How to Obtain a TWIC Card
A Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card contains a port worker's fingerprints and photo so that they can enter American ports without going through security. Applying for a TWIC card from the Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) can be a lengthy process, but it is a fairly straightforward one. You will need to fill out an application before visiting an enrollment center to verify your identity. If you are rejected, there is an appeals process. The card is worth the wait, as it can save time and effort on the job.
Start 8-12 weeks before you need the card.The TWIC application process can be lengthy, and it will take at least 4-6 weeks for the application to be processed. For these reasons, you should start as early as possible.
- TWIC cards are good for 5 years, so you can apply as early as you like.
Determine if you are eligible.You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or an immigrant with lawful status in the U.S. You must have a job or frequent business at the port in order to get a TWIC card. Furthermore, you must not have any felony convictions your record.
- If you have a felony conviction, you may still be able to get a TWIC card, as long as you were not charged with treason, murder, or espionage. You may need to go through an additional appeals process, however.
Fill out the form online, on the phone, or in person.You will need to give your full name, gender, date of birth, and email or phone number for this application. You will also be asked if you prefer to be contacted by email or phone.
- You can fill out the online form here:
- To fill out the application over the phone, call (855) 347-8371 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. eastern time on any weekday.
- You can walk in and fill out the pre-enrollment application at any enrollment center. Ask the receptionist for an application.
Make an appointment at an enrollment center.You may walk into an enrollment center without an appointment, but the wait times will be very long. It is best to make an appointment online or by phone. You can set up your appointment as soon as you submit your pre-enrollment application.
- Make an appointment online by going here:
- Call for an appointment at (855) 347-8371. The line is open on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. eastern time.
- Find your closest enrollment center here: . Just make sure that you select TWIC from the drop down menu beside the search bar.
Visiting the Enrollment Center
Gather your identification documents.At your appointment, you will need to show 1 or 2 identification documents. These documents will prove both your identity and citizenship or immigration status.
- If you have a passport, green card, Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card, or a Global Entry card, you only need to bring 1 document.
- If you do not have any of those documents, you need to bring a photo ID (such as a driver’s license or military ID card) as well as 1 document proving your citizenship (such as a birth certificate or certificate of naturalization).
- If you would like to receive the discounted fee, bring your commercial driver’s license or FAST card.
Take your documents to the enrollment center.Go early, as wait times can be long at enrollment centers. During your appointment, staff will take your fingerprints and a photo of your face. They will examine your documents to verify your identity.
- You will be asked to remove all head wear for the photograph, except for religious head wear or eyeglasses worn on a daily basis.
Pay for the TWIC card.It costs 5.25 for a TWIC card. This card will last for 5 years. If you have a valid commercial driver’s license with a hazardous materials endorsement (HME) or a FAST card, you only need to pay 5.25. This TWIC card will expire at the same time as your license.
- You can pay with any major credit card or debit card at enrollment centers.
Choose how you want your TWIC card delivered.It can be mailed to you or sent to an enrollment center. It will take between 4-6 weeks for your enrollment to be processed and delivered. You can check the status of your application by going to .
- During this time, staff will perform a background check on you. They will also confirm your identity using national and international databases.
- If you are picking up your enrollment card, you will receive a phone call or email letting you know when it is ready. Bring a photo ID with you to the center.
- If the TSA found that you are disqualified from having a TWIC because of past convictions or charges, they will send you a letter with instructions on how to appeal the decision.
Appealing a Rejection
Determine if you are eligible for an appeal.Applications are usually denied because of a failed background check. Even if you were charged or convicted in the past, you may still be able to get a TWIC card if you submit an appeal. You are eligible if:
- You were charged but not convicted of a crime.
- You have convictions for misdemeanors but not felonies.
- You were convicted of simple drug possession.
- You do not have any current warrants or indictments out against you.
- You have a felony conviction for assault, smuggling, kidnapping, or extortion from over 7 years ago and you have not been in jail for the last 5 years. If you were charged with a felony within the last 7 years, you must request a waiver with your appeal.
Gather documents about your charge or conviction.These documents must come from a court, district attorney, or police. They must show that your charge was dismissed, that you were found not guilty, or that you were convicted of a misdemeanor and not a felony.
- If you were convicted of a felony over 7 years ago, visit your local court and ask for copies of documents showing your date of conviction. If you served time, you should also collect any documents from prison or jail showing that your date of release was over 5 years ago.
Fill out the TSA TWIC Request Cover Sheet.This form is included in the letter you received from the TSA. On this form, write why you think the rejection was undeserved. Once you have filled it out, make a copy of this form as well as all of the documents that you are sending to the TSA.
Request a waiver if you were convicted of a felony within the last 7 years.You may still be able to get a TWIC card. You just need to provide some additional documents with your package. Most waivers are approved as long as the necessary documents are provided. These include:
- A personal statement explaining your conviction, employment history at the port, and personal growth since the conviction.
- A document from prison or jail verifying your release date.
- A document from your parole officer stating that you have followed the rules of your probation.
- Letters of support. You should have 1 from your parole officer, 1 from your supervisor or employer, and at least 2 from friends or family.
- Any proof that you participated in drug rehabilitation programs, anger management training, counseling, or other training since your conviction. Certificates from these programs or letters from counselors are acceptable.
Mail the form and documents to the TSA within 60 days.Look at the date on the letter. You have 60 days from this point to mail in your documents. When you mail these forms, ask the post office for a delivery confirmation receipt. This will give you proof that you sent the documents and that the package reached the TSA.
- Mail the form to Transportation Security Administration, TSA TWIC Processing Center, P.O. Box 8118, Fredericksburg, VA 22404-8118.
- The TSA will make a decision within 60 days of receiving the documents. You will receive a letter in the mail stating whether the appeal was accepted or denied.
Getting a New Card
Protect your TWIC card.You will be given a hard plastic case with your TWIC. Keep your card in this case at all times to prevent damage. Avoid bending the card or putting it near a magnet. These practices will keep your card working for the full 5 years.
Repeat the enrollment process when you are ready to renew.After 5 years, your TWIC card will expire. To get a new one, you will have to go through the exact same process as getting a brand new card. Fill out an application, visit an enrollment center, and wait for your new card to come. You will need to pay 5.25 again for a new card.
- Because it can take so long to get a new card, you should start the process up to 12 weeks before your old card expires.
Fill out a form online to replace a lost or broken card.If you lost your card, call or fill out a form online to get a replacement. During this process, you will be asked to make another appointment at an enrollment center. It costs USD to replace a lost card.
- To replace a card online, go to .
- To do it over the phone, call (855)-347-8371 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Video: Things you need to know before getting your TWIC card
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