Barcelona, Doha and Eugene, Oregon have all thrown their hats in the ring to host the 2019 world athletics championships.
The International Association of Athletics Federations Council, meeting in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, said the three cities had lodged letters of intent to join the bidding process as candidates for the event.
They said the Council would announce the winning city at its meeting in Monaco in November.
Before then, the potential hosts must present detailed bid dossiers and will receive feedback from an IAAF evaluation team to help them deliver the best case for their cities.
Beijing will host the next world championships in 2015 with London staging the event in 2017.
The IAAF said the world championships, first staged in 1983, are the third largest global sporting after the Olympic Games and the football World Cup, based on competing nations (over 200), athletes (over 2000) and global TV audience (six billion).