| After April 15th, 2009 you must possess or show proof of applying for a TWIC to apply or renew a Merchant Mariner License
To learn about the TWIC Card and to setup an appointment at a TWIC Center near you, visit;
What is TWIC?
TWIC is a common identification credential for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA-regulated facilities and vessels, and all mariners holding Coast Guard-issued credentials. Individuals who meet TWIC eligibility requirements will be issued a tamper-resistant credential containing the worker's biometric (fingerprint template) to allow for a positive link between the card and the individual.
How was TWIC created?
Congress directed the federal government, through the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA), to issue a biometric security credential to individuals with unescorted access to secure areas of facilities and vessels and all mariners holding Coast Guard- issued credentials or qualification documents. Controlling access to secure areas is critical to enhancing port security.
How will the TWIC be used?
During the initial rollout, TWIC will be used for visual identity checks. TWIC holders will present their cards to authorized personnel, who will compare the holder to his or her photo, inspect security features on the TWIC and evaluate the card for signs of tampering. The Coast Guard will conduct vessel and facility inspections and use hand -held readers during spot checks to ensure credentials are valid and identity is verified. A second rulemaking will establish access control requirements, including the use of electronic readers by certain vessel and facility owners and operators.
Who must get a TWIC?
We anticipate that over 1.2 million individuals will apply for a TWIC. This includes Coast Guard-credentialed merchant mariners, port facility employees, long shore workers, truck drivers, and others requiring unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels regulated by MTSA.
Are individuals who work on cruise ships required to get a TWIC?
Most cruise ships that call on U.S. ports are foreign flagged and do not have secure areas as defined by MTSA, therefore individuals working on those ships would not require a TWIC. For U.S. flagged cruise ships, if an individual requires unescorted access to areas designated as 'secure' or 'restricted', a TWIC is required. If the individual only requires access to 'passenger access' areas, a TWIC is not required.
Where do I go for 'official' TWIC enrollment information and services?
TWIC information and resources are available on the official TWIC Program web site (www.tsa.gov/twic) and through the TWIC help desk (1-866-DHS-TWIC), at no additional cost to the enrollment fee. All information about the TWIC Program, including the enrollment process, can be found at this web site, which was recently revamped based on stakeholder feedback, and the official TWIC help desk. These resources enable applicants to pre-enroll, schedule appointments for both enrollment and activation, locate a convenient enrollment center, and access comprehensive frequently asked questions – all at no additional cost, with minimal effort and time. We encourage applicants to take advantage of these resources in order to save time and to provide you with the official information on the TWIC Program.