Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC®)
- Program Information
- Required Documentation
- Fees and Payment Options
- Additional Enrollment Questions
- Security Threat Assessment
- HME/TWIC Comparable Security Threat Assessment
- Disqualification, Waivers, and Appeals
- Card Issuance
- Important Information For TWIC® Holders and Employers
What is TWIC?
- The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is a common identification credential for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of regulated facilities and vessels, and mariners holding most 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.
Why was the TWIC created?
- Congress directed the federal government, through the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), to issue a biometric security credential to the above individuals.
Who needs a TWIC?
- Anyone who need unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA-regulated facilities and vessels. Typical workers who need a TWIC are: port workers, longshore workers, truck drivers, employees at refineries and chemical plants along waterways, contractors and others who work at regulated facilities. In addition most Coast Guard-credentialed merchant mariners need a TWIC.
Do people who work on cruise ships need a TWIC?
- TWIC requirements only apply to crews and other workers aboard U.S.-flagged cruise ships requiring unescorted access to secure areas.
How is the TWIC used?
- The Coast Guard requires presentation of a TWIC before being granted access to the secure area of a regulated facility or vessel. The TWIC must be inspected to ensure it is valid, has not expired, and belongs to the person presenting the card. The inspection is either visual or by an electronic reader. The Coast Guard enforces these requirements.
If I have a TWIC can I enter any maritime facility or vessel?
- To enter you need two things: (1) a valid TWIC, and (2) the permission of the owner/operator of the regulated maritime facility or vessel. The owner’s/operator’s permission is based on your need to enter such as being an employee of the facility, a trucker making a delivery, a person performing equipment maintenance, longshore workers, etc. To be clear: your TWIC certifies that you have met TSA’s security requirements and therefore you eligible to enter. But, the owner or operator of each facility or vessel decides whether you may have access or not.
How long is the TWIC valid?
What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a TWIC?
- To apply for a TWIC an individual must be a U.S. citizen or fall into an eligible immigration category. To determine if you are in an eligible immigration category enter your birth and citizenship information here.
What if I do not meet the eligibility requirements?
- If you do not meet the eligibility requirements above you cannot apply for a TWIC. If you believe you are in an eligible immigration category, apply for a TWIC, and TSA receives information that does not support your eligibility you will be sent a letter explaining the reason for the potential denial and instructed on how to apply for an appeal of the finding. Immigration status cannot be waived. Additionally, once issued a TWIC, the applicant must inform TSA if their immigration status changes and they are no longer eligible to hold a TWIC.
What is the process for obtaining a TWIC?
Step 1: Determine what documents you need to apply for a TWIC. Bring them with you when you apply.
Step 2: Locate a UES Enrollment Center near you; make an appointment, if desired.
Step 3: Complete an in-person enrollment at the UES Enrollment Center:
- Bring necessary documents;
- Sit for a photo;
- Complete a fingerprint scan;
- Sign the electronic enrollment form;
- Pay the enrollment fee of $128 (for most applicants);
- Choose how to receive your TWIC, either by mail or by retuning to an Enrollment Center.
Step 4: Receive your TWIC in the mail, or return to the Enrollment Center when notified that your card is ready.
How do I renew my expiring TWIC?
- To renew your TWIC you will complete a full enrollment as described above. TSA needs to ensure your enrollment documents are current and needs a new photo and new scan of your fingerprints. The cost is the same whether renewing a TWIC or applying the first time.
- You may renew your TWIC at any time. TSA suggests renewing your TWIC well in advance of its expiration to ensure continuous eligibility.
How long does enrollment take?
- The enrollment process takes about 10 minutes. If you do not have an appointment, you may need to wait to enroll depending on the number of people waiting to enroll at any particular time.
What are the addresses and hours of operation for UES Enrollment Centers?
- Information on UES Enrollment Center locations and hours of operation can be found here.
Do I need an appointment to enroll?
- No. Applicants are served in the order they arrive, although those with appointments are served first. Time is allocated between appointments to serve walk-ins.
How can I make an appointment?
- Appointments are encouraged to save applicants time, but are not required and walk-ins are welcome for any services, including enrollments. Appointments can be made online by clicking here or by phone by calling 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern.
What identity documentation is required for U.S. Citizens?
