Indian Foreign Services – IFS Full Form


IFS stands for Indian Foreign Service (IFS Full form). It was created on October 9, 1946, by the Government of India. The IFS services are no different from the central services of India, the position of IFS is considered as one of the most prestigious positions in India, but it is not at all an easy task to attain that position as it requires a lot of dedication, passion and hard work to become an IFS officer.

Background of Indian Foreign Services:-

It was on September 13, 1783, when the East India Company along with its board of directors rolled out a resolution in Kolkata stating to create a different department to allay the burden of Warren Hastings so that he can smoothly conduct all his secret and political business. Even though Indian Foreign department conducted the business with Europian powers. It is induced from the above facts that from the beginning itself there was a distinction between foreign and other departments.

In 1843 Edward Law (the Governor-General of India during that time) introduced certain reforms on organizing the Indian Secretariat into 4 major departments which were Foreign, Home, Finance and military, each department was headed by an individual secretary-level officer. The foreign department was authorized to look after the external affairs and diplomatic relations of the govt of India.

After that, the Government of India Act 1935 depicted more precisely the functions and activities of a political and foreign aspect of the foreign department, soon it was realized that there was an indispensable need to diverge the department and as a result, the external affairs department came into existence under the charge of government general.

On October 9, 1946, which is recorded as the eve of independence, the Government of India entrenched the foreign service in order to represent India in other countries. With independence, a completely new department came into existence named as Ministry of External Affairs and commonwealth relations.

How to Become an IFS officer

  1.  Firstly, your age should be below 30 to be eligible for appearing in UPSC exams.
  2. The next step is to fill in the application form for preliminary exams which are held in the month of May or June every year.
  3. If you are qualified in prelims exams then you are eligible to appear for the mains examination.
  4. The last step of the examination process is to appear for the interview
  5. After the interview, the results are declared within a week or two.
  6. If you have cleared all the exams and interview successfully then you are sent for training and you finally become an IFS officer.

Eligibility criteria to become an IFS officer


  • A candidate should be a citizen of India.
  • A subject of Bhutan
  • Or  a Subject of Bhutan


The minimum age to appear for the exam is 21 years and is 30 years. The maximum age limit is relaxed by 3 years for OBC candidates and 5 years for SC/ST candidates.

Educational Qualification

  1. The very first criteria is that a candidate should possess a pass bachelors degree from any of the recognized university.
  2. Candidates who are appearing or have appeared for the final year exams and are waiting for results are also eligible to apply for preliminary exams.
  3. Candidates who have cleared the preliminary examination are required to produce the pass bachelor degree certificate in order to appear for the mains examination.

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IFS Exam pattern

There are three stages involved in the Union Public Service Commission Examination.

  • Preliminary 
  • Mains 
  • Interview

1. Preliminary Exams:-

Preliminary exams are just meant for a screening test and the marks are not added in the final assessment. These exams are conducted in the month of May or June. Prelims exams consist of two papers which are Paper 1 (general studies) and paper 2 (Civil service aptitude test CSAT)

 Paper 1 (General Studies)Paper 2 (CSAT)
Mode of ExamOfflineOffline
Time allotted2 Hours, (20 minutes extra are allotted to blind students)2 Hours (20 minutes extra are allotted to blind students)
Total no: of questions80100
Type of QuestionsObjective (MCQ)Objective (MCQ)
LanguageEnglish and HindiEnglish and Hindi

2. Mains Examination:-

In this exam, a candidate is assessed on their intellectual abilities, candidates who qualify the prelims exam are only eligible to appear for the main examination which is held in the month of September, it consists of two qualifying papers and 7 papers which are counted while assessing merit. Each exam is 3 hours.

 Name of the paperMarks
Paper ALanguage (Based on any Indian modern language and is of qualifying nature)300
Paper BEnglish (Qualifying)300
Paper 1Essay (It can be written in the medium language preferred by a candidate)250
Paper 2General Studies 1  It is based on Indian Heritage, culture, history & geography of the world and society)250
Paper 3General Studies 2  Based on International relations, Constitution, polity, Social justice and Governance)250
Paper 4General Studies 3 (Based on technology, biodiversity, disaster management, economic development, technology and security.)250
Paper 5General Studies 4 (Aptitude, integrity & ethics)250
Paper 6Optional subject (paper 1)  (About your respective subject) 250
Paper 7Optional subject  (paper 2) (About your respective subject)250

3. Interview:- 

The last and the final step is to clear the interview, it is not an easy task to clear the interview, you need to be very thorough about each and every subject and should have an excellent command over general awareness.

Functions and Duties of an IFS Officer

The duties of  IFS officers are more challenging than clearing the exams, here are some of the functions that an IFS has to perform.

  1. An IFS officer has to represent India in their respective embassies, consulates, high commissions and permanent missions such as the United Nations.
  2. Safeguarding the Country’s national interest in his/her respective postings.
  3. Advocating friendly relations with other states and their people.
  4. Reporting precisely on the progression of  the posting country that has an influence on India’s policy.
  5. Negotiating agreements on different issues with the authority of the receiving state. 
  6. Stretching consular facilities to foreigners     and national people residing abroad

Salary of an Indian Foreign Service Officer

        Grade      RankBasic pay/Grade pay
Junior Time Scale(JTS)Under Secretary(US)8000/5400
Senior Time Scale(STS)Under Secretary(US)107100/6600
Junior Administrative Scale(JAS)Under Secretary(US)12750/7600
Selection GradeUnder Secretary(US)15100/8700
Senior Administrative Scale(SAS)Under Secretary(US)18400/10000
High Commissioner/AmbassadorUnder Secretary(US)26000/NIL

Other Perks of being an IFS officer

  1. Accommodation facilities
  2. Entitled to get a diplomatic passport
  3. Travelling around the world
  4. They get pension and other benefits of retirement.
  5. Free medical services
  6. Job Security
  7. Household help

Conclusion – IFS Full Form & Other Details

We hope this article helps you in better understanding of IFS full form aka Indian Forest Services, IFS Service, Exam Pattern, Eligibility, Syllabus and other details.