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Frequently Asked Questions

Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC®)


  • Click here to learn more about an issue related to improperly encoded TWICs and to determine if this issue affects your TWIC.




What is TWIC?

  • TWIC is a common identification credential for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA -regulated facilities and vessels, and all mariners holding Coast Guard-issued credentials. Individuals who meet TWIC eligibility requirements will be issued a tamper-resistant credential containing the worker's biometric (fingerprint template) to allow for a positive link between the card and the individual. (

How was TWIC created?

  • Congress directed the federal government, through the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), to issue a biometric security credential to individuals who require unescorted access to secure areas of facilities and vessels and all mariners holding Coast Guard- issued credentials or qualification documents. Controlling access to secure areas is critical to enhancing port security. (

How will the TWIC be used?

  • During the initial rollout, TWIC will be used for visual identity checks. TWIC holders will present their cards to authorized personnel, who will compare the holder to his or her photo, inspect security features on the TWIC and evaluate the card for signs of tampering. The Coast Guard will conduct vessel and facility inspections and use hand -held readers during spot checks to ensure credentials are valid and identity is verified. A second rulemaking will establish access control requirements, including the use of electronic readers by certain vessel and facility owners and operators.

Who must get a TWIC?

  • Coast Guard-credentialed merchant mariners, port facility employees, long shore workers, truck drivers, and others requiring unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels regulated by MTSA are required to get a TWIC. (
  • Are individuals who work on cruise ships required to get a TWIC?
    • Most cruise ships that call on U.S. ports are foreign flagged and do not have secure areas as defined by MTSA, therefore individuals working on those ships would not require a TWIC. For U.S. flagged cruise ships, if an individual requires unescorted access to areas designated as 'secure' or 'restricted', a TWIC is required. If the individual only requires access to 'passenger access' areas, a TWIC is not required.

Does TWIC apply to mutual aid, first responders, etc. in the event of an emergency?

  • State and local emergency responders are exempt from the requirement to have a TWIC when they are responding to an emergency. Additional guidance has been included in the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC).

Where do I go for 'official' TWIC enrollment information and services?

  • TWIC information and resources are available on the official TWIC Program web site ( and through the UES Help Desk at 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern, at no additional cost to the enrollment fee.

Who can I reach to get information or assistance if I believe my privacy or personal information was compromised from a vendor providing TWIC services (that are not endorsed by the Federal Government)?

  • Federal Trade Commission, Privacy and Identity Protection
    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has comprehensive information on identity theft at
  • TSA Privacy Office
    If you suspect your personal information is being misused in conjunction with the program, please contact the TSA Privacy Office:
    Or send a letter to:
    Transportation Security Administration
    TSA-36 OSC Privacy
    Transportation Security Administration
    601 South 12th Street
    Arlington, VA 20598
  • TSA Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) requests (access to one's own information):
    Individuals may request access to their information by submitting a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) request to TSA in writing by mail to the following address:
    Transportation Security Administration
    TSA-20 OSC Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
    Transportation Security Administration
    601 South 12th Street
    Arlington, VA 20598

How will I be notified to get a TWIC?

  • Facility and vessel owners/operators are required to notify employees of their responsibility to possess a TWIC based on their need to have unescorted access to secure areas of vessels and facilities. Notification should be provided in a timely manner to give individuals sufficient time to complete the entire enrollment process by the compliance date.
  • Owners/operators are encouraged to provide this same information to personnel who are not facility or vessel employees (e.g. contractors, truck drivers). Coast Guard Captains of the Port (COTP) will also be working with the local Area Maritime Security Committees (AMSC) to inform individuals of TWIC requirements and compliance dates.

Can contractors apply for a TWIC if they anticipate bidding on or receiving a contract that would require unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA-regulated vessels or facilities?

  • Contractors (or individuals who are not direct employees of a port owner or operator, but rather are 'contract' employees) can apply for a TWIC as long as they meet the TWIC eligibility requirements and, at a minimum, are expecting to pursue contracts at MTSA-regulated vessels and facilities where the owners or operators have determined a need for unescorted access in secure areas. If circumstances change and the individual no longer meet certain conditions, they are required to surrender their TWIC.

Will the facility ID card, which would be based on the TWIC, be acceptable for access to secured areas?

  • Regulations allow a plant or facility owner to use their own plant/facility specific card as their access control measure, as long as they ensure individuals without a TWIC cannot gain unescorted access to secure areas and the TWIC is checked at least once before the specific card is reissued/accepted. There is no requirement to check/verify TWICs for access to restricted areas, only secure areas.

What are the training requirements for Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) holders who act as escorts for individuals who do not hold TWICs in secure areas of Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) regulated vessels, facilities, and OCS facilities?

  • TWIC holders who escort non-TWIC holders in secure areas of MTSA regulated vessels, facilities, and OCS facilities are required to meet the training requirements listed in 33 CFR 104.225, 105.215, or 106.220 (Security training for all other vessel/facility/OCS facility personnel). Specifically, escorts must have knowledge of owner/operator's escorting procedures, and the procedures and contingency plans determined by the owner/operator if an escorted individual is engaged in activities other than those for which escorted access was granted.

    While monitoring or side-by-side physical accompaniment must be conducted by individuals who possess TWICs, escorts are not considered "facility personnel with security duties" as described in 33 CFR 104.220 or 105.210 or 106.215.

How long is the TWIC card valid?

  • TWICs remain valid for five years, unless the expiration date was based on a comparable credential -- Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card, Merchant Mariner Document/License, or Hazmat Endorsement. The expiration date is displayed on the face of the TWIC. TWIC holders are responsible for knowing when to begin the renewal process. For individuals who pay the reduced fee, the expiration date of their TWIC will be the same expiration date of their comparable credential.

