Symonds seemed certain to miss the World Cup after undergoing surgery on Sunday to repair a torn bicep tendon. He was expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks.
However, the ICC ruled on Tuesday night that Symonds could be named in Australia's 15-man squad but later replaced if he fails to regain fitness.
The decision was passed on to the Australians by ICC general manager of cricket Dave Richardson and means Symonds is likely to be in the squad, which has to be finalised by next Tuesday.
Australia's campaign for a third successive World Cup starts on March 14 against Scotland, but the Super Eight stage does not begin until March 27.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting said he believed Symonds would recover in time to play a role in the latter stages of the tournament.
"If it works out the way that we think it will... the doctors have basically said six or seven weeks and he should be right to start playing again then," Ponting said on Tuesday.
"That sort of period comes at a really crucial time in the middle of the World Cup, so to have him around and playing those games would be great for us.
"He's such an important player for us and I know how much he wants to be at the World Cup as well, so we've got a lot of thinking to do to see if we pick him in the squad to take over to the West Indies."