In order to ensure the safety of visitors and staff and to preserve the collections, facilities and historic buildings and grounds some items are prohibited at the U.S. Capitol.
Visitors to the U.S. Capitol are screened by a magnetometer, and all items that are permitted inside the building are screened by an x-ray device. Visitors should keep their belongings with them at all times as unattended items may result in a disruption of service at the Capitol.
The following items are strictly prohibited in the Capitol, including the Capitol Visitor Center:
- Liquid, including water
- Food or beverage of any kind, including fruit and unopened packaged food
- Aerosol containers
- Non-aerosol sprays (Prescriptions for medical needs are permitted.)
- Any pointed object, e.g., knitting needles and letter openers (Pens and pencils are permitted.)
- Any bag larger than 18” wide x 14” high x 8.5” deep
- Electric stun guns, martial arts weapons or devices
- Guns, replica guns, ammunition and fireworks
- Knives of any size
- Mace and pepper spray
- Razors and box cutters
Please note that the U.S. Capitol Police are authorized to make exceptions if a prohibited item is determined to be necessary and required to serve child care, medical or other special needs. If you have questions, please call the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services at 202.224.4048.
The following items are not allowed in the Senate and House Galleries:
- Battery-operated electronic devices (medical devices are permitted)
- Cans and bottles
- Creams, lotions or perfume
- Packages, briefcases, backpacks or suitcases
- Video recorders or any type of recording device
Each Gallery operates a checkstand where visitors may store these items securely while they are visiting that Gallery.
Also, note that smoking is not permitted anywhere in the Capitol, and food and drink are only allowed in the Capitol Visitor Center Restaurant.