How to Get a TWIC Card

Wondering how to get a TWIC card?

Answer this: Are you a US maritime worker? Do you require unescorted access into certain secure areas of the nation’s marine transportation facilities?

If you answered yes to both questions then you’ll need a Transportation Worker Identification Certification (TWIC) card.

For you to apply you need to be a United States of America citizen, however, applications aren’t restricted to US citizens only. Foreigners can also apply if you reside in the US—lawfully.

What is a TWIC Card?

twicBut what is this card? It’s issued under the TWIC program and will provide you with the necessary credentials to enter the following areas:

  • Secure areas of port facilities.
  • Outer continental shelf facilities.
  • Vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act.

It basically contains a computer chip which is known as an Integrated Circuit chip (ICC). This chip stores all your information and biometric data.

With this badge, you’ll easily get access into all those security restricted areas. Simply insert it into the reader or hold it near a contactless reader and the chip is read.

Truckers also need to produce it. Even when entering by car you still need it. Workers who must get a card include the following:

  • Credentialed merchant mariners.
  • Port facility employees.
  • Longshoreman.
  • Truck drivers.

Security personnel needs to attend classes for TWIC training also before they get the card.

How Long Does it Take to Get a TWIC Card?


How long does it take? Getting the card will take a bit of time. This is because all applications are reviewed carefully before the final issuing.

Upon submitting your application, the processing time takes between 30 and 45 days to obtain a card.

For this reason, it’s recommended to apply a good 12 weeks prior to when you need it. This way you factor in processing time needed to receive it.

TWIC Card Requirements

In order to get it, there’re certain qualifications one needs before obtaining it. You must provide the authorities with the following:

  • Biographic information such as name & gender. With regards to age requirements, you must be at least 18 years old.
  • Biometric information which includes fingerprints.
  • A digital photograph which must be taken at the TWIC offices.

In addition to the above, you undergo a security threat assessment which is conducted by the TWIC officials. It’s imperative you pass this assessment & get police clearance for your application to be considered.

During this assessment, there are a number of background checks that are done. These include any convictions or arrest warrants you might have incurred in the past. There are certain offences which will automatically disqualify you from getting the card. These include:

  • Treason.
  • Terrorism.
  • Espionage.
  • Murder.

However, for other convictions an applicant will be disqualified for a temporary period—depending on the severity of the crime. After the period lapsed you can consider applying again.

Also, the applicant is disqualified under the following scenarios:

  • If you committed a crime in the past seven years.
  • If the applicant was released from prison after a conviction within the past five years. The crimes involved can be anything from bribery to smuggling to mention a few.

Apart from criminal offenses, your application can be unsuccessful due to either incomplete data or providing false information.

The Process of Applying for a TWIC Card

The next step you need clarity on: Where can I get a TWIC card? Applications are handled by the Transportation Security Administration. The TWIC card application process is relatively simple. You have the option of pre-registration online or via the local offices closest to you.

  • Local Offices

In this instance you physically visit the nearest application center to fill out the form. The centers are found at the following locations:

  • Texas
  • Vicksburg
  • Florida
  • California
  • Houston
  • Bellingham
  • Alabama
  • Washington
  • Columbus
  • Online

If you go the online route you complete the application form online which will save you time.

Next, you schedule an appointment. This can also either be done online or you can call weekdays during office hours: Between 8 am and 10 pm. While walk-ins are welcome rather go by appointment to get fast response.

After scheduling an appointment you visit the TSA TWIC location near you to submit your form. Upon arrival you do the following:

  • Provide the right documents required. These include your valid United States passport, driver’s license as well as your birth certificate.
  • Get your fingerprints taken.
  • Pay the fee which is non-refundable and valid for five years. You have a number of payment options which include a credit card, money order, company or cashier’s check.
  • If your application is successful you can pick up the card in person or it’s mailed to your premises.

While you wait for your application you can check the TWIC card status online for an update.

How Much Does a TWIC Card Cost?

The card cost will depend on whether it’s a new application or renewal. The card for a new applicant will cost you $125.25 and will last five years. Renewing is cheaper as the renew twic card price is $60. Also, note you have the option of applying for new applicant twics at a much lower rate of $105.

To be eligible for this reduced rate you must present the following:

  • A valid driver’s license with a hazardous material endorsement
  • A Free and Secure Trade card

Have any additional questions? Please leave a comment below so we can help.