When will I be required to have a TWIC?

  • All workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels and all U.S. credentialed mariners are required to have a TWIC.

Where can I find TWIC documents translated in other languages?

  • The TWIC program provides communications materials in Spanish and English for the following areas:
    • UES Call Center: 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern.
    • The TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form has been translated into 13 languages and also accommodates the use of a translator in order to assist applicants. Click here for more information.

Will these rules affect all Merchant Mariners?

  • Yes. All credentialed U.S. merchant mariners must obtain a TWIC.

What measures are in place to protect small businesses, such as small passenger vessels?

  • TSA and the Coast Guard worked with the Small Business Administration to minimize adverse financial and operational impacts on small businesses wherever possible. The rule includes provisions that allow MTSA-regulated passenger vessels (excluding cruise ships) to establish employee access areas for crewmembers that do not require unescorted access to secure areas such as the pilot house and engine room. Employee access areas are typically include locations where waiters, entertainers and galley staff work and live. This provision reduces the impact on employees who rarely need to use spaces beyond those designated for support of passengers, while maintaining the integrity of a vessel's secure areas. (

How do I know my personal information is safeguarded?

  • Privacy and the security of your personal information are critical to the TWIC program. Information collected at the enrollment center (including the TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form and identity or immigration-related documents) is scanned into the TWIC system for the security threat assessment process. To ensure privacy is protected, applicant data is encrypted and stored at a secure government facility using methods that protect the information from unauthorized retrieval or use.

Will this credential be required for all modes of transportation?

  • At this time, the TWIC program is focused on the maritime mode, specifically MTSA-regulated facilities and vessels.

Is TWIC an acceptable form of ID at an airport screening checkpoint?

  • Yes, the TWIC card is an approved government issued photo ID.

If a TWIC holder’s name changes are they required to obtain a new TWIC under their new name?

  • Yes. TSA completes a security threat assessment (STA) based on the name and identity documents presented at the time of enrollment; this STA is tied to that specific identity. In the event of a name change, the individual is required to re-enroll with the information and documentation supporting the name change; this would trigger a new STA to be performed on that identity.

Are suffixes and prefixes printed on a TWIC card?

  • No. TSA does not print a prefix (e.g. Mr., Mrs., Dr.) or a suffix (e.g. Sr., Jr., III).

Who can I contact to get more information on TWIC?

  • Web site:
  • UES Call Center: 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern.
  • Please visit for answers relating to Coast Guard enforcement and TWIC implementation.
  • Owners/operators/FSOs/VSOs/CSOs are encouraged to seek guidance directly from their local Captain of the Port TWIC action officer.

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

  • The MMC and the TWIC serve two separate purposes for a mariner. The MMC serves as an individual’s qualification document, certificate of identification and certificate of service. The TWIC is an identification credential indicating that an individual does not pose a terrorism threat. When a Mariner serves on a vessel requiring a vessel security plan, he/she is required to have been issued a TWIC. TWIC is issued after the completion of a security threat assessment. MMC is issued after an applicant demonstrates he/she is qualified as to age, character, habits of life, experience, professional qualifications, physical fitness and citizenship.

Where do I get more information related to the MMC?


Where can I read the TWIC rule?

  • The TWIC Final Rule is available on TSA's website and more information on port security is available at the U.S. Coast Guard's Homeport site.

How was the public involved in the rulemaking?

  • In addition to direct involvement from the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee, TSA and the U.S. Coast Guard held four public meetings around the nation and received more than 1,900 comments from workers, port owners and operators, small businesses and others who would be affected by the new program. All comments were carefully considered and significant changes to the rule were incorporated as a result.

Improperly Encoded TWICs

What is the issue with improperly encoded TWICs?

  • Every TWIC contains a Federal Agency Smart Credential Number (FASC-N) on its integrated circuit chip.The FASC-N uniquely identifies each card.When a TWIC is read by a card reader, the FASC-N is one of the pieces of information the reader obtains from the card.Due to a card production system error, the number of characters in the FASC-N on some TWICs was shortened (truncated), causing readers to not recognize the card as a valid TWIC. Click here to access the TSA notification bulletin on this issue.

How many TWICs are affected by this?

  • TSA estimates that the integrated circuit chips (ICCs) on approximately 26,000 previously issued TWICs were improperly encoded and may not work with TWIC readers.

What time frame did this problem occur?

  • The system error causing the FASC-N to be truncated was corrected on April 5, 2011 and TWIC issued before this date (April 5, 2011) could potentially have this issue and as a result, TWIC readers could have problems reading these cards.TWICs issued after that date do not have truncated FASC-Ns.

How can I determine if my TWIC is affected by this issue?

  • The TWICs that have this problem can be identified by the 8-digit Agency Serial Number (ASN) that is printed on the back of the TWIC.The ASN is on the bottom left side of the back of the card (on the same line as the numbers ‘7099’ which appear on the bottom right.) Click here, to see if the ASN on your TWIC matches a number on the TSA list.If it does, then your card has a truncated FASC-N and you may need to obtain a replacement depending on how you use your card.

What do I do if my card has a truncated FASC-N?

  • If you confirm that your TWIC has this problem (and is on the TSA list), then you have two options:
  • If you currently do not use your TWIC with a card reader, then you do not need to get a replacement right away—you will be able to get one later.
  • If you currently need to use your TWIC with a card reader and you are experiencing problems, you should get a replacement TWIC as soon as possible

How do I get a replacement?

