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Indian Foreign Service 2024 Exam

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About Indian Foreign Service Exam

Indian Foreign Service (IFS) is one of the Central Civil Service of the Indian Government under Group A. Indian Foreign Service members represent the country in international territory. IFS officers are involved in foreign-related issues, the country’s external affairs such as trade, diplomacy, and cultural relations. The primary goal of IFS is framing foreign policies and managing Indian missions abroad.

The candidates are selected for the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) through the Civil Service Examination (popularly known as IAS exam) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year. The Civil Services Examination (CSE) covers recruitment in three services under the Government of India - Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Police Service (IPS).

The article here will cover detailed information related to eligibility criteria, exam pattern, syllabus, selection process, and more for the UPSC IFS 2022 exam.

Indian Foreign Service Exam Date

The UPSC IFS Exam Date 2022 for Prelims Exam was held on 05th June 2022. The Indian Foreign Service Prelims Exam was conducted in two shifts:

  • Shift 1- General Studies Paper-1: 9:30 A.M to 11:30 A.M.
  • Shift 2- General Studies Paper-2 (CSAT): 02:30 P.M. to 04:30 P.M.



Indian Foreign Service Exam Notification- Release Date

2nd February 2022

Indian Foreign Service Exam Application Date

2nd February 2022

Indian Foreign Service Exam Last Date of Application

22nd February 2022

UPSC Indian Foreign Service Exam Date 2022- Prelims

5th June 2022; Sunday

UPSC Indian Foreign Service Exam Date 2022- Mains

16th September 2022 onwards

Indian Foreign Service Eligibility

There are no pre-required requisites or physical requirements needed for IFS. Indian Foreign Service Exam Eligibility is the same as the UPSC Eligibility, released in detail in the UPSC CSE Notification. The complete IFS qualification and eligibility requirements include:

  • IFS Exam Age Limit
  • IFS Educational Qualifications
  • Nationality

Indian Foreign Service [IFS] Age Limit

The UPSC calculates age as of 1st August of the year in which the UPSC Exam is conducted. The minimum age limit to sit for the IFS Exam is 21 years. Even the upper age for the IFS Exam is calculated as of 1st August.

  • For general category candidates, the upper UPSC Age Limit is 32 years.
  • The upper age limit prescribed is relaxable up to a maximum of five years if the candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe.
  • For an OBC candidate, a relaxation of 3 years is mentioned, making the maximum age to sit for the UPSC Exam to be 35 years.


Minimum Age Limit for IFS

Maximum Age Limit for IFS

Number of Attempts

IFS Age Limit for General Category




EWS Category




IFS Age Limit for SC/ST




IFS Age Limit for OBC




Indian Foreign Service Exam Qualifications

To apply for the IFS- Indian Foreign Service Exam, there is no minimum qualifying percentage required. Candidates who have graduated from a recognized government institution/college can apply for the IFS exam. Also, candidates who are in their final year of graduation are also eligible to appear for the Indian Foreign Service Exam.

IFS Officer Nationality

For IFS, 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 1st January 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.

Indian Foreign Service Admit Card

Indian Foreign Service Exam Admit Card for Prelims is generally released a few weeks before the exam on UPSC’s official website. IFS candidates, who have successfully registered for the UPSC Prelims Exam will be able to download the IFS admit card from the website.

Indian Foreign Service Exam Admit Card for Mains is released after the Prelims result are out and a few weeks before the UPSC Mains Exam. Candidates who have cleared the UPSC Prelims will only be able to download the admit card for UPSC Mains.

It is of utmost importance that the candidate carries the admit card to his/her exam center, along with valid ID proof. Not compelling to this may lead to denial of his/her appearance for the Exam.

Indian Foreign Service Syllabus

Preliminary Exam Syllabus


  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography- Physical, Economic, Social Geography of India and the World Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Panchayati Raj, Political System, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Inclusion, Poverty, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization
  • General Science


  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.), Data interpretation (graphs, charts, tables, data sufficiency etc.) - Class X level

Main Exam Syllabus

Paper A and Paper B - The papers on Indian languages and English will have questions of Matriculation or equivalent standard. The pattern of the papers will be:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Precis Writing
  • Short Essays
  • Usage and Vocabulary
  • Translation from English to Indian languages and vice-versa


Essay - Writing essays on multiple topics in an effective expression.


General Studies-I: Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times
  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues
  • The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country
  • The history of the world will include events from the 18th century such as the industrial revolution, world wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. - their forms and effect on the society
  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies
  • Effects of globalization on Indian society
  • Salient features of the world’s physical geography
  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
  • Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India)
  • Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclones etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes


General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International Relations

  • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions
  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
  • Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
  • Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders
  • Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • Role of civil services in a democracy
  • Issues relating to poverty and hunger
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
  • India and its neighborhood- relations
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate


General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment
  • Government Budgeting
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it
  • Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management
  • Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, - different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing
  • Land reforms in India
  • Investment models
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc
  • Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
  • Science and technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights
  • Disaster and disaster management
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Linkages between development and spread of extremism
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas - linkages of organized crime with terrorism
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks, the role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cybersecurity; money-laundering and its prevention
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate


General Studies- IV: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics - in private and public relationships. Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; the role of family society and educational institutions in inculcating values
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
  • Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections
  • Emotional intelligence concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world
  • Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption
  • Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance
  • Case Studies on the above issues

Paper-VI and Paper-VII

Paper-VI and VII are of the optional type. Candidates are required to select one subject for each optional paper. The syllabus for optional subjects is available in the official notification. Candidates can check the same as per their selected subject.

Indian Foreign Service Exam Pattern

The exam pattern for the IFS Exam is to test the academic expertise of the candidate. Aspirants who wish to appear for the IFS exam must check out the complete exam pattern and shape their preparation accordingly. The exam pattern for Prelims, Mains, and Interview rounds are discussed as follows. The aspirants must understand the UPSC Exam Pattern and with a strategic approach, fetch good marks in each stage of the IFS Exam.

Indian Foreign Service Exam Pattern for Prelims

The Indian Foreign Service Exam pattern for Prelims consists of two papers that are MCQs based.

  • These include General Studies-1 and General Studies-2 (CSAT).
  • The General Studies-1 paper is considered for cutoff while the CSAT paper is the only qualifying paper where candidates need to secure at least 33% to pass.
  • The marks obtained in the prelims are not counted for the final merit list.
  • Each paper carries 200 marks, and the time duration for both papers is 2 hours each.

IFS Prelims Exam Pattern



No. of questions

UPSC Total Marks


Negative marks

General Studies I



200 (+2 marks per question)

2 hours

Yes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)

General Studies II (CSAT)



200 (+2.5 marks per question )

2 hours

Yes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)

Indian Foreign Service Exam Pattern for Mains

The IFS Exam Pattern for Mains includes 9 papers in total. The first two papers, Compulsory Indian Language and English are qualifying in nature. Other than this, the main papers include 1 Essay paper, 4 General Studies Paper, and 2 papers on the Optional Subjects. The score obtained in the mains exam decides the rank and service allocation to a great extent.

  • Paper A- Compulsory Indian Language
  • Paper B- English
  • 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

IFS- Indian Foreign Service Mains Exam Pattern





Total marks

Paper A

Compulsory Indian language

Qualifying (25% Marks required)

3 hours


Paper B


3 hours




Merit Ranking in Nature

3 hours


Paper- I

General Studies I

3 hours



General Studies II

3 hours



General Studies III

3 hours



General Studies IV

3 hours


Paper -V

Optional I

3 hours


Paper -VI

Optional II

3 hours


Indian Foreign Service Exam Pattern for Interview

Once the candidate has cleared the Mains level, they have won half the battle. For IFS Officer Interview, prepare your DAF well. Make notes and pointers on all questions asked in the DAF as the majority of the questions arise from the Detailed Application Form. They form the base of your IFS Officer Interview.

The second part of the IFS interview consists of questions based on your service preference. For IFS, questions may generally arise from recent international events, International Organizations, India’s stand on recent issues on the global level, etc.

Indian Foreign Service How to Apply

As discussed earlier, the Indian Foreign Service Exam is conducted by the UPSC. UPSC releases the Indian Foreign Service Exam application form every year and the candidates eligible can fill up the application form on the official website of UPSC. To apply, the candidate must fill out the UPSC Online Application before the last date

  • Visit the official website of UPSC.
  • Then go to the Examination Tab, and select ‘Active Examination’.
  • Click on Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination.
  • Click on the ‘Apply’ option.
  • Fill in all the required information and upload your latest photo and signature according to the desired size and file format.
  • Once filled, preview the application form, save a copy for your reference, and then submit.

IFS Exam Application Fee

IFS candidates are required to pay a fee of ?100/- (Rupees One Hundred only) either by remitting the money in any Branch of the State Bank of India or by using Visa/Master/RuPay Credit/Debit Card or by using Internet Banking of SBI. Female/SC/ST/Persons with Benchmark Disability Candidates are exempted from payment of the fee.

Applicants who opt for the "Pay by Cash" mode should print the system-generated Pay-in-slip during part II registration and deposit the fee at the counter of the SBI Branch on the next working day only.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Indian Foreign Service Exam

Q. What is the Syllabus of Indian Foreign Service Exam?
A. In this article Page, we have provided the latest syllabus of the Indian Foreign Service exam. The syllabus of Indian Foreign Service comprises the topics and sub-topics under sections, Knowledge of Indian Foreign Service syllabus helps candidates to focus on their preparation and important areas of each subject.
Q. What is pattern of Indian Foreign Service Exam?
A. In this article Page, we have provided the latest exam pattern of the Indian Foreign Service exam . The pattern of comprises the subject wise pattern and no. of questions will come in exam, go to our article section of exam pattern for more details.
Q. Which is the best Mock test series for the Indian Foreign Service Exam?
A. At Studyclap, candidates can practice a complete set of Mock Test Series, along with a free mock test designed by our well qualified and expert faculty Team.
Q. How to prepare for the Indian Foreign Service Exam?
A. To prepare for Indian Foreign Service exam, candidates should go through the exam syllabus and exam pattern, solve mock tests, practice previous years' question papers. Try to clear the concepts of each and every topic rather than cramming. Set a time to go over the chapters, Differentiate weak areas and work to improve them. Solve puzzles to improve logical skill.
Q. How to Download Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus PDF?
A. Candidates can download Indian Foreign Service exam syllabus PDF from our website for free. Candidates need to only register with us to download the exam syllabus.

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