Skip to main content

What is a TWIC card and how to get one: The complete guide

A Schneider semi-truck delivering an intermodal container to a rail yard.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 

A trucking career can take you all over the country, including the nation’s many maritime ports. If you’re considering a driving job that would have you hauling freight to and from these ports, you’ll need to get a TWIC card first. 

Keep reading to find out what a TWIC card is and how to go about getting one. 

What is a TWIC card? 

A Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is a federal ID card issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The purpose of a TWIC card is to give authorized workers access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities. 

Do truck drivers need a TWIC card?  

A TWIC card is required for all transportation workers who need access to U.S. ports. 

Some tanker, intermodal and dedicated drivers may be required to have a TWIC card, depending on where they live and what type of freight they haul. Regardless, a TWIC card can be beneficial to any driver, as it opens more freight opportunities for them to take advantage of. 

What are the TWIC card requirements? 

Drivers are eligible to apply for a TWIC card if they are one of the following: 

  • U.S. citizen.
  • Lawful permanent resident.
  • Naturalized citizen or a nonimmigrant alien.
  • Asylee or refugee who is in lawful status.

You may be disqualified from getting a TWIC card if you: 

How do you get a TWIC card? 

Wondering how to get a TWIC card? Follow these four steps to obtain one: 

1. Complete the application online or in person at an application center.

2. Schedule an appointment online or call (855) 347-8371 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET.

3. Visit a TWIC application center to:

  • Provide the required documentation, such as your current U.S. passport, driver’s license, birth certificate or other acceptable documents.
  • Get fingerprinted (drivers who have already been fingerprinted for their HazMat endorsement may use the same prints).
  • Take a facial photo. 
  • Pay a non-refundable fee that’s valid for five years with a credit card, money order, company check or certified/cashier’s check. 

4. Receive your TWIC card in the mail or pick it up at the application center. You can check the status of your application online.

How long does it take to get a TWIC card?  

The process of getting a TWIC card usually takes 30-45 days to complete. Once your application is approved, it generally takes less than 10 business days to receive your TWIC card.  

However, the TSA suggests applying at least eight to 12 weeks in advance of when you need your TWIC card in case there are delivery issues or potential disqualifying factors. The required background checks are extensive, so it can sometimes take four to six weeks to get approved for a TWIC card. 

How much does a TWIC card cost? 

A TWIC card costs $125.25 for new applicants.  

If you have a valid driver’s license with a hazardous material endorsement or a Free and Secure Trade card, you are eligible for a reduced rate of $93.  

If you need to replace a misplaced or damaged TWIC card, it will cost $60. 

How long does a TWIC card last? 

A TWIC card is valid for five years after it is issued.  

You can renew your TWIC card in two ways: 

  • In person at an enrollment center, for $125.25.
  • Online, for $117.25, if you are a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national or lawful permanent resident.

During renewal, you will need to provide all the same information and undergo all the same background checks as when you initially applied. Because of this, you should aim to start the renewal process well before your card expires. 

You can renew your card as early as one year before expiration, and as late as one year after expiration. 

Looking for more new driver resources?

Whether you want to learn about getting your CDL or read about different driving styles, we have the content for you. Learn all about the topics that matter the most to you by checking out more new driver blogs. 
About the author
Author Picture

Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

More posts by this author
© Copyright 2024, Schneider. All rights reserved.