  • If your TWIC is identified on the TSA list of cards with truncated FASC-Ns you can receive a no-cost replacement by calling the UES Call Center at 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern. Please identify that your card has a truncated FASC-N, and the Customer Service Representative will assist you with ordering a replacement.You must designate the enrollment center where you will pick up your replacement TWIC.You must turn in your TWIC with the truncated FASC-N when you return to pick up your replacement TWIC.

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Important Information For Employers

 Can employers require their employees to enroll for a TWIC even if their job does not require them to have unescorted access to facilities and vessels regulated by Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA)? (

  • No. All applicants must certify that they need a TWIC to perform their job. Applicants either have to currently be, or are applying to be, a person requiring unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels regulated by MTSA; or they are a commercial HME driver licensed in Canada or Mexico. Applicants also certify that the information they provide during the enrollment process is true, complete, and correct. If required, civil or criminal action may be taken if an individual provides false statements (per 49 CFR 1570.5 and 18 U.S.C. 1001). (

Can a TWIC be confiscated, or taken from an individual, by an employer?

  • Per the Code of Federal Regulations 49 CFR 1572.19(c), the TWIC® is the property of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and held by the individual to whom the card was issued. The TWIC allows an individual worker to gain employment with any company that requires access to secure areas within a Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) of 2002 regulated facility, and should not be taken from the worker. There is one exception to this standard: an employer must retrieve a TWIC from an alien who is working pursuant to a visa listed in 49 CFR 1572.105(a)(7) when the visa expires or when the work authorized by the visa expires. In this case, the employer must return the TWIC to TSA.

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What are the eligibility requirements for a TWIC?

  • An individual must be a U.S. citizen or fall into an eligible immigration category (click here for immigration categories) and can not have been convicted of certain crimes. In addition, individuals cannot be connected to terrorist activity or lack mental capacity.

What if I do not meet the eligibility requirements?

  • Applicants who are denied a TWIC will be sent a letter explaining the reason for denial and instructed on how to apply for an appeal or waiver. See the disqualifications, waivers, and appeals section for more information. Once issued a TWIC, the applicant has an obligation to inform TSA if they are no longer eligible to hold a TWIC.


What immigration categories are eligible to apply for a TWIC?

  • Click here for the eligible immigration categories. (pdf, 71 KB)
  • What documents are required in order to verify my immigration status?
    • Click here for a listing of acceptable documents that verify a lawful immigration status. Applicants should bring these documents with them to the enrollment center to facilitate efficient processing. (pdf, 71 KB)
  • Which Employee Authorization Card/Document codes would permit me to hold a TWIC?
    • A03- Refugee
    • A05- Alien Asylum
    • A12- Temporary Protected Status
    • A13 & A14- Family Unity Program
    • C19- Temporary Protected Status

Will a non-U.S. citizen be able to get a TWIC?

  • The TWIC regulation includes a list of various immigration categories that are eligible to apply for a TWIC, including nationals, refugees, lawful non-immigrants with unrestricted work authorization, and certain professionals with restricted work authorization. Click here to view the listing of eligible immigration categories. (pdf, 71 KB)

Can a U.S. citizen born outside the U.S. receive a TWIC?

  • An applicant that is a U.S. citizen but was born outside the U.S must bring the proper documentation to the enrollment center or they may be initially disqualified related to their immigration status. Click here to review the listing of acceptable documents that the applicant should bring with them to TWIC enrollment (see pages 3 & 4 which covers applicants who are U.S. citizens born outside the United States).

What documents should a commercial driver licensed in Canada or Mexico to transport hazardous materials and/or conduct business in the U.S present at the time of TWIC enrollment?

  • Mexican Citizens
    • Mexican CDL AND
    • Mexican Passport AND I-94 OR
    • FAST Card (identifying Mexican citizenship) AND I-94 OR
    • SENTRI Card (identifying Mexican citizenship) AND I-94 OR
  • Canadians Citizens
    • Canadian Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) AND
    • I-94 (if issued) AND
    • Canadian Passport OR
    • NEXUS Card (identifying Canadian citizenship) OR
    • SENTRI Card (identifying Canadian citizenship) OR
    • FAST Card (identifying Canadian citizenship) OR
    • Enhanced Driver’s License

What is required of TWIC applicants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

What should an applicant do if they receive a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility (PDI) letter due to their citizenship/immigration status?

  • Applicants should follow the instructions in the enclosure section of their PDI letter. Applicants should request an appeal using the TWIC cover sheet and provide valid documentation demonstrating they are one of the categories identified above.

What happens to my TWIC when my lawful nonimmigrant status expires?

  • The applicant must report the disqualifying condition to TSA and surrender the TWIC. In addition, the TWIC becomes invalid if the applicant is in one of the permissible visa categories and the employment for which the visa was granted ends; one of the following then needs to take place:
    • The employer retrieves the TWIC from the applicant and provides it to TSA,
    • The applicant surrenders the TWIC to the employer, or
    • If an employer terminates an applicant working under a nonimmigrant status or the applicant otherwise ceases working for the employer, the employer must notify TSA within five business days and provide the TWIC to TSA if possible.

TWIC annotated B-1 visa

Who can apply for a TWIC annotated B-1 visa?

  • Foreign nationals who perform maritime services in the United States and require access to secure areas of facilities and vessels can apply for this new type of B-1 visa, specifically designed for the TWIC program. These individuals are required to meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the Department of State for a B-1 visa (‘Temporary Visitor for Business’) and are required to provide an official letter from their employer stating that a TWIC is required to perform the individual’s job in the maritime industry. This letter must be provided to the relevant U.S. Embassy or Consulate as part of the individual’s visa application.

What information should be contained in the letter from an employer sponsoring an individual for a TWIC annotated B-1 visa?

