The Vatican Secretariat of State, headed by His Most Reverend Eminence Card. Secretary of State Pietro PAROLIN, consists of:

  • Section for General Affairs or the First Section: the equivalent of a Ministry for Internal Affairs which manages and coordinates all offices of the Holy See. Substitute: His Eminence Most Reverend Mons. Giovanni Angelo BECCIU
  • Section for Relations with States or the Second Section: equivalent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which manages relations with foreign States and international bodies, including the Diplomatic Representations of the Holy See. Secretary: His Most Reverend Excellency Msgr. Paul Richard GALLAGHER
  • Protocol Office: which, amongst other duties, also manages relations with the Diplomatic Body accredited at the Holy See (from the arrival of Ambassadors in Rome, to the first courtesy visits and all other formalities which are undertaken by diplomatic officials)

The office opening hours of the Secretariat of State are: from Monday to Friday, from 8:30am to 1:30pm and from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Saturday from 8:30am to 1:00pm

For the Embassies: persons responsible and duties

For general affairs of the Diplomatic Corps the office responsible is the General Affairs Office of the Secretariat of State, although in actual fact the two departments and the Protocol Office interact and intervene depending on the need at hand.

For Vatican protocol procedures which are required by an Embassy (e.g.: Vatican diplomatic card, purchase card for Spacci Annonari

[General Food Stores], requests for Vatican visits, participation in ceremonies and masses), please contact the Secretariat of State offices.

For Embassy procedures at the Holy See which regard Italy, (e.g. Identity Card, VAT Exemptions, Limited Traffic Zone [ZTL] permits, Diplomatic Body Number Plates, petrol, access to international areas of the Airports of Rome, Escort Services during official vists, etc.), requests must be made to the Italian Embassy of the Holy See which will forward them to the relevant office at the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

To this end, it is important to remember that the Vatican State is actually located within Italian territory an in virtue of the Lateran Pacts, “the foreign government representatives at the Holy See continue to enjoy all prerogatives and immunity in Italy which are bestowed upon diplomatic agents in accordance with international law and their offices may continue to remain in the Italian territory thus enjoying the immunity bestowed upon them by international law, even if their States have no diplomatic relations with Italy” (Article 12).

Furthermore, for Embassies at the Holy See and for Representatives of the Quirinale or International Organisatoins, it has been possible to complete some procedures electronically for some time via the new Cerionline of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For more information: Secretariat of State