Watching Congress in Session
The Visitor Galleries are open when the House of Representatives and the Senate are in session.
The galleries are not included on the U.S. Capitol tour. Separate passes are required.
How To Get Gallery Passes
- House of Representatives Gallery Passes can be requested from the office of your representative.
- Senate Gallery Passes can be requested from one of your senators’ offices.
- Residents of U.S. territories can obtain gallery passes to both chambers from the office of your delegate or resident commissioner.
- International visitors with a valid international ID should request Gallery Passes from the House and Senate Appointment Desks in the Capitol Visitor Center.
The passes are not transferable, but they can be reused.
The galleries are not open to the public during Joint Sessions or Joint Meetings.
Please read the instructions on the back of each pass.
House of Representatives: The House Gallery is open any time the House of Representatives is in session.
When the House is out of session, the galleries open at 9:00 a.m., Monday through Friday. The last entry will be no later than 4:00 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to arrive before 4:00 p.m.
The House Gallery is closed on weekends and federal holidays (unless in session) and is subject to unplanned, temporary closures.
Senate: The Senate Gallery opens 30 minutes prior to the Senate’s convening.
During recesses of one week or more, the Senate Gallery opens at 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. The Gallery closes at 4:00 p.m., visitors will be admitted until closing.
The Senate Gallery is closed on weekends and federal holidays (unless in session).
Where to Enter
Enter the House and Senate Galleries from the upper level of the Capitol Visitor Center.