Three teams from CONCACAF are guaranteed places in the 32-nation World Cup field and go through an 18-month qualifying process to decide among the region's 35 eligible national associations.
The process begins more than two years before the start of the World Cup, with the smaller teams from the Caribbean and Central America facing off in two-leg playoffs. The winners advance to a second two-leg playoff against the teams that received a bye through the first round.
The surviving 12 teams are then divided into three, four-team "semifinal round" groups to play a league-style competition, with the top two in each group advancing to the final round of qualifying, informally referred to as the "hexagonal".
Another league-style competition ensues, with the top three earning places in the World Cup and the fourth-place finisher earning a second chance, two-leg playoff against a team from another confederation for the last berth in the field.