What a TWIC Card?

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TWIC basically stands for Transportation Worker Identification Credential, an initiative by the US government to provide a common identification credential for individuals to have passage through facilities regulated by the Maritime Transportation Security Administration (MTSA). These facilities include any vessels involved in navigation and maritime work under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, whether it is a passenger, cruise, or cargo. Once a person passes the eligibility requirement, he or she is given a TWIC card. This is a special type of credential symbolizing right of unescorted access. It contains the fingerprint of a worker allowing a positive link between the card itself and its owner. Inside the TWIC card is a type of computer chip, which can only be read using a “contactless” reader. Among the individuals required to have a TWIC card are the employees of a port facility, long shore workers, drivers of cargo trucks, and merchant mariners.

To obtain a TWIC card, a person first needs to submit certain requirements and credentials. One of the most important things that an individual may be required to give is his biometrics, which will be stored in the said chip.

A TWIC card is used during visual identity checks. During such time, every holder is will be required to show their cards to the security. The latter will inspect the card to the owner and examine possible tampering. At the same time, the Coast Guard will also visit the vessel and other marine facilities to verify whether or not their identity were true and valid. As part of the stringent rules, the security personnel often use an electronic reader to fully assess the veracity of their records and identity.

TWIC card is a very useful tool in US security and emergency. However, workers from the emergency unit and first aid responders are not required to obtain such.

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