How it Works

Each SheerID verification follows a distinct flow, which is made up of discrete steps. As your user proceeds through the steps, our API will return a step name for what it expects to receive next, to progress the verification through its flow. In this section you’ll learn about flows and steps, and what to do if you encounter an error along the way.


A SheerID flow is the series of steps that lead to a verification outcome. If a subject can be instantly verified, the flow is very simple:

Successful instant flow

In the case of a successful instant verification, we will receive the data from the user, run it against an authoritative data source for verification, and return a success response, indicating that you may now proceed to checkout.

Unfortunately, not all verifications will be successful on the first try, so you must account for all possible user journeys, including an unsuccessful instant outcome, which sends a user to the document review step, data entry errors, and so on.

The image below represents a complete flow for a US student verification, which is typical of most segment flows. If an instant verification is not possible, the flow proceeds to the Doc Upload step, in which the user is asked to upload documentation verifying their eligiblity for the offer. If the documentation is successfully uploaded, proceed to the Pending step, and so on, until an outcome is determined, either successful or unsuccessful.

Student Flow

See Flow Diagrams for detailed flows for the various supported segments.


A SheerID verification happens one step at a time. Steps combine together into a flow. Step names may vary slightly depending on the segment, e.g., “Collect student info” vs. “Collect military status,” but the basic steps are similar from one segment to the next.

Below we will discuss the basic details of the different steps you will encounter in the verification process.

Collect Info

Collecting information from a user is the first step in a verification. This is where you render a form.

Collect Student Info


If you go straight from the collect info step to success, congratulations! Typically a reward code is shown to the user on success. More seamless transitions can be achieved with JavaScript such as redirecting the user, or auto-applying a code to their cart.


Doc Upload

Instant verification may not be possible for a given user or verification type. In these cases, we will require that the user uploads documentation in order to complete the verification. Documents will be reviewed manually by SheerID staff.

The image below is an example of a student experience for the docUpload step, giving the user the option to upload the required documentation.

Doc Upload


When the user uploads documentation, the flow moves to the pending step, during which time SheerID staff will review the provided documentation to verify its authenticity and adherence to the rules of the offer.

Below is an example user experience for a student who has successfully uploaded the requested documentation.

Processing step

Since the document review process is manual, it takes some time, and you should assume that the user will not wait on your site for the approval. Provide an experience that allows them to redeem their offer from the approval email that you configured in MySheerID.

Note: Exact timing for document review varies by segment and geography.

Attempts Exhausted

If the user fails to provide valid documentation, after 3 attempts the verification will move to the error step. At this point the verification has failed, and you must start a new verification process.

Doc Review Limit Exceeded


At SheerID, we verify the inclusion of visitors to your site within your target population, or Segment. This documentation pertains to segments that you can create and configure in our self-service web portal (MySheerID) and JavaScript library.

Currently we support the following segments in our self-service platform: US Student, Military, First Responder, Teacher, Age, Medical, Recent Mover, and Low Income. The links below will take you to detailed flow diagrams for several of these segments.

If you are looking for a segment other than those listed above, please see Who We Verify on our corporate website, and contact your Account Manager for more details.


Within certain Segments, there may be eligible Subsegments to which you can offer a narrower targeted offer. Available subsegments include:

Segment Subsegment
Student - Full + part time college students
- Post-secondary / trade school students
- All high school students 16 and older
- High school students accepted into a college (US only)
Teacher - K-12 faculty (US only)
- High school faculty
- University faculty
- Post-secondary faculty
First Responder - Firefighter
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Police
- Search and Rescue
Medical - Nurse
- Doctor
- Other Health Worker
Military - Active Duty
- Military Veteran or Retiree
- Reservist or National Guard
- Military Family
- Gold Star Family
Age Subsegments are determined by an age range selector.

The verification flow for a subsegment is inherited from the parent segment. We recommend including all available subsegments in your offer for maximum reach, and using subsegments only when they align with your specific offer criteria.

You can configure Eligible Subsegments in the Programs Settings section of MySheerID.


Errors may occur during verification flows, primarily due to improperly inputted data from the user. Fortunately, such errors are recoverable, and when encountered, our API will provide you with the information you need to retry the step.

Certain rare errors are non-recoverable and may require you to start the verification process anew.

To learn more about errors and how to handle them, see Errors in our REST API documentation.

For a complete list of possible errorIDs, see any verification response errors in our REST API reference