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What is Required to run for President of the United States?

What specific Requirements are needed to run for President in the United States? What Characteristics Should you Possess in order to Run for the US Presidency?

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There are several requirements to be able to run for US presidency. There are legal requirements while others are more of expectations and qualifications to be able to strengthen one’s campaign and gain public trust. A presidential candidate has to meet constitutional, financial and informal requirements in order to run a campaign successfully and increase the chances of acquiring more votes.


• Only native-born U.S. citizens (or those born abroad, but only to parents who were both citizens of the U.S.) may be president of the United States
• One must also be at least 35 years of age to be president.
• One must live in the United States for at least 14 years to be president

These are the only explicit criteria in the Constitution

The citizenship requirement of a presidential candidate in the US is something that is strictly followed by the book. Immigrants are not eligible regardless of the number of years they have spent living in the US. Technically speaking, a child born in another country to a natural born American couple is a special case wherein the child can run for presidential candidacy. The 14-year residency requirement allows ample time for a candidate to be fully aware of the current issues impacting the country.

Even if Constitutional requirements are very strict, certain exceptions do exist. For example, someone who has already held office for two terms are no longer qualified to run for a third term.  Another example is when someone assumes presidential role for more than two years but was not elected. (I.e. the president was impeached and was replaced by the vice-president). In this case, he has only one chance to be re-elected. The Senate can also decide to disallow people who were impeached from their position as the president to run for presidency again.


Running a campaign needs significant financial support. The launch of a campaign is a time of great financial need, and during the first few months candidates typically spend millions of US dollars and may end up spending around a billion US dollars for an entire campaign. While most of this amount is generated from fund raising campaigns, the candidates themselves will shell out money at some point, particularly at the beginning of the campaign.


A presidential candidate is expected to have good moral character. Someone who has been sued multiple times may still run a campaign for presidency; however, he is less likely to win the public because of his bad reputation. Anyone who will run for such a position is putting himself under the spotlight and therefore will be exposed to scrutiny especially regarding his ethics and morals.

People also expect a president to be publicly religious and family-oriented. Tenure in a previous government position is also an advantage because a lot of people often associate success to someone’s experience. Experience in the military is also a favorable characteristic especially for older candidates who are expected to have served in a past war.

Charm and good communication skills can’t be ignored especially with presidential candidates. Persuasive speakers who can speak clearly about what they can do to resolve major issues are more likely to get more votes. Aside from this, charisma and confidence can definitely increase the chances of a candidate’s victory, just like when John F. Kennedy outwit Richard Nixon during the presidential campaigns in 1960.

To make it short and simple, you need to be a natural born citizen, 35 years of age, and a U.S. citizen for 14 years to be president.

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