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NDA Eligibility Criteria 2020

Updated On -

Oct 21, 2020

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Abanti Pramanik

Exams Prepmaster

National Defence Academy or NDA exam is conducted twice every year to recruit new cadets for the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. For NDA 2020, the aspirants have to meet certain educational as well as physical eligibility criteria. 

Get FREE NDA 2021 Mock Tests, Sectional Quiz, Previous Years Papers. Click Here

Latest Highlights:

  • The NDA 1 2020 exam has been postponed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was earlier scheduled for April 19, 2020.

  • The issuance of the Admit cards has also been delayed indefinitely due to the same reason.

  • Qualified candidates of NDA 2 2020 who had their SSB interview upcoming will be notified about the new dates and must keep an eye on the UPSC website for further notifications as the interviews have been postponed too. Check NDA 2020 Selection Process

Aspirants planning to take the NDA 2 2020 exam, must ensure that they satisfy all the NDA eligibility criteria before they proceed to fill up the NDA 2 2020 application form.

NDA Eligibility Criteria

NDA Eligibility Criteria 2020 for Nationality

All the candidates need to meet the criteria with regard to nationality to be eligible for application. To be eligible for NDA 2020, a candidate must be either one of the following:

  • A citizen of India

  • A subject of Nepal

  • A subject of Bhutan

  • A Tibetan refugee who moved to India, before January 1, 1962 with the intention of settling here permanently

  • A PIO (Person of Indian origin) is someone who has migrated from the countries specified below, with the intention of permanently settling in India. The nationals from the following countries would fall under this category.

  • Pakistan

  • Burma

  • Sri Lanka

  • East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania (Formerly Tanganyika and Zanzibar ), Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia

  • Vietnam

DO NOTE: It must be noted that all the foreign nationals are required to produce a certificate of NDA eligibility criteria that has been issued by the Government of India. This certificate will however not be needed in case of those candidates who are Gorkha subjects of Nepal.

NDA Age Limit and Marital Status (1 and 2)

To know the detail information about the age limit of NDA exam, go through the following table:

Age Limit

Age (years)

Minimum Age

15.7 years (not later than 1st January 2005)/ 16 years during the commencement of course

Maximum Age

18.7 years (not earlier than 2nd January 2002)/ 19 years during the commencement of course

  • It should be clearly noted that only unmarried male candidates, who are not born earlier than July 2, 2001 and not later than July 1, 2004 are eligible to appear for  NDA 1 Exam. 

  • For NDA 2 2020, candidates must be born between January 2, 2002 and January 1, 2005.

  • Married candidates and female candidates are ineligible to apply for  NDA Exam

  • The date of birth mentioned in the application must be the same as that entered in the Matriculation or Secondary School Leaving Certificate.

  • In short, candidates should be between the age of 16.5 years and 19.5 years to be eligible for the exam.

Important: Any candidate who has been selected after qualifying the exam has to undertake not to marry for the duration of the training. Failure to observe this condition would cause the debarment of the candidate from NDA. Additionally, any charge incurred on him by the government is required to be refunded.

NDA Eligibility Qualification

NDA Eligibility Criteria 2020- Qualification

The academic qualifications vary slightly according to the post that the candidate has applied for. The details of educational qualification for different posts are specified below:

  • For Army Wing of National Defence Academy: Pass certificate in 10+2 exams via recognized board or a University.

  • For Air Force and Naval Wings of National Defence Academy and for the 10+2 Cadet Entry Scheme at the Indian Naval Academy: Candidates should have passed Class 12th exam in the 10+2 pattern of School Education or equivalent with Physics and Mathematics conducted by a State Education Board or a University.

  • It must be noted that candidates studying in Class 11 are not eligible for appearing in NDA 2020 1 or 2. 

  • Those candidates who have failed INSB / PABT earlier will not be considered eligible for recruitment in the Air Force.

