The US president holds the highest office in the land, but it’s not a job that’s open to everyone. How do you become the president of the United States? What qualifications do you need to be the president of the United States?
To become the president of the United States, candidates must be at least 35 years old, a natural born US citizen and have been a resident of the US for at least 14 years. These requirements are laid out in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the US Constitution.
Requirements to Be the President of the United States
The requirements of the US presidency are laid out in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the US Constitution:
‘No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States’.
As the constitution states, people who want to become the president of the United States must be a natural born citizen, at least 35 years old and have been a US resident for at least 14 years. These are the three requirements for becoming the US president.
Since the US constitution was written in 1787, the minimum age to be the president of the United States has been 35.
In recent years, there has been a modicum of talk regarding the minimum age for the United States presidency, with some arguing that it’s unfair that under 35s can do anything, except be President.
Can You Be Too Old to Be the President of the United States?
The minimum age to hold office of the US presidency is 35, but is there a maximum age limit? Can you be too old to become the president of the US?
There is no maximum age to become the president. The oldest person to become president of the United States was Joe Biden, aged 78 at the time of his inauguration.
On average – taking all US presidents into account – presidents are 55 years old at the time of their inauguration.
What is a Natural Born Citizen?
The requirement for the president of the United States to be a natural born citizen was implemented to mitigate the risk of foreign interference in US affairs.
A natural born citizen is considered to be someone who was born in the United States, although the definition of a natural born citizen is not actually covered in the US constitution.
Even if an individual ticks all these boxes, they may still be unable to become the president of the United States due to clauses in constitution.
- Those who have already served two terms as US president are unable to run for the presidency again, as laid out in the 22nd amendment
- Presidents and politicians who have been impeached or removed from office cannot serve as president of the United States
- People who have engaged in insurrection and rebellion against the United States may be barred from office, as stated in Section 3, Clause 7 of the US Constitution
Does the President of the United States Have to be Married?
The president of the United States does not have to be married.
A number of presidents of the United States were not married when they took office. Thomas Jefferson was unmarried when he became US president and his daughter acted as first lady on occasions.
Do Future Presidents of the United States Have to Attend College?
There are no academic requirements to be the president of the US, but many US presidents have attended college. Eight US presidents attended Harvard University, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
Many US presidents did not attend college at all, including George Washington and Andrew Johnson, who did not receive a formal education.
How to Become the President of the US - The Complete Cycle
The first step in becoming the US president is winning the primaries. During the primaries, aspiring presidential candidates campaign to win the support of their own party members. Party members then vote for the candidate who will represent them at the general election.
2. National Convention
Presidential nominees are selected at the party’s National Convention, where they candidate also chooses their running mate.
The aspiring presidents then campaign for support and votes across the United States, which involves attending rallies, participating in debates and appearing on national television.
4. General Election
At the general election, people from all states vote for their chosen candidate. The United States uses the electoral collage system, meaning all states get a certain number of electorates based on their number of representatives in congress.
5. Election Day
On election day, votes are cast and counted throughout the US. Individual states are declared, before the president-elect is announced.
The president-elect is inaugurated and become the president of the United States.
To be the president of the United States, candidates must be at least 35 years old, be a natural born US citizen and have been a US resident for at least 14 years. Even if they meet these requirements, they may be denied the chance to be president if they have previously been disqualified from office, convicted or impeached.