Frequently Asked Questions

Participating in IOAA

Students participating in IOAA must satisfy BOTH of the following eligibility conditions:

  1. They should not complete 20 years of age before 1st July in the year of the competition.
  2. They should not complete their high school education (i.e. grade 12) before 1st January in the year of the competition.
There is no minimum age / grade restriction for participation in IOAA.

You should check here if your country is already sending a team to participate in IOAA. If your country is listed there, you must contact national Olympiad committee in your country to know about selection process and participation.

We always encourage new countries to participate in IOAA. However, we strongly prefer that the participation is coordinated by education ministry / other responsible government organisation in that country. If that is not possible, the participation should be coordinated by a national Olympiad committee (NOC) which may be formed by University / school teachers, senior students and amateur astronomers.

If you are a student and want to participate in IOAA, you must approach your teachers and request them to form such a NOC.

We understand that it will be logistically very challenging to organise national competition in the very first year, if the NOC does not receive any government support. Thus, it is not a necessary requirement. However, it is desirous that NOC will expand its reach in future years and give fair chance of selection to all students in that country at least after a couple of years of participation.

Teams representing only one school / one city may only be allowed if the NOC plans to expand their selection process in near future.

As per IOAA rules, there is no participation fee for the teams consisting of upto 5 students and 2 team leaders. Host country covers local hospitality of all participating teams. Teams have to make their own travel arrangements from their home country to the host city.

In some years, the host country may allow participation of additional students (upto 5, called guest students) and/or participation of additional team mentors (called observers / guest leaders). These persons will be charged a participation fee to cover their local hospitatlity. Typically, this fee is 1000 USD or more.

In exceptional cases, it is possible that some of the main teams may also have to pay a participation fee (typically 500 USD per person or less). Such a change in rule, if approved by the international board, will be announced by the host at the time of pre-registration.

It is possible for teams to include participants of other nationalities, if they have been residing in the country for a reasonable duration before selection.

Similarly, it is possible for teams to include their citizens who may not have been residing in their country.

In all such cases, students should be aware that the selection rules as set by different NOCs / national government may be more restrictive than principles stated above.

In case a team plans to include a student from another nationality / student who is residing in another country, it is recommended that the NOC of the first country should inform NOC of the second country and IOAA executive committee about the case and get their informal consent regarding participation of the student.

Students are strongly discouraged from participating in selection processes of two countries in the same year.

Registration & Recognition

Host country will open IOAA website for that year about 6 months before the event. All countries will be invited to do pre-registration on the event website. Only the pre-registered countries can ask for official invitation addressed to the education ministry / equivalent authority of the country.

IOAA Executive Committee does not issue any such letters. All the countries which participate in IOAA have members on the International Board and IOAA EC directs all communications to present International Board members or to NOCs of participating countries.

In short, IOAA EC encourages all new groups to participate but does not officially recognise any of them till their first participation.

At the time of pre-registration, the team needs to only provide contact details of the main team leader or NOC, contact details of the ministry of education and expected number of participants (students / leaders / observers / guest students). Names of the participants are not necessary at this stage.

At the time of registration, the team needs to provide all details of each participant including their passport copies and photos, a tentative travel plan and details of diplomatic mission where the team will apply for visa of the host country.

All team leaders must carry proofs that their student participants have not crossed the maximum age and have not completed high school before the start of the year. IOAA hosts and/or EC can demand to see these proofs during the event, in case there is doubt about eligibility of any student.

Most of the IOAA team leaders are either professional astronomers or astronomy teachers in highschools and universities. In a few cases, they can also be amateur astronomers or senior students.

Team leaders are expected to be able to converse in English during the board meetings. They are expected to be present in all board meetings for the whole duration and give opinion on issues of importance. They should be capable of solving the IOAA academic tasks and evaluating their students’ answerscripts. If the students prefer to receive the academic tasks in a language other than English, the team leaders should be capable of translating the tasks in that language.

Delegation members who are unable to fulfil these duties (e.g. representatives of funding agencies, ministry officials, school officials, spouses of other leaders etc.) are encouraged to register as an observer instead of a team leader.