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Information for Previously Incarcerated Individuals on the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC®)

In support of the objectives of the White House Alternatives, Rehabilitation, and Reentry Strategic Plan - established by Executive Order (E.O.) 14074 - the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has compiled the below information on the DHS-administered Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC®) that may be of interest to previously incarcerated individuals.  This information may be useful as they are exploring employment opportunities that require a TWIC to facilitate their reentry into society.

What is TWIC®?

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential, also known as TWIC®, is required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act for workers who need unescorted access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels, such as ports, port facilities and warehouses, outer continental shelf facilities, certain manufacturing facilities, and certain vessels.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducts a security threat assessment (i.e., background check) to determine a person’s eligibility and issues the credential.  U.S. citizens, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and noncitizens in certain immigration categories may apply for the credential.  Most mariners licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard also require a credential.  A TWIC® is valid for 5 years after issuance.

There are more than 450 enrollment centers that provide TWIC® services in all 50 states as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  You can find an enrollment center near you here.  You may enroll for TWIC® if you are a U.S. citizen (including naturalized citizens), U.S. noncitizen national, lawful permanent resident, admitted refugee, noncitizen granted asylum (asylee), or a qualifying nonimmigrant in lawful status with employment authorization.  However, some criminal offenses are disqualifying.  A full list of disqualifying criminal offenses can be found here: Disqualifying Offenses and Other Factors | Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov)

Engagement with Incarcerated and Previously Incarcerated Communities

In 2022, TSA conducted outreach events for incarcerated and previously incarcerated communities to educate applicants and parole organizations on the TWIC® redress process.  TSA hosted small group listening sessions with probation officers and answered redress questions at reentry and second chance resource fairs in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.  From these engagements, TSA developed guidance for probation and parole officers’ use, and it is developing new resources to assist individuals with enrollment and redress requirements.  In 2023, TSA plans to expand its state and local redress engagement across all 50 states, including workshops with the American Probation and Parole Association and Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.  Individuals should contact their probation or parole officer for information, or applicants may contact TSA directly (twic.issue@tsa.dhs.gov) for further information and assistance.

Redress Process

If you enroll and TSA finds potentially disqualifying information, TSA will send you a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter with instructions on how to proceed, including applying for redress.  Individuals previously incarcerated may initially be denied for a TWIC® but can appeal TSA’s initial decision or request a waiver via the agency’s redress process.  TSA considers the following five (5) criteria when determining whether to grant a waiver for a disqualifying criminal offense, where applicable:

  1. Circumstances of the disqualifying act or offense,
  2. Restitution made by the applicant,
  3. Any federal or state mitigation remedies (such as certificates showing completion of court-ordered substance abuse or other treatment programs),
  4. Court records or official medical release documents indicating that the applicant no longer lacks mental capacity, and
  5. Any other factors that indicate the applicant does not pose a security threat, including evidence of rehabilitation.

If issued a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter, individuals have 60 days from receipt of letter to submit a response to TSA or request additional time to respond.  

Please contact 1-855 DHS-UES1 (1-855-347-8371); Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 10:00 pm Eastern Time, or TWIC.Enroll@tsa.dhs.gov for assistance.

To Enroll for a TWIC®

Visit a TWIC enrollment center to:

  • Provide required documentation, be fingerprinted and take a facial photo.  Bring valid citizenship and identification documentation, such as a passport or a driver’s license and U.S. birth certificate.  Download a list of acceptable documents.
  • Pay a non-refundable fee valid for five years with a credit card, money order, company check or certified/cashier’s check.
    • Fee for new application: $125.25
    • Reduced rate fee for new application: $93.00*

*To be eligible for the reduced rate you must present a valid stated-issued commercial driver’s license with a hazardous materials endorsement, or a Free and Secure Trade card.  Please note, if you select the reduced rate, your new TWIC® card’s expiration date will align with the comparable credential’s expiration.

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the TWIC® Program, go to TWIC® | Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov)

Last Updated: 12/04/2023
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