According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the TWIC card – Transportation Worker Identification Credential – is required under the Maritime Transportation Security Act for workers to access secured areas of ports and vessels. United States citizens, permanent residents and certain categories of immigrants may apply for the credential.
Workers required to have TWIC cards must present these and other required documents in order to access the secured areas to which they are assigned. In some cases, workers are allowed to swipe their TWIC cards through secured readers while other assignments require them to present to the credential to a certifying official.
U. S. Coast policy allows facility and vessel operators to grant certain credentialed workers unescorted access to secure areas under specific, documented conditions – such as while waiting for replacement of a lost or stolen TWIC card – for up to 37 days. If a replacement credential has not been issued after 37 days, operators must work with the TSA to increase the use of escorts to remain compliant with TSA regulations.
Use of TWIC cards is not limited to government or military ports and vessels. Once applicants pass a background check, they are required to submit identifying documents, be fingerprinted and pay a non-refundable fee good for five years.