Congress Gallery Tours

The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the Federal government that represents the American people and makes the nation's laws. It shares power with the executive branch and the judicial branch. Only the Congressional branch is elected directly by the people.

Congress is divided into two institutions; the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House and Senate Galleries are situated in the US Capitol and are open whenever either branch is in session. The galleries are not included in a Capitol tour, however, and passes are required to access either gallery at any time. Passes to the galleries may be inquired about by contacting your representative or one of your senators.

When the House of Representatives is not in session, patrons with passes are admitted to the Gallery from 9am to 4:15pm. When the Senate is in recess for a week or more, guests with passes are admitted between 9am and 4:15pm. 

Gaining admission to the House or Senate Galleries

  • Must submit your permission appeals through your State Senator or Congress Representative. If you are uncertain who is your representative, you can check online at and input your zip code. Typically, you'll find a link for Washington DC Tours, which is the site for them to be submitted. Be prepared to supply information including names, addresses, phone numbers, and arrival/departure dates for the members of your party.
  • These formally written inquiries are approved or denied up a half of a year prior, but must be at least 21 days prior.
  • The US Capitol has access for those with disabilities and offers a set number of wheel chairs for usage. Be sure to ask about accommodations when you visit the reception desk. Likewise, service animals may be permitted in the Capitol, with advanced scheduling.
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