Facts: About your TWIC
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is required for all people, truckers included, to gain unescorted access into secure areas of U.S. port facilities. Coastal ports and inland ports such as the Great Lakes and barge terminals on inland waterways are included in this mandate. The key ingredient of the TWIC is a criminal background check and threat assessment performed on every applicant.
Implementation and oversight of this federal program fall under the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the United States Coast Guard.
TSA does not prohibit “escorted” access onto a port.
There are “for hire” services popping up around the country at various port facilities that will charge a fee to take you onto a port. However, OOIDA does not recommend that truckers depend on “for hire” services. The New York/New Jersey Port Authority has sent notices to many stakeholders informing them that “for hire” escorts will not be allowed on their property.
TSA has a Web site to help guide you through the application process. The link is:http://www.tsa.gov/twic
The Web site can be difficult to navigate, especially if you are not computer savvy. Here are some basic helpful hints when applying for a TWIC.
Pre-enrollment is not required. However, OOIDA recommends it as pre-enrollment will likely speed up your processing time instead of waiting at an Enrollment Center for an available time slot. Pre-enroll online or telephone the TWIC Call Center. That phone number is 1-866-DHS-TWIC.
By pre-enrolling you can select a date and appointment time best suited for your schedule.
You will need to pick a single TWIC Enrollment Center for the entire process. This is because you must pick up and activate your card from the same location you enrolled with.
With few exceptions, TWIC Enrollment Centers have NO tractor-trailer parking available. You MAY be able to find parking for a bobtail but travel to the center in a car if at all possible.
To enroll, you will need the following information ready:
- Name, DOB, address, contact information
- Employment information
- Current and previous mailing address
- Height, weight, hair, and eye color
- City, State, Country of birth
- Alien Registration Number (if applicable)
- CDL and state of application of any HME held
- Social Security Number
When you arrive at the Enrollment Center, you must have appropriate documents to verify your identity. Multiple examples are available of these source documents, and the easiest acceptable means of proving your identity is an unexpired U.S. Passport or your CDL and actual Social Security card.
At the Enrollment Center, once your identity is verified and ALL required questions are answered, you will have your fingerprints taken electronically.
Payment is required next, and a TWIC costs $137.50 or $105.25 for HME or FAST card holders if gotten within the previous 12 months. The Enrollment Center will NOT accept cash or personal checks for payment. You must pay with a credit card (Visa/MasterCard), money order, certified check or corporate check.
You will be notified via phone or email when your TWICis ready. Depending upon which Enrollment Center you visit, the time lag could be either short or longer depending on the volume of applications being processed.
When you return to pick up your TWIC, an electronic fingerprint will be taken again to verify your identity. In addition, you’ll need your Personal Identification Number, which was issued at time of enrollment.
Besides your travel time to an Enrollment Center, if you use the appointment system it should not take more than 15 minutes of your time for each visit necessary to get aTWIC.
NOTE: The federal government’s new biometric ID card is now required (as of April 15, 2009) for unescorted access to all US ports. OOIDA is aware of other industries (chemical facilities sector) where as part of their over-all security plans they may require you to have a TWIC in order to gain access to their property.
Also, certain ports may still require their own unique credential in addition to the TWIC. Generally the excuse given by a port in requiring their own credential is that they perform their own background check. The current (Nov.2009) Coast Guard Authorization bill in the US House of Representatives has a section that would prohibit this duplication. The language reads in part:
``(r) Redundant Background Checks.--The Secretary shall prohibit a State or political subdivision thereof from requiring a separate security background check for any purpose for which a transportation security card is issued under this section. The Secretary may waive the application of this subsection with respect to a State or political subdivision thereof if the State or political subdivision demonstrates a compelling homeland security reason that a separate security background check is necessary.''