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2026 fifa world cup and united states immigration law

There is no doubt that this year’s FIFA World Cup was one of the most exciting sporting events in recent history. Each game was more intense than the other, culminating in an unforgettable matchup between Argentina and France, headlined by Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé. Although Argentina was ultimately victorious, the true winners were the world’s population, who were able to enjoy remarkable competitions amongst some of the best athletes around the globe.

Unfortunately, the next FIFA World Cup will not take place for another 4 years. Luckily, however, the event will be hosted across North America, with host cities across Canada, Mexico, and of course, the United States. While 2026 may feel like a long time from now, there is no doubt that the planning has already begun for what is expected to be the biggest FIFA World Cup ever.

As part of the preparation, both FIFA and the host countries, including the United States, must anticipate an influx of millions of visitors, made up of the teams themselves, including the athletes, coaching staff, and management, as well as their family members, event staff, and the spectators at large. The audience will be compromised of fans from countries all over the world, hoping to catch a glimpse of two countries battling it out on the field behind their superstars. After all, although Messi may not be competing, there is no telling what Mbappé, who is only 24 years old now, will be capable of in 4 years’ time.

What is likely being overlooked, however, is the immigration logistics required to ensure the event runs smoothly. This tournament gives the United States a chance to prove to the world that we are leaders not only on the field, but off the field too. One obstacle that may prevent the United States from doing so in a smooth manner is the complicated and bureaucratic immigration laws that make visiting or competing in the United States difficult, to say the least. Put simply, getting a visa is a trying and timely process that has only gotten slower since the pandemic, and it would reflect very poorly on our country should any of the players be forced to miss any of the games because of an outdated immigration process.

Generally, to enter the United States, foreigners must apply for a visa which grants them permission to be here for a specified reason and a restricted amount of time. Applying for such a visa often includes thorough applications and interviews at U.S. Embassies or Consulate Posts abroad. No doubt there will be even further significant delays when millions of people are being scheduled for interviews at the same time prior to the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

As a recourse for this potential interruption, our government’s immigration officials and agencies must create ways to streamline the process. At a minimum, a simplified method for securing visas for the teams is crucial, so that no player is forced to miss their match after years of training and preparation. A more focused approach for the fans is necessary too, so that the United States does not potentially lose billions of dollars in revenue from ticket sales, hotel bookings, and so much more. Perhaps this means setting up a Task Force solely dedicated to processing applications for individuals that attest that their exclusive reason for entering the United States is to compete or watch the World Cup. This is possible, so long as FIFA is willing to cooperate and confirm rosters and individual ticket purchase information. If that seems too intrusive, perhaps a modernized, digital process for accredited and vetted travelers who have received visas in the past can help minimize some of the potential delays.

Whatever the solution may be, it is clear that the government must be proactive in its preparation for what is expected to be one of the biggest sporting events in the history of the world. Eliminating barriers caused by the overbearing immigration system we have in place is vital to this mission. Once this off-the-field issue is overcome, the only thing remaining is for our team to bring home the trophy. Let’s go USA!

If you have any questions regarding your eligibility to enter the United States for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, or anything else related to U.S.-bound immigration law, please visit Wildes & Weinberg’s website,, or contact

Wildes & Weinberg P.C., perhaps the United States’ premier law firm concentrating in the immigration and nationality field, was established by Leon Wildes, in 1960, who is best known for his successful representation of John Lennon in his immigration deportation proceedings. Leon’s son, Michael Wildes, is now the firm’s Managing Partner and a Former Federal Prosecutor, as well as the Mayor of Englewood, New Jersey. His representation has included soccer icon Pele, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, renowned chef Jean Georges, singer-songwriter Boy George, and many more. Still, the firm treats all their clients with the same respect and fights for their rights with tenacity, scholarship, and experience, regardless of their notoriety. Michael’s son, and Leon’s grandson, Josh Wildes, is a third-generation immigration attorney in the firm, who previously served as an Attorney Advisor in the Department of Justice’s Executive office for Immigration Review prior to joining the practice.

Over the past 60+ years, the firm has concentrated their practice in all aspects of U.S. immigration and nationality law, servicing the immigration needs of prominent American and International firms, banks, industrial, financial, and manufacturing concerns, and law firms in connection with the personnel needs of their foreign national employees, including massive corporations with thousands of employees. In addition, they have a distinguished clientele and have done substantial immigration work for performing artists, influencers, directors, writers, models, actors, athletes, esports professionals, fine artists, art dealers, curators, streamers, and literary agents.

Despite difficulties currently being encountered in dealing with U.S. immigration authorities, we have maintained an extraordinary track record for success in our cases. In addition, our entire staff is known for its experience and special expertise in processing each foreign national’s case with nothing less than the highest level of professionalism. Although we are based out of New York City, we also have offices in Miami, New Jersey, and by appointment only in Los Angeles and Tel Aviv, Israel, and together with our multilingual and experienced staff, we represent clients throughout our great nation and the entire world.

For more information on this or any other type of visa or immigration inquiry, please visit or contact

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact an attorney.

By Josh Wildes, Esq., Associate Attorney at Wildes & Weinberg, P.C.

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