NDA Eligibility Criteria: Age Limit, Qualification, Physical Criteria

The candidates aspiring for a future in defence can apply for the NDA entrance exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). However, the candidates must ensure the NDA Eligibility Criteria 2021 before applying for the exam. No candidate will be considered for selection if he fails to meet any eligibility criteria. It is necessary for the candidates to clear the class 12th exam from a recognized board in order to be eligible for NDA. The 12th board appearing candidates are granted eligibility with the condition that they will submit the proof of passing the exam before a specified date. The NDA Eligibility Criteria 2021 has been laid down in terms of age, sex, gender, marital status nationality, education, and physical standards.

NDA Eligibility Criteria

The admission of the candidates will be provisional subject to their eligibility. The candidates who fail to meet the NDA Eligibility Criteria 2021 will be debarred from selection even if they manage to clear their entrance exam. It is therefore important for the candidates that they check the complete details of the NDA Eligibility Criteria 2021 before they proceed to submit their application form. The criteria in terms of age, nationality, education, physical standards, etc are explained below.

Nationality Criteria:

The candidates should be

  1. i) Citizen of India, or
  2. ii) Subject of Bhutan, or

iii) Subject of Nepal, or

  1. iv) Tibetan refugee who came to India before the 1st January, 1962 with the intention of settling permanently, or
  2. v) Person of Indian origin migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

The candidates belonging to the category ii), iii), iv) and v) must have a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India (not necessary for the candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal).

Age limit for NDA II:

The candidates whose date of birth falls between 2nd January 2003 and 1st January 2006 are eligible. The date of birth as in the Matriculation/Secondary School Leaving Certificate or in a certificate recognized by an Indian University as equivalent to Matriculation will be considered.

Sex and marital status:

Only male candidates who are unmarried can apply. The candidates who get married before their training begins will not be selected and if any candidate marries during his training, he will be discharged and will have to refund all expenditure incurred on him by the Government.

Educational qualification:

For Army Wing of National Defence Academy: A pass in class 12th exam under 10+2 pattern of School Education or any equivalent exam conducted by a State Education Board/University is required.

For Air Force and Naval Wings of National Defence Academy and for the 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme at the Indian Naval Academy: A pass in class 12th exam under 10+2 pattern of School Education or any equivalent exam with Mathematics and Physics conducted by a State Education Board/University is required.

The candidates appearing in their class 12th exam are also considered to be meeting the NDA Eligibility Criteria 2019. Such candidates will however have to submit the proof of passing their 12th or equivalent exam. The candidates who do not possess original Matriculation/10+2/equivalent certificate at the time of SSB interview should forward self-attested photocopies to ‘Directorate General of Recruiting, Army HQ, West Block.III, R.K. Puram, New Delhi 110066’ and for Naval Academy candidates to ‘Naval Headquarters, DMPR, OI&R Section, Room No. 204, ‘C’ Wing, Sena Bhavan, New Delhi-110011’ by the prescribed date.

Physical Standards

The candidate must be physically and mentally fit and free from any disease/disability.

Those who fulfill all other eligibility requirements but are found to be physically unfit will be considered as not fulfilling the NDA Eligibility Criteria 2021.

The minimum acceptable height is 157 cms (162.5 cms for Air Force). To Gorkhas and individuals belonging to hills of North-Eastern regions of India, Garhwal and Kumaon, the relaxation of 5 cms in height will be given and to candidates from Lakshadweep, a relaxation of 2 cms will be provided.

Height/Weight Standards for Army/Air Force

Height in  cms (without shoes) Weight in kgs.
16-17 years 17-18 years 18-19 years
152 42.5 44.0 45.0
155 43.5 45.3 47.0
157 45.0 47.0 48.0
160 46.5 48.0 49.0
162 48.0 50.0 51.0
165 50.0 52.0 53.0
167 51.0 53.0 54.0
170 52.5 55.0 56.0
173 54.5 57.0 58.0
175 56.0 59.0 60.0
178 58.0 61.0 62.0
180 60.0 63.0 64.5
183 62.5 65.0 66.5

Height/Weight Standards for Navy

Height in  cms (Without shoes) Weight in kgs.
16 years 18 years 20 years
152 44 45 46
155 45 46 47
157 46 47 49
160 47 48 50
162 48 50 52
165 50 52 53
168 52 53 55
170 53 55 57
173 55 57 59
175 57 59 61
178 59 61 62
180 61 63 64
183 63 65 67

±10% departure from average weight will be considered normal. In individuals with heavy bones and broad build or individuals with thin build but otherwise healthy may get some relaxation.

