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Presidential succession and citizenship question

I know that the president of the US has to be a natural born citizen, but how far down the line of succession does the person have to have been born in the US? For example, if the president dies - the vp becomes president, if the vp dies it moves to the speaker of the house, etc. It is obvious that a person does not have to be a natural born citizen (nbc)to be elected to public office, but does the vp have to be a nbc, does the speaker? At what level does the person not have to be a nbc? And if a person lower down the line of succession isn't a nbc, and there is some sort of catastrophy leaving the other members of the line of succession unable to serve, can that person then become president?

It's just curiosity here, and please let's leave illegal immigrants out of the discussion it has nothing to do with illegals.


Asked by canadianmom1974 at 3:13 AM on May. 2, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 19 (6,836 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Natural born citizen just means you are born a citizen rather than born something else and later becoming one. It doesn't matter what your parents were. If you aren't a citizen from birth and you are elected to a position in the succession, if it gets to you, you are skipped over. Like when Kissinger was Sec'y of State. The Sec'y of State is 5th in line, but if something had happened to the 4 people above Kissinger while he was in office, it would've jumped over him to the Sec'y of the Treasury.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:51 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • Line of succession is only relevant if both the pres and the vp are taken out at the same time. If the pres is taken out, the vp becomes pres and then selects a person (who is then confirmed by the Senate) to become his vp. The speaker of the house DOES NOT automatically become the vp with everyone moving up the line. That would cause too much chaos in the government with everyone changing jobs.

    Answer by May-20 at 7:38 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • And to add to the above...this is precisely why the President and Vice President NEVER travel together--to avoid a catastrophe that could take out the top governemnt officals all at once!  In fact, I believe their "fall out" emergency bunkers are separate from one another.


    Answer by LoriKeet at 10:10 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • ^^^^
    giggles. I was going to say what lorikeet said.

    Answer by lovinangels at 11:03 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • I know you didn't consider the fact that the VP has to be taken out at the same time the pres. is, but this is a good question. I makes us remind ourselves of the entire process and how things work. Thanks for the memory jog!



    Answer by jesse123456 at 11:33 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • Very good question.

    Even in most large companies, High level corp. execs do not travel together (same flights), for the exact same reasons.

    Answer by Sisteract at 11:53 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • I pretty much knew all of this stuff, I was just wondering what happened in the event of a large catastrophe where the top members of the gov't were killed. I wasn't sure if the next person in the line of succession would or could become pres even if they weren't born in the US or if they'd be skipped over. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, not being an American I really didn't know.

    Answer by canadianmom1974 at 2:00 PM on May. 2, 2010