You’re an OTR trucker. You pull up to a port or maritime area, and you’re turned away. This is an issue because deliveries need to be made timely, and you may be on such a tight time schedule that any delay can lead to a massive loss in profits.
Truckers are always on tight schedules that leads to very little room for errors.
A TWIC card would be able to solve all of these problems. This is a card that every trucker should obtain to make their lives easier.
What Is a TWIC Card?
TWIC stands for Transportation Worker Identification Credential. This credential is a program that was introduced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
This is the same agency that is responsible for checking security at airports and various other transportation hubs.
The U.S. Coast Guard Initiative worked alongside the TSA to bring the TWIC card to fruition.
It’s estimated that 750,000 people will need this card (you’re probably one of them).This is a biometric, tamper-resistant credential that will give maritime workers, or truckers in this case, access to:
- Secure port facilities
- Outer continental shelf facilities
All vessels maintained under the MTSA, or Maritime Transportation Security Act, will now be able to be accessed through unescorted access.
This is a federal credential, and you may or may not need one.
How do you know if you need a TWIC card?
If required, your employer will inform you that a TWIC card is needed during the hiring process. A condition of your employment may require a TWIC card, and you’ll likely need this card if you regularly transport hauls to:
- Continental shelf facilities
- Port facilities
It will provide you with the clearance you need to get to the loading or unloading dock, and move on to your next haul. It’s a major time-saver.
How Long Does It Take to Get A TWIC Card?
Getting the TWIC card requires you to complete and send in a form with all of your biometric information. You’ll also need to have specific credentials to obtain a card (we’ll discuss this shortly).
Cards are received after just 7 – 10 days following payment ($128 for the TWIC card).
But every application needs to be reviewed, and it’s recommended that all people who will require a TWIC card should fill out their information 12 weeks prior. After you submit your application, it will take 30 – 45 days before the TSA provides you with a response.
You’ll also have to schedule an appointment to meet with the TSA.
On average, you can expect the process to take 6 – 8 weeks as long as everything goes according to plan. If there are any hiccups along the way, this can increase the time further, which is why the TSA recommends applying for your card 12 weeks in advance.
TWIC Card Requirements
Anyone who wants to receive a card will need to fill out their TWIC card application. A person will need to:
- Be a U.S. citizen, or
- A lawful permanent resident, or
- A naturalized citizen, or
- A non-immigrant alien, or
- A refugee with lawful status
A person may be disqualified for a variety of reasons and be ineligible as a result. Some of the disqualifying offenses are:
- Transportation security incident
- Transportation of hazardous materials improperly
- Firearm or weapons charges
- Drug charges
- Assault with intent to kill
- Sexual abuse
View a complete list of all the disqualifying offenses that may prevent you from receiving a TWIC card.
How to Apply for a TWIC Card
When you go to apply for your card, you’ll need to pass through the application process. There is a lot of documentation that will be needed. If you want to know how to get a TWIC card, the first step is to go to the TSA official site to get the process started.
You’ll need to do the following:
- Complete the online application. (You can do it in person, too, but it’s faster online)
- Schedule an appointment online. You can also walk in if you’re near the correct office.
- Provide the right documentation.
- Pay your free.
All that’s left to do is have your card mailed to you, or you can pick up the card at an application center.
The required documents include:
- Current U.S. Passport, or
- Driver’s license and birth certificate
But the requirements change based on where you were born and your current status. Some countries do have more stringent requirements, so it’s a smart idea to discuss all of this documentation prior to walking into the office to ensure you have all of the right documents on-hand.
A few of the appropriate documents that may suffice are:
- NEXUS card
- Enhanced Tribal Card
- FAST card
- Permanent Resident Card
- Global Entry Card
- Foreign Passport and Immigrant Visa
Just make sure that you call the office prior to going in. The last thing you want is to find out that you don’t have the required documents available once you get there. There is also a list of the items online.
Your fingerprints and photo will be taken, too.
Once everything has been filed, you’ll have to wait on your TWIC card status to find out the status of your application and card. The status can be viewed online, and you also have the option of contacting the application office you visited to get a status update.
If your employer requires you to have a card, they may reimburse you the costs of the card, too.