If you or someone you know works for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you’ve probably heard of TWIC cards.
These cards are required by Homeland Security for anyone who needs clearance in the maritime industry, such as a transportation worker or member of the United States Coast Guard.
But how can you get a TWIC card?
And what does it give you access to?
This article will outline everything you need to know about TWIC cards, including the TWIC card application process, who needs a TWIC card, and why.
Table Of Contents
- What is a TWIC Card?
- Who Is Eligible for a TWIC Card?
- What Do You Need for a TWIC Card Application?
- How Long Does the TWIC Card Application Take?
- How Much is a TWIC Card Application?
- How to Check a TWIC Card Application Status
- Where Are TWIC Card Application Locations?
- How to Apply for a TWIC Card
- Wrapping Up
What is a TWIC Card?
TWIC stands for Transportation Worker Identification Credential.
Most workers in the maritime transportation industry need a TWIC credential to perform all their job functions.
The Maritime Transportation Security Act requires a TWIC card for anyone who needs access to secure areas of a maritime facility.
Many facilities have areas that don’t allow unescorted access.
The only way to access those sections is with proper identification.
A TWIC identification card provides an extra layer of security to the United States’ maritime vessels.
The card also helps bolster security in other maritime areas that need added security.
So, before you can perform your duties, you’ll have to go through the TWIC application process.
Who Is Eligible for a TWIC Card?
Only individuals who meet specific eligibility requirements are eligible for a TWIC card.
These individuals include maritime transportation workers, Coast Guard members, and anyone who works on a maritime vessel.
You can read about those requirements below.
To get your own TWIC card, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements to qualify for enrollment.
In addition to a proper application, you need to fall into one of the following citizenship categories to qualify:
- US citizen
- Lawful permanent resident
- Naturalized citizen
- Nonimmigrant legal alien, asylee, or refugee
As part of your TWIC application, the TSA will run a background check and confirm your immigration status.
Your background should be free from all disqualifying criminal offenses and you must fall into one of the lawful permanent resident categories above.
What Do You Need for a TWIC Card Application?
When applying for a TWIC card, you’ll need your application, required documentation, and an application fee.
The TSA offers two ways to apply for your TWIC card.
Your first option is to complete the application in person at a TWIC enrollment center.
Or, if you’d rather not complete your application at a center, you can complete the application online.
The online application will be a bit easier.
However, taking care of it in person at an application center might be best if you need assistance.
You’ll have to provide specific documentation to prove your citizenship status.
You can enter a few pieces of information on the DHS website to find out which documents you’ll need based on your status.
You’ll also need your US driver’s license or passport and birth certificate.
Before your application can be processed by DHS, you’ll have to pay an application fee.
The cost depends on whether you’re a new applicant, qualify for a reduced rate, or need a replacement card.
How Long Does the TWIC Card Application Take?
You might think a TWIC application process would take awhile.
However, on average, it takes about 7-10 days to receive your TWIC card once your application goes through.
However, if the TSA finds any inaccuracies or runs into delivery issues, your card could take a month or more.
How Much is a TWIC Card Application?
The cost of your TWIC card will depend on a few factors.
If you’re filing a new TWIC application, your fee will be higher.
However, the fee for an existing TWIC holder will be discounter.
You’ll need to pay a fee when you submit your TWIC card application.
The fee is as follows:
- New applicant – $125.50
- New applicant (reduced rate) – $105.25
- Replacement card/renewal – $60
You can check TSA’s website to determine whether you’re eligible for a reduced rate.
Are There Other Costs or Fees?
In addition to an application fee, TWIC card holders will have to renew their card every five years to remain active.
Each renewal will cost $60.
The cost is the same if you need to replace your card for any reason.
How to Check a TWIC Card Application Status
Waiting for a TWIC card can be a frustrating process.
Fortunately, DHS provides an easy way to check your application status online or over the phone.
Use the following steps to check your application status and better understand how soon you’ll be approved.
1. Navigate to the Universal Enrollment Services status page.
2. Enter your name, date of birth, and contact information in the form provided.
3. Click “Next.”
4. Follow any prompts of subsequent screens to see your application status.
If you don’t have access to a computer, you can check your application’s status over the phone.
The phone number is (855) 347-8371.
A staff member is available on weekdays from 8 AM to 10 PM EST.
Where Are TWIC Card Application Locations?
When applying for a TWIC card, you’ll need to make an appointment at one of DHS’s application centers.
Fortunately, there are TWIC enrollment offices across the United States.
You can find the location of your nearest enrollment center by using the Enrollment Center Locator online.
How to Apply for a TWIC Card
The enrollment process for a TWIC identification card requires multiple steps.
Take a look at the following guide to better understand how enrollment works and what you’ll need to qualify for a TWIC card.
DHS provides a pre-enrollment option that makes the application process smoother.
Although you can make your appointment at an application center, pre-enrolling online will speed up the process.
You’ll find the TWIC application on the DHS website.
Schedule an Appointment
After submitting your application, DHS requires you to visit an enrollment center.
You’ll need to make an appointment, which you can schedule online when you fill out your application.
Pay Your Fee
Next, you’ll need to pay your fee.
If you’re renewing or replacing your TWIC identification card, the price is $60.
Otherwise, the cost is $125.50 or $105.50, depending on whether you’re eligible for a reduced rate.
Check Your Application Status
After you submit your TWIC application and pay your fee, you can check your application status.
Doing so will tell you how far along your application is.
Checking your application status will also alert you if your application is held up for any reason.
Alternatively, you can use the number listed above to check your status by phone.
Wait for Your Card
Your TWIC card will probably take about two weeks to arrive.
However, if DHS runs into any problems, such as missing information, getting your card could take a bit longer.
The Maritime Transportation Security Act has specific requirements for who needs a TWIC card.
You need to be a maritime worker who requires secure access to perform your job duties.
The enrollment process for TWIC cards doesn’t take long, but it’s necessary for many positions.
Hopefully, this guide gave you all the information you need to apply for your TWIC card.
Do you have experience in the maritime field or with TWIC cards?
Drop a comment below to tell us your experience.