The acceptable measurements of leg length, thigh length and sitting height for a pilot in Air Force will be:

Minimum Maximum
Leg Length 99.00 cms 120.00 cms
Thigh Length 64.00 cms
Sitting Height 81.50 cms 96.00 cms

Chest should be well-developed. Fully expanded chest should not be less than 81 cms. The minimum range of expansion after full inspiration should be 5 cms. X-Ray of the chest is compulsory and will be taken to rule out any disease of the chest.

There should be no mal-development or impairment of function of the bones or joint.

Spinal Condition

The candidates with a past medical history of diseases or spinal or sacroiliac joints injury, with or without objective signs which have prevented them from following a physically active life, are not eligible for IAF.  History of spinal fracture/prolapsed intervertebral disc and surgical treatment for these conditions will cause rejection.

The candidates with following conditions will not be eligible for Air Force service:

  • Granulomatous disease of spine
  • Arthritidies/spondylosis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders
    • Ankylosing spondylitis
    • Osteoarthrosis, spondylosis and degenerative joint disease
    • Non articular rheumatism (e.g. lesions of the rotator cuff, tennis elbow, recurrent lumbago etc)
    • Miscellaneous disorders including SLE, polymyositis, vasculitis
  • Scheuerman’s disease (Adolescent kyphosis)
  • Spondylolisthesis/Spondylosis
  • Unilateral/Bilateral cervical ribs with demonstrable neurological or circulatory deficit
  • Compression fracture of vertebrae
  • Degenerative Disc. Disease
  • Loss of cervical lordosis when associated with clinically restricted movements of cervical spine
  • Scoliosis more than 10 degree as measured by Cobb’s method
  • Presence of schmorl’s nodes at more than one level
  • Atlanto-occipital and atlantoaxial anomalies
  • Unilateral Sacralisation or lumbarisation (Complete or incomplete) at all levels and bilateral incomplete sacralisation or lumbarisation
  • Hemi vertebrae and/or incomplete block (fused) vertebrae at any level in cervical, dorsal or lumbar spine and complete block (fused) vertebrae at more than one level in cervical or dorsal spine.
  • Any other abnormality if so considered by the specialist

The candidates with Mild Kyphosis/Lordosis where deformity is hardly noticeable and there is no pain or restriction of movement will be accepted.

In case of noticeable Scoliosis or suspicion of any other abnormality or spinal deformity, X-rays of the spine will be taken and the examinee will be referred for specialist’s advice.

The candidates with following conditions will be considered for entry to Armed Forces:

  • Granulomatius disease of spine
  • More than mild Kyphosis/Lordosis
  • Arthritidies/spondylosis
  • Scoliosis more than 15 degree as measured by Cobb’s Method (10 degree for Army and Navy)
  • Compression fracture of Vertebra
  • Spondylolisthesis/Spondylosis/Spondylolysis
  • Herniated nucleus pulposus
  • Sacralisation Disease
  • Incomplete Sacralisation Unilateral or Bilateral
  • Cervical ribs with demonstrable neurological or Circulatory deficit
  • Presence of Schmorl’s node at more than one level
  • Spina Bifida other than SV 1 and LV 5 if completely sacralised
  • Atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial anomalies
  • Any other abnormality, if so considered by specialist

Hearing standards

The hearing should be normal. A candidate should be able to hear a forced whisper with each ear at a distance of 610 cms in a quiet room. There should be no evidence of present or past disease of the ear, nose and throat. Audiometric test will be done for AF. Audiometric hearing loss should not be greater than 20 db in frequencies between 250 and 8000 Hz. There is no impediment of speech.

Visual standards

Distance Vision (Corrected): Better Eye 6/6; Worse Eye 6/9

Myopia should not be more than -2.5D including astigmatism and manifest hypermetropia not more than +3.5D including Astigmatism.

The color vision standard will be CP-II (Defective Safe). Candidates should be able to recognize white, signal red and signal green colors correctly as shown by Martin’s Lantern at a distance of 1.5 meter or read the requisite plate of Ishihara Book/Tokyo Medical College Book.

Candidates who have undergone Radial Keratotomy will be permanently rejected for all the services. Those who have undergone Laser Surgery are also not acceptable to defence services.

