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Transportation Worker Identification Credential TWIC

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Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)

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Index

 

What is TWIC?

The Transport Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program provides tamper-resistant biometric credentials to maritime workers requiring unescorted access to:

  • secure areas of port facilities
  • secure areas of outer continental facilities
  • vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act

 

and to all U.S. Coast Guard credentialed merchant mariners. It is run by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Coast Guard. To obtain a TWIC, you must:

  • provide biographic information;
  • provide biometric information like fingerprints;
  • sit for a digital photograph;
  • successfully pass a security threat assessment by the TSA.

The TWIC card you are issued at the end of the enrollment process:

  • has your photograph;
  • contains an Integrated Circuit Chip (ICC) that holds your biographic and biometric information, and which can be read by inserting into a reader or holding in front of a contactless reader;
  • also has a magnetic strip like a Credit Card, and a linear barcode on the back of the card which provide alternate methods to read your information:

TWIC Card via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TWIC_card.jpg

[Public Domain]

The goals of the TWIC program are:

  • Positively identify persons who are authorized to enter secure areas of the USA’s maritime transportation system without being escorted;
  • Determine eligibility of persons requiring unescorted access to secure areas of the USA’s maritime transportation system;
  • Ensure unauthorized persons are denied access to secure areas of the USA’s maritime transportation system;
  • Revoke person’s permissions to enter when they fail to maintain their eligibility qualifications.

 

Who Needs a TWIC?

Those workers required to obtain a TWIC include:

  • Credentialed merchant mariners;
  • Port facility employees;
  • Longshore workers;
  • Truck drivers;
  • Any worker requiring unescorted access to secure areas of the maritime transportation system
  • Cruise ship workers are only required to obtain a TWIC if:
    • The cruise ship is U.S. – flagged and the worker requires access to areas designated as ‘secure’ or ‘restricted’;
  • State and local first responders are exempt from TWIC requirements when responding to an emergency;
  • Facility and Vessel owners are required to notify their employees in a timely manner if they are required to have a TWIC in order to gain access to secure areas.

 

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How long is a TWIC Valid for?

TWIC’s are valid for 5 years. If the expiration date is based on a comparable credential such as:

  • FAST card;
  • Merchant mariner document/license;
  • Hazmat Endorsement

then the expiration date will be that of the comparable credential and may be less than 5 years. The expiration date is displayed on the face of your TWIC. You are responsible for knowing how soon before your card expires you should begin the renewal process.

 

Is a TWIC valid at an airport security screening checkpoint?

Yes, your TWIC card is an approved government-issued photo ID.

 

What is the difference between a Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) and a TWIC?

They are two different documents. Each serves a different purpose:

MMC is a certificate of identification, a certificate of service, and a qualification document that shows the individual is qualified to be a merchant mariner because of:

  • Age;
  • Character;
  • Habits of life;
  • Experience;
  • Professional qualifications;
  • Physical fitness;
  • Citizenship.

TWIC is an identification credential that the individual possessing the card is not a terrorist threat. It is issued after the completion of a security threat assessment by the TSA. 

 

Who is eligible for a TWIC?

There are two ways to be eligible for a TWIC:

  1. An individual must be a U.S. citizen, OR
  2. An individual must fall under an eligible immigration category. These are:

1. Special Status Individuals

Status in the United States Required Documentation
LPR and Conditional LPR One of the following:
  1. I-551 Permanent Resident (Green) Card, OR
  2. Foreign Passport and immigrant visa with I-551 annotation, OR
  3. I-327 Re-entry Permit
Citizen of Micronesia (FSM) One of the following:
  1. Micronesian Passport and I-94, OR
  2. Micronesian Passport and Electronic I-94 printout, OR
  3. Micronesian Passport with Admission Stamp
Citizen of the Marshall ISlands (RMI) One of the following:
  1. Marshallese Passport and I-94, OR
  2. Marshallese Passport and Electronic I-94 printout, OR
  3. Marshallese Passport with Admission Stamp
Citizen of Palau One of the following:
  1. Palau Passport and I-94, OR
  2. Palau Passport and Electronic I-94 printout, OR
  3. Palau Passport with Admission Stamp
Refugee One of the following:
  1. I-766 with category A03, OR
  2. I-571, OR
  3. Foreign Passport and I-94
Alien Granted Asylum One of the following:
  1. I-766 with category A05
  2. I-571, OR
  3. Foreign Passport and I-94
Granted Withholding
of Deportation or Removal
One of the following:
  1. I-766 with category A10, OR
  2. Foreign Passport and I-94 
Canadian citizen
who is a commercial driver licensed in Canada
to transport hazardous material across the border
and/or conduct business in the U.S.
  1. Canadian commercial driver’s license AND
  2. I-94 either paper-based or electronic printout AND

