What is a TWIC Card for Truck Drivers?

Seaport with many shipping containers

When you become a truck driver, your career will take you near and far, to many locations. Some truck drivers may be required to deliver a load to a port, dock, or another secure facility. Those drivers will need a TWIC card.

What is a TWIC Card for Truck Drivers?

A Transportation Worker Identification Credential card, or a TWIC card for short, is a card that is needed for drivers who need access to the nation’s maritime facilities, vessels, and other secure areas. The TWIC card identifies who has authorization to access secure marine areas.

TWIC card
Sample TWIC card.

Congress passed the Maritime Transportation Security Act to offer additional protection for ships, seaports, and secure areas.

Truck drivers are required to have a TWIC card when accessing secure areas. This means you will need one to get in and get your load.

If you don’t have a card, you may need to pay for an escort on the spot or you may not be allowed in at all. Truck drivers, merchant marines, longshore workers, and employees of port facilities, as well as anyone else that need to enter a secure maritime facility or ship will require a TWIC card.

A TWIC card only applies to the drivers and not the passengers. In many cases, passengers riding along with the drivers are not allowed in these secure areas.

The only people that do NOT need a TWIC card for entry into these secure facilities are state and local emergency responders.

How does the TWIC card work?

A TWIC card contains biometric information such as fingerprint data. Special reading devices are required to scan the card for clearance and verification. If the area that you are entering does not have a special reader, you will have to physically show them your TWIC card for entrance.

How Do I Get a TWIC Card?

Before you apply for a TWIC Card, you have to make sure that you are eligible first.

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen or a lawful permanent resident
  • Must not have any disqualifying criminal offenses. There will be a criminal background check to check your criminal record as well as your citizenship status. If the driver has Hazmat endorsements then they are familiar with this process because it is very similar. A criminal record can prevent a driver from obtaining a TWIC card.
  • If you don’t have a major criminal offense but do have something on your record such as arson or theft, this can disqualify a driver from getting a TWIC card for seven years or for five years after leaving prison.

After you have figured out if you’re eligible, you can either apply for a TWIC by completing an online application HERE or going to an application center to apply in person. If you go in person, it is best to set an appointment for quicker service but walk ins are welcomed.

You can find application centers HERE

Even if you apply online, you eventually must visit a TWIC application center to provide the required documentation, to be fingerprinted, and to take a facial photo for your TWIC card. You also have to pay a nonrefundable fee (usually $125), and your card will be valid for five years. Depending on what trucking company you work for, the company may take care of the fees or just pay for the TWIC card themselves.

Afterwards, you can either have the card mailed to your home or you can pick it up at the application center. If you need a new TWIC card after losing the original, a replacement can cost up to $100.

A TWIC card, it can open up more opportunities for you when it comes to choosing what loads you would like to take on, but you will be notified by your trucking company if you need one.


About The Author
Contributor: Sade Turner (Logistics for 5+ years and technical writer).