What are the Requirements to Be President?

Mount Rushmore sculptures of past-presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
Mount Rushmore sculptures of past-presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

The president of the US, commonly known as POTUS, is the most powerful person in the world. He is the head of both the state and the government of the US and directs the executive branch of the federal government. The president is also the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces. The presidential election is often held on the second Tuesday of November every four years with the president limited to a maximum of two terms in office. Throughout the history of America, several parties have played a role in the presidential elections. The president is elected indirectly by the registered voters through the Electoral College. According to the US constitution, the term of the president begins on January 20 of the year following the election. The day is often referred to as the Inauguration Day.

Legal Requirements

The legal requirements for a presidential candidate in the US have remained the same since the first president, George Washington, accepted the presidency. Article II Section I of the constitution of the US highlights only three requirements for one to vie for the presidency in the country. These three eligibility requirements include the following:

Age Limit

For one to be the president of the United States, he or she must have attained a minimum age of 35 years. In settling for the age limit of 35 years, the framers of the constitution believed that the holder of the highest office on land should be mature and experienced. However, this age limit does not apply to other political positions like senators and representatives who are required to have attained a minimum age of 30 and 25 years respectively.


In order for one to be eligible to run for the presidency, he or she must have been born within the borders of the US or if born outside the country then at least one of the parents must have been a citizen. The framers of the constitution intended to limit and lock out any chance of a foreign influence from the highest political office in the country. In the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections, one of the Republican Candidates, Ted Cruz, was allowed to vie for the party nomination for the presidency despite being born in Canada simply by meeting the citizenship requirement. His father was Cuban-born while the mother was a US citizen at his birth.


Although to be a member of Congress all a person needs is to be an inhabitant of the state he or she wishes to represent, the president must have been a resident in the US for at least fourteen years. However, the constitution is not clear as to whether the 14 years need to be consecutive.


It is important to note that a person may meet all of the three requirements but can still be disqualified from holding the office of the president. Some of the factors that may lead to disqualification include: if the candidate has served as the president for two terms, if one is convicted of an impeachment case, or if the person swore an oath to support the constitution and later rebel against the US.


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