Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) was created as a system-wide common credential that could be used across all transportation modes. TWIC could be used for all personnel requiring unescorted physical and/or computer access to secure areas of the national transportation system. TWIC was developed in response to threats and vulnerabilities identified in the transportation system. TWIC was developed in accordance with the legislative provisions of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) and the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA).
The TWIC program was a Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Coast Guard initiative. The TWIC program was developed to provide a tamper-resistant biometric credential to maritime workers requiring unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities, outer continental shelf facilities, and vessels regulated under the Maritime Transportation Security Act, or MTSA, and all U.S. Coast Guard credentialed merchant mariners. An estimated 750,000 individuals would require TWICs. Enrollment and issuance would take place over an 18 month period. To obtain a TWIC, an individual must provide biographic and biometric information such as fingerprints, sit for a digital photograph and successfully pass a security threat assessment conducted by TSA.
TWIC enrollment will be phased in over a 15 month period, which is expected to begin in Spring 2007. We will post the implementation schedule when it is completed. Owners and operators of vessels will be required to comply with the provisions of the final TWIC rule by 25 September 2008. Compliance for facilities will be phased in by Captain of the Port zone (COTP), and the compliance date for each zone will be published via notice in the Federal Register 90 days prior to the compliance date.
While TWIC may be implemented across other transportation modes in the future, the TWIC Final Rule, published in the Federal Register 25 January, 2007, set forth regulatory requirements to implement this program in the maritime mode first.
The program's goals were:
- Positively identify authorized individuals who require unescorted access to secure areas of the nation's maritime transportation system;
- Determine the eligibility of an individual to be authorized unescorted access to secure areas of the maritime transportation system;
- Enhance security by ensuring that unauthorized individuals are denied unescorted access to secure areas of the nation's maritime transportation system; and,
- Identify individuals who fail to maintain their eligibility qualifications after being permitted unescorted access to secure areas of the nation's maritime transportation system and revoke the individual's permissions.
A second rulemaking was anticipated in calendar year 2007 and would propose additional access control requirements and the use of electronic readers. The public would have opportunities to comment on the proposed standards.
During the initial rollout of TWIC, which was expected to take place in Fall 2007, workers 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 verify TWICs when conducting vessel and facility inspections and during spot checks using hand-held scanners, ensuring credentials are valid. A second rulemaking, anticipated in calendar year 2007, will propose enhanced access control requirements, including the use of electronic readers by certain vessel and facility owners and operators.
An estimated 750,000 individuals will be required to obtain a TWIC. This includes Coast Guard-credentialed merchant mariners, port facility employees, longshoremen, truck drivers, and others requiring unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels regulated by the Maritime Transportation Security Act.
The enrollment process consists of the following components: optional pre-enrollment, in-person enrollment, fee collection, security threat assessment and notification of the results, and issuance of the TWIC to the applicant. Applicants may pre-enroll online to enter all of the biographic information required for the threat assessment and make an appointment at the enrollment center to complete the process (although appointments are not required). Then applicants must visit the enrollment center where they will review and sign a 'TWIC Application Disclosure Form,' provide biographic information and a complete set of fingerprints, sit for a digital photograph, and pay the enrollment fee. The applicant must bring identity verification documents to enrollment and in the case of aliens, immigration documents that verify their immigration status, so that the documents can be scanned into the electronic enrollment record.
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