TAFS’ Guide to TWIC Cards: How it Works and How to Get One
A large portion of America’s imported and exported goods move through maritime ports. As stated by the Department of Homeland Security, a TWIC card is required by the MTSA for workers who need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities/vessels for pick up or drop off. These measures aid the security efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard IPS Program strives to minimize the potential risks to U.S. ports, ships, and the global maritime transport system by implementing measures that help the U.S. Coast Guard evaluate anti-terrorism security practices in foreign ports and facilitate discussions for sharing and aligning port security practices bilaterally. A significant portion of America’s imported and exported goods are transported through maritime ports. Truck drivers are responsible for transporting these goods, and they must adhere to strict security measures when delivering or picking up cargo. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not allow unauthorized individuals to access American docks, even if they have a Rate Confirmation. To access ports, truckers may need to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card.
What is a TWIC Card for Truck Drivers?
A TWIC card is a form of security threat assessment that grants authorized individuals access to sensitive areas. The TWIC program provides a government identification similar to a driver’s license, designed to give individuals access to secure facilities within the United States, such as maritime facilities and vessels. TWIC card holders gain CDL driver access to ports without paying for an authorized escort. If your company conducts regular business at these ports, investing in TWIC cards for your trucking company drivers can be beneficial.
7 Benefits of Having a TWIC Card
- TWIC holders get unrestricted access to Secure Areas: A TWIC card is a federal identification card for transportation workers who need unrestricted access to areas included in the Maritime Transportation Security Act, including ports, port facilities, boats, and continental shelf facilities.
- Time and Cost Savings: Investing in a TWIC card can save your business time and money since you won’t need an authorized escort each time you transport goods to or from the port. Sometimes brokers may allow you to negotiate the escort fee into the load price, but this isn’t always the case. It’s better to be safe than sorry and apply for a TWIC card.
- Hazardous Materials Endorsement (Hazmat): A Hazmat endorsement can be added to a TWIC card, providing further benefits to truck drivers. This endorsement authorizes the transportation of hazardous materials and can be beneficial for businesses that transport these types of goods regularly.
- Secure Facilities: The TWIC card provides access to secure facilities and enables truck drivers to carry out their job without interruption.
- Tamper-Resistant and Valid for Five Years: The TWIC card is tamper-resistant and valid for five years, providing a long-term solution to accessing secure areas without needing an authorized escort.
- Reduced risk of security breaches: The TWIC program is designed to provide a security threat assessment for authorized individuals to gain access to sensitive areas. This means that individuals with a TWIC card have undergone a rigorous background check, reducing the risk of security breaches.
- Compliance with regulations: The Maritime Transportation Security Act requires that individuals who require unescorted access to secure areas undergo a security threat assessment. By obtaining a TWIC card, your trucking company is compliant with this regulation and can continue to operate at regulated facilities without interruption.
How to Get a TWIC Card
There are 2 parts to the TWIC application process.
Application – This can be done online or in person at an application center.
In-person Appointment – The TWIC website recommends scheduling an appointment beforehand, but walk-ins are also admitted, depending on staff availability. During the appointment, applicants are required to provide specific documentation (such as your u.s. passport or driver license or birth certificate), submit to fingerprinting, and consent to a facial photograph.
Due to the vigorous background checks performed on a TWIC application, receiving your TWIC card can take up to 12 weeks. Make sure you apply well before it’s actually needed. Once you have your card, you will not need to renew it for 5 years.
TWIC Card Requirements
To be eligible for a TWIC card, applicants must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or nonimmigrant aliens who meet specific requirements. Applicants must also pass a background check that includes criminal offenses, indictments, and lawful status.
The application process also requires specific identification documents, such as a U.S. passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate. Additionally, applicants must pay a fee to cover the cost of processing the application, which can vary based on whether the applicant is a new or renewal applicant.
The Cost of a TWIC Card
The Cost of a TWIC Card (h2)
The cost associated with obtaining a TWIC card is not cheap, but it is a business expense
that can be considered a minor expense when compared to the benefits of having one for your business. The most up-to-date pricing information can be found on the TSA website. As of writing, the new application fee is $125.25, and the renewal fee is $60. Qualifying applicants may be eligible for the new applicant reduced rate of $105.25. It is worth noting that if you happen to lose your valid TWIC card, there is a replacement cost of $60. You can always find the most up to date pricing through the TSA website at https://www.tsa.gov/for-industry/twic.
How to Renew your TWIC Card
These cards do have an expiration date. Renewing your TWIC card is a straightforward process. The same process is followed to renew your card as you did when applying for it as a new applicant. As mentioned, the renewal fee is $60.
Investing in a TWIC card can benefit trucking companies that conduct regular business at ports or other secured areas. The TWIC card provides truck drivers with unrestricted access to secure facilities, saving time and money on authorized escort services. Additionally, a Hazmat endorsement can be added to the card, allowing truck drivers to transport hazardous materials. While the cost of obtaining a TWIC card may seem expensive, it is a minor expense when considering the benefits it provides. The TWIC card is valid for five years and can be renewed with the same straightforward process used for new applications.
(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions about TWIC Cards
What is a TWIC card?
A TWIC card is a form of identification for transportation workers who need access to secure areas, such as ports, port facilities, boats, and continental shelf facilities.
How long does it take to get a TWIC card?
The TWIC application process can take up to 12 weeks to complete due to the vigorous background checks required. Applicants should apply well in advance of needing the card.
What are the requirements for obtaining a TWIC card?
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or nonimmigrant aliens who meet specific requirements. Additionally, applicants must pass a background check that includes criminal offenses, indictments, and lawful status.
How much does a TWIC card cost?
The cost of a TWIC card varies based on whether the applicant is a new or renewal applicant. As of writing, the new application fee is $125.25, and the renewal fee is $60. Qualifying applicants may be eligible for the new applicant reduced rate of $105.25.
How long is a TWIC card valid?
A TWIC card is valid for five years.
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