What Is a TWIC? Why You Need It and How to Get One

Understanding TWIC Cards

What is a TWIC?

A TWIC is a Transportation Worker Identity Card. The United States Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration jointly issue this card. TWICs are required for access to secure maritime facilities. Ships, ferries, dockside warehouses, and port customs offices are frequently among these. Anyone who requires unaccompanied access to Coast Guard-credentialed transportation or merchant ships must possess a TWIC.

Employees who have submitted a form of biometric data, such as fingerprints, are given TWIC credentials. Additionally, TWIC holders need to pass a security threat evaluation conducted by a TSA agent. TWICs can be swiped or scanned at access points because they have a computer chip and a magnetized bar that both contain the holder’s biometric information.

Who uses TWIC?

A TWIC is necessary for several different types of professionals. There are some exceptions to the rule that only people connected to maritime transportation systems require a TWIC.

Here is a list of professionals who regularly use TWIC:

Coast Guard personnel

Employees of the Coast Guard are in charge of carrying out maritime search and rescue missions, assisting lost travelers, and managing environmental emergencies at sea. Additionally, they are in charge of port security and available to act as first responders in case of military emergencies. TWIC is necessary for Coast Guard personnel to protect American ships, cargo, and citizens.

Longshore workers

Docking ships, loading and unloading cargo, reviewing ship manifests, and checking cargo for damage are all daily tasks for longshoremen. They frequently make use of commercial-class vehicles like trucks and trailers as well as heavy equipment like forklifts. They are frequently well compensated and play a crucial role in the shipping and transportation industries. To inspect and record incoming and outgoing cargo, longshore personnel need TWIC.

Truck drivers

Truck drivers frequently deliver and pick up cargo from ports, which frequently requires driving outside of areas that are safe for civilians. Coordinating with the port staff and making sure all cargo is accounted for are truck drivers’ tasks. They are tasked with transporting the cargo to its location after it has been loaded into their trailers. To drive in restricted areas of a port facility, trucks may need TWIC.

Port facility employees

Employees working in port facilities may be warehouse managers, port authority representatives, customs officers, office managers, IT specialists, and many others. Employees of port facilities are in charge of managing a port and making sure it is productive. Although port facility employees work in a variety of locations, many require TWIC access to their offices or workspaces.

Maritime security staff

Protecting passengers, crew, and cargo is the responsibility of the security personnel on board or in a port. They typically conduct security patrols to keep an eye on the cargo and prevent theft. Additionally, they are the first to react if anyone tries to endanger the crew or passengers’ safety. Beyond what TWIC stipulates, security personnel may need to pass additional background checks and safety examinations. TWIC credentials are required for maritime security personnel to access the cargo and monitor the loading and unloading procedures.

Cruise ship personnel

To access certain restricted areas on a cruise ship, some crew members require TWIC. For those who work in the hospitality industry, such as housekeeping, food preparation, or entertainment, TWIC is not required. However, in order to perform their duties, ship officers, cargo supervisors, and security personnel may need to carry TWIC. Cruise ship crews may also require additional forms of identification, such as a passport or work visa, as they frequently navigate international waters.


What is the purpose of a TWIC card?

Workers who need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels must possess the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, also known as TWIC®, as required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act.

How hard is it to get a TWIC card?

It is advised that you apply for a TWIC card at least 8 to 12 weeks before you actually need one because the STA involves a lot of paperwork. After submitting your application, it typically takes 4-6 weeks to hear back; in the interim, you can check on its status.

Is getting a TWIC card worth it?

The certification enables truckers to transport loads into ports, boats, and related locations. Without a TWIC card, truckers must be escorted by authorized personnel. By giving the trucker unrestricted access, it can save the owner of the trucking company money and time.

What disqualifies you from getting a TWIC card?

PERMANENT DISQUALIFYING CRIMINAL OFFENSES Espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage. Sedition or conspiracy to commit sedition. Treason or conspiracy to commit treason. A federal crime of terrorism as defined in 18 U. S. C.

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