| Tuesday, June 10, 2014 |
If you’re a
maritime worker who needs unescorted access to secure ports, you are required
by law to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card.
It’s simple to apply for a TWIC card, and the application fee is minimal, especially
when compared to the negative repercussions that can be enforced if you are
found without a TWIC.
What is a TWIC card and
who needs one?
established TWIC regulations in 2007 in order to enhance security in maritime
transportation. The Department of Homeland Security explains: “If you access a
port as part of your job, chances are you will need a
Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), a biometric ‘smart’
makes sure only trusted people have access to secure areas of the port.”
TWIC cards are
tamper-resistant biometric credentials and contain a digital photo and a
fingerprint of the cardholder. You must
keep it with you because you are required by law to produce your TWIC card upon
request to security guards.
who need unescorted access to secure areas of Maritime Transportation Security
Act-regulated ports and vessels need a TWIC card. Additionally, all
credentialed merchant mariners and any individual who travels on research vessels
anywhere in the U.S. may need a TWIC card.
3 Simple Steps to Apply
for a TWIC Card
Applying for your TWIC is a
- Step 1 – go through the pre-enrollment
procedure online, by calling 866-DHS-TWIC, or by visiting your nearest
enrollment center. To pre-enroll online, visit the Universal Enrollment Services
(UES) website (which offers TWIC pre-enrollment in conjunction with
the Transportation Security Administration). Although pre-enrollment isn’t
necessary, it will save you a lot of time when go to the enrollment
- Step 2 – go to your nearest enrollment
center to complete the application. While there, you’ll have to produce
any requested documents, and get photographed and fingerprinted. They will
then begin a background check on you.
- Step 3 – you will receive a notification
by email or phone that your card is ready. You’ll then go to the
enrollment center, verify your identity, and pick up your card.
TWIC: Costs, Exceptions,
cards cost $132.50 and are valid for five years. The Coast Guard explains in its
Policy Letter 11-15 that mariners who don’t already have a TWIC card and who operate
on board vessels that do not have a security plan are exempt from having to get
a TWIC or renew a merchant mariner credential.
note that even if you are exempt, you’ll still have to send an exemption
statement to the National Maritime Center (NMC). You can visit the TWIC page of the NMC’s website for a
sample exemption letter you can use.
important not to procrastinate in getting your TWIC. 46 U.S. Code 7702 and 7703
provides that if you fail to obtain a TWIC, your mariner's credentials could be
denied or suspended.
Mariner Resources Online
To read about
other topics of interest to mariners, visit the Marine Education Textbooks blog. We
also offer helpful resources such as exam study materials, vessel signage, and