- Starting July 1, 2015 Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC®) applicants who were born in the United States, and who claim U.S. citizenship, must provide documents to prove their citizenship. Applicants need to bring one document from List A, or two documents from List B. Click here to access the latest listing of acceptable documents.
- Until July 1, 2015 TWIC applicants who were born in the U.S. may continue to certify that they are U.S. citizens by electronically signing the TWIC application during the enrollment process.
- 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 must match (for example, the name on each document must match exactly, including middle name if applicable; date of birth must match; etc.) or you will not be allowed to enroll.
- Documents presented during enrollment may not contain any typographical or data errors.
What identity documentation is required for eligible non-U.S. Citizens?
- Click here for a list of eligible immigration categories. (pdf, 236kb)
- 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, 236kb)
- Which Employee Authorization Card/Document codes permit me to hold a TWIC?
- A03- Refugee
- A05- Alien Asylum
- A12- Temporary Protected Status
- A13 & A14- Family Unity Program
- C19- Temporary Protected Status
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.
Fees and Payment Options
How much does a TWIC cost?
- The enrollment fee for a TWIC is $128.00. Workers with a current, comparable background check may choose to pay a reduced fee of $105.25. If workers are eligible to pay the lower price, their TWIC will expire 5 years from the date of the comparable background check.
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.
- Company checks or money orders must be made out to "MorphoTrust USA" and be in the exact amount for the service required.
- Payment of the fee is final. There is no refund if the applicant is found to be ineligible for a TWIC.
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.
Additional Enrollment Questions
Are photographs required for TWIC enrollment?
- Yes. Since the TWIC serves as a form of visual identification, a photograph is required for all applicants.
Can hats or religious headgear be worn for the photo taken during TWIC enrollment?
- Unless worn daily for religious reasons, all hats or headgear must be removed for the photo. For clarification, a ball cap, knit cap, or non-religious scarf or handkerchief is not considered religious headgear. In all cases, no item or attire may cover or otherwise obscure any part of the face.
Can eyeglasses be worn for the photo?
- Eyeglasses worn on a daily basis may be worn for the photo. However, there must 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.
How are fingerprints taken?
- Fingerprints are taken by an electronic scanner. Prints from all fingers will be taken.
What is the purpose of the TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form?
- The TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form provides information on the security threat assessment process, as well as the required information concerning privacy and the paperwork involved in the application process. 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.
What if I do not have the required forms of identification or do not wish to sign the TWIC Disclosure and Certification Form?
Security Threat Assessment
How is the security threat assessment (background check) conducted?
- The security threat 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?
- In almost all cases, no. The information TSA obtains resulting from your security threat assessment remains private between you and the government and is not shared with an employer or anyone else outside of the government except in matters related to a possible imminent threat. 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.
If I used my Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) as the comparable security threat assessment does TSA still do another check when I apply for a TWIC?
- No. Your TWIC eligibility is based on your previous HME threat assessment. The expiration date for your TWIC will be five years from the date of the completion of your HME threat assessment.
How do I know my personal information is safeguarded?
- Protecting your privacy and securing your personal information are critical to the TWIC program. Personal information is protected from the time of enrollment throughout the security threat assessment process and the storage of your data. The TWIC Privacy Impact Assessment answers in detail questions related to how TSA handles your personal information.
Is TWIC an acceptable form of ID at an airport screening checkpoint?
- Yes, the TWIC card is an approved government issued photo ID. If your TWIC is not accepted at the screening checkpoint you may request assistance from a TSA supervisor.
Where can I find more information about TWIC?
- Additional information is available online here.
- Or by phone by calling the UES Call Center at: 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern.
- Information useful to maritime facility and vessel owners/operators can be found at the U.S. Coast Guard Homeport website.
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, 12kb)
Does issuance of the TWIC annotated B-1 visa mean an individual will receive a TWIC?
HME/TWIC Comparable Security Threat Assessments
Are the background checks for a TWIC the same as the background checks conducted for individuals applying for a Hazardous Material Endorsement Security Threat Assessment?
- 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. For more information click here.
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 to applicants who:
Disqualification, Waivers, and Appeals
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?
- If, after reviewing information resulting from the threat assessment, it appears that you are ineligible for a TWIC, TSA will send you a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter. The letter will contain the specific reason TSA believes that you are ineligible. It will also contain detailed instructions on how you may apply for an appeal or waiver.