One of the following:

  1. Canadian Passport OR
  2. FAST Card identifying Canadian citizenship, OR
  3. NEXUS Card identifying Canadian citizenship, OR
  4. SENTRI Card identifying Canadian citizenship, OR
  5. Enhanced Driver’s License
Mexican citizen
who is a commercial driver licensed in Mexico to transport hazardous material across the border
and/or conduct business in the U.S.
  1. Mexican commercial driver’s license, AND

One of the following:

  1. Mexican Passport and I-94 either paper or electronic printout, OR
  2. FAST Card identifying Mexican citizenship and I-94 either paper or electronic printout, OR
  3. NEXUS Card identifying Mexican citizenship
  4. SENTRI Card identifying Mexican citizenship and I-94 either paper or electronic printout ORBCC or BBBCV

 

2. Non-Immigrant Visa Holders

Non-Immigrant Visa Description Non-Immigrant Visa Description
A-1 Principal Alien and immediate family member of an A-1 A-2 Principal Alien and immediate family member of an A-2
B-1
with ‘Outer Continental Shelf’ or ‘OCS’ annotation on the visa
Business Visitor/Outer Continental Shelf B-1 or B-1/B-2
with ‘TWIC Letter Received’ annotation on the visa
Business Visitor requiring a TWIC
C-1/D Combined transit and crewman Visa    
E-1
Principal Alien, Spouse and Dependent Children of an E-1
Treaty Trader (or Employee of Treaty Trader) and Spouse and Children of Treaty Trader (or Employee of Treaty Trader) E-2
Principal and Spouse of an E-2
Treaty Investor (or Employee of Treaty Investor) and spouse of Treaty Investor (or spouse of Employee of Treaty Investor)
E-3
Principal and Spouse of an E-3
(includes E-3D and E-3R)
Australian Nationals in specialty occupations and Spouse of Australian Nationals in specialty occupations     
F-1
only those sponsored by Marine Administration (MARAD) with letter from MARAD
Only F-1s (students) enrolled at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy or State Maritime Academy AND sponsored by MARAD    
G-1 Principal Alien and immediate family members of G-1 G-3 Principal Alien and immediate family members of G-3
G-4 Principal Alien and immediate family members of G-4    
H1-B Specialty Occupations, DOD workers, Fashion models H1-B1 Issued only to citizens of Chile and Singapore;
Specialty Occupations
J-1 Exchange visitors enrolled in U.S. Merchant Marine Academy or similar State Academy AND sponsored by MARAD J-2 Spouse or Child of J-1
K-3 Spouse of U.S. Citizen who is beneficiary of Form I-130 filed by US Citizen spouse K-4 Child of K-3
L-1 Executive, Managerial (intra-company Transferee), or Specialized Knowledge Professionals L-2 Spouse or Child of L-1
M-1 Students enrolled at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy or similar State maritime academy    
N-8 Parent of SK-3 Special Immigrant N-9 Child of N-8 SK-1, SK-2, or SK-4 Special Immigrant
NATO-1 through NATO-6 Principal Alien and immediate family member of NATO-1 through NATO-6    
O-1
including O-1A and O-1B
Extraordinary Ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, Athletics or Extraordinary Achievement in Film/Television    
R-1 Religious Workers sponsored by MARAD     
S-7 Spouse, unmarried children, and parents of witnesses/informants    
T-1 through T-5 Victim, spouse, child, parent, or unmarried sibling of victim of severe form of trafficking in persons    
TN Trade visas for Canadian and Mexican Business persons seeking to engage in professional activities under NAFTA    
TPS Temporary Protected Status    
U-1 through U-5 Victim, Spouse, Child, Parent, or unmarried Sibling, of Certain Criminal Activity    
V-1 pouse of LPR who is principal beneficiary of Form I-130 filed prior to December 21, 2000 V-2 Child of LPR who is principal beneficiary of Form I-130 filed before December 21, 2000
V-3 Derivative child of V-1 or V-2    
Family Unity Program
under 8 CFR 274a. 12(a) 13 and 14
Family Unity Program    

Contact IMMIgroup for information on documentation required in each of the non-immigrant status cases listed above.

