RFP, RFQ, RFI: What’s the difference and which is right for your organization?

October 20, 2020 Nidhi Madhavan

Understanding the difference can help organizations decide which to use when evaluating immigration providers

Organizations looking to switch immigration providers have more options than ever today, and are often examining a multitude of traditional and hybrid models to find which delivers best on cost, service, technology, employee experience and more. During the procurement process, the following terms are frequently used: RFP, RFI and RFQ. While all of these requests seek information about a vendor, they are not interchangeable. Understanding the difference can help organizations determine which type of request best suits their needs when choosing a new provider.

RFI, RFQ, RFP: What do they mean and when are they used?

What is an RFI?

An RFI is a Request for Information. This is a formal request for general information from a potential vendor. Issuing an RFI can help organizations get a better understanding of what solutions are available for them at the beginning of the purchase consideration process and narrow down a list of potential candidates. RFIs can also be put together faster at the early stages of the decision making process, before teams may have more specific project requirements.

A proper immigration RFI should include open ended and high-level questions, as well as information about the company issuing the request and the goals it seeks to accomplish through a new provider.

What is an RFQ?

An RFQ is a Request for Quotation. RFQs are used to gather information about a vendor’s pricing and payment terms. They also allow organizations that know exactly what services they’re looking for to evaluate the costs associated with them to determine which vendor best meets their needs based on price. RFQs are highly specific and are usually presented as a list of services, products or features that an organization requests, along with expected delivery dates or duration periods.

Companies should use an RFQ to evaluate immigration providers once they are familiar with existing options, committed to making a purchase and want to compare two similar providers based on price.

Learn more about the RFP process in our upcoming webinar with
Global Immigration Associates

What is an RFP?

An RFP is a Request for Proposal. This is a comprehensive method of gathering information that outlines the goals of an organization’s department or program as well as specific issues that it would like the vendor to address. It is often used during a bidding process between multiple vendors, and takes longer to put together. RFPs should ask for examples of a vendor’s work, specific pricing information as well as questions about their expertise and competency.

Companies should issue an immigration RFP once they are ready to buy and would like to compare a set of potential providers based on a specific set of criteria.

Which one is right for my organization?

An organization may use just one, a combination or two or all three during the decision making process, depending on their familiarity with vendors, pricing needs, project deadlines and the scope of the process. Organizations that are new to immigration or have less familiarity with providers should consider an RFI to explore different solutions available. Companies that have a general idea of the providers available but have the time to receive new information and ideas may benefit from going through the RFP process. On the other hand, companies that know exactly what immigration services they want and are shopping for the best deal can use an RFQ to make a fast decision.

If you’re ready to transform your company’s immigration program for both you and your sponsored workforce, contact us today.


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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