exam Dates, Fees, Eligibility & Notification

Earn Online with Chegg No Investment Required


Is IFS a stressful job?

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.

Can IFS officers choose the country?

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.

Can IFS marry a foreigner?

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.”

What are the eligibility criteria for the Indian Foreign Service Exam 2023?

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.

Is there a negative marking in the Indian Foreign Service Exam?

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.

What is the salary of an Indian Foreign Service officer?

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.

Top Exams