The proposed final version of the Applicant Guidebook is expected to be published on May 30th. On June 20th the ICANN board will (probably) approve the Final Applicant Guidebook
Click on the image to the right for a detailed timeline.
What happens after that is not entirely clear yet. We foresee a 4 month communication campaign starting in June and ending on October 1st. That could well be the starting date for applicants to enter their file. If we add the administrative check period, the initial evaluation and the time it takes to have a TLD delegated to the root, the earliest new gTLD could go live in October. But there are currently no guarantees given.