What New Drivers Need To Know About TWIC Cards:
TWIC stands for "Transportation Worker Identification Credential".
TWIC cards are issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard.
They are issued to transportation workers (truck drivers) who will require unescorted access to maritime (sea, or ocean) facilities.
The TWIC program was started to enhance security at port facilities after 9/11.
TWIC cards contain biometric information (human characteristics such as fingerprints) on a microchip, a magnetic strip, and a bar code, and require special reading devices for clearance and verification.
TWIC applicants must undergo a background check to review criminal history records and U.S. citizenship and-or residency status.
The background check uses the same criteria as that of the Hazmat endorsement check. A criminal record can keep a driver from getting a TWIC card.
Who Needs A TWIC Card?
- Truck drivers requiring unescorted access to maritime facilities and vessels (ports, outer continental shelf facilities, and ships) regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA).
- All Merchant Mariners, long shore workers, and port facility employees who require access to secure maritime facilities and vessels will also require a TWIC card.
- Generally, all OTR truck drivers should get TWIC cards, if possible, to maximize employment opportunities.
- State and local emergency responders are exempt from the requirement to have a TWIC when they are responding to an emergency.
How To Get A TWIC Card:
- Applicants are required to enroll in person at an official enrollment center.
- Find TWIC enrollment center here.
- Drivers will need to provide acceptable forms of identification. See below.
- While it may take 6-8 weeks to receive a TWIC card, it is recommended that drivers apply at least 10 to 12 weeks in advance of their need for a TWIC card, to avoid delays or inconvenience.
- Drivers will be required to pick their cards up at an enrollment center when they are ready. They cannot be mailed directly to the applicant.
- See Also: Official TSA TWIC Guidelines Home Page
What Is The Cost Of A TWIC Application?
The cost of the TWIC application ranges from $105.25 to $128.00.
How Long Is A TWIC Card Valid For?
TWIC cards are normally good for five years.
Acceptable Forms of Identification For TWIC Applicants:
Names on identification documents must match exactly the name provided on the TWIC application.
In the case of a legal name change, (i.e. marriage), applicants must provide an original or certified name change document (such as marriage certificates and divorce decrees) in addition to the required documentation.
TSA lists of acceptable documentation are 'List A', which includes items such as valid U.S. Passport, NEXUS card, or U.S. Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) or Enhanced Identification Card (EIC), and 'List B', which includes regular driver's license, military ID, birth certificate, and social security card.
For identification purposes, applicants must provide either one item from 'List A', or two items from 'List B'. At least one of the items from 'List B' must be a valid photo I.D.
Drivers born outside of the U.S., or U.S. nationals, will be required to provide proof of citizenship.
What Can Disqualify A Driver From Getting A TWIC Card?
As part of the TWIC process, drivers will undergo a rigorous criminal background check. A drivers criminal history, citizenship, and terrorist watch list status will be examined.
There is a long list of offenses that could disqualify someone from getting a TWIC card, either temporarily or permanently, depending on the offense.
The criteria used for the TWIC background check are the same as for the Hazmat background check.
See Also: TSA Criminal Background Checks
If denied a TWIC by the TSA because of background check issues, some drivers may be eligible to appeal and-or apply for a waiver, and the TSA will send a letter describing how a driver should proceed..
Technology, Security, and Physical Aspects of TWIC Cards:
- TWIC cards contain computer chips with the holders biometric information. Biometric data refers to records used to uniquely identify people, such as fingerprints.
- The TWIC biometric data will also contain a photo of the card holder, to verify against the photo on the card itself.
- TWIC cards also contain a magnetic strip and a bar-code for alternate methods of reading it.
- In theory and ideally, each restricted area would have a TWIC card reader to verify the identity and status of the card holders clearance.
- In facilities without card readers drivers will be required to produce and show the card to security. TWIC cards will be required to be displayed for the entire visit to the secure facility.
- Drivers who do not have TWIC cards will be required to have an escort when inside the facility, and may be responsible for arranging for the escort.