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Visiting the Vatican

The following information addresses questions often put to the Canadian Embassy to the Holy See:


Tourism Information

Links and Information on Ticket Reservations and Other Services at the Vatican

Ticket Reservations for Papal Events - for information on reserving tickets for papal general audiences and liturgical celebrations. (N.B. In the summer, papal audiences are sometimes held at the papal residence in Castelgandolfo, outside of Rome.)

Vatican Museums - for information on admission, guided tours and the Museums’collections. 

Vatican Museums and Vatican Gardens: on-line ticket office

Vatican Necropolis - for information on visiting the archeological excavations under St. Peter's Basilica

Papal certificates / Apostolic Blessings - Apostolic blessings on parchment are available through the Office of Papal Charities ("Elemosineria"): 
Tel +39-06-6988-3135
Fax +39-06-6988-3132.

Papal Basilicas - for information on
Saint Peter's Basilica
Basilica of Saint John Lateran
Basilica of Saint Paul Outsite-The-Wall
Saint Mary Major Basilica


Information on stays other than for tourism

Please note: the following Information is provided on a unofficial basis and is subject to change.

If you are planning to travel to Rome for professional, voluntary work, or study activities associated with the Vatican (e.g. for work in a religious order or congregation, voluntary work in a charitable organization, or study in a pontifical university or institute), we recommend that you ensure you have proper status with also Italian authorities.

Though the Vatican City State and the Holy See are sovereign entities, travelling to Rome for work or study activities associated with them may require some kind of entry permit from Italian authorities.

This often means, especially for longer stays, that an Italian visitor, work or study visa is required and must be applied for and obtained from an Italian Embassy or Consulate before entering Italy.


Getting married at the vatican

Canadian Roman Catholics wishing to get married at the Vatican should first and foremost contact their local parish for information. Please note that there are two parishes that operate within Vatican City State: one is the Parish of St. Peter that takes care of ceremonies within St. Peter’s Basilica. The other is the parish of the Church of St. Anna which is a separate church located within Vatican City State.

A marriage performed at the Vatican is considered legally valid for all intents and purposes. Either the marriage act and/or the marriage certificate issued by Vatican authorities may be used to register your marriage in your province of residence.

Please note that before obtaining any documentation from Canadian government officials, preparations for the marriage must begin with your local parish priest. He will inform you of diocesan regulations and help you initiate the procedures for getting married at the Vatican. This latter information is also available at the Vatican Parish Office at +39 06 6989-5435 or at the website of the Church of Sant’Anna in the Vatican.

The procedures and documentation required by the Vatican may vary according to the parish at the Vatican. The website of the Church of Santa Susanna in Rome also offers useful advice and a list of the documents required by the Vatican. According to their experience, preparations should begin no more than six months and no less than four months before the intended wedding date.

For advice on how to obtain a “Nihil Obstat” or a Certificate of Non-Impediment to Marriage Abroad, visit the Canadian Embassy to Italy website.

Once the marriage is celebrated, it is your responsibility to obtain a copy of your marriage act. You may do so by making arrangements with the Vatican Parish Office.

For your ease of reference, in order to obtain authentication of the marriage act, the priest’s signature must be certified by the Vatican Civil Status Office and the Secretariat of State. If you wish to register the marriage act in Canada, where possible, the Vatican signatures on it must also be authenticated at one of the following institutions:

  • the Embassy of Canada to the Holy See, Via della Conciliazione 4/d, Rome, Italy
  • the Office of the Italian Prefecture, Viale Ostiense 131 / L, Rome, Italy, and subsequently at the Consular Office at the Embassy of Canada to Italy, Via Zara 30, Rome, Italy
  • the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, 72 Manor Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Please note that translation to English or French of your marriage act and/or certificate is required for registration in Canada. It is your responsibility to make arrangements for this, and the translated copy may be certified and sworn in front of a Canadian notary or consular official.

If you would like to request more information, please email us at vatcn@international.gc.ca

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Date Modified:
2013-01-30