If you like to travel, you may be looking for a way to expedite the airport security process. There are numerous options available, including government-run programs like Global Entry and TSA PreCheck® or privately run programs like CLEAR. Before we get into the details of signing up for CLEAR, let's take a look at the program itself.
What is CLEAR?
One of CLEAR's defining features is its use of biometrics as an identification tool. Your identity is confirmed at a kiosk using your eyes or fingerprints, which allows you to skip the document verification line during the security process. Once your identity has been confirmed, you can go straight to the security screening.
Unlike government-run Trusted Traveler Programs such as TSA PreCheck, CLEAR does not require a background check to enroll. CLEAR is open to anyone 18 and older who has one of the following valid forms of government-issued identification, including:
- U.S. driver's license
- U.S. passport card
- U.S. passport
- U.S.-issued permanent resident card
- State-issued ID
- U.S. military ID
CLEAR is often used in conjunction with programs that allow access to TSA PreCheck lines. While the CLEAR program can help you get through identity confirmation faster (the first step of the TSA security line when your boarding pass and ID are scanned), TSA PreCheck can help get you through the physical screening more quickly.
In addition to airports, some major sports stadiums have CLEAR lines available. (Similarly to an airport, you're still subject to physical security screenings before entry.) When you apply for CLEAR and are approved, you're automatically able to take advantage of expedited access to stadium screenings in participating venues.
How to apply for CLEAR
You can sign up for CLEAR in two ways — online or in-person at an airport. If you decide to enroll online, you will need to finish the process at an airport the next time you fly. The online application is short and requires basic information, such as your name, email and zip code.
When you apply in-person, a CLEAR ambassador will verify your identification document before taking biometrics, such as fingerprints, a headshot and eye scan. If you begin your enrollment online, you will still complete the biometrics step at the airport with an ambassador. After your biometrics are scanned and your enrollment is complete, you can start using CLEAR immediately.
When you apply for CLEAR, you also get the option to add family members or friends to your account for a discounted rate. You may add up to three additional members, aged 18 or older. Family members under the age of 18 can join you in the CLEAR line without cost.
Cost of CLEAR
An annual standard membership for CLEAR costs $189 but this is subject to change. This differs from many of the government-run programs, which require a single fee for several years of membership. If you wish to add family members or friends to your account, you can currently do so for $60 per additional member.
Note that there are a few ways you may be able to offset some or all this cost:
- Explore frequent flyer programs. Some airlines offer discounts on CLEAR if you're a member.
- Research travel credit cards. Some issuers will give you a discount, while others will reimburse you for the total cost.
- Look for a promotion. CLEAR sometimes runs sales or offers discount codes, so you may want to keep an eye out on the CLEAR website.
CLEAR is quite different from other travel programs, as it uses biometrics to validate your identity. Its goal, however, is similar — to get you through security as quickly and easily as possible. CLEAR may be a good option on its own or paired with other programs to further expedite your security process. You can begin your enrollment for CLEAR online, or complete the entire enrollment process the next time you're at the airport heading on a trip. Chase does not offer reimbursement for CLEAR, but Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which has an annual fee, does reimburse application fees for TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and NEXUS if the card is used to pay the application fee.