  • Details such as the type of work performed by the individual, the location and duration of the work, as well as employer contact information is required if additional information or follow up is necessary. Click here for a sample letter template. (.pdf, 16kb)

Does issuance of the TWIC annotated B-1 visa mean an individual will receive a TWIC?

  • Issuance of the TWIC annotated B-1 visa makes an individual eligible to apply for a TWIC. Once the individual successfully completes the comprehensive TSA security threat assessment and meets the TWIC eligibility requirements, they will be issued a TWIC. Additionally, once presented with a TWIC, access decisions are made entirely by local ports and facilities.

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Are the background checks for a TWIC the same as the background checks conducted for individuals applying for a HME STA?

  • Yes. They have the same eligibility requirements, share a consistent waiver and appeal process, and leverage the same fingerprint-based criminal history records check. As a result, the HME and TWIC STAs have been deemed comparable.

Do applicants with TWICs have to repeat the STA if they are applying for HME STAs?

  • Applicants who apply for an HME STA do not have to pay the full price for an HME STA if they hold a valid TWIC, apply in a State supporting comparability, and they meet the eligibility requirements for that State regarding the length of time prior to the credential expiring (i.e., at least one year or at least four years).  Applicants must fill out the HME STA application online or over the phone, depending on existing application procedures within the State in which the individual is applying, and will verify their eligibility during the application process. An HME STA based on comparability will expire no later than the TWIC STA. Applicants have the option to apply for a full-fee HME STA if they determine it is more cost effective to do so.

If an applicant already has a TWIC and qualifies for a comparable HME STA, what is the application fee?

  • Overall, the application fee is reduced by $19.50. The programmatic portion of the threat assessment fee is reduced by $5, because this is the historical cost of the portion of the threat assessment that is satisfied by previously conducted TSA vetting services. In addition, the $14.50 FBI fee is not required because the applicant is not submitting fingerprints for a criminal check.

  • For individuals licensed in the 38 States and the District of Columbia that use the TSA-contracted agent for this program, the HME STA application fee is $86.50 (this fee covers the TSA threat assessment only and the State may charge additional fees for the HME application process, including testing and license issuance). If an applicant already has a TWIC and qualifies for a comparable HME STA, the application fee is reduced by $19.50 to $67.00.

  • All HME STA applicants must pay the fees that cover the other components of the HME Threat Assessment Program (HTAP), including application fees and any other fees charged by their respective States for license testing and issuance.

  • Note: Individuals should consider the expiration date of their current TWIC in order to determine if it is more cost effective to apply for a full or a comparable/reduced fee HME STA.

Since HME requirements are specific to the individual States, are all 50 States and the District of Columbia offering individuals who hold TWICs a reduced fee when applying for an HME STA?

  • No. Due to specific State statutes, license cycles, and system limitations, not all States will be able to offer a reduced fee for the HME STA to their applicants.  Applicants in a State that can offer comparability will be provided notice during the application process, and the application itself will offer individuals the option to pay a reduced fee by electing to use a comparable TWIC STA. The States that offer comparability are listed below. Note that some States require at least one year remaining before expiration on a comparable STA, whereas others require at least four years remaining before expiration. Applicants can click here to confirm their eligibility online with TSA during the HME STA application process.

HME STA applicants are eligible to use their TWIC STA as a comparable STA during the application process in the following States (including District of Columbia) as long as they hold a valid TWIC STA with at least one year remaining before expiration:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Applicants in all States above, except Virginia, can confirm their eligibility online with TSA during the HME STA application by clicking here. The State of Virginia will confirm the eligibility of applicants online with TSA as part of its HME STA application process.

HME STA applicants are eligible to use their TWIC STA as a comparable STA during the application process in the following States as long as they hold a valid TWIC STA with at least four years remaining before expiration:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Vermont

If TWIC holders choose to use comparable HME STAs, when will their HMEs expire?

  • The HME will be issued with the same expiration date as the individual’s TWIC STA. Therefore, individuals should consider the expiration date of their current TWIC STA to determine if it is cost effective to apply for a comparable HME STA.

How do TWIC holders who are applying for HME STAs know if the State where they are applying for the HME STA offers comparability?

  • Please see the listing of States above. Applicants can ask States about comparability during the application process, or they can contact the UES Help Desk at 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern. Additionally, the online application (click here to view) for the HME STA will identify whether particular States offer comparability once applicants specify the State in which they are licensed.

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  • What is the process for obtaining a TWIC?
  1. Gather documents 2. Enroll 3. Pick Up TWIC
  • Applicants are required to bring identity documents to the enrollment center

Click here to access the latest listing of acceptable documents (to include those documents required to prove immigration status if not born in the U.S.).

• Appointments to visit an enrollment center can only be made via phone by calling 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern.

• Applicants must visit an enrollment center where they will:

- Complete a TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form

- Pay the enrollment fee

- Provide biographic information and a complete set of fingerprints

- Sit for a digital photograph

• Applicants will be notified by email or phone, as specified during enrollment, when their TWIC is available at the enrollment center

• Applicants must return to the center at which they enrolled to pick up their TWIC (unless they specify another enrollment center at the time of enrollment)

• TWICs will be issued to workers 6 – 8 weeks after enrollment

• Applicants can check the status of their card and schedule a pick-up appointment by clicking here
  • How long does enrollment take?
    • The enrollment process takes approximately 15 minutes. There may be a wait time at the enrollment center depending on the amount of workers choosing to enroll at any particular time.

  • What are the addresses and hours of operation for the enrollment centers?
    • Click here to get enrollment site locations and hours of operation

  • Are mobile enrollment and activation services available to stakeholders?
    • Click here to get information about mobile and enroll your own services.

