Ireland say they are cautiously optimistic of achieving Test status in June after the International Cricket Council announced a new process for associate nations wishing to become full members.
Wednesday's ICC meeting means Ireland's application must go before a newly-created membership committee which will decide if the various criteria have been met.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said they were optimistic about getting approval from the ICC members.
The new criteria involves areas like governance, finance, the performance of national team and development programmes.
"There are some details around financial criteria which I would like to be more certain of, but it looks like we will be in a relatively good position," said Deutrom.
"I am cautiously optimistic. I do not want to give the impression it is a penalty kick as we cannot take the process for granted and must respect the opinions of the ICC members whose ultimate decision this is."
The ICC's board agreed on the new membership process at a meeting in Dubai.
The current 10 full member nations are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe.
As well as Ireland, Afghanistan are attempting to move up from associate member level.
In the past, teams wishing to obtain Test status had to be proposed and seconded by full members.