TWIC check at the Port of Tacoma in Washington. Photo: Port of Tacoma

TWIC check at the Port of Tacoma in Washington. Photo: Port of Tacoma

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration has announced some changes to the Transportation Worker Identification Credential card program, used by truckers and other transportation workers to access the nation’s maritime ports.

Starting on July 1, applicants who were born in the United States, and who claim U.S. citizenship, must provide certain documents to prove their citizenship. They are listed on the TWIC website.

Until the deadline, TWIC applicants who were born in the U.S. may continue to certify that they are U.S. citizens by checking the box on the electronically signed TWIC application or provide documents listed on the Universal Enrollment Services website.

TSA said it is making this change to align TWIC proof-of-citizenship requirements with those of its other security programs, such as the Hazardous Material Endorsement.

Also, on Feb. 1, the TWIC fee will be reduced to $128.00, $1.75 less than the current amount, due to lowered FBI fingerprint processing charges, according to TSA.

TSA also noted that currently some TWIC applicants are experiencing delays of more than 75 days to receive their TWIC card. It said the delay mainly applies to applications that involve criminal history records or immigration status that must be verified. It is strongly encouraging all applicants to apply for their TWICs at least 10 to 12 weeks prior to when the card will be required to avoid inconvenience or interruption in access to maritime facilities.

Changes to the TWIC card are also in the