It is true that the Vatican is its own country and you are crossing a border when you step inside its walls. So as with other ‘international’ travel, you might be wondering if you need to pack your passport. The short answer is that no – you don’t need a passport or a visa to visit Vatican City. However, you should bring your passport to the Vatican if you don’t have another form of state-issued ID. What is more important these days is that you bring your vaccine passport (Green Pass).
Even though you cross a border to enter Vatican City, there are no customs officers or passport control. You probably won’t even notice that you have left Italy and entered the sovereign Vatican territory. Technically, St. Peter’s Square is still in Italy. You need to enter the Basilica or pass through the main wall of Vatican City and enter the museums in order to be in the country. That is when you are truly in a separate country.
But since you don’t need a passport to visit the Vatican, this means you cannot get your passport stamped at the Vatican. Sorry! But that would be fun…
In the age of Coronavirus, however, you need to bring your vaccine passport (your EU Green Pass with a QR code or the CDC card that shows your vaccination status) and ID if you want to visit the museums. This is where you will potentially need your passport, to prove that your green pass or vaccine card is truly yours.
Before you bring your passport to the Vatican, be sure that you can keep it safe and secure in a bag or passport holder. As with most major European landmarks, there may be pickpockets at the Vatican Museums or in St. Peter’s Basilica and you certainly don’t want to lose it.