Do Congressmen Have to Be Naturally Born Citizens?

Immigrants may serve in the U.S. Congress as early as seven years after receiving U.S. citizenship.
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The U.S. Congress is divided into an upper chamber, the Senate, and a lower chamber, the House of Representatives. Article I of the U.S. Constitution establishes both legislative bodies and enumerates the qualifications for serving as a senator or representative. The qualifications for representatives are spelled out in Section 2 of Article I; the qualifications for senators are listed in Section 3.

1 House of Representatives

To serve as a U.S. representative, you must be at least 25 years of age, a citizen of the United States for at least seven years and an inhabitant of the state for which you are elected to represent. You may be a natural-born or naturalized citizen.

2 Senate

To serve in the U.S. Senate, you must be at least 30 years old and be an inhabitant of the state from which you are elected. Additionally, you must be a citizen -- either natural born or naturalized -- for at least nine years before serving in the Senate. The only U.S. political office restricted to natural-born citizens is the presidency.

Dell Markey is a full-time journalist. When he isn't writing business spotlights for local community papers, he writes and has owned and operated a small business.