A TWIC card is a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, which is required for workers who need access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels. A TWIC card is issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after completing a background check and fingerprinting.
TWIC cards are valid for five years, after which workers must undergo another background check and fingerprinting to renew their card. Maritime workers who need a TWIC card include longshoremen, truck drivers, ship pilots, and anyone else who regularly accesses maritime facilities.
When did the TSA start using TWIC cards?
The TSA began issuing TWIC cards in 2007 in an effort to improve security at maritime facilities and vessels. Prior to the implementation of the TWIC program, workers could gain access to secure areas with little or no background check. The TWIC program was created in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and is one of several measures the TSA has put in place to improve security at maritime facilities.
How to apply for a TWIC card?
Applying for a TWIC card is a multi-step process that includes completing an application, passing a background check, and being fingerprinted. Once the application is complete, workers can schedule an appointment to have their fingerprints taken at a participating enrollment center.
The TSA background check includes a review of the applicant’s criminal history, immigration status, and terrorist watchlist status. After the background check is complete, the applicant will be notified of their TWIC card activation date.
Does everyone need a TWIC card?
TWIC cards are not required for all maritime workers. Some workers, such as those who have a Transportation Security Card (TSC), may already have undergone a background check that satisfies the requirements for a TWIC card.
However, the TSA is working to phase out the TSC program and replace it with the TWIC card. Maritime workers who do not have a TWIC card may be able to get one by completing the application process and passing the background check.
However, maritime workers who have been convicted of certain felonies or have other disqualifying factors may not be eligible for a TWIC card.
TWIC cardholders must keep their card with them at all times when they are working in secure areas of maritime facilities or vessels. If a TWIC cardholder loses their card, they must report the loss to the TSA and go through the replacement process.