Traveling to the Vatican: rules of entry and stay, how to get to the country
The Vatican is the only country in the world that can be reached by public transportation and where you can make appointments. Learn more about the current rules of entry and stay for foreigners
The Vatican is the world's smallest independent state, an enclave in the western part of Rome in Italy. The city-country is the center of the Roman Catholic Church and the seat of its head, the Pope. The area of the state is 0.44 km². The population of the Vatican is approximately 800 people, 450 of whom are clerics.
A trip to the Vatican is usually a must-do when visiting Rome. Also, many tourists visit the country on pilgrimage tours. This state has great religious and cultural importance and attracts millions of visitors every year.
Due to the fact that the Vatican is the center of the Roman Catholic Church, there are certain strict rules and restrictions. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to the country, read the rules of entry and stay in more detail.
Rules of entry to the Vatican
The Vatican is not a member of the Schengen area, the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA). The Vatican has an open border with Italy. However, since it is possible to get to the Vatican only through the Italian border, it is impossible to enter the enclave without first passing control in the Schengen area. Therefore, the visa policy in the Vatican is the same as in the 27 European countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement.
Currently, citizens of more than 90 countries around the world do not need a visa to the Vatican, including all citizens of the Schengen area, and can cross its borders using only a valid national identity card. Citizens of the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia are also exempted from visa requirements for a short-term stay in the Vatican. To travel, it is enough to present a valid passport for Schengen border control.
Also, from November 2023, after the implementation of ETIAS, citizens of certain countries will need to be authorized in the system before traveling. Who needs it, read it at the link.
All other travelers must obtain a Schengen visa to the Vatican, regardless of the purpose of the visit or the length of the planned stay. This must be done before the trip at the nearest Vatican or Italy diplomatic government office.
List of documents for travel to the Vatican:
- a passport valid for at least six months after the date of departure from the country of residence and one blank visa page;
- visa (if the country does not have a visa-free regime);
- direct and return tickets;
- documents confirming the purpose of the trip;
- evidence of the availability of a sufficient amount of funds for the expected period of stay;
Transit through the territory of the Vatican is not provided.
Quarantine restrictions due to the COVID-19 epidemic
All quarantine restrictions in the Vatican have been lifted since June 1, 2022.
Rules of entry with animals
Pets are strictly prohibited from entering the Vatican.
How to get to the Vatican?
The Vatican does not have its own airport, the nearest airport is Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino in Rome.
You can get to the Vatican:
- on foot from the center of Rome;
- by metro (the nearest station is Ottaviano), trains run every 2-3 minutes;
- by bus, the duration of the trip from the airport is about 40 minutes, the cost is 11 euros;
- by taxi
Rules of stay in the Vatican
A special dress code should be observed when visiting the Vatican: visitors are prohibited from wearing sleeveless clothing, low-cut clothing, shorts above the knee, miniskirts, and hats.
Also, entry will be prohibited to tourists who have personal items, jewelry or tattoos that may offend Catholic morals and the Catholic religion.
According to Vatican security rules, large backpacks and bags, long tripods and cane umbrellas, knives, scissors, weapons, laser pointers, etc. are prohibited.
On the territory of the Vatican, smoking is prohibited in the vicinity of temples, in public transport, in taxis, in most theaters and cinemas, as well as in shops.
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The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
Meals in hotels are provided through meals delivery service to rooms upon prior order or at hotel restaurants situated inside or in open areas, provided the distance of at least 1.5 meters between seats at adjacent tables.
Not more than 4 clients are allowed to stay at the table (excluding children under 14 years old). Unless these tables are separated by a special partition;
Self-serve is not allowed.
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