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 TWIC with are sent a letter explaining TSA's reason for the denial and instructions 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.
What is the difference between an appeal and a waiver?
- Appeal -- If you believe TSA’s preliminary determination that you are ineligible for a TWIC was based on incorrect or outdated information, you should provide TSA with corrected and/or updated information to support your eligibility. This is called an appeal.
- Waiver -- If TSA correctly determined that you have a disqualifying crime, or other circumstance, you may ask TSA to consider factors that indicate that despite not meeting eligibility requirement you do not present a security threat, and therefore should be granted a TWIC. This is called a waiver request.
Waivers can be considered if you have a disqualifying offense, meet the description of mental incapacity, or are an alien under temporary protected status. When completing a waiver request, you should describe why you no longer pose 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 an appeal or waiver request?
- 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 provided with the letter from TSA and attach 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.
How are cards issued?
- During enrollment each applicant is asked if they would like to receive their TWIC by mail or by returning to a UES Enrollment Center to pick up their card.
- Those choosing to receive their card by mail will receive it by First Class U.S. mail either at their home or another address where they can receive mail. Mailed cards are ready to use upon arrival. The card will contain a random Personal Identification Number (PIN). The number will be sent in a separate envelop several days following the card.
- Those choosing to pick up their card in person may return to the UES Enrollment Center where they enrolled, or choose a different center. At the center they will provide a photo identity document and match their fingerprint to the print (fingerprint template) on the card during activation. They will also select a six to eight digit PIN of their choice. There card will be tested for proper functioning prior to leaving the center.
How long does it take to receive a TWIC?
- Most applicants will receive a TWIC within a month of enrolling, and often in about two weeks. However, despite progress in reducing processing delays for the small number of applicants whose criminal or immigration records indicate that they may not be eligible for a TWIC, those applicants may still experience a two-and-a-half month wait before receiving a TWIC or notification from TSA.
- To ensure all eligible applicants receive a new or renewal TWIC before it is needed for work we continue to strongly encourage all applicants to apply for their TWIC at least 10 to 12 weeks prior to when the card will be required to avoid inconvenience or interruption in access to maritime facilities.
How can I check the status of my card and schedule a pick-up?
- Click here to check the status of your card. If the card is ready to pick up an appointment can be made at the link. Note: Appointments are not necessary for card pick up or any enrollment center services.
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) on the card.
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.
What is the purpose of the Personal Identification Number (PIN) on a TWIC?
- The PIN is used with readers that operate by inserting the TWIC into the reader. PIN entry serves to confirm identity. It also releases the fingerprint template and digital photo for use by the reader or physical access control system.
Replacement Card Process
How can I obtain a replacement for my lost, stolen, or damaged card?
- Replacement cards cost $60 and may be mailed to you, or you may pick up the card at any UES Enrollment Center.
- If you are paying by credit or debit card you may order a replacement card 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 you are paying for your replacement card by check or money order, you must go in person to a UES enrollment center to place your order.
How can I go to work—gain access to a facility—while waiting for my replacement card?
- U.S. Coast Guard policy allows workers who meet certain requirements to continue to have access to a regulated facility while waiting for their replacement card. One of the conditions is to have a receipt showing that you ordered a replacement card. For details about the Coast Guard’s policy visit the Homeport website here.
If I find my lost card after I reported it missing can I still use it?
- No. If you find your card after ordering a replacement you should destroy the old card, or return it directly to TSA to the address on the back of the card. Lost cards are placed on the Cancelled Card List (CCL), which is used by facilities with electronic readers. Access will be denied to anyone trying to use a card on the CCL.
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 4 inches 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 personal information is stored on the integrated circuit chip (ICC)?
- Your name, digital photo, and two fingerprints. The fingerprints are not actual images of your prints, they are digital representations called “templates.” No one can “see” what your fingerprints would look like from the information on your TWIC. The card also stores the card’s expiration date on the ICC.
What are the rules for handling a TWIC?
- Protect your card by keeping it in the hard plastic case provided with your TWIC.
- 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 punch a hole in the card to wear it on a string; use the card holder.
- Do not place the card near a magnet or in a strong magnetic field.
What type of magnets may damage a TWIC?
Important Information For TWIC® Holders and Employers
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 even if the employer paid for it. 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.