  • Those candidates, who are currently studying in Class 12 at the time of application, must submit proof of passing the exam by the deadline. Requests for extending the due date would not be entertained on any grounds.

  • It must also be noted that the candidates who have been debarred by the Ministry of Defence from holding any type of Commission in the Defence Services will be considered ineligible for admission to the exam.

NDA Physical Eligibility

NDA Eligibility Criteria 2020 for Physical Fitness

There are certain requirements pertaining to the physical fitness or features that must be fulfilled by the candidate at the time of submitting NDA Application forms. 

  • The NDA eligibility criteria would vary slightly according to the post for which the candidate is applying.

  • It must be understood that if a candidate has resigned or withdrawn from any of the training academies of the Armed Forces, on disciplinary grounds, he will not be considered eligible to apply for NDA 2020. 

The required physical criteria are listed below.

Undesirable health issues

The candidate must not be suffering from any of these minor conditions at the time of medical examination –

  • Wax (Ears)

  • Deviated Nasal Septum

  • Hydrocele / Phimosis

  • Condition of Overweight / Underweight

  • Under Sized Chest

  • Piles

  • Tonsillitis

  • Gynaecomastia

  • Varicocele

Case of Body Tattoos

  • The candidate must ensure that any permanent body tattoos are present only on the inner side of the forearm. 

  • Under no circumstances will UPSC accept tattoos on the inside of the elbow to the wrist and on the reverse side of the palm/back (dorsal) side of the hand. 

  • Permanent body tattoos on any other part of the body are also not acceptable.

  • In case the candidate happens to belong to a tribe where it is customary to have tattoo marks on the face or body, acceptance will be granted on a case to case basis, considering the traditions involved. The decision of authorities would be final in such instances.

Height and Weight Requirements

Army and Air Force

  • Candidates must note that the minimum height measurement specified is 157 cms (162.5 cms for Air Force). 

  • For Gorkhas and those belonging to hills of the North-Eastern areas of India, Garhwal, and Kumaon, the minimum height will be 5 cms less than the usual figure. 

  • On the other hand, for candidates belonging to the Lakshadweep islands, the minimum height standard may be reduced by 2 cms.

The details in this regard are discussed below.

Height in cm Weight in Kg
- 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 46.0 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 66


The standards are different for Navy posts and the particulars are summarized below:

Height in cm Weight in Kg
- 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
167 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

In case the candidate wishes to be pilot in the Air Force, the following requirements will have to be kept in mind, due to constraints of the flying vehicle:

  • Leg Length: Minimum of 99 cms and Maximum of 120 cms

  • Thigh Length: Minimum is not applicable while Maximum of 64 cms

  • Sitting Height: Minimum of 81.50 cms and Maximum of 96 cms

Spinal Conditions:

Presence of any of these conditions will disqualify the candidate immediately:

  • Granulomatous disease of the spine

  • Arthritis/spondylosis (Rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders / Ankylosing spondylitis / Osteoarthritis, 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.

  • Spondylolisthesis / spondylolysis.

  • Compression fracture of vertebrae.

  • SC Heuerman’s disease (Adolescent kyphosis)

  • Loss of cervical lordosis when associated with clinically restricted movements of the cervical spine.

  • Unilateral / Bilateral cervical ribs with demon stable neurological or circulatory deficit.

  • Scoliosis is more than 15 degrees as measured by Cobb’s method.

  • Degenerative Disc. Disease.

  • Presence of Schmorl’s nodes at more than one level.

  • Atlanto-occipital and atlantoaxial anomalies.

  • 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.

  • Unilateral Sacralisation or lumbarisation (Complete or incomplete) at all levels and bilateral incomplete sacralisation or lumbarisation.

Any other abnormality if so considered by the specialist.

X-Ray Exam

There will be a separate presence of any of the following conditions will disqualify the applicant for posts of Armed Forces:

  • Granulomatous disease of the spine.

  • Arthritis / spondylosis

  • Scoliosis is more than 15 degrees as measured by Cobb’s Method (10 degrees for Army and Navy).

