Transportation workers across the United States frequently deliver to or travel through maritime areas.
These workers include truckers, United States Coast Guard members, administrators, and port facility workers.
However, many of the spaces within maritime areas are secure and don’t allow workers unescorted access without credentials.
So, to make it easy to allow transportation workers free travel through secure areas, Congress passed the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) in 2002.
This act requires all workers to carry a TWIC card.
If you’re interested in getting a TWIC card, are a TWIC applicant, or want to check your TWIC card status, keep reading.
An Overview of TWIC Cards
Many people who don’t have experience in the maritime field don’t know what a TWIC card is.
This section will give you a general overview of a TWIC card’s purpose, who qualifies for one, and how to get one.
Then, you’ll learn how to check your TWIC application status.
What is a TWIC Card?
TWIC, or Transportation Worker Identification Credential, is a card distributed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to specific workers in the maritime field.
The TWIC card tells potential employers you’ve been cleared for secure access by the United States government.
All workers who need access to restricted sections of maritime property or vessels need a card to perform their job functions.
Who Gets a TWIC Card?
The TSA will issue you a TWIC card if you require access to a maritime vessel or secure area.
However, only certain maritime transportation workers are eligible to receive a transportation worker identification card.
These workers include truck drivers, port workers, mechanics, nuclear contractors, and administrators, to name a few.
How to Get a TWIC Card
Getting your transportation worker identification credential is pretty simple.
The application process and waiting period for a TWIC card don’t take very long.
Then, once your card is in your hands, you can start applying for jobs that require it.
TWIC applicants don’t have many eligibility requirements, but the conditions are specific.
You’ll have to fill out an application and submit to a background check and threat assessment.
The government will also need to confirm your immigration status or residency.
Only individuals with the following citizenships statuses are eligible to become a TWIC card holder:
- US citizen
- Lawful permanent resident
- Naturalized citizen
- Lawful nonimmigrant legal alien, asylee, or refugee
In addition to holding lawful citizenship, your criminal background check must also be clear.
If the TSA finds any disqualifying criminal offenses or factors, you might not be eligible for your credential.
Disqualifying offenses and factors include crimes relating to espionage, sedition, treason, and terrorism.
However, assuming you meet the above requirements and pass your background check, you should have your credential issued quickly.
The TWIC application requires two steps.
First, you’ll need to fill out the standard application.
Then, you must go to a TWIC enrollment center to provide the necessary documentation and meet with a staff member to process your application.
To speed up the application process, you can pre-enroll by filling out your application online.
Then, simply make an appointment at an application center to wrap up the process.
You can find a list of all TWIC enrollment centers on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
How to Check Your TWIC Card Status
Once you submit your TWIC card application, you should regularly track its status.
Knowing your card’s status will alert you to potential problems, such as missing information or shipping issues.
You can check your TWIC application status with a few simple steps.
1. Go to the Universal Enrollment Services status page.
2. Enter the required information: name, date of birth, and contact information.
3. Click the “Next” button.
4. Fill in any necessary information on the subsequent page if asked.
After you submit your information, you’ll get an update on your application’s status.
Hopefully, it’ll be free from errors.
However, if it looks like something’s amiss or you’re concerned about how long it’s taking, you can contact the TSA.
The phone number is (855) 347-8371.
Once your background check and threat assessment have been deemed clear by the Department of Homeland Security, your enrollment will be complete.
How Long Will it Take to Receive Your New TWIC Card Through the Mail?
When applying for any state or federal credentials, you should allow sufficient time for them to arrive.
Unfortunately, the TSA doesn’t offer any expedited or rush shipping options.
In the case of TWIC, you’ll want to give yourself a 60-day buffer between when you apply for your card and when you need it.
In most cases, and barring any delivery issues, your card will arrive within 7-10 business days.
However, if your address isn’t correct or there are issues with your background check or threat assessment, your application might take longer to process.
What if You Haven’t Received Your TWIC Card Yet?
In most cases, your TWIC card will arrive within 7-10 business days.
However, if anything holds up the application process, such as an incorrect address, it could take longer.
Arrival Grace Period
Unfortunately, the TSA doesn’t provide a grace period for expired TWIC cards.
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the TSA provided a six-month temporary exemption for workers whose cards expired.
However, this was due to social distancing guidelines in government buildings.
As a result, the extension only applied to cards that expired between April 10-July 31, 2020.
As of 2023, you must have a valid TWIC card to access secure areas of maritime facilities.
To ensure you always have an active card, allow at least 60 days to get your application in order before your card expires.
Universal Enrollment Services Website
The quickest and easiest way to check your TWIC application status is on the Universal Enrollment Services website.
There, you can enter your name and contact information. Then, you’ll be able to view your status right away.
Universal Enrollment Services Phone
If you don’t have access to a computer or the Enrollment Services website, you can check your status by phone.
The phone number for TWIC application assistance is (855) 347-8371.
Employees are available to answer your questions Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 10 PM EST.
You’ll have to go through a basic application process if you’re trying to apply for your transportation worker identification credential card.
Then, once the TSA accepts your application and performs your background check and threat assessment, it’s just a matter of waiting.
Fortunately, it won’t take long to get your card.
But you can easily check your application status online or over the phone.
Have you or someone you know had experience applying for or checking their TWIC card status?
Let us know about your experience in the comments below.