 

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How to Obtain a TWIC

 

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Step 1: Gather documents

US Citizens or US Nationals born inside the United States:

Provide an original or certified copy of your identity documentation when you enroll. An original or certified copy must have been prepared by one of the following:

  • A Federal authority, or
  • A State authority, or
  • A Tribal authority, or
  • A County authority, or
  • A Municipal authority, or
  • An Outlying possession,
  • Notarized copies are NOT acceptable.

The name on your application must be exactly the same as your name on your identity documents unless you can provide an original or certified copy of a name change document like a marriage document. If you can, provide 1 document from List A. If not, provide 2 documents from List B, one of which must be a valid photo ID

 

List A:

All documents listed must be unexpired:

 

List B:

You must present 2 List B documents one of which is a valid photo ID:

  1. Valid Photo ID: these include: unexpired unless otherwise indicated:
    • Driver’s License issued by a State or outlying possession of the U.S.;
    • Temporary Driver’s License plus expired Driver’s License;
    • Photo ID issued by Federal government, State, or outlying possession of the U.S.;
    • U.S. Military ID Card;
    • U.S. Retired Military ID Card;
    • U.S. Military Dependent’s ID Card;
    • Native American Tribal Document with photo;
    • DHS Identification Credential;
    • TSA Identification Credential;
    • TWIC Identification Credential;
    • Merchant Mariner Credential, MMC;
    • Expired U.S. Passport within 12 months of expiration.
  2. Other List B Documents:
    • U.S. Birth Certificate;
    • U.S. Social Security Card;
    • U.S. Military Discharge Papers (DD-214).

 

U.S. Citizens or Nationals born outside the U.S.

List A:

All documents listed must be unexpired:

 

List B:

You must present 2 List B documents one of which is a valid phot ID:

  1. Valid Photo ID: these include: unexpired unless otherwise indicated:
    • Driver’s License issued by a State or outlying possession of the U.S.;
    • Temporary Driver’s License plus expired Driver’s License;
    • Photo ID issued by Federal government, State, or outlying possession of the U.S.;
    • U.S. Military ID Card;
    • U.S. Retired Military ID Card;
    • U.S. Military Dependent’s ID Card;
    • Native American Tribal Document with photo;
    • DHS Identification Credential;
    • TSA Identification Credential;
    • TWIC Identification Credential;
    • Merchant Mariner Credential, MMC;
    • Expired U.S. Passport within 12 months of expiration.
  2. Other List B Documents:
    • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240);
    • Certification of Report of Birth Abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545);
    • U.S. Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561);
    • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570);
    • U.S. Citizen Identification Card (I-179 or I-197);
    • Expired U.S. passport within 12 months of expiration.

Note: An expired U.S. passport must be presented with at least one other List B document.

Note: U.S. mariners who apply for USCG-issued credentials may be asked to provide additional documentation.

 

Step 2: Enroll

 

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There are several steps to enrolling in the TWIC program to obtain your card:

First use the Enrollment Center Locator to find a center near you.

Next, schedule an appointment by calling the Universal Enrollment Services, or UES, Call Center at:

855-347-8371 Monday through Friday 8AM to 10PM EST

While most enrollment centers accept walk-ins, you are encouraged to book an appointment to save time.

At your appointment at the enrollment center – or as a walk-in – you will:

  • Complete a TWIC Disclosure and Certification form. You will have to answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to 6 questions in Part A: Acknowledgements and 7 questions in Part B: Criminal History. Together Part A and Part B make up the Disclosure part of the form. Next you will have to sign and certify that the information is accurate and provided in good faith. This is the Certification part of the form. If you use a Translator they will have to sign the form as well and provide contact information.
  • Pay the enrollment fee of $128 unless you hold a Hazardous Materials Endorsement, HME, card or a FAST card, in which case you may pay the reduced $105.25. If you pay the reduced fee you must bring your FAST or HME card and your TWIC card will expire on the expiration date of your FAST or HME card.
  • You can pay with Credit Card, Money Order, Company check, or Certified/Cashier’s check. You cannot pay with cash or personal check. Checks or Money Orders must be made out to ‘Morpho Trust USA’ and be for the exact amount.
  • You must provide biographic information and a complete set of fingerprints, although there are procedures in place if you are an amputee and are unable to provide complete or any fingerprints
  • You must sit for a Digital Photograph. All TWIC cards must have a photograph to enable visual identification. Unless worn daily for religious reasons you will have to remove all hats and headgears for the photo. A ball cap, knit cap, or do-rag must be removed for the photo. You may wear eyeglasses if used on a daily basis but there must be no reflections that obscure the eyes. Tinted glasses are forbidden unless accompanied by a medical receipt.
  • Remember to ensure you bring the required documentation as listed in Step 1 to your appointment at the enrollment center.

