Clear to become TSA PreCheck enrollment provider
When asked about a Needham analyst report that Clear will launch the TSA PreCheck sign-up in some airports by early May, the TSA said this was not accurate and that Clear is one of two providers being added for PreCheck enrollment down the line, in addition to longstanding provider, Idemia.
"TSA will authorize Telos and Clear as TSA PreCheck enrollment providers when each is ready to begin operations, and there is no established date for either enrollment provider at this time," per an agency spokesperson. "Telos and Clear will join Idemia in time, but any discussion about timeframes and how they each will go to market is entirely premature."
When implemented, PreCheck applicants will have the option to share their email, zip code and phone number with Clear to also apply for that program.
"Beyond that, no information is shared between Clear’s program and Clear’s TSA PreCheck application and the applications are even completed on separate devices," said a TSA spokesperson.
Both Clear and PreCheck have more than 14 million members, with TSA PreCheck membership growing to 14.3 million in 2022, representing a 27% growth from 2021, per the analysis.
The expanded partnership is a result of requirements set by the TSA Modernization Act and the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.
However, analyst Josh Reilly surmised it's an acknowledgment of "the opportunity for Clear to accelerate PreCheck adoption as significant," saying the overall "penetration for Trusted Travelers," including PreCheck and Global Entry, could evolve to 129 million passengers, reflective of the 30% increase year to year of TSA-boarded passengers as of February.
"Clear has been on a mission to make experiences safer and easier since day one, so we’re looking forward to becoming an authorized TSA PreCheck enrollment provider to help bring TSA PreCheck enrollment to more people in more places," a spokesperson said via email. "Once Clear successfully meets all TSA requirements to become an enrollment provider and completes a trial period, Clear will be approved by TSA to begin offering TSA PreCheck enrollment services to the public at select locations using Clear pods."
Experts, including Reilly, expect an uptick in PreCheck renewals and new sign-ups.
"It's like the lion laying down with the lamb because TSA PreCheck and Clear have had a contentious relationship at times," said Henry Harteveldt, an airline and travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research. "TSA feels that Clear is cutting into some of its turf in terms of passenger screening, creating some tension with airports, but at the same time, Clear has shown that it understands biometrics and it can help improve the productivity of the airport passenger screening process."
It's unknown whether the current prices of each ($78 for a five-year PreCheck membership, $189 annually for Clear) would remain the same.
Greater adoption of both programs seems likely, though, per Harteveldt.
Clear vs TSA PreCheck
Clear is a secure identity platform that uses member data, including fingerprint and iris scans, to automate the identity TSA verification step. Once your identity is confirmed, a Clear representative will escort you to the front of the line for the traditional security screening machines.
If you're also enrolled in TSA PreCheck, you'll head to the PreCheck screening lines and proceed as normal. If you don't have TSA PreCheck, you'll use the normal screening lines where you remove your shoes, unload your electronics, liquids, light jacket, etc.
Children 12 and under can use PreCheck lanes when traveling with a parent or guardian who is a member of the program. Those aged 13-17 can pass through alone or accompanied by parents if they have the TSA PreCheck indicator on their boarding pass.
Children younger than 18 traveling with adult Clear users may use the Clear line for free as long as they stay with the paid member.
To be eligible for Clear enrollment, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident who is at least 18 years old with a valid form of photo ID. To apply for PreCheck, you must be a U.S. citizen or a foreign citizen who meets specific citizenship and residency requirements. There is no age restriction to apply.
You can either start the enrollment process online and finish at a Clear location, or you can complete the entire process at a Clear location. The enrollment process takes about five minutes and requires no appointment. You must complete the final enrollment steps at a Clear location.
To apply for PreCheck, you must submit an online application and pay the application fee. Once the application is conditionally approved, you must schedule an in-person appointment at an enrollment center.
Once you are approved, add your Known Traveler Number to airline reservations to ensure the green PreCheck symbol shows up on your boarding pass.
A TSA PreCheck membership is valid for five years and costs $78. You can renew your membership online for $70 up to six months in advance.
Clear costs $189 annually, and users can add up to three family members for $60 each per year.
Additionally, United and Delta offer their frequent flyers free or discounted membership to Clear.