How to Join The NIA: Step-by-Step Guide

It is not common knowledge that India has a prestigious body of dedicated, brave individuals countering terrorism. The NIA or National Investigation Agency was established in 2009 and is solely dedicated to investigating terrorism and other matters of national urgency with a scientific temper. Here we will talk about how you can join the NIA and be a part of the cause.

Being one of the most critically important bodies in the country, it has certain specifications and eligibility criteria in place for candidates willing to be a part of it.

Let us begin by understanding what the NIA does and proceed with the step-by-step guide on how to be a part of that elite force.

What is NIA?

After the NIA Act was enacted on 31-12-08, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was born. The agency was a result of a culmination of various reports of left-wing extremism, militant attacks, terrorist attacks, and others.

The purpose of the NIA is to lay down a legislative framework to investigate such incidents that have a nationwide impact. Furthermore, it is an independent body devoid of any obligations towards any state government. Hence, it permits the NIA to interfere in any problematic land in the country with just written permission from the Home Ministry.

The National Investigation Agency looks after the aftermath of a wide range of infiltrations and is not only limited to hateful attacks. The idea of the NIA is to break down the entire ecosystem that breeds insurgents, militants, and terrorists. Not only that, you will be surprised to know that the NIA has registered and investigated 315 cases as of 05.02.2020.

How to Join NIA?

Now that we know what the NIA stands for and what it does, let us understand what is expected out of a candidate who wishes to be a part of this elite force. Along with that, we will try to analyze the application and selection process to make sure we have a clear picture of the desired candidate.

Eligibility Criteria

As discussed, let us quickly see what an eligible candidate should bring to the table to be considered eligible for the first step of the application. The eligibility criteria will vary depending on the post you are applying for.

Educational Qualifications

The NIA recruits for various positions, which include some known posts like inspectors, sub-inspectors along with some interesting career options of network administrator, programmer, and assistant programmer, fingerprint expert, etc. However, a graduation degree is a non-negotiable for all of those positions. You can check the details here.

Age limit

To apply for a particular post in NIA, you have to ensure that you are in the desired age bracket. For some positions, like that of a Programmer, it doesn’t encourage above 30 years of age. However, if you wish to apply for the position of inspector, you must not be above the bracket of 56 years of age. You can check the age limit in further detail here.

Physical standards

The expected physical standards on a deputation basis for the open posts can be found on the NIA’s website here. Since they are dynamic and vary as per the positions, you have to check the required physical standards for the post you want to apply to and proceed accordingly.

Application Process

Since it is done through interdepartmental basis deputation, there are certain parameters of the desired work experience for each post. But that doesn’t mean a fresh graduate cannot apply for the NIA. One can opt for exams like the SSC CGL or crack the UPSC and opt for the same.

If you are a fresh graduate, all you have to do is keep a check on the notification of the exam you wish to apply for and register yourself for the further process.

Hence, let us quickly check those two exams at a glance.

Exams to Join NIA

SSC CGL: The SSC CGL or the combined graduate level examination is conducted by the Staff Selection Commission of India. It is an exam conducted annually to recruit for group B and C posts.

  • The Tier 1 exam has a total of 100 multiple-choice questions from four sections –Quantitative Aptitude, General Intelligence and Reasoning, General Awareness and English Comprehension. Each section consists of 25 questions of 1 mark each.
  • A student must crack the Tier 1 exam to be eligible to sit for the Tier 2 exam. The tier 2 exam has four patterns and tests you on topics like Mathematical Abilities, Reasoning and General Intelligence, English Language and Comprehension, General Studies, and Statistics.
  • Once you have cleared the above tires, you have to sit for the Tier 3 EXAM which will test your language proficiency and grammar. This exam is an offline mode exam and is descriptive in nature. As a student, you will be given a choice between Hindi or the English language to write this test in.
  • Unlike other exams, the SSC CGL doesn’t have an interview in place following the exam, however, you have to sit for a data entry speed which is the last leg of the hurdle.

