Russia Opens its Borders in the Name of Sport

Visa-Free entry into Russia is possible with a click of a button for foreign FIFA World Cup fans. 


Home to 12.3 million residents, over 130 nationalities, three international airports, and the world’s second busiest underground system, Moscow is finally prepared to host an expected 1 million soccer fans arriving into town for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia 

According to The Passport Index, Russia only permits visa-free access to 45 countries, ranking as the 76th welcoming country in the world. In the name of sport however, Russia has decided to open its borders, and let the fans flow in using a new FAN ID. 

The FAN ID is an identification document which comes with valid 2018 FIFA World Cup match tickets and provides visa-free entry into Russia, during the period that starts ten days before the first match and ends ten days after the last match.  

In April, The Ministry of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation has informed that the 2018 FIFA World Cup fans have ordered over 500,000 FAN IDs. By now, that number has expected to double.  

All over the world passports are being stamped, airports are buzzing, visa waivers are increasing, and all in the name of sport.  

In other news, Canada, USA, and Mexico won the bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The race to stage the biggest global sporting event by the joint bid, also called the “United Bid” calls for the US to host 60 matches, including all games from the quarter-finals through to the final. Canada and Mexico would each host 10 games.  

In this case, it would certainly be efficient for the FAN ID to resurface and facilitate the cross-border travel which will be inevitable for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. All three countries have different Welcoming Scores, with Mexico as the most welcoming of the trio in 65th place, Canada in 73rd, and the USA in 77th 

As fans anxiously wait to kick-start another season of the most enthusiastic global championship games, the world itself uses this opportunity to unite and form an inclusive community. Although nations are competing between one another, the dynamic nature of sport creates a global identity that is shared between every region, race, religion, and color.  

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