Security Standards: Understanding the Background Checks for TWIC Card Renewal

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Written By Charlotte Miller

Have you recently had to renew your TWIC card for work? If so, you know it’s not the most straightforward process. Those little cards may seem innocuous, but they pack a big punch when it comes to ensuring transportation security. As someone who frequently accessed secure areas of ports, airports, and vessels, keeping your TWIC card up to date is critical. HMD Trucking knows from experience the entire TWIC card process.

The good news is, by understanding the required background checks and giving yourself plenty of time, renewal doesn’t have to be a pain. The bad news is, if you let your card expire, you’ll be barred from work until you complete the process. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in TWIC card renewal and how these stringent measures work to protect infrastructure and keep operations running smoothly. By the end, you’ll have a firm grasp of the necessary steps to maintain access and continue contributing to a safe transportation environment.

What Is a TWIC Card and Why Do I Need One?

To work in secure areas of ports and vessels, you’ll need to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, or TWIC card. This card proves you’ve passed a background check and are authorized to access sensitive transportation facilities.

What exactly is checked during the background check?

The TWIC background check digs into your criminal history, immigration status, and terrorist watchlists. Things like felony convictions, warrants, or deportation orders will likely disqualify you. Minor offenses probably won’t prevent approval as long as you’re up front and honest in your application.

  • Provide details on where you’ve lived, worked and traveled
  • Submit fingerprints for an FBI criminal background check
  • Verify your identity and immigration status

Why is the TWIC card important?

Your TWIC card allows you to freely move around designated secure areas to do your job. Without a valid card, you won’t be granted access.

To renew your TWIC card, you must again pass a security threat assessment and background check. As long as your information remains the same and you have a clean record, renewal should be straightforward. But if there have been any changes, be prepared to provide additional details and documentation to reverify your eligibility. Keeping transportation infrastructure secure is a team effort, and your TWIC card is an important part of that mission.

The TWIC Card Renewal Process

To renew your TWIC card, there are a few important steps you’ll need to take. The process typically begins 3 to 6 months before your current card expires.


First you will complete an application, either online, by mail, or in person at the registration center. The application form asks for personal information such as your name, address, date of birth and citizenship status. This will also include questions about your criminal history and eligibility.

Background Check

Next, the TSA will conduct an updated background check, including:

  • A criminal history records check using biometric fingerprint matching.
  • A check against terrorist watchlists and other government databases.
  • A verification of your legal authorization to work in the U.S.

The background check typically takes around 2 to 3 weeks to complete. If there are any issues, the TSA may request additional information from you to verify your eligibility.

Enrollment Appointment

Once you’ve passed the background check, you’ll schedule an appointment at an enrollment center to provide documentation proving your identity and legal authorization to work. The TSA agent will review your documents, take your photo, and issue your new TWIC card.

Keeping transportation secure is a team effort. By diligently renewing your TWIC card and maintaining a clean record, you do your part to uphold safety standards and protect people, facilities, and cargo. Following the necessary steps for renewal helps create a system we can all have confidence in.

The Role of TWIC Cards in Security

By requiring employees to pass a background check, the TWIC program aims to prevent unauthorized entry and maintain a safe environment.

By updating your TWIC card, you play an important role in meeting security standards and ensuring smooth operations at your place of employment. Your TWIC card is a visible sign of your commitment to that goal.


Although the background check can seem tedious, it’s important that we all do our part. But safety is everyone’s responsibility. Take your time starting the renewal process, with plenty of time to apply, gather the necessary paperwork, and schedule your appointment when you’re gone. A little trouble now means good shipping for the next 5 years. And remember, that little card in your pocket is about more than just your job – it’s about protecting our nation’s infrastructure and keeping people safe. Do your part and update that TWIC!