Industry-requested TWIC OneVisit program now in effect nationwide

Under a revised process from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), mariners and others required to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) should be able to obtain the card with one visit rather than two.

In response to TWIC holders’ complaints, the TSA launched the OneVisit program nationwide in July 2014.

Under the old rules, a TWIC holder had to appear in person at an enrollment center to apply or renew the credential. Under the new process, a mariner can apply for a TWIC at an enrollment center and opt to receive the credential by mail.

“OneVisit eliminates the need for TWIC applicants across the country to make a second visit to a TWIC enrollment center to pick up the credential,” said Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokeswoman.

Depending on where they live and work, some mariners have had to travel up to 500 miles one way to reach a TWIC enrollment center, said Brian Vahey, government affairs manager for American Waterways Operators (AWO).

“This is great news for not just maritime workers but millions of workers across the country who are now in a situation where it’s not quite as burdensome to go through the process of getting their TWIC,” Vahey said.

Since the introduction of One-Visit, approximately 65 percent of TWIC applicants have elected to have the credential mailed to them, according to the TSA. 

Industry leaders applauded the implementation of OneVisit, which was the result of a five-year grassroots and bipartisan congressional effort in response to transportation workers’ dissatisfaction with the process.
“The road to achieving One-Visit has been a long one, but the result is improved public policy that retains high standards of security while reducing burdens on American transportation workers,” Tom Allegretti, AWO’s president and chief executive, said in a news release. “Our members and our champions refused to give up, because this program addresses a serious stumbling block for men and women seeking employment in the maritime sector.”

TWIC cards, either new or for renewed enrollments, are mailed directly to the applicant’s home. Replacements for lost, stolen or damaged cards can be mailed as well.

The new program also applies to extended expiration date (EED) TWICs. The EED program is available through Dec. 31, 2014, to help TWIC holders extend the life of their documents. The cost for a three-year replacement EED TWIC is $60, compared to the standard fee of $129.75.
U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals who hold TWICs that will expire on or before Dec. 31, 2014, can apply for the extension.

TWIC holders who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals, or who are eligible but do not wish to use the three-year renewal option, can apply for the standard five-year renewal.

When the three-year EED TWIC expires, all TWIC holders will be required to enroll for a standard five-year TWIC, Dankers noted.

Dankers said when the card is mailed to the applicant, it will be activated and ready to use. A mailer with the card’s preset personal identification number (PIN) will be sent separately. However, a change in PIN requires an in-person visit to an enrollment center.

If an applicant elects to pick up the TWIC at an enrollment center, then he or she can select a PIN.

Because of the burden some workers face in traveling to distant enrollment centers, Alaska was selected for an initial pilot project in June 2013. In December 2013, five enrollment centers in northern Michigan were added to the pilot.

The pilots enabled TSA to review operational, security, communication and customer service elements of OneVisit as part of its implementation plan, Dankers said.

TSA fully deployed OneVisit on July 25, 2014. According to the TSA, since October 2007, 3,063,319 applicants have enrolled. There are 1,944,130 active TWICs.

By Professional Mariner Staff