My TWIC Experience

The following was submitted by good friend and gCaptain contributing author, John G. Denham:

I have been TWICed. My experience on the web to pre-register was unsuccessful after a number of attempts. No matter how I tried I could not get my email address to be accepted. In desperation I called and was informed the number 1 866 DHS TWIC was temporarily unavailable. Therefore with time to spare I sought guidance to find the local TWIC REGISTRATION CENTER. To my surprise one was located in BENICIA, CALIFORNIA on Park Road. The directions include a small scale map of California that included the entire state with a star near Vallejo,California; attempts to enlarge the map failed. That was it. At 0900 June 23, I ventured to Benicia and with the help of several locals I located Park Road and found the center in a private business’ compound. Without a reservation I was in and out and registered in 30 minutes, thanks to the help of several enthusiastic TWIC workers. I was informed that in several weeks I would be informed my TWIC card would be available.

On 1 July I was informed by email my card was available for pick-up. Again, I tried to register for an appointment as suggested but to no avail. Gamboling I arrived at the center at 1300 on 2 July and asked if I had a reservation. At 1500 I departed the center with my TWIC card authenticated and activated and dated June 26 2009. I departed with the thought that service is a matter of luck. The employees are excellent and working under difficult conditions with complicated processes with some difficult customers. I recommend you arrive early and plan to stay late, but if lucky - piece of cake. JGD

I applied online an then found out there was a center in Panama City. i walked in and was done in 20 minutes. Ten days latter I received an email that my card was ready, I called for an appoint ment and got 1230 the next day. I happened to be in the neighborhood a 10 am so I went in and asked if I could pick up my card. 15 minutes I had it and was out the door

Unlike the NMC, I will agree that the TWIC process has been relatively painless. The only error they made was emailing me 3 weeks after I picked up my card to tell my card was ready. I think most people will agree, that however painless the process may be, it was totally unnecessary. TWIC amounts to nothing more than a tax on mariner’s, because I had to pay a fee to keep the job that I’ve been doing since 1990.

I’ve got a buddy that is thinking of getting back into sailing. She knows her license is “on ice” until she gets her TWIC, so I’ve been encouraging her to go get it taken care of. Sounds like the process is a lot faster than when I got mine last year. I’ll tell her to forgo the online appointment hassle and just wander in on a day when she’s got a few hours.
Thanks for the info!

back in spetember, at the enrollment office in boston, i had the festest and smooethest experience i have heard of to date.

one night, i registered and booked an appointment online for the next day. time invested: 20min

the next day, i drove to the office and did what needed to be done, and drove home. time invested: 1hr

as a vociferous internet hound, i checked the status of my card no less than a dozen times a day. as soon as it showed ready for pickup, which was 6 days later i booked an appt for the next day. time invested, 6 days(sort of)

the next day, i went in an picked the thing up. time invested(including the drive), 1hr.

i heard horror stories of people that were still waiting for theirs at this same office months after applying for it. i had mine done in 7 days. i cant complain…

My application has been in limbo for almost a year.
Being from Canada, or any other country for that matter, means that your initial application is denied immediately. You then receive a letter instructing you to send all kinds of additional information. Why they can’t take this stuff before hand I dont know…
Then comes the lengthy adjudication process, which I am still sitting in the middle of.
Not that I have ever been asked to produce my Twic card!

My TWIC was recognized and accepted as picture ID by the TSA Agent at SEATAC Airport a few days ago. I couldn’t hold out waiting to be asked to show it so I gave in a volunteered it. So now I’ve used it once in a well over a year of ownership.

[quote=Sharp21;16904]My application has been in limbo for almost a year.
Being from Canada, [I][B]or any other country for that matter[/B][/I], means that your initial application is denied immediately. [/quote]

[B][I]Well I have a buddy that had to go through a mega-whole lot of trouble, because She was from NEBRASKA ? [/I][/B]
[B][I]Yeah, somehow, someone entering her info clicked on “Netherlands” and rejected her application saying she was a security threat. Well after a whole lot of kissing, waiting, begging pleating and staying on hold , etc… she finally got it. [/I][/B]
[B][I]We can laugh about it now, because we all knew some were going to have a nightmare involved,…we just didn’t know which one of us. :cool:[/I][/B]
[B][I]And also, there are only a [U]few[/U] companies around that have actually purchased “readers” for the TWIC card anyway. Which means all the fancy work still for naught.[/I][/B]

[quote=NAUTICART;18463][B][I]Which means all the fancy work still for naught.[/I][/B]


Not for naught … Lockheed made a bundle off it and is still raking in the cash. They probably made enough to buy another senator or two so who knows what the next security solution might be.

luckily I am still an american citizen so hopefully I have the 7 day turnaround as well, unfortunatly I live in Vegas and there are no local offices here, so I have to fly to the coast for a 15 minute interview, but if it only takes one or two weeks it will be well worth it

So you will have to fly there twice! You have to pick it up and get it activated in person.

yeah, I know I have to go and pick it up as well, I am hoping to pick it up when I go back to the coast for all of my renewal crap

I did the same with mine a Tampa. In spite of the fact that you are not supposed to use it as official ID for anything other than it’s original purpose. The funniest part was explaining to the TSA agent that it was in fact a government issued ID. They had a group around all looking it over out of curiosity as they had never seen, and most had never heard of it.

