The International Rugby Board says four Unions are bidding to host the Rugby World Cup in either 2015 or 2019.
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said on Saturday that England, Italy, Japan and South Africa had formally submitted tenders for Rugby World Cup 2015.
With the exception of England, the remainder have also confirmed their intent to bid for the 2019 tournament.
Australia had expressed initial interest but withdrew from the running on financial grounds. New Zealand is hosting the 2011 event.
Tender submissions had to be made to the IRB at its Dublin headquarters by close of business on Saturday morning.
"The economic benefits to the host country are significant," said Mr Lapasset.
"An independent Deloitte report identified the total economic benefits as being up to 2.1 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) for the host nation while the promotion of the country, the rugby and sports legacy and the feel good factor are also major attractions for hosting Rugby World Cup.
The would-be host nations must now outline their bids, including financial details of their tenders, in a 30-minute presentation to the IRB Council in Dublin on 13 May.
The IRB will announce the host nations for both tournaments on July 28.