  • How do I make an appointment?
    • TWIC enrollment centers are transitioning to a new enrollment provider as part of the TSA Universal Enrollment Services (UES) initiative. Appointments can only be made via phone by calling 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern.
  • Are appointments required for enrolling?
    • No. Appointments are encouraged to save applicants time, but are not required and walk-ins are welcome.
  • Can hats or religious headgear be worn for the photo taken during TWIC enrollment?
    • Unless worn daily for religious reasons, all hats or headgear should be removed for the photo. For clarification, a ball cap, knit cap, or do-rag is not considered religious headgear. In all cases, no item or attire should cover or otherwise obscure any part of the face.
  • Can eyeglasses be worn for the photo?
    • Eyeglasses worn on a daily basis can be worn for the photo. However, there should be no reflections from the eyeglasses that obscure the eyes. Dark glasses or nonprescription glasses with tinted lenses are not acceptable unless they are needed for medical reasons. A medical certificate may be required.
  • Are photographs required for TWIC enrollment?
    • Since the TWIC serves as a form of visual identification, a photograph is required for all applicants.

Required Documentation

  • What identity documentation is required for a TWIC?
    • TWIC applicants are required to provide identity verification documents to complete the enrollment process. The attached document covers U.S. citizens born within the United States, as well as U.S. citizens born abroad. Applicants are required to present acceptable documentation from this list at the time of enrollment. Click here to access the latest listing of acceptable documents. Documents presented during enrollment should not contain any typographical or data errors.  Please note that (with the exception of legal name changes described in the following question) if you are presenting more than one identity document, the information on both documents should match (for example, name and date of birth) or you will not be allowed to enroll.

Applicants are encouraged to complete the TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form and bring it with them to the enrollment center.

  • What if I have legally changed my name and it does not match the name on my identity documents
    • If you have legally changed your name and wish to enroll with your new legal name, you must provide a court-ordered name change document in addition to the required documentation from List A or List B. For example, if you present a U.S. birth certificate with your maiden name and a driver’s license with your married name, you must also provide a marriage certificate that shows the link between the names on the birth certificate and the driver’s license.
  • What is the purpose of the TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form?
    • The TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form provides additional information to the applicant on the security threat assessment process, as well as a notice on privacy and paperwork reduction. The applicant is also required to review and certify statements pertaining to eligibility for a TWIC, military service, and, once a TWIC is issued, his or her responsibility to disclose information to TSA that would disqualify them from holding a TWIC. The applicant is required to sign and date the form. If participating in the process, the helper/translator will also sign the form and provide contact information.


  • How much does a TWIC cost?
    • The current enrollment fee for the TWIC program is $129.75.  On February 1, 2015 the TWIC fee will be reduced to $128.00. This is a $1.75 reduction due to lowered FBI fingerprint processing charges. Workers with current, comparable background checks may choose to pay a reduced fee of $105.25. The reduced fee TWIC will not change on February 1st. If workers are eligible to pay the lower price, their TWIC will expire 5 years from the date of the comparable credential. The cost of a replacement TWIC, if the original is lost, stolen, or damaged, is $60.
  • What are the methods of payment?
    • Payment must be made with credit card, money order, or certified/cashier's check.  UES sites accept Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express, and Discover credit cards. Cash and personal checks are NOT accepted.
    • Check and money order payments for all services should be made out to "MorphoTrust USA". Checks and money orders must be made in the exact amount for the service required.  No change or refunds can be given.
    • In all cases, payment will be made at the enrollment center at the beginning of the enrollment process.
  • What is the fee for a replacement card?
    • The card replacement fee (for lost, stolen, or damaged TWICs) is $60.
  • If I have a comparable assessment, how can I determine which fee is more economical -- the reduced fee or the full, 5 year fee?
    • It is most beneficial for applicants who will use a comparable security threat assessment and pay the reduced fee to do so within 12 months of receiving the comparable threat assessment. After 12 months, it is more cost effective to pay the full fee for TSA to complete the security threat assessment and issue a TWIC with an expiration date 5 years from the date of issuance.
  • Why was the enrollment fee reduced on March 19, 2012?
    • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) periodically reviews its process related to performing a fingerprint-based criminal history records information (CHRI) check. As a result of a recent review, the FBI decided to implement a fee reduction effective March 19, 2012. Since a component of the TWIC enrollment fee is the CHRI fee, the enrollment fee was reduced accordingly.
  • Will individuals be credited if they enrolled prior to March 19, 2012?
    • Individuals who enrolled for a TWIC prior to March 19, 2012 will not receive a refund of $2.75.
  • Will the cost of other TSA enrollment programs be reduced as a result of this FBI fee reduction?
    • The enrollment fee for the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Program was also reduced by $2.75 for individuals who apply in a TSA Agent State (see HAZMAT Endorsement Threat Assessment Program for more information). The enrollment fee for specific aviation credentialing programs is also being reduced.

Security Threat Assessment

  • How is the security threat assessment conducted?
    • The assessment includes checks against criminal history records, terrorist watch lists and immigration databases.
  • Will the results of my threat assessment be shared with my employer?
    • If TSA determines that an applicant poses an imminent threat to the transportation system or national security, TSA may notify the applicant's employer. Generally, TSA will not provide the reason(s) for a disqualification to an employer. However, if TSA has reliable information concerning an imminent threat posed by an applicant and providing limited threat information to an employer, facility, vessel owner or Coast Guard Captain of the Port would minimize the risk, then TSA would provide such information.
  • Why is the MMC deemed to not be a comparable endorsement?
    • The MMC is issued based upon information provided by the TSA gathered through the enrollment process, as well as the outcome of the STA. The Coast Guard no longer conducts a security threat assessment before issuing a MMC, it is only issued after the Coast Guard receives a report that the TWIC has been issued. If the Coast Guard begins to conduct security threat assessments before issuance of the MMC, then the comparability of the MMC will be re-evaluated.
  • What if I have already completed a comparable threat assessment?
    • A reduced fee of $105.25 will be made available for applicants who will not require the security threat assessment. The reduced fee is available for the following:
      • applicants who hold a valid Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) issued after May 31, 2005,
      • applicants who hold a valid Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card.

