The TWIC – Transportation Worker Identification Credential

by TJ on January 10, 2011

Everyone who wants unescorted access to US ports, including inland ports and barge terminals, must obtain the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).  TWIC is administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in conjunction with the US Coast Guard.  There are two key components driving the issuance of the TWIC credential – a criminal background check on the applicant and an assessment of the threat posed by them.

One bone of contention for many truckers driving onto port facilities is that the TSA does not ban “escorted” access.  You will see “escort for hire” services established around numerous facilities, who will escort you for a fee.  Some port authorities have been trying to curb or eliminate the practice, which doesn’t add anything to the economy nor to security.  New York/New Jersey Port Authority for instance, has a complete ban on escorts for hire and partners and users have been advised on the zero tolerance policy.  That still does not stop the practice though.

Obtaining your TWIC will save you money and time, though this being a government issued license, and involving national security, you can expect it to be time consuming and requiring a fair amount of paperwork.  OOIDA advise TWIC applicants to pre-enrol, because this will avoid wasting your time waiting for a slot.  You also need to select a TWIC Enrollment Center to participate and apply in , because once your TWIC card is issued you will have to activate it at that same location (showing it is in your hands).  In addition, truckers should note that there is NO tractor-trailer parking at TWIC Enrollment Centers and you are advised to travel by car (bobtail parking may be available but you are taking a chance).

You will also need the following information to hand:

  • Name and address, contact information and date of birth
  • Employer/Business information
  • Current address and prior address history
  • City, State and County of birth (and an Alien Registration Number if you are not a US citizen)
  • CDL information
  • Social Security Number

Upon arrival at the TWIC Enrollment Center you will need to provide identification such as a US passport or a SSN card (make sure they are original and unexpired – out-of-date documents will be rejected).  It pays to check with the individual center for what documents they are prepared to accept.

Don’t forget the fees either – TWIC Enrollment Centers will NOT accept cash or personal check!  (Check with the individual center for the fee which is applicable prior to attending).  TWIC credentials are also personal to the driver and not the truck – you cannot acquire a TWIC card by buying a new or used semi trailer or truck.

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