How To Obtain A TWIC Card

Obtain a TWIC Card by applying through the TSA.

Maritime Worker
Get TWIC. Getty Images

To obtain a TWIC card, an applicant must provide biographic and biometric information such as fingerprints, sit for a digital photograph and successfully pass a security threat assessment.  

In April 2009, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) and the United States Coast Guard initiated the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program, which requires maritime workers who need unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities, outer continental shelf facilities, and vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.

Some TWIC applicants are experiencing delays of more than 75 days to receive their TWIC.  The TSA is working diligently to reduce the time it takes to process all TWIC applications.  This delay of between two and three months applies to applications that involve criminal history records or immigration status that must be verified, although other applicants may also experience a delay. 

The TSA strongly encourages 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. 

There are currently over 3,000,000 supply chain, logistics and other transportation professionals enrolled in the TWIC program.

UPDATE: On February 1, 2015 the TWIC fee was reduced to $128.00.  The $1.75 reduction was due to lowered FBI fingerprint processing charges. TWIC applicants paying by company check or money order need to make sure the check or money order is made out for exactly  $128.00.

  Enrollment centers cannot accept cash or make refunds for checks or money orders over the correct amount.

Why was the fee changed?
  All TWIC applicants must successfully complete a criminal history records check.  The criminal history records check requires an applicant’s fingerprints to be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Service (CJIS) for a check.

The FBI charges a fee for this service. 

TSA factors this FBI fee into the total fee collected from a TWIC applicant. The FBI recently announced that, beginning on February 1, 2015, it will reduce its fee by $1.75. (Volume 79 Federal Register, No. 207, Page 63943 (October 27, 2014)). Therefore, as of February 1, 2015, TSA reduced the total fee collected from a TWIC applicant from $129.75 to $128.00.  Be sure your check or money order is made out for the correct amount.

UPDATE:  Starting on 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.  

Until July 1, 2015 TWIC applicants who were born in the U.S. may continue to certify that they are U.S. citizens by checking the box on the electronically signed TWIC application and bring documents as listed on the Universal Enroll Site, which can be found here.

TSA is making this change to align TWIC proof of citizenship requirements with those of other TSA programs such as the Hazardous Material Endorsement and TSA Pre-Check programs.  Requiring proof of citizenship at the time of enrollment will ensure that all TWIC applicants meet eligibility requirements for the credential.

  If you have any questions about proof of citizenship be sure to check with the TSA or go to their website prior to your time of enrollment. 

If you're interested in obtaining a TWIC card - but are confused about the difference between getting a TWIC credential and twerking, then you may need some remedial training.  While this article details what it takes to get a TWIC card, twerking involves dancing in a provocative manner, in a low squat as you thrust your hips.  Easily confused.  

To learn more about TWIC, including the credentials you need to apply for a TWIC, the type of background and personal information considered for a security threat assessment, and the 2015 updates to the TWIC program, check out the TSA’s TWIC site