As laid out by the Founding Fathers in Article I of the Constitution of the United States, all members elected to the House of Representatives must be citizens of the United States for at least seven years prior to election. To qualify for election to the Senate, candidates must have at least nine years of citizenship. Members of Congress may be either natural-born or naturalized citizens, adding to the rich variety of ideas and backgrounds that represent America's diverse population.

Other Requirements

In addition to citizenship requirements, the U.S. Constitution lays out very few prerequisites for those elected to serve in Congress. Members of the House of Representatives must be at least 25 years of age; the minimum age for senators is 30. Representatives from both houses must, at the time of election, be residents of the state in which they are elected.