What is a TWIC Card & Why Do Truck Drivers Need One?

June 21, 2022

What is a TWIC Card & Why Do Truck Drivers Need One?

What is a TWIC card for truckers?

A TWIC card is the Transportation Worker Identification Credential. It is required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act for anyone who needs access to secure areas in the nation’s maritime facilities. CDL drivers who pick up from and deliver cargo to ports will need a TWIC card. Any time a trucker needs to access secure areas (beyond where civilians are allowed) they must present their TWIC card to gain access. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducts a background check (sometimes called a threat assessment) to determine if you’re eligible for a TWIC card, and then issues the card if you pass. You do not need to be a US citizen to get a TWIC card. Lawful permanent residents and non-immigrant aliens can also apply for the TWIC. 

Do truckers need a TWIC card?

Truckers who do short-haul inland routes or only transport cargo from rail yards to warehouses do not legally need a TWIC card. However, even if a truck driver doesn’t work with the ports, some trucking companies may still require them to get a TWIC card so they can deliver and pick up from ports in the future if needed. 

How hard is it to get a TWIC card?

Applying for a TWIC card is a fairly straightforward process, but it can take a while. You can complete the initial application online, or you can complete the entire process in person by scheduling an appointment with TSA at an application center (they accept walk-ins as well). You will need a valid ID (passport, driver’s license, military ID, etc) and birth certificate. Remember to bring the required documentation to your appointment at the application center so you can do everything at one time. You will be fingerprinted and must pay a non-refundable new applicant fee of $125.25. If you have a current and valid HazMat endorsement on your CDL, you may be eligible to pay a reduced rate

Make sure to apply for your TWIC well in advance as it can take up to 6 weeks for you to hear back on the status of your application once you have been fingerprinted. The TWIC card will be mailed to the address you provided at the time of application and is good for five years from the date of issue. 

What disqualifies you from getting a TWIC card?

There are two categories of disqualifications for a TWIC card: permanent disqualifications and temporary. CDL drivers who are disqualified from getting a TWIC card or who do not pass the security threat assessment for whatever reason will not be able to enter port facilities to pick up or deliver loads. 

Temporary Disqualifications

For the below offenses, you will be disqualified from getting a TWIC for five to seven years. 

  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export of, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon
  • Extortion
  • Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Smuggling
  • Immigration violations
  • Distribution, possession w/ intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping or hostage taking
  • Rape or aggravated sexual abuse
  • Assault with intent to kill
  • Robbery
  • Fraudulent entry into a seaport
  • Voluntary manslaughter

Permanent Disqualifications

If you are convicted of or plead guilty to any of the below offenses, you will never be able to get a TWIC card

  • Espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage
  • Sedition or conspiracy to commit sedition
  • Treason or conspiracy to commit treason
  • A federal crime of terrorism
  • A crime involving a TSI (transportation security incident)
  • Improper transportation of a hazardous material
  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, manufacture, purchase, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, import, export, storage of, or dealing in an explosive or explosive device
  • Murder
  • Threat or maliciously conveying false information knowing the same to be false, concerning the deliverance, placement, or detonation of an explosive or other lethal device in or against a place of public use, a state or government facility, a public transportations system, or an infrastructure facility
  • Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

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