Note: For those applicants seeking to pay the reduced fee, they must present their valid HME or FAST card (meeting the requirements outlined above) at the time of enrollment.

  • Are the background checks for a TWIC the same as the background checks conducted for an individual applying for a Hazardous Material Endorsement?
    • Yes. They have the same eligibility requirements, share a consistent waivers and appeals process and leverage the same fingerprint-based criminal history records check.
  • Does someone with a Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) have to repeat the criminal history records check (CHRC) if they are applying for a TWIC?
    • No. As a result of this, an applicant who applies for a TWIC after successfully completing the HME security threat assessment does not have to pay for a second CHRC - and the fee for the TWIC is reduced by $24.50. All TWIC applicants must pay the fees that cover the other components of the TWIC program, including enrollment and card issuance.

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What can disqualify me from getting a TWIC?

  • An individual who lacks lawful presence and certain immigration status in the United States, has a connection to terrorist activity, has been determined to lack mental capacity or was convicted of certain crimes will be ineligible for a TWIC.

What if I do not meet the qualification standards?

  • Applicants who are denied a TWIC will be notified of the reason for denial and instructed on how to apply for an appeal or waiver. Once issued a TWIC, the applicant has the continuing obligation to inform TSA if he or she is no longer eligible for a TWIC.

What are the disqualifying offenses? What are the waiver policies for each type of offense?

  • Please click here to view the document which contains the disqualifying offenses.

What if a conviction is "exonerated?"

  • If a conviction is expunged or pardoned, the criminal records may reveal this. If they do not, TSA sends the applicant a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter explaining what the records show and how the applicant can correct inaccurate records.

What if my initial disqualifying crime is no longer applicable? Can I reapply for a TWIC?

  • Applicants are encouraged to reapply if their initial disqualifying offense is no longer applicable. Applicants will need to understand the nature of the initial disqualification and the corresponding look-back periods of 5 or 7 years if applicable. Reapplying can occur as long as there are no secondary disqualifying events.

What if I have a disqualifying crime that was expunged from my record?

  • The applicant should proceed with TWIC enrollment as though they do not have a disqualifying offense, as long as the record is truly expunged. Per 49 C.F.R. §1570.3, a conviction is 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." However, if the applicant is a credentialed mariner or intends to apply for a mariner credential, he or she must report convictions that were expunged on their application to obtain the MMC. Failure to disclose expunged convictions could result in a determination that the application for the mariner credential is fraudulent.

Can a person under indictment apply for a TWIC? Do they still have the appeal and waiver process available to them?

  • An individual under indictment for a disqualifying criminal offense may not hold a TWIC until the indictment is dismissed. If the applicant has an indictment pending, the applicant could apply for a waiver; however, a request for a waiver does not guarantee that a waiver will be granted.

Waivers and Appeals

What options are available to me if I am initially determined to be ineligible for a TWIC?

  • Applicants who are initially determined to be ineligible for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) will be provided with TSA's justification for denial, and instruction for how to apply for an appeal or waiver. The process is straight forward, and no legal knowledge is needed, nor is legal representation necessary. Requests may be typed or handwritten.
    • Appeal -- If you believe you that you should not have been determined to be ineligible for a TWIC (i.e. you may think the decision was based on incorrect court records or incorrect information provided at enrollment), you may request an appeal. You may request copies of the materials that TSA used to make the determination to assist you in deciding whether a correction must be made to your court records and/or what information must be provided to justify your appeal.
    • Waiver -- If you have a disqualifying offense, meet the description of mental incapacity, or are an alien under temporary protected status, you may request a waiver. When completing a waiver request, the applicant should describe why he/she no longer poses a security threat. Information that assists TSA with this determination includes:
      • The circumstances surrounding the conviction.
      • The length of time the applicant has been out of prison if sentenced to incarceration.
      • The applicant's work and personal history since the conviction.
      • Whether the applicant made restitution or completed mitigation remedies, such as probation or community service.
      • References from employers, probation officers, parole officers, clergy, and others who know the applicant and can attest to his/her responsibility and good character.
      • If denied due to mental incapacity, court records or official medical release documents that relate to the applicant's mental health may also be included with the waiver request.
      • If an alien under temporary protected status, information attesting to that.

What options are available if I am denied an appeal or waiver?

  • Appeals and Waivers Related to Immigration Status
    • If an applicant’s appeal or waiver is denied because he or she was unable to prove immigration eligibility to hold a TWIC, then the applicant may re-enroll when he or she has documents that prove immigration eligibility.
  • Appeals Related to Disqualifying Criminal Offenses
    • If an applicant’s appeal is denied because he or she was unable to prove that a disqualifying criminal offense has been expunged or that the applicant has been pardoned, then the applicant may file a waiver.
  • Waivers Related to Disqualifying Criminal Offenses
    • If an applicant’s waiver for a disqualifying criminal offense has been denied, then the applicant may request a review by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), a third party who reviews the information pertaining to an individual’s case.. Additional information on the ALJ process is available in section 49 CFR 1515.11.

What is the timeframe for submitting a request for an appeal or a waiver?

