What You Can and Cannot Bring to Papal Events in D.C.

Getty Images

Leave your selfie sticks at home!

Security will be tight during Pope Francis' visit to the nation's capital, and that means a lot of items will not be allowed at papal events. 

The pope will arrive at Joint Base Andrews on Sept. 22. The next day, he will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House and travel in the popemobile around the Ellipse. No tickets will be required for the viewing area, but visitors will have to go through security gates to gain access. Gates will be open from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. that day.

You can bring handheld flags, banners and signs, however, items supported by poles are not allowed.

Wednesday afternoon, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass outside of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass outside the Basilica will be in Spanish and will be a ticketed event. 

Guests at the Mass will be allowed to bring cameras and binoculars on a neck-strap or carried in their hands. Flash photography is prohibited. 

On Sept. 24, there will be a ticketed viewing of the pontiff''s address to a joint meeting of Congress. Anyone attending the event will have to go through a security screening. 

In addition to the list below, guests at the Capitol cannot bring the following items:

  • Air horns
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Backpacks and bags exceeding size restrictions (18" x 14" x 8 1/2")
  • Knives, blades and/or sharp objects (of any length)
  • Pocket or hand tools (such as "Leatherman")
  • Strollers
  • Thermoses

Surrendered items will not be returned. 

Here's a list of what you cannot bring:
  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than service/guide animals
  • Backpacks
  • Bags and signs exceeding 8” x 6” x 4”
  • Bicycles
  • Balloons
  • Chairs
  • Coolers
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., unmanned aerial vehicles)
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Food/Drinks (concessions will be available for purchase)
  • Glass, thermal, or metal containers
  • Large religious statues either stand-alone or on procession platforms
  • Laser pointers
  • Mace / pepper spray
  • Packages
  • Selfie sticks
  • Structures (such as tents)
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Toy guns
  • Umbrellas
  • Weapons of any kind, any other items determined to be potential safety hazards will not be permitted. 
Contact Us