Five Championship clubs have been given the green light to apply for a place when the next Super League shake-up takes place in 2012.
Favourites Widnes, 2010 Championship Grand Final winners Halifax, runners-up Featherstone, Batley and Barrow have all fulfilled the minimum criteria.
All five clubs have either reached the Grand Final or won the Northern Rail Cup in the last two years.
The announcement of the successful Championship club will be next March.
Batley have already stated that they are not interested in applying for a place in 2012.
But the other four clubs must now try to meet minimum standards off the field if they are to secure a three-year Super League licence.
The clubs, who have until 3 December to submit their applications to the Rugby Football League for assessment, must have a stadium with a minimum 10,000 capacity, a recent turnover of at least £1m and an average attendance of 2,500-plus.
Widnes, who were in the Super League from 2002 until 2005, already meet those requirements.
And, after narrowly missing out to Salford and Crusaders in 2008, they are the overwhelming favourites to secure promotion.
The League are committed to promoting at least one Championship club as long as they meet the standards.
And, with Super League clubs voting to remain at 14 for the foreseeable future, it means that there will be at least one club relegated next season.
The unlucky Super League club will discover their fate in July.
Wakefield and Castleford, who are both hoping to press ahead with new stadium plans, are thought to be most at risk of losing their place among the game's elite.