American citizens wishing to watch a House of Commons debate can apply to the Embassy for a card of introduction – one of only four provided daily for Embassy use by courtesy of the Speaker’s Office at the House of Commons – but may find that the cards are booked several weeks ahead. Without a card of introduction, a wait of 1-2 hours in the public queue outside St. Stephen’s Entrance is common during the afternoons.
This card of introduction will normally permit entry to the Strangers’ Gallery of the House of Commons during the early afternoon (Monday) or late morning (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). Please note that this card does not guarantee entry at the start of Question Time – quite often, it will not be possible to admit the bearer until after Question Time has ended.
Question Time in the House of Commons takes place every day except Friday, with the Prime Minister answering questions (Prime Minister’s Question Time) from 12 noon to 12. 30 pm. on Wednesday.
Times When the House of Commons is Sitting
|Monday||2:30PM – 10:30PM|
|Tuesday & Wednesday||11:30AM – 7:30PM|
|Thursday||9:30AM – 5:30PM|
|Friday (When sitting)||9:30AM – 3:30PM|
On Friday it is normally possible to enter the Gallery without queuing at the start of the day’s proceedings at 9.30 am. Later in the day, a queue tends to develop and some delay is inevitable.
The Strangers’ Gallery is open whilst the House sits – usually October to Christmas, January to Easter, May to the end July.
You can check whether the House will be sitting by telephoning +44 (0)20-7219-4272 .
To request a card of introduction from the Embassy please complete our contact form, providing the following information:
- the names of all persons on whose behalf you are applying, and,
- the date or dates you would like to attend Parliament, and,
- a daytime telephone number.
Please note, the Embassy is not able to arrange tours of Parliament.
Cards of introduction do not enable visitors to tour the building. Tours of Parliament for overseas visitors are limited to the summer vacation. Full details are on the House of Commons Overseas Visitor information pages.