Actually the issue of mine was quick and easy with no appointments. The Tampa office is not your typical government office but it was very efficient. Also not very typical come to think of it. Now I have to go back sometime to get a new one after they lost the pin codes, back to usual government. :wink:

Been 10 months still nothing, called, wrote, emailed still no twic card. sent in necessary waivers four months ago was told it took up to 60 days. called back, they said it would take up to 90 days. that was four months ago. still no twic card.

KCampo & all other with slow TWIC responses,

Try a Freedom of Information Act request to DHS/TSA (see below)asking for all documents pertaining to your application for a TWIC and the reason(s) for the delay in issuance. Start with e-mail, follow any instruction received exactly, & follow up immediately with a registered, return receipt paper letter so that you have documentation. TSA must respond no later than 20 workdays after receipt, as required by the FOIA statute. It may unjam the system as a live person (hopefully), will have to go hunt down the documents pertaining to you to respond.

If TSA does not respond IAW the FOIA statute, they have handed you cause for action and the best route then to resolution would be to send all paperwork to your congressional representative seeking relief.

Address is as follows:[B]
Transportation Security Administration[/B]
Freedom of Information Act Office, TSA-20
601 S. 12th Street
11th Floor, East Tower
Arlington, VA 20598-6020

FOIA Officer: Kevin J. Janet,
FOIA Requester Service Center Contact: Deborah Snowden
Phone: 1-866-FOIA-TSA or 571-227-2300
Fax: 571-227-1406

More info @:

In my experience, FOIA officers are usually responsive to personnel issues such as this if approached politely, as in “can you please help me”. People who are irate, indignant or pissy tend to get service that moves more slowly than frozen molasses, statutory requirements regardless.

Be nice, use lots of sugar, no vinegar and you might just catch this fly.

FWIW…I have a commercial drivers license, Class A with hazmat, and the difficulties I went through to get the hazmat clearance from DHS (same procedure & a fee of course…different contractor) would have the Pope kicking in the stained glass windows of St. Peter’s Cathedral. I had to provide fingerprints twice, as per letter from DHS, mine, taken by scanner, were not machine readable. Contractor’s mistake, but I paid for the error with more delay, my time & mileage.

Hope this helps.

Former federal FOIA Officer

All along I thought TWIC stood for Transportation Worker Identification Card…I just learned TWIC actually stands for Transportation Worker Identification [U]Credential.[/U] I feel so much better now knowing that I am “credentialed”!!:cool:

I got my TWIC card in Jan 2008, I have never used it or been asked to show it except by the USCG in order to renew. I have tried to show it to port security guards, but they want to see the MMD and Drivers License. Some have told me it means nothing to them. From what I hear this TWIC card scam is second only to the AMO pension rip off.

That is pretty accurate. I met a ship in Port Everglades on the weekend. The port gate guard would only accept a driver’s license as proof of my existence - MMD and TWIC not good enough for some reason.

Even though my name was on the list of visitors authorised to board, and I was wearing a port visitor’s pass issued at the main gate, the dock guard would only accept a drivers license as ID to pass that checkpoint and then, even though I was only 100 feet from the ship and no cargo was moving on the dock, I was not allowed to walk to the gangway without an escort.

Would someone please tell me again what the TWIC is all about? And while you are at it, tell me again what all the security and background checks I have been paying for every 5 years are for.

The only things missing in this new world order are black armbands and implanted tracking devices. But I am sure that as soon as Lockheed or some other “security” lobbyist can get to the right politician they will find a way to revive what my father and his mates fought to destroy 65 years ago.

The TWIC is only half the equation and is useless per se…IF the machines to read them are ever put into use then they will be accepted by those security folks that have these card-reading machines. Until then they are useless.


. Until then they are useless.[/QUOTE]

Not entirely true…

On Monday I was tasked with the duty of attaching new registration numbers to one of our smaller boats…After affixing the new ID numbers I realized I had a small air bubble under one of the numbers and with nothing close by to help force the troublesome air bubble out,I resorted to my trusty TWIC card, using it like a sqee gee I was able to force the air bubble out with out causing damage to the number, I shudder to think what may have happened to the number and my stellar reputation had the powers that be, not required me to have that card upon my person…I am now a believer…