Vatican City

About this jurisdiction

The Vatican City is an independent country with Vatican City State as its government. The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world by land area, with a total area of just 1.27 square kilometers. The city’s population is estimated to be about 860 people. The country was founded in 1929 as a result of the Lateran Treaty, which recognized Vatican City as an independent state with its own military and diplomatic corps. The Catholic Church also held extraterritorial rights within the city, which allowed it to operate its own schools, hospitals, businesses and banks outside of Italian jurisdiction. Today, the Holy See is still responsible for appointing the head of state, who must be a Catholic priest or bishop approved by the pope. The president is also appointed by the Holy See and has largely ceremonial powers. The prime minister is appointed by parliament and is responsible for implementing policy decisions set by parliament. Vatican City has an embassy in each of the United Nations' member states as well as representation in many other countries around the world.


Legal basis