  • More than mild Kyphosis/Lordosis

  • Spondylolisthesis / Spondylosis / Spondylolysis

  • Herniated nucleus pulposus.

  • Compression fracture of Vertebra.

  • Sacralisation Disease

  • Cervical ribs with demonstrable neurological or Circulatory deficit.

  • Presence of Schmorl’s node at more than one level.

  • Atlanto-occipital and atlanto-axial anomalies.

  • Incomplete Sacralisation Unilateral or Bilateral

  • Spina Bifida other than SV 1 and LV 5 if completely Sacralised

  • Any other abnormality, if so considered by specialist

Visual Standards

  • The distance vision (corrected) of the candidate should be 6/6 in the better eye and 6/9 in the worse eye. 

  • Myopia should not be more than 2.5 D and hypermetropia not more than 3.5 D, including Astigmatism.

  • It must be remembered that an internal examination of the eye will be done by means of an ophthalmoscope to rule out any possibility of eye diseases. 

  • Candidates must possess good binocular vision. The colour vision standard for the Army is (CP-III).

  • The ability to recognize red and green colours is vital. 

  • Certificate that neither the candidate nor any member of his family has suffered from congenital night blindness, will have to be produced.

  • Another noteworthy point is that candidates who have undergone Radial Keratotomy, to improve their visual acuity, or Laser Surgery, will be permanently rejected for all Services. 

Check NDA Mock Test for practicing mock tests and sample papers free of cost.

The details of eyesight levels for different posts are provided below:

Condition Naval Air Force
Uncorrected without glass 6/6 6/6, 6/9
Corrected with glass 6/6 6/6 (only for Hypermetropia)
Limits of Myopia -0.75 Nil
Limits of Hypermetropia +1.5 +2.00 D Sph
Limits of Colour Perception I Nil
Binocular Vision III Nil
Manifest Myopia N.A. Nil Re
Retinoscopic Myopia N.A. 0.5
Colour Vision N.A. CP-I (MLT)
Astigmatism N.A. +0.75 Cyl (within + 2.0 D.Max)
Near Vision N.A. N-5 each eye

NDA miscellaneous conditions

Vision standard for Army candidates

Distance Vision (Corrected)

Better Eye 6/6; Worse Eye 6/9

Colour vision

CP-III (Defective Safe).

Myopia should be less than -2.5D including astigmatism and manifest

hypermetropia should be less than +3.5D including Astigmatism.

Other miscellaneous conditions

There are a few other physical conditions besides the above-mentioned criteria that candidates should fulfill. These criteria are specific to specific wings of defence forces.

  • No symptoms of a weak constitution or bodily defects.

  • A well-developed chest; fully expanded chest should not be less than 81cms. The minimum range of expansion after full inspiration should be 5 cms.

  • No mal-development or impairment of the function of the bones or joints.

  • No past history of mental breakdown or fits.

  • Normal hearing capabilities - Candidate should be able to hear a forced whisper with each ear at a distance of 610 cms. in a quiet room.

  • No impediment of speech.

  • Normal Blood Pressure with no signs of functional or organic disease of the heart and blood vessels.

  • No enlargement of liver or spleen.

  • No abnormality in urine examination

  • No presence of any kind of skin disease, likely to cause disability or disfigurement

  • No abnormalities in USG abdomen examination

  • A sufficient number of natural and sound teeth. A minimum of 14 dental points will be accepted.

  • Routine ECG for Air Force candidates must fall within normal limits.

NDA Eligibility FAQs

Who are Not Eligible For Applying NDA 2020?

  • If the aspirants are married, are not eligible to apply for the exam.
  • If the candidates have withdrawn or resigned from the disciplinary grounds of training academies of armed forces, cannot apply for NDA 2020 exam.
  • The aspirants, who have not cleared their PABT/CPSS exam, can't apply for the Air Force exam.
  • If the aspirants are debarred by the Defence Ministry, then the NDA exam is not for them
  • Lastly, the 11th standard pursuing students cannot apply for NDA 2020 exam. 