 

Step 3: Security Threat Assessment

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will do a background search on your past activities including:

  • Checks against criminal history records;
  • Checks against terrorist watch lists;
  • Checks against immigration databases.

If you are deemed an imminent threat to the transportation system or to national security, the TSA may inform your employer. The TSA does not generally give the reasons for being disqualified to your employer, although providing limited information in the interests of security may be done on occasion. This information on why you are disqualified may be provided to:

  • Your employer;
  • The transportation facility you are seeking access to;
  • The vessel owner;
  • The Coast Guard Captain of the port.

At the current time, the Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) is not considered a comparable endorsement to the TWIC card because the U.S. Coast Guard no longer conducts threat assessments before issuing an MMC. This is because the MMC is issued after the TWIC card is issued and is reported to the Coast Guard. Should the Coast Guard begin to do security threat assessments before issuing MMC cards then this issue will be re-evaluated.

If you have already been issued a FAST Card or an HME card, then you have already undergone a security threat assessment and are eligible to pay the reduced $105.25 fee. Remember to bring your FAST or HME card with you to the enrollment center.

 

Disqualifications

The following activities or criminal history may disqualify you:

  • Any information gained from Interpol, or other international information, that the TSA decides disqualifies you from being a low-risk worker;
  • Any terrorist watch-lists or related government databases that the TSA decides disqualifies you;
  • Any other information relevant to your application and your identity that the TSA decides disqualifies you;
  • Any information relating to violations of transportation security regulatory requirements, including:
    • Security-related offences at an airport;
    • Security-related offences on board an aircraft;
    • Security-related offences at a maritime port;
    • Security-related offences in connection with air cargo;
    • Regulatory violations of any other kind.

 

Permanent Disqualification

  • Espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage;
  • Sedition or conspiracy to commit sedition;
  • Treason or conspiracy to commit treason;
  • Federal or equivalent State crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism;
  • A Transportation Security Incident, TSI, related crime. A TSI includes: significant loss of life, environmental damage, disruption of a transportation system, and economic disruption not related to legal work stoppages;
  • Improper transportation of hazardous material;
  • Improper possession, use, distribution, manufacture, etc. of explosive materials
  • Murder;
  • Bomb threats ,whether malicious, false, or of any other kind;
  • Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) of 1961 which includes any acts made while participating in an ongoing criminal organization;
  • Attempts to commit: espionage, sedition, treason, or terrorism;
  • Conspiracy or attempt to commit: TSI violations, Improper hazardous material transportation, Improper explosives possession etc. , Murder, Bomb threats, R.I.C.O. violations.

 

Temporary Disqualification

The following felonies will disqualify you if you were convicted, pled guilty including “no contest”, or found not guilty by reason of insanity within 7 years of the date you apply, OR, if you have been convicted and then released from prison within 5 years from the date you apply:

  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, etc. of a firearm or other weapon;
  • Extortion;
  • Fraud, including identity fraud, and money laundering and any other dishonesty – with the exception of welfare fraud, and passing bad checks;
  • Bribery;
  • Smuggling;
  • Immigration violations;
  • Distribution, possession with intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance;
  • Arson;
  • Kidnapping or Hostage taking;
  • Rape or aggravated sexual assault;
  • Assault with intent to kill;
  • Robbery;
  • Fraudulent entry into a seaport;
  • Violations of R.I.C.O. that are not deemed permanently disqualifying;
  • Voluntary manslaughter;
  • Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the crimes listed here in this sub-section.

An applicant will be disqualified if they are wanted or under indictment in any civilian or military jurisdiction for a felony in the above two sub-sections A and B, until the want or warrant is released or until the indictment has been dismissed.

 

Appealing a Rejection

 

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If you are denied a TWIC card, you will be notified of the reasons for the denial and you will be given instructions on how to apply for an Appeal or a Waiver. You may also re-apply if your initial disqualifying offense is no longer applicable, as long as there are no secondary disqualifying events.

