The Security Council will examine the application on the basis of four criteria: defined territory, a defined population, a government capable of controlling the territory, and the ability to enter into diplomatic relations.
Nine of the 15 Security Council members, including all five of the permanent members, must give a positive recommendation on the application for it to pass on the General Assembly for a vote.
The deadline for a response from the Security Council is unclear – the guidelines are that it must issue a recommendation 35 days before a regular GA session or 14 days before a special session.
This is where the application for full membership is likely to run into trouble. The US, one of the permanent members, has made it clear that it will not give its stamp of approval to the Palestinians’ bid. There is no way to go around the Security Council and straight to the GA.
On the off chance that the US approves the Palestinian bid, then the application goes to the General Assembly for a two-thirds majority vote. Palestinians are widely seen as having enough support in the GA for such a vote to pass.