The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland will register its first 20 charities in a pilot scheme in spring 2013.
The scheme will come shortly after a consultation on the commission’s public benefit guidance, which will also be published in spring 2013.
The commission will begin registering the rest of the estimated 7,000 to 10,000 Northern Irish charities in autumn of the same year.
The news comes after Northern Ireland social development minister Nelson McCausland announced earlier this month that all charities in the region would have to prove they provide public benefit.
According to the CCNI, charities do not need to take any action yet and it will provide further information when necessary.
At present the region’s charities are registered only with HM Revenue & Customs, for tax purposes.
Tom McGrath, the chief charity commissioner, said: "I am pleased that the CCNI can now get on with the registration of Northern Ireland charities. This process will not happen overnight, but after almost two years of enforced delay, the commission can finally get the registration ball rolling."