The Constitution requires that a candidate for the presidency must be a “natural-born” citizen of the United States, at least 35 years of age, and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.
An understanding of the nation is essential for the role of President. The framers of the Constitution strongly believed that a person must be born in the United States in order to fully understand the country.
35 Years of Age
Personal experience was very important to the framers. They felt that unless a person had reached the age of thirty-five, it was highly unlikely for that person to have experienced enough to govern a nation.
14 Year Residency
Part of being President involves dealing with both domestic and foreign problems. In order to face these problems, previous knowledge of the nation’s history in these matters is necessary. The framers decided that fourteen years was an adequate time span to comprehend these issues.
The following answer some frequently asked questions about the requirements and special cases.
Could a person born abroad to parents who are U.S. citizens eligible to be President?
Yes. A child born of U.S. citizens anywhere in the world is considered a natural born U.S. citizen and is eligible.
What exactly does “natural-born” mean?
Persons born citizens of the United States are considered natural-born. Therefore, a child born of illegal immigrants or born on U.S. soil yet lived his or her life out of the nation could still be President. A naturalized citizen could not.
Does a person need to be married to be President?
Nope. There have been several Presidents who were not married at the time of their election or during their term of office.