Access and Consultation

Research in the Archivio Apostolico Vaticano is free of charge and open to qualified scholars conducting scientific studies.
All researchers must have a university degree (five-year course) or an equivalent university diploma.
Clergymen must possess a licentiate degree or PhD.
Today permission is granted to consult the documents in the archives up until the end of the papacy of Pius XII (October 1958).

Access to Reading Rooms

Admission cards are required to access the rooms and can be obtained at the Admission Secretariat on Mondays to Fridays from 8.30 to 10.30 .

How to request an admission card

  • Reservation form available online
  • Provide a presentation letter from a recognized institute of scientific and historical research or a person qualified in the field of historical research (tenured university professors)
  • Specify the latest academic qualification obtained (for laymen: university degree or equivalent university diploma, PhD, fellowship; for clergymen: licentiate degree or PhD)
  • Attach photocopy of valid ID (ID card, passport)
  • Provide 1 photograph

Researchers hand in the admission card at reception and sign the register adding time of entry. They are then given the keys to the locker where they leave items not allowed into the Reading Rooms.


Items not allowed in the Reading Rooms

  • bags, briefcases or laptop cases
  • pens, felt-tip pens, etc.
  • cameras
  • food or drink

Mobile phones must be switched off.

Dress code must be appropriate for the Archivio Apostolico Vaticano even during the summer. Silence is the rule in the Reading Rooms. The Reading Room staff will ensure researchers respect these mandatory rules of behaviour.



Archivio Apostolico Vaticano exit procedures

Before leaving the Archives all personal items have to be removed from the locker, the key returned. Personal belongings may not be left in the Archives when absent.



Original documents

Ordering archival units is regulated as follows. Scholars can ask up to 3 archival units by 12:00 p.m.



Inventories and other descriptive and research tools (Indexes)

Indexes may only be consulted in the «Leone XIII» Index Room and researchers may take them directly from the shelves. Photography is not allowed.



Bibliographic tools (printed matter)

Printed matter may be consulted only in the «Sisto V» Printed Matter Reading Room. Digital reproduction of original registers and documents on CD-Rom and DVD-Rom can be accessed from the workstations.
Reading Room staff will assist researchers.



Rules for Scholars - (150KB)