IRS/ IPS: Another exam that you can sit for to be a part of the National Investigation Agency directly is the Civil Service exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. It is one of the most prestigious exams in the country and is divided into two parts. Not only that, it is mandatory for a student to also crack the interview that follows to be considered eligible.

  • The first part of the exam, mainly known as the Preliminary exam, is of objective and consists of 200 marks. It is divided into two parts and tests you on the below topics:

Paper I:

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography
  • Indian Polity and Governance
  • Economic and Social Development
  • Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change
  • General Science

Paper II:

  • 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, graphs, charts).

Once you have successfully cracked the preliminary exam, you will be eligible to sit for the Mains exam, which will test you on topics like Qualifying Papers:

  • Paper-A: Indian Language (A candidate can choose any language listed in the constitution).
  • Paper-B: English (Qualifying)

Merit-Based Papers:

  • Paper-A – Indian Language
  • Paper-B – English
  • Paper 1 – Essay
  • Paper 2 – General Studies- I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
  • Paper 3 – General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)
  • Paper 4 – General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)
  • Paper 5 – General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)
  • Paper 6 – Optional Subject-Paper I
  • Paper 7 – Optional Subject-Paper 2

Once you have successfully passed these two papers, you will be called for a face-to-face interview of 275 marks.

Benefits of Joining NIA

Apart from being the harbingers of quick justice to massacres beyond compare or working for a premier agency that aims to perform at a global standard, being a part of the NIA has its benefits.

  • Firstly, you will be a part of a workforce that constantly challenges and tries to bring out the best in you. you will be handling complex cases that have national and international repercussions.
  • It is a fulfilling job since you will be dealing with delicate yet urgent matters like counter, terrorism, intelligence gathering, investigation, and others.
  • If you’re someone who is looking for a job with purpose and fulfillment along with a thrill, this is the ideal job for you. Not only you will be responsible for national security, but you’ll alsoget to experience new situations almost every day.
  • Being a part of the NIA ensures a comprehensive package, which has a set salary, pension, and allowances, including occasional increments.
  • Furthermore, you will be exposed to not only a diverse work environment but will also have access to all the cutting-edge technology to further your cause.

Tips for Aspiring NIA Officers

Along with mentally preparing yourself to sit for competitive exams, there are certain traits that you must inculcate to succeed in the national investigation agency.

  • Firstly, as a candidate, you have to ensure that you are well aware of the legal framework and the investigation procedures in India.
  • A job like this demands a candidate with high analytical skills and the ability to analyze data and patterns. Hence, it is advisable to sharpen your analytical and critical thinking skills
  • It is expected of a desired candidate that they will be free of bias and will not have any preconceived notions against any community or any individual.
  • A job like this demands a strong, moral and ethical compass and expects you to only focus on delivering justice.
  • You must always remain calm and never lose your composure no matter how brutal a situation is since you will be responsible for the safety of hundreds and thousands of your countrymen.


The idea of this article is to give you a brief idea about the Indian National Investigation Agency. Since, NIA encourages people with professional experiences to aid their cause. You have to decide which position you are going to opt for and prepare yourself accordingly.

However, if you are a fresh graduate and joining the NIA does not align with your current goals, you can surely do the same later on in your career.

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Frequently Asked Question

1. What is the minimum educational qualification required to join the NIA?

A candidate must be a graduate to join the NIA.

2. What is the age limit for applying to the NIA?

The desired age limit for applying to the NIA is between 18-56 years.

3. How can I apply for a position in the NIA?

You can either apply directly through their website after relevant work experience, or you can sit for SSC CGL or the UPSC to apply for a position in the NIA.

4. How does one prepare for the NIA interview process?

Since the NIA has a lot of positions to offer, you have to do thorough research on the role you are applying for. Once you understand your role you can proceed with the interview like any other interview and ace it. However, it is always advisable to be updated with your current affairs and maintain an extremely calm demeanor while applying for a position like this.

5. What benefits and perks are offered to NIA officers?

Apart from enjoying a competitive salary, an NIA officer has perks like leave benefits, housing, healthcare, pension, along with secure employment.

6. Can women apply to become NIA officers?

Yes, women can apply too to become NIA officers.

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