Vision standard for naval candidates

  • Uncorrected without glass: 6/6, 6/9
  • Corrected with glass: 6/6, 6/6
  • Limits of Myopia: –0.75
  • Limits of Hypermetropia: +1.5
  • Binocular vision: III
  • Limits of color perception: I

 Visual Standards for Air Force

  • Candidates who habitually wear spectacles are not eligible.
  • Minimum distant vision 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in other, correctable to 6/6 only for Hypermetropia
  • Color vision CP-I
  • Hypermetropia: +2.0D Sph, Manifest Myopia: Nil, Retinoscopic Myopia: 0.5 in any Meridian, permitted Astigmatism: +0.75D Cyl (within + 2.0D Max)

Maddox Rod Test

At 6 meters: Exo-6 prism D, Eso-6 prism D, Hyper-1 prism D, Hypro-1 prism D

At 33 cms: Exo-16 prism D, Eso-6 prism D, Hyper-1 prism D, Hypo-1 prism D

Hand held Stereoscope: All of BSV grades Convergence–Up to 10 cm Cover test for distant and near–Latent divergence/convergence recovery rapid and complete.

Candidates who have undergone PRK/Lasik may be considered fit for commissioning in the Air Force in all branches.  Candidates having undergone cataract surgery with or without IOL implants will also be declared unfit. The candidate must possess good binocular vision (fusion and stereopsis with good amplitude and depth). Post PRK/Lasik candidates must meet the visual requirements required for the branch.

The following criteria must be satisfied prior to selecting post-PRK/LASIK at the time of Air Force Medical examination:-

  • LASIK surgery should not have been carried out before the age of 20 years.
  • The axial length of the eye should not be more than 25.5 mm as measured by IOL master.
  • At least 12 months should have elapsed post uncomplicated stable LASIK with no history or evidence of any complication.
  • The post LASIK corneal thickness as measured by a corneal pachymeter should not be less than 450 microns.
  • Individual with high refractive errors (> 6D) prior to LASIK are to be excluded.

Other physical requirements

  • There should be no past history of mental breakdown or fits.
  • There should be no signs of functional or organic disease of the heart and blood vessels. Blood pressure should be normal.
  • There should be no enlargement of liver or spleen or any evidence of disease of internal organs of the abdomen.
  • Un-operated hernias will make a candidate unfit. In case of Hernia which has been operated, a minimum of one year must have passed prior to final medical examination before commencement of the course.
  • Urine examination will be done and any abnormality if detected will be a cause for rejection.
  • Any disease of skin which is likely to cause disability or disfigurement will also be a cause for rejection.
  • USG abdomen examination will be carried out and any congenital structural anomaly or disease of the abdominal organs will be a cause for rejection in Armed Forces.
  • The candidates should have sufficient number of natural and sound teeth. A minimum of 14 dental points will be acceptable. When 32 teeth are present, the total dental points are 22. A candidate should not be suffering from severe pyorrhea.
  • Routine ECG for Air Force candidates must be within normal limits.
  • The following defects must be rectified by the candidates themselves- Ears Wax, Deviated Nasal Septum, Hydrocele/Phimosis, Overweight/Underweight, Undersized Chest, Piles, Gynaecomastia, Tonsillitis and Varicocele


Permanent body tattoos are only permitted on inner face of forearm and on the reverse side of palm/back (dorsal) side of hand. Tribes with tattoo marks on the face or body as per their existing custom and traditions will be permitted on a case to case basis.

Physical conditioning

The candidates should keep themselves in good physical condition, by following this routine:

  • Running 2.4 kms in 15 minutes
  • Skipping
  • Pushups and sit ups (minimum 20 each)
  • Chin ups (minimum 8)
  • Rope climbing 3-4 meters


  • The candidates who have failed INSB/PABT earlier are not eligible for Air Force.
  • Candidates who were admitted to an earlier course at the Academy but were removed because of lack of officer-like qualities or on disciplinary grounds will not be admitted to the Academy.
  • Candidates who are debarred by the Ministry of Defence from holding any type of Commission in the Defence Services will not be eligible for admission and if admitted, their candidature will be cancelled.
  • Candidates who were previously withdrawn from the National Defence Academy or Indian Naval Academy on medical grounds or left the above Academy voluntarily are however, eligible for admission to the Academy provided they satisfy the medical and other prescribed conditions.

NDA Application Form 2021

The candidates who meet the NDA Eligibility Criteria 2021 can submit their application form in online mode by visiting the official website of UPSC upsconline.nic.in. The online application form will consist of two parts and the candidates will have to fill both the parts to complete the form. After providing personal and educational details and uploading all the important documents in the application form, the candidates will have to submit it along with the required application fee.

1 thought on “NDA Eligibility Criteria: Age Limit, Qualification, Physical Criteria”

  1. My dob is 07/05/2001 this age is eligible for NDA air force


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