The International Olympic Committee has announced that Almaty (Kazakhstan), Beijing (China) and Oslo (Norway) have become official candidate cities to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

The IOC based its decision on a technical analysis of applications submitted by several cities earlier this year, which covered a variety of areas such as venues, transportation, accommodation and security. Additionally, each city produced plans that reflect a vision for how the Games can benefit its cities and regions and ensure positive, sustainable legacies for its populations.

“The Executive Board was impressed by the legacy plans of each of the three cities and will continue to support any future candidate or host city in developing them further,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “This support will be practical, involving the detailed transfer of knowledge as well as financial. In this respect it was good to see that each of the bidding cities understood the difference between the Olympic Games budget and the long-term infrastructure and investment budget, which will benefit their communities for decades to come.”

Several other applicant cities had recently dropped out of the process to host, including Stockholm (Sweden), Krakow (Poland) and Lviv (Ukraine). The three remaining cities will have until January 2015 to submit their candidature files, which are in-depth blueprints of the cities’ Olympic projects. In July 2015, the IOC will select the winner at its meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.