The Government of the State wishing to organise an Expo must submit its candidature dossier to the BIE mentioning the proposed theme, the proposed dates, the duration of the Expo and the legal status of the organisers. The dossier must guarantee the full support of the government.
To apply for World Expos, candidates must submit their applications between 6 and 9 years before the proposed opening dates of the exhibition.
To apply for International Expos, candidates must submit their applications between 5 and 6 years before the proposed opening dates of the exhibition.
After one country has submitted its application, any other government wishing to organise an exhibition for the same period has six months to submit its own application to the BIE. It should be noted that there must be at least 15 years between any two Expos organized in the same country.
Enquiry mission – project assessment
At the end of the six-month period following the submission of the first candidacy application, enquiry missions are carried out by the BIE in the candidate country/city. They will assess the feasibility and viability of the Expo project, the political and social climate of the candidate country and city and the support of the government to the project.
The following elements are evaluated:
The results of the missions are compiled in a report, reviewed by the Executive Committee of the BIE and forwarded with advice to the General Assembly. The General Assembly then decides which proposals the BIE will further investigate. Once approved, the report forms the basis of evaluation by the BIE Member States during the vote.
International campaign - project development
As soon as they submit the initial application, candidate countries must carry out international campaigns to garner support for their project. They organize international symposiums, forums and other activities and travel the world to meet with representatives of BIE Member States.
At the end of the bidding phase, the BIE Member States vote for the host country by secret ballot during the BIE General Assembly. Each Member State has one vote and priority is given to candidatures submitted by Member States.
The voting procedure:
This procedure applies to Member States only; a 2/3 majority is required for a non-member state candidate to win the right to host an Expo.
The selection criteria:
After a country wins the right to host an Expo, it must continue to work closely with the BIE and carry out the steps required by the BIE rules and regulations.
After the vote, the future host country has to formalise its Expo project by submitting a complete and definitive implementation plan for the Expo. This formalisation is called "registration" for World Expos and "recognition" for International Expos.
The registration of World Expos must take place at least five years before the opening date. In the case of International Expos, the recognition must take place at least four years before the opening date.
The registration or recognition dossiers must address:
The dossier must be accompanied by the Expo's general regulations, the participation contracts that will be addressed to the future participants, the documents establishing and guaranteeing compensation in case of cancellation and any special regulations regarding the theme, the financial and material conditions for participation and the measures to minimize participation costs.
It is only after the registration or the recognition of an Expo project that the host country can officially begin developing and implementing the event, including:
During this phase, Expo organizers are required to report regularly (twice a year) to the different BIE bodies:
The Expo lasts 3 to 6 months according to its category. The scope of the event and its millions of visitors imply very tight logistics, extreme coordination and an intense calendar of events and activities. During this period, the organizing teams can go up to several thousand people, including volunteers.
The closing of the Expo is the beginning of a new life for the area. A team is created to ensure the good management of the post-expo plan and make sure the site is transformed to fit the development needs of the region.
The BIE accompanies countries in this post-expo phase and verifies that the plan presented during the preparation of the Expo is being properly implemented.
Furthermore, once the Expo closes, the city joins the AVE (Association of Cities and Regions Hosting an International Exhibition), a network of all the cities that have hosted Expos to exchange ideas and experiences.