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What Are the Requirements to Run for US President

And other facts you may not know



While you might expect a massive list of requirements to be president and make sure we get the best possible candidates, that isn’t the case. Forget the nerves of steel, the Ivy League academic background, the political skill set, the fund-raising network and the legions of loyal folks who agree on all the issues. Just to get into the game, you have to ask: How old are you and where were you born? Legal requirements for presidential candidates have remained the same since the year George Washington accepted the presidency in the 1700s. Requirements

  1. US President has to be a natural born US citizen.*

  2. US President has to be a minimum age of at least 35 years old.

  3. US President has to have been a resident of the United States for 14 years.

*US territories don’t have the same rights as states but allow US citizenship for children born there. Those born in Puerto Rico after 1940 are natural born citizens and eligible to run for President. These requirements have been modified twice. Under the 12th Amendment, the same three qualifications were applied to the vice president of the United States. The 22nd Amendment limited office holders to two terms as president. The 22nd Amendment came into effect via ratification on 27 February 1951. It states that a candidate may only be elected to the office of President for a total of two terms or eight years. These terms don’t have to be successive but you can’t run for a third. The Amendment came about after the four-term Presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt. Other important criteria that is NOT taken into consideration. There are factors that the American public would consider highly important when choosing a candidate, yet they aren’t mentioned in the current regulations and guidelines. This includes:

  • An upper age limit for candidates;

  • The health of the candidate; and,

  • The possession of a criminal record.

Presidential Trivia and Controversies

  • John F. Kennedy was the youngest person to be elected president. He was 43 years old when he was inaugurated in 1961.

  • A number of presidential hopefuls have had their citizenship questioned over the years. During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump accused Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban-born father, of not being eligible for the presidency.

  • The election of President Barack Obama in 2008, whose father was Kenyan born, prompted a number of lawmakers to call for the presentation of a candidate’s birth certificate at the time that he or she files for candidacy.

  • Martin Van Buren was the first president to be born after the American Revolution, making him the first “true” American to serve.

  • Virginia has produced more presidents — eight — than any other state. However, five of those men were born prior to independence.

Election Day was established by Congress in 1845 as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Prior to that, each state set its own date for elections.


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