IFS Officer - How to become an IFS Officer


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Indian Foreign Services (IFS) is also considered as coveted position  as IAS in the administrative setup of Indian democracy. These services were specially created to handle the external affairs of the country inside and outside of it in various missions abroad or in the Ministry of External affairs.

After independence of Indian union in 1947 these services attained all the more importance because of India’s stand of not joining any of the existing two power groups in the world. For the third world country’s like India, it require support from every corner of the world to develop it self. It becomes important to handle its external affairs with utmost care.

To be at such a critical and important position where you are representing whole country to the world, it  require high level of intellect and intelligence. This responsibility of representing itself as a country give all the importance to these services. That is why personnel manning these positions are held in high esteem in the society and taken care of by their respective Governments in every respect whether it may be of financial remunerations or social status.

But to reach at this coveted position one has to be really diligent and hardworking. To reach to that level one has to really toil hard and pass through  rigorous tests involving written test and interview spreading through out a year, which requires self-discipline, patience, punctuality, commitment self-confidence and a burning desire to be a part of the elitist group of the people in the country. The is a kind of career which is ever demanding. you can not get relaxed after getting the post, infect you have to work harder after getting the job then before getting it.

Thus to handle things at such a high level efficiently a lot of hard work, stamina, alertness of mind, adaptability to follow difficult time schedules, good team spirit is required. This is a career in which you are  supposed to convince the world in your country’s favour during various difficult diplomatic conditions. This is the position where your one decision can make or brake your country’s aspirations from the world. It is you whose diplomatic acumen becomes more important when the country you are representing is surrounded by some what turbulent border. So it becomes your responsibility to use your political and diplomatic acumen with in the frame work of the constitution of the country to have good relations with every existing external agencies/Governments.

Eligibility to become an IFS Officer

1. Educational Qualification

To be eligible for becoming an IFS officer the candidate must possess a degree from an Indian University or an equivalent qualification. Those in the final year of a degree course can also appear in the Preliminary Examination taken every year by UPSC.

2. Age

The candidate must have attained the age of 21 years on 1st August of the year of examination and must not have attained 30 years of age on that date.

The upper age limit will be relaxed by 3 years for OBC candidates and 5 years for SC/ST candidates.
The upper age limit is also relaxed in favor of Defense Services Personnel.

3. Other Eligibility Conditions:

Since these services involves decision making towards the internal security of the country. So taking into account the sensitivity of the job the aspirants have to be eligible under certain specific conditions as given ahead.

1. For the IPS, the candidate must be a citizen of India.
2. For the other services, a candidate must be either:

  • a citizen of India, or
  • a subject of Nepal, or
  • a subject of Bhutan, or
  • a Tibetan refugee who came over to India before January 1, 1962, with the intention of permanently settling in India, or
  • a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

How to become an IFS officer?

To be an IFS officer one has to follow the below given steps:-

Step 1

As a first step the aspirant has to procure the “Application Form” along with “Information Brochure” from any of the “Head Post Offices or Post Offices” spread throughout the country and sent the filled Application form to:

The Secretary,
Union Public Service Commission,
Dholpur House,
New Delhi - 110011.

Note:- The notification for the examination with relevant details regarding rules and syllabus is published in the month of December in the 'Employment News' / 'Rozgar Samachar' , 'Gazette of India', and in some leading Newspapers of the country.

Step 2

In the month of May or June the aspirants have to take the “Preliminary examinations”. Consisting of two papers. The papers are on:

1 General Studies 150 marks
2 Some optional subject 300 marks


The optional subject for the second paper may be chosen from the following given subjects -

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal Husbandry and veterinary science
  3. Botany
  4. Chemistry
  5. Civil Engineering
  6. Commerce
  7. Economics
  8. Electrical Engineering
  9. Geography
  10. Geology
  11. Indian History
  12. Law
  13. Mathematics
  14. Mechanical Engineering
  15. Philosophy
  16. Physics
  17. Political Science
  18. Psychology
  19. Public Administration
  20. Sociology
  21. Statistics
  22. Zoology

Note:- This exam is just a qualifying exam for the Final exam and scores obtained in this exam are not added to make the final result.

Step 3

Those candidates who are declared qualified in the “Preliminary examination” are supposed to take the final exam (normally held in the month of October) having following papers

1 Essay type Indian Language Qualifying Paper  (300 marks)
1 English Qualifying Paper  (300 marks)
1 General Essay type paper  (200 marks)
2 General Studies papers  (300 marks each)
4 Optional subjects papers  (300 marks each)

Step 4

Once you are through the final stage is the interview. The aspirants are grilled in the interview to test their personality and mental ability. Then the final list of the successful candidates is prepared and the candidates who have secured very good rank out of 400-450(approx.) selected candidates undergo a probationary period. Training begins at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussourie, where members of many elite Indian civil service organizations are trained.

After completing the initial training in Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, the probationers join the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi for more training as well as attachments with different government bodies and tours both in India and abroad.

The whole process of becoming a trained IFS takes nearly 36 months.

At the last stage of the training the officer is assigned a compulsory foreign language (CFL). After a brief period of desk attachment in the Ministry of External Affairs, the officer is posted to an Indian diplomatic mission abroad where the CFL is the native language. There the officer undergoes language training and is expected to develop proficiency in his CFL and pass an examination before being allowed to continue in the service.

IFS Officer Salary

1.The Government of India has fixed salary grades for IFS officers. Although keep on changing with new pay

Note:- The scales only provide an idea of the pay scales. Different branches of the services have different scales of pay. Even personnel of same branches may have different pay according to their area of posting and responsibility they are holding at a particular time.

In addition to the salary IFS officers receive various types of allowances such as Dearness Allowance, Leave Travel Allowance, Medical and subsidized housing etc.

IFS Officer Career Options

Unlike other central services IFS can be classified in three different categories as given below.

1. At an embassy:

  1. Third Secretary (entry level)
  2. Second Secretary (promotion upon being confirmed in service)
  3. First Secretary
  4. Counsellor
  5. Minister
  6. Deputy Chief of Mission/Deputy High Commissioner/Deputy Permanent Representative
  7. Ambassador/High Commissioner/Permanent Representative

2. At an consulate:

  1. Vice Consul
  2. Consul
  3. Consul General

3. At the Ministry of External Affairs

  1. Under Secretary
  2. Deputy Secretary
  3. Director
  4. Joint Secretary
  5. Additional Secretary
  6. Secretary
Entrance Exams for IFS Officer
  Page Views: 55895 | Updated On: 25-May-2012