Countries hosting diplomatic missions of the Holy See

This is a list of diplomatic missions of the Holy See. Since the fifth century, long before the founding of the Vatican City State in 1929, papal envoys (now known as nuncios) have represented the Holy See to foreign potentates. Additionally, papal representatives known not as nuncios but as apostolic delegates ensure contact between the Holy See and the Catholic Church in countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

At present, there is one residential apostolic delegate, for Jerusalem and Palestine, as well as non-residential delegates for four countries (Brunei, Laos, Mauritania, and Somalia) and for the territories and countries without diplomatic relations with the Holy See in three regions (the Arabian Peninsula, the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean). For Vietnam, the 21st-century appointees of the Holy See have been given the title "pontifical representative".[a] In keeping with the "one China" policy, no representative is appointed for mainland China, and the Holy See is represented in Taipei by an apostolic nunciature, headed not by a nuncio, but only by a chargé d'affaires.

In addition to the countries mentioned above that have apostolic delegations, the following nations do not have diplomatic relations with the Holy See: Afghanistan, Bhutan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Tuvalu.[3]


In most respects the status of the diplomatic missions of the Holy See are identical with those of other countries, with the exception of the nomenclature: apostolic nuncios have ambassadorial rank and apostolic nunciatures are ranked as embassies. However, in most countries of central and western Europe and of central and southern America, as well as in a few countries elsewhere, the nuncio is granted precedence over other ambassadors and is dean of the diplomatic corps from the moment he presents his credentials.[citation needed] The Holy See, which does not issue visas, does not have consulates.

Apostolic delegates and their missions do not have diplomatic status as nuncios and nunciatures do.

In countries that allow it, the apostolic nunciature is sometimes, though rarely, located outside the capital, perhaps in towns with particularly important religious connections, such as the village of Rabat in Malta, the site of Saint Paul's grotto, and Harissa in Lebanon where Maronite, Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic Church authorities are located. In other countries that is not permitted: when India opened diplomatic relations with the Holy See, the apostolic delegation moved from Bangalore to the capital, New Delhi; and in Australia the mission moved from Sydney to Canberra. In Israel, the nunciature is located in Tel Aviv.

Listed below are the Holy See's apostolic nunciatures, apostolic delegations, and observer or representative missions to international governmental organizations — such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Arab League.[4]






Multilateral organisations



Nunciatures that have ceased to exist

The following nunciatures are among those that have ceased to exist:

See also


  1. ^ They are Leopoldo Girelli appointed 13 January 2011[1] and Marek Zakewski appointed 21 May 2018[2]
  2. ^ Even though other diplomatic missions are appointed to the United Kingdom, that of the Holy See is appointed to Great Britain.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 13.01.2011" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Rinunce e nomine, 21.05.2018" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  3. ^ Magister, Sandro (21 August 2007). "Mission Impossible: Eject the Holy See from the United Nations". La Repubblica. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  4. ^ Pages 1343–1372 of the 2007 edition (ISBN 978-88-209-7908-9)
  5. ^ "Apostolic Delegation in Jerusalem and Palestine". The Catholic Church of the Holy Land. 22 May 2020.
  6. ^ Ryan Dagur (21 September 2022). "Vatican opens new embassy in Timor-Leste". Union of Catholic Asia News. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  7. ^ "American archbishop appointed nuncio to Great Britain". Catholic Herald. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2017. ... has been appointed the Holy See's ambassador to Great Britain.
  8. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 08.04.2017" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 8 April 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2018. Il Santo Padre ha nominato Nunzio Apostolico in Gran Bretagna...