  • Applicants must send appeal and waiver requests to TSA within 60 days of receiving TSA's Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter. If the applicant does not respond to TSA within 60 calendar days, TSA's decision regarding the applicant's eligibility for a TWIC automatically becomes final, and the applicant is disqualified from holding a TWIC.
  • If an applicant needs more than 60 days to respond, then the applicant should send a letter to TSA asking for an extension. Any requests for time extensions will automatically be granted by TSA.

Where do I send appeals or waivers requests?

  • Fax Number: 540-710-2763 OR 540-710-2783
  • Mailed via U.S. Postal service (note: Registered Mail is accepted) to:
    Transportation Security Administration
    TSA TWIC Processing Center
    P.O. Box 8118
    Fredericksburg, VA 22404-8118

    Please remember to include the cover sheet (that was provided with your letter from TSA) and all supporting documentation when faxing or mailing your material.

Can I see a sample Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter?

  • Click here to see a sample letter. Note these letters are tailored to the individual and their circumstances.
  • If someone has received an initial determination of ineligibility, can he or she access secure areas of a port pending the appeal/waiver process or does the applicant have to wait for its completion?
    • Access to these areas will depend on the owner/operator security plan and their escorting procedures, as well as the enforcement and compliance date for that particular USCG Captain of the Port zone.

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    Card Issuance

    • How will the cards be issued?
      • The applicant will be notified by email or phone, as specified during enrollment, when his/her credential is available at the enrollment center. Typically applicants will return to the same enrollment center as where they enrolled, unless they requested that their TWIC be shipped to another enrollment center (ideally they specify this at the time of enrollment).
    • How long does it take to receive a TWIC?
      • Currently, there is typically a six to eight week turnaround from enrollment until card activation. Eligibility issues or insufficient paperwork may increase this turnaround time.

    • What occurs during the card activation process?
      • Once an applicant is notified that their TWIC is ready for pick-up, the applicant has the choice of either making an appointment for card activation (which is recommended) or going directly to an enrollment center (as a ‘walk-in’). At that time, the applicant will have their identity verified (by providing a government-issued photo id), match their fingerprint to one stored on their TWIC, select and input a personal identification number (PIN), and review and agree to the cardholder responsibilities. Once all of these steps have occurred, the applicant’s TWIC is activated.

    • How can I check the status of my card and schedule a pick-up?
      • Click here to check the status of your card and schedule a pick-up.

    Card Transfers

    • Can I enroll at one location, but request that my TWIC be delivered to another location? For example, can I enroll in New Orleans and have my TWIC shipped to Houston?
      • Yes, you can request that your TWIC be shipped to another enrollment center. If possible, you should specify this at the time of enrollment. This option also exists for replacement cards and should be requested at the time the replacement card is ordered.
    • Can I get my TWIC transferred from one enrollment center to another?
      • We encourage you to request that your TWIC be delivered to another location during the enrollment process. However, we understand that this request may come in after your TWIC arrives at the enrollment center. In these cases, you can request a transfer by calling the UES Call Center at 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern. Your card should arrive at the requested enrollment center within 1-2 weeks.

    Personal identification numbers (PINs)
    PIN usage

    • What is the purpose of the PIN on a TWIC?
      When an individual enters their PIN into a card reader, the digital photograph (which was taken at the time of enrollment) stored on their TWIC is retrieved.
    • What ‘mode’ of a reader is the PIN required – contact or contactless?
      • The TWIC system was designed to predominantly use contactless communications with a TWIC card reader.  PIN entry can only be done with a contact communications interface.  TWIC readers can perform all 4 specified identification / authentication modes without the need for the PIN.
      • Note:  Currently, use of the digital photograph is optional and not detailed in the TWIC Reader Hardware and Card Application Specification.
    • When would someone ask for a TWIC holder’s PIN? 
      • There are two situations where the digital photograph might be requested:
      • During registration at a physical access control system at a facility.
      •  At an access control point (where there is a reader) to verify one’s identity/grant access – If a facility currently used TWIC readers at access control points, then the PIN may be required (as a secondary measure) if the individual’s fingerprint could not be matched to the reference template in their TWIC.
      •  Note:  In this situation the TWIC must be read using the contact interface AND a successful PIN presentation must occur before a portable TWIC reader can retrieve the digital photograph.  This operation is predominantly done with portable readers.
    • What happens if an individual forgets their PIN – can their photograph still be retrieved?
      • Should the PIN be forgotten or has become unusable as a result of too many failed PIN presentations (i.e. PIN BLOCKED) the digital photograph would not be accessible.  The local facility would use alternate methods to verify the individual's identity, per approval by the U.S. Coast Guard.  If the PIN is BLOCKED, the TWIC holder should return to an enrollment center to have a PIN reset operation performed.

    PIN resets

    • How do I reset the personal identification number (PIN) on my TWIC?
      If you were issued a TWIC after October 21st, 2008:
      • To reset your PIN, you must bring your TWIC to an enrollment center, walk-ins are welcome. Click here to find the closest enrollment center.

    If you were issued a TWIC before October 21st, 2008:

    • The power outage that disrupted TWIC activations on Oct. 21, 2008 permanently damaged the equipment used to reset TWIC PINs. No data or personal information was lost or compromised. As a result, if you were issued a TWIC prior to this date and forgot your PIN, you will be issued a replacement TWIC free of charge. In order to do this, please contact the UES Call Center at 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern to open a ticket and receive further instructions. Once your replacement TWIC is ready for pick up, you will be notified via phone or email (the option you selected during enrollment). At that time, you make an appointment for activation.

