The UN Security Council has forwarded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's request last week for UN membership to the committee on new admissions.
"This means they've [the Palestinians] cleared a hurdle," said CBC's David Common in New York City on Wednesday.
There were no objections to this step, despite an American threat to use its veto against the Palestinian bid to become a member state of the UN, said Common.
Lebanese Ambassador Nawaf Salam, who holds this month's rotating council presidency, announced the request was being sent to the admissions committee, which includes all 15-member states on the council.
The step is required by council rules of procedure.
The committee will meet to consider the request on Friday, but it could take weeks before it goes up for a final vote in the council.
Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour thanked the council for quickly and unanimously agreeing to act on the Palestinian application.
"We hope this process [will] not to take too long before we see positive action," he told reporters.