Bettman said the expansion fee was set at $650 million for Seattle, which would become the leagues 32nd team if approved.
Bettman says Seattle is the only city being considered for expansion at the moment.
Monday, Seattle City Council approved to do a $600 million renovation on Key Arena in a 7-1 vote.
The NHL Board of Governors gathered today in Florida for their final meetings of the League's Centennial year. On Thursday, Bettman and the NHL Board of Governors gave Seattle the green light to start the application process. The Vegas Golden Knights began operations this season and are in the playoff chase.
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"Obviously, there a lot of differences between Seattle and Quebec City, not the least of which is our conference alignment", Bettman said.
The NHL is focused on evening out the conferences to 16 teams each before expanding more teams in the East.
Seattle would have a natural rivalry with some of the other teams in the West, particularly those in Western Canada.
In other National Hockey League franchise news on Thursday, Dallas-based entrepreneur Tom Dundon has signed an agreement to purchase a majority stake in the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes would remain in Raleigh, N.C.
As The Seattle Times reported on Tuesday, Seattle was once home to the Stanley Cup-winning Metropolitans. Previous majority owner, Peter Karmanos Jr., will maintain an equity stake in the Raleigh-based team.