If a disqualifying crime was expunged from your record you may apply for a TWIC. A conviction is considered expunged when “the conviction is removed from the individual’s criminal history record and there are no legal disabilities or restrictions associated with the expunged conviction, other than the fact that the conviction may be used for sentencing purposes for subsequent convictions.” Credentialed Mariners or those applying to become a credentialed mariner must report expunged convictions on their applications for an MMC in order to receive the MMC card.

To apply for an appeal or waiver you do not need legal knowledge or legal representation. It is a straightforward process that begins with a typed or handwritten request for:

An Appeal should be requested if you feel that the denial was based on:

  • Incorrect court records, or
  • Incorrect information provided when you enrolled for a TWIC.

You may request copies of the material that TSA used to make their determination in order to make your case.

A Waiver should be requested if you have a disqualifying offence and:

  • Meet the description of mental incapacity, or
  • Are an Alien under temporary protected status.

You must describe why you are no longer a security threat and include information for the TSA that could include:

  • The circumstances surrounding the conviction;
  • The length of time you have been out of jail;
  • Your work and personal history since the conviction;
  • Whether you have completed probation or done community service;
  • References from Employers, Probation Officers, Parole Officers, Clergy, etc.;
  • Court records or Official Medical Documents relating to your mental health;
  • Information attesting to your being an Alien with Temporary Protected Status.

Your Appeal or Waiver Requests must be sent to the TSA within 60 days of the day you receive your Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility Letter from the TSA. You may send a letter to the TSA requesting an extension for your appeal or waiver. Requested extensions are automatically granted. If you do not request an extension or respond within 60 days with a request to appeal or waive, the determination of ineligibility will be final.  

Send your requests for an Appeal or a Waiver to:

Fax

540-710-2763 or 540-710-2783

 

By U.S. Postal Service

Registered Mail is acceptable.

Transportation Security Administration
TSA TWIC Processing Center
P.O. Box 8118
Fredericksburg, VA 22404-8118

Remember to provide the cover sheet that would have been included with your Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter from the TSA and to include any supporting documentation.

Any access to secure areas if you have received an initial determination of ineligibility, pending the appeal or waiver process, will depend on the USCG Port Capitan.

 

Getting Your Card

At the time of your enrollment you will be advised as to how you will be notified when your TWIC card has been issued:

  • By phone, OR
  • By email.

Unless you request that your TWIC card be shipped to another enrollment center, you normally pick up your TWIC card at the same enrollment center that you enrolled in. The current waiting time is 6 to 8 weeks until you receive your card. You must then either book an appointment at the center where your card is being held or go as a walk-in and activate your card.

Activating your card involves:

  • Having your identity verified with a government issued photo ID that you must bring with you;
  • Matching your fingerprint to the one stored on your TWIC card;
  • Inputting a Personal Identification Number or PIN, and
  • Reviewing and accepting your cardholder responsibilities (see below).

Go here to check the status of your card and to schedule a pick-up of your card. Follow these best practices to ensure your TWIC card functions as expected:

  • Carry it in a hard plastic cover;
  • Do not expose it to direct sunlight;
  • Do not flex, bend, or punch a hole in the card;
  • Do not carry the card in your wallet as that subjects it to bending;
  • Do not laminate, apply duct tape endlessly, or affix labels to the card;
  • Do not place the card near a magnet or in a strong magnetic field.

 

Cardholder Responsibilities

  • Your TWIC card is property of the TSA;
  • If your TWIC is lost or damaged notify the TSA immediately by calling 855-347-8371;
  • Never share your PIN with anyone. If you suspect some other person knows your PIN call 855-347-8371 and arrange to change your PIN;
  • To renew a TWIC you must appear at any enrollment center, at least 30 days before the expiration date;
  • If after being issued a TWIC you are disqualified at a later date for any reason you must surrender your TWIC to the TSA. Failure to do so may result in civil penalties;
  • You must surrender your TWIC within 24 hours if:
    • Convicted, indicted, wanted, or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a disqualifying crime as listed above;
    • You no longer meet your immigration status;
    • You are adjudicated as lacking mental capacity or are involuntarily committed to a mental health facility;
    • You engage in terrorist activity or otherwise pose a security threat;
  • If the TSA determines that you pose an immediate threat to transportation security, national security, or a threat of terrorism your TWIC may be invalidated.

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Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME)

If you are a truck driver, or anyone else with a TWIC whose job involves transporting materials classed as "hazardous", you will also need a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) for your commercial Driver's License, which will show that you have passed the required security checks.

Get Your HME

Helpful Resources: