France, Ireland, Italy and South Africa have tabled bids to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The submissions will be assessed by a World Rugby Technical Review Group and applicants that meet the required criteria will move to the candidate phase on 1 November.
"We are delighted by the strong level of serious interest from unions and governments, which truly underscores the enormous hosting appeal of Rugby World Cup as a low-investment, low-risk, high-return economic, social and sporting driver," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement.
South Africa staged the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and France in 2007.
Ireland and Italy have not previously hosted the tournament.
The hosts of the 2023 tournament will be announced in November 2017.
Japan will host the next Rugby World Cup tournament in 2019, the first time it would be held in Asia, with New Zealand the defending champions.