Practice previous years NDA Tests’ sample papers

FAQ on NDA Eligibility Criteria 2020

Question: Which is the best stream to study for NDA?

Ans. Any male candidate from any stream can apply for the NDA 2020 exam. However, to get selected for the Air Force and Navy, the candidate must have studied class 11-12 with a physics and mathematics combination.

Question: What is the training period after NDA?

Ans. The training period in NDA, Khadakwasla is three years after which Army cadets will be sent to IMA for 1 year, Air force Cadets to Air Force Academy for 1 year, and Naval Cadets to Naval Academy for 1 year.

Question: What are the minimum marks required for applying for NDA?

Ans. The candidate should acquire the minimum pass marks for class 12 to apply for NDA.

Question: How many times can a candidate apply for the exam?

Ans. There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for the exam as long as you are between the age of 16.5 to 19.5 years.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.


rupa gayatri

How to apply for NDA!.. I had completed inter through bipc stream... Can u tell the details..

common admission test

Hii Rupa. Girls are not eligible for NDA Exam. Only unmarried male candidates within the age of 16.5 to 19.5 years are eligible for applying for UPSC NDA.

laxmi mishra
What should be the minimum marks for the NDA board exam? If I got 44 in math, then am I eligible for the Indian Air Force?
kavita rani

Hi Laxmi. The minimum qualification to give the NDA exam is 12th class, but the percentage obtained in class 12th will not count towards your selection. Refer here to know the more.

ibashisha mukhim
Will a student be eligible for the NDA or the Air Force after taking the improvement exam?
kavita rani

Hi Ibashisha. Yes, you are eligible for the NDA exam as the improvement won't matter, in case you get good marks. Check out detailed eligibility criteria here.

rashi dasgupta
My DOB is 27 May 2004. Was I eligible for the NDA(1) exam that will be held in 2021?
kavita rani

Hi Rashi. The minimum and maximum age limit is 15.7 and 18.7 years to apply for the NDA exam. Candidates who are not born earlier than July 2, 2001 and not later than July 1, 2004 can apply. So you are eligible to apply. Refer here to know more about the same.

sourajit mukherjee
How much you have to score in CBSE board exams to meet the eligibility for NDA?
kavita rani

Hi Sourajit. You must have obtain at least 60% aggregate in Physics, chemistry and Maths as it is the minimum eligibility criteria needed to give the NDA exam.

karan rathod
I am currently in class 11th and going to give final exams in march. Am I eligible for NDA I 2021 ?
kavita rani

Hi Karan. You must have passed class 12th to be considered eligible for the NDA exam. Check out other detailed eligibility criteria here.

nafisa khatoon
What is the difference between regular or private students in the 12 CBSE? Are they eligible for competitive exams like NDA?
kavita rani

Hi Nafisa. Private candidates are the ones who either repeat the class or giving improvement exam while the regular candidates are those who are studying in a school (recognised by CBSE). In case you meet the minimum eligibility criteria, you can give the NDA exam.  Check detailed eligibility criteria here.

rinki mahapatra
Are commerce students eligible for the NDA entrance exam?
kavita rani

Hi Rinki. NDA is an option for commerce student, only the male candidate who have cleared 12th from any stream is eligible to give the NDA exam. In case you plan to enter into Air Force and Navy, you must have cleared 12th with Physics and Maths as subject combination.

karan rathod
I got supplementary in math class 12th. Am I eligible for UPSC NDA if I clear the exam of math?
kavita rani

Hi Karan. Yes, you are eligible for it in case you have cleared the exam.

ansh majumdar
How do I apply for NDA-1 ,2021? I shall be appearing for my XII in March next year. Where would I get the form etc.from?

Hello Ansh, greetings from Collegedunia. For details regarding NDA-1 2021, click here.