    Replacement Card Process

    • How can I request a replacement card?
      • To order a card replacement, you may place your order online by clicking here.  You may also contact the Universal Enrollment Services (UES) Call Center at 1-855-DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern.  If paying by check or money order, you must go in person to a UES enrollment center to pay for the replacement and have the card ordered. The cost of a replacement card is $60.
      • When ordering, please specify the enrollment center where you want your replacement TWIC delivered.  If you need your card transferred to another location, you can request a transfer by calling the UES Call Center at 1-855-DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday 8 AM to 10 PM.
      • Once you have reported your card lost or stolen, you may have 7 days of unescorted access to a facility, at the facility's discretion, if you meet the below requirements:
        • The facility's security staff knows that you had a valid TWIC
        • You have previously been given unescorted access
        • You have reported your card lost or stolen to TSA

    Card Care, Technology, and Durability

    • What technologies are being used on the TWIC?
      • The TWIC is a Smart Card (i.e., a card with a small integrated circuit chip embedded in the card) and contains the following technologies:
      • Dual Interface Integrated Circuit Chips (ICC) - a small computer chip that can be read by either inserting the card in a slot in a "contact" card reader; or, holding the card within 10 centimeters of a "contactless" card reader
      • Magnetic Stripe - commonly found on the back of credit cards; read by "swiping" the card through a magnetic stripe card reader
      • Linear Bar Code - commonly used to quickly identify items by scanning the codes with an optical reader-i.e. scanning grocery items at a checkout counter
    • What information is stored on the integrated circuit chip (ICC)?
      • The following information is stored on the ICC:
        • Name
        • Expiration date
        • Digital photo
        • Two fingerprints
      • No other information is stored on the card.
    • What are best practices for handling my TWIC?
      • Protect your card by carrying it in a hard plastic cover.
      • Do not place or hang in direct sunlight (for example, do not place on dashboard, visor, or hang from rear view mirror of automobile).
      • Do not flex, bend, or punch a hole in the card.
      • Do not carry the TWIC in your wallet, as it is subject to bending.
      • Do not laminate or apply any tape or labels to the TWIC.
      • Do not place the card near a magnet or in a strong magnetic field.
    • How durable is the TWIC?
      • In general, while TWIC holders should treat their cards with care, they were created to be durable in the maritime operational environment. The durability of the TWIC is based on the FIPS 201-1 and ANSI 322 card durability requirements and testing conditions (refer to paragraph 4.1.3 Physical Characteristics and Durability in FIPS 201, page 16). These tests include: card flexure, U/V exposure, humidity, surface abrasion, fading, and a "laundry test."
    • May a cardholder punch a hole in the TWIC (i.e., to place a string through it and make a lanyard)?
      • No. Punching a hole in the card may disable or obstruct security features on the card, invalidate electronic/technology components within the card that are necessary for electronic verification, and may impair the ability to conduct a full visual inspection of the security features on the card. Workers who have punched a hole in their cards should call the UES Call Center at 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern or visit an enrollment center to order a replacement card as soon as possible. Workers will be charged $60 for a replacement TWIC.
      • Workers should ensure they handle their cards carefully to avoid unnecessary wear and tear or damage. Some workers may choose to use a card holder with their TWIC. These card holders cannot be purchased through TSA or Coast Guard but are generally available commercially.
    • What should I do if I already punched a hole in my card?
      • Workers who have punched a hole in their cards should call the UES Call Center at 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern or visit an enrollment center to order a replacement card as soon as possible. Workers will be charged $60 for a replacement TWIC.
      • If you have already punched a small hole in your card to facilitate hanging it on a lanyard, it is not valid for obtaining unescorted access to secure areas at MTSA regulated vessels and facilities. However, you may continue to access these vessels and facilities so long as the procedures outlined in 33 CFR 104.265(c)(2), 105.255(c)(2), or 106.260(c)(2) (as appropriate), which allow for continued access for an individual whose card has been reported as lost, stolen, or damaged, are followed.
    • What is the impact of magnets on the TWIC card?
      • Magnets do not impact the contact chip or the contactless antenna on the TWIC card; however, a very strong magnet might degauss the magnetic stripe resulting in a loss of the TWIC Privacy Key (TPK) information. The TWIC card was designed to use a high coercivity (hi-co) stripe (2750 Oersted) meaning you need more than 10 times the normal "purse magnet" to effect the stripe.
    • What type of magnets may affect a TWIC card?
      • Industrial magnets (e.g. scrap yards, container lifters, etc.) may affect a TWIC card but even then, the TWIC would need to be in close proximity to the magnet.

    Renewal TWICs

    • What is the renewal process?
      • The renewal process consists of the same steps as the original enrollment process (in-person enrollment and card activation). These steps are required since a security threat assessment is required on all applicants, confirming they still meet eligibility requirements.

    • How much does a renewal cost?
      • The fee for a renewal TWIC (valid for 5 years) is the same amount as the initial enrollment fee, which is currently $129.75. On February 1, 2015 the TWIC fee will be reduced to $128.00. This is a $1.75 reduction due to lowered FBI fingerprint processing charges.

    • When should I renew for a TWIC?
      • We recognize that TWIC applicants require flexibility due to the nature of maritime jobs. As a result, individuals may renew their TWIC at any time in advance of the expiration of their card at any enrollment center.

    • What should I take into account when applying for a renewal?
      • Individuals should take into account the expiration date of their previous TWIC and understand that the expiration date associated with their ‘renewal’ TWIC is tied to the security threat assessment performed for that (renewal) application. For example, an individual currently has a TWIC with an expiration date of October 20, 2012 and applies for a full-fee renewal TWIC on June 1, 2012, getting approved on June 20, 2012. The new TWIC will have an expiration date of June 20, 2017.

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    Latest revision: 18 May 2015