What is IFS? - Full form of IFS
The IFS- Indian Foreign Service is the diplomatic service under the Group-A Services recruited by the UPSC. Aspiring IFS Officers appear for the UPSC Exam, and based on their ranks, services are allotted to all successful candidates. Many civil services candidates aspire to become an IFS officer due to the challenging role, responsibilities, power, and sometimes the IFS's generous monetary benefits.
- An IFS Officer frames foreign policies and manages the Indian missions abroad.
- As an IFS officer, they get an opportunity to travel to different countries and represent India at the global level and in international forums.
- Other than this, IFS Officers serve at the President's Secretariat, the Prime Minister's Office, and the Ministry of External Affairs headquarters in New Delhi.
- They also head Regional Passport Offices throughout the country and hold key positions in several ministries on deputation.
Indian Foreign Service Exam 2022
The IFS Exam, also known as the Indian Foreign Service Exam is administered by the Union Public Service Commission under the UPSC CSE Exam. The IFS exam is conducted in three stages: Prelims, Mains, and the Interview/ Personality Test. The Prelims 2022 result has been declared on 22 June 2022, and the selected candidates need to appear for the UPSC Mains 2022. The application form for Mains 2022 was released on the official site on 6th July 2022, and the last date to apply was 15 July 2022. The UPSC Mains Exam Date 2022 has also been released on the website.
- The UPSC Prelims for IFS screens the candidates for the UPSC Mains Exam.
- The selected candidates, who clear the cutoff for Mains Examination for IFS, go through the interview stage.
- The total score is calculated by combining the score of the UPSC Mains and the Interview or the Personality Test.
- UPSC Mains Exam Date 2022 has been released on 02 August 2022.
- UPSC Mains 2022 Application Form released on 6th July 2022
- IFS Prelims results have been declared on 22 June 2022.
- IFS Prelims has been conducted on 5th June 2022
IFS - Indian Foreign Service Exam Overview
Go through the highlights of the UPSC exam for IFS - Indian Foreign Service below.
IFS - Indian Foreign Service
IFS stands for Indian Foreign Service. The recruits selected in the Indian Foreign Service are known to be IFS Officers (OTs). IFS is one of the Group A services under the UPSC.
IFS Exam conducting body
Union Public Service Commission
IFS Officer Training Center
Sushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi.
Who can become an IFS Officer?
The IFS Eligibility has similar eligibility criteria as other services mentioned under the UPSC Notification. Candidates who hold a valid graduate degree from any recognized university in India and are within the UPSC Age limit can apply for the Indian Foreign Service Exam.
Subjects For Indian Foreign Service
IFS Officer Exam
The IFS Officer Exam, like the IAS Exam, is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. As mentioned earlier, the IFS exam is a part of the Civil Services Examination, and the conducting body is the UPSC.
To qualify for the IFS Officer Exam, one needs to clear all the three-level, i.e., Prelims, Mains, and Interview. Once qualified, the candidate is allotted the service according to their rank and preference disclosed in the DAF. IFS Officers recruited through UPSC are called direct recruits or probationers.
IFS Officer Exam 2022 Notification
The notification of the IFS Exam 2022 was released on 2nd February 2022 on the UPSC website. The UPSC Notification can be downloaded from the official website to know more about the IFS Exam. Eligible candidates were requested to apply through the website. Candidates can download the official notification using the direct link mentioned below.
Indian Foreign Service Exam Date 2022
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.
UPSC Indian Foreign Service Exam Date 2022
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 Officer Salary
The overall salary of an IFS Office, at the initial level is nearly 60,000 INR per month including all the perks and allowances, in India. However, the Salary of an Indian Foreign Service Officer who is appointed outside India is different because they get a special foreign allowance, which makes a huge difference in the Indian Foreign Service Salary per Month. The Salary of the Indian Foreign Service Officer increases with subsequent promotions. Apart from salary, IFS Officers are also entitled to:
- Water and electricity (Expense borne by GOI)
- Free phone calls
- Retirement benefits and pension
- Government Transportation
- Security and House Help
- Medical Expenses
Indian Foreign Service Salary per Month
The Indian Foreign Service Officer's Salary is tabulated below as per their grade:
Basic Pay/Grade Pay
Junior Time Scale
Senior Time Scale
Junior Administrative Scale
Senior Administrative Scale
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
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
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.
How to apply for IFS - Indian Foreign Service?
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.
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
General Studies I
200 (+2 marks per question)
Yes (One-third of marks allotted to each question)
General Studies II (CSAT)
200 (+2.5 marks per question )
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
- 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
Compulsory Indian language
Qualifying (25% Marks required)
Merit Ranking in Nature
General Studies I
General Studies II
General Studies III
General Studies IV
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 Syllabus for Prelims Paper 1
The candidates are advised to go through the UPSC Prelims Syllabus for the Preliminary Examination and prepare accordingly. The topics for IFS Exam- Prelims include:
- Current events of national and international importance.
- History of India and Indian National Movement.
- Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the
- Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
- Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion,
- Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
- General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity, and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization.
- General Science.
Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus for Prelims Paper 2 CSAT
The candidates are advised to go through the UPSC Prelims Syllabus for the Preliminary Examination and prepare accordingly. The topics for IFS Exam- Prelims CSAT Syllabus include:
- Interpersonal skills including communication skills;
- Logical reasoning and analytical ability;
- Decision making and problem-solving;
- General mental ability;
- Basic numeracy (Class X level),
- Data interpretation
It is mandatory for the candidate to appear in both the Papers of Civil Services (Prelim)
Examination for the purpose of evaluation. Therefore a candidate will be disqualified in
case he/she does not appear in both the papers of the Civil Services (Prelim) Examination.
Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus for Mains
The candidates are advised to go through the UPSC Mains Syllabus published in this section for the UPSC Mains Examination. The questions in the IFS Exam for Mains test the candidate’s basic understanding of all relevant issues, and their ability to analyze, views on conflicting socio-economic goals, objectives, and demands. The topics include:
Indian Foreign Service Syllabus for Qualifying Paper - English
- Comprehension of given passages
- Precis Writing
- Usage and Vocabulary
- Short Essays
Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus for Qualifying Paper - Indian Language
- Comprehension of given passages
- Precis Writing
- Usage and Vocabulary
- Short Essays
- Translation from English to the Indian Language and vice-versa
Indian Foreign Service Syllabus for Essay: Candidates are required to write essays on the total of two topics, selecting one from each section.
Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus for Mains General Studies 1: The IFS Exam Syllabus for Mains is similar to UPSC Mains Syllabus. The GS Paper 1 includes History, Indian Art and Culture, Geography, and Indian Society.
Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus for Mains GS 2: The IFS Mains Syllabus for GS 2 includes Polity, Governance, IR, and more. The UPSC IFS Mains Syllabus for GS Paper 2 has a good overlap with Political Science and International Relations UPSC Syllabus.
Indian Foreign Service Syllabus for Mains GS 3: The IFS Exam Syllabus for Mains is similar to UPSC Mains Syllabus. The GS Paper 3 includes Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management. The GS Paper 3 can be easily covered through Current Affairs and the economic development part through the Economy Notes for UPSC.
Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus for Mains GS 4: The IFS Exam Syllabus for Mains is similar to UPSC Mains Syllabus. The GS Paper 4 includes Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude, and all of these topics can be easily covered if one refers to the Ethics Books for UPSC.
Indian Foreign Service Exam Syllabus for Optional Subject Paper 1 and 2: Candidates can choose any optional subject from amongst the List of Optional Subjects given in the UPSC Notification. The UPSC has 48 optional subjects in total. Learn How to choose Optional Subject for UPSC to make the correct choice.
To make a clear choice for choosing your optional subjects, go through the following list of Optional Subjects offered by the UPSC.
How to Become an Indian Foreign Service Officer?
The preparation for the Indian Foreign Service Exam is the same as for the IAS Exam. The Commission conducts a single exam to recruit candidates for IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS, and all the other services mentioned in the UPSC Notification. There are no pre-required requisites for the IFS Exam, as in the case for IPS Exam. One needs to read all the NCERT Books for UPSC, UPSC Books, and books related to one’s optional subject to sail through this exam.
Indian Foreign Service Previous Year Question Papers
To ace the Indian Foreign Service or the IFS Exam, one needs to understand the pattern of the exam and how the questions are framed. For this, one needs to practice the Previous Year Questions extensively. Practicing the papers will help to understand the trend of the questions.
Books for Indian Foreign Service Exam
Keeping resources limited in the Indian Foreign Service Exam preparation is always advised. Keep the Books for Indian Foreign Service exams concise, but revise them thoroughly. The books to be consulted for the Indian Foreign Service exam, both for Prelims and Mains are given below. Choose them accordingly:
- Geography Books for UPSC
- History Books for UPSC
- Polity Books for UPSC
- Anthropology books for UPSC
- Economics books for UPSC
- Sociology books for UPSC
- Psychology Books for UPSC
- Political Science Books for UPSC
- Philosophy Books for UPSC
- International Relations Books for UPSC
- Maths Books for UPSC
- Public Administration Books for UPSC
- Hindi Literature Books for UPSC
- Botany Books for UPSC
- Tamil Literature Books for UPSC
- Kannada Literature Books for UPSC
- Gujarati Literature Books for UPSC
- Chemistry Books for UPSC
- Physics Optional Books for UPSC
- English Literature Optional Books for UPSC
- Telugu Literature Books for UPSC
- Statistics Books for UPSC
- Geology Books for UPSC
- Commerce And Accountancy Books for UPSC
- Electrical Engineering Books for UPSC
- Medical Science Book for UPSC
- Agriculture Books for UPSC
- Civil Engineering Optional Books for UPSC
- Mechanical Engineering Books for UPSC
- Animal Husbandry Books for UPSC
- Law Optional Books for UPSC
- Zoology Optional Books for UPSC
- Assamese Literature Optional Books for UPSC
- Kashmiri Literature Books for UPSC
- Malayalam Optional Books for UPSC
- Nepali Literature Books for UPSC
- Bengali Literature Books for UPSC
- Bodo Literature Books for UPSC
- Urdu Optional Books for UPSC
- Maithili Books for UPSC
- Marathi Books for UPSC
- Punjabi Literature Books for UPSC
- Sanskrit Optional Books for UPSC
Indian Foreign Service Exam 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 Training
On selection into the Indian Foreign Service through the UPSC Exam, the Officer Trainees (OTs) undergo a comprehensive and multi-faceted training program intended to give them diplomatic knowledge, qualities, and skills. The probationers commence their training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie, and thereafter they join the Sushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi.
At the Foreign Service Institute, they undergo focused training in various disciplines The aim of the course at Sushma Swaraj Foreign Service Institute is to inculcate a strong sense of history, knowledge of diplomacy and international relations, and a grasp of general economic and political principles into the officers.
At the conclusion of the training program, the OTs are assigned their compulsory foreign language (CFL). After a brief period of desk attachment in the Ministry of External Affairs, the OTs are posted to an Indian Mission abroad as Third Secretary in a country where their CFL is the native language and enrolled in a language course. The OT is expected to develop proficiency in his/her CFL and pass the requisite examination before he/she is confirmed in service.
Life of an Indian Foreign Service: After Training
An IFS Officer begins his career abroad as a Third Secretary and is promoted to Second Secretary as soon as he/she is confirmed in service. After being promoted as the Second Secretary, they are assigned to one of the wings (Political, Economic or Commerce, Consular, Administrative or Cultural) at an Indian Embassy or as Consul at an Indian Consulate for a period of 3 years. Here they are expected to learn about the economic, commercial, political, and cultural nuances of their country of posting.
IFS Officer Functions
As an IFS Officer, an IFS is required to project India’s interests, both at home and abroad on a wide variety of issues. These include:
- Protecting India’s national interests in the country of their posting;
- Representing India in its Embassies, High Commissions, Consulates, and Permanent Missions to multilateral organizations;
- Reporting accurately on developments in the country of posting which are likely to influence the formulation of India’s policies;
- Promoting friendly relations with the receiving state as also its people, including NRI / PIOs;
- Negotiating agreements on various issues with the authorities of the receiving state, and
- Extending consular facilities to foreigners and Indian nationals abroad.
In India, the Ministry of External Affairs is responsible for all aspects of external relations. Territorial divisions deal with bilateral political and economic work while functional divisions look after policy planning, multilateral organizations, regional groupings, legal matters, disarmament, protocol, consular, Indian Diaspora, press and publicity, administration, and other aspects.
Indian Foreign Service Promotions
The designations within the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) are as follows:
At an Indian Mission/Post abroad-
- Third Secretary (Language Trainee)
- Second Secretary
- First Secretary
At MEA Headquarters-
- Under Secretary
- Deputy Secretary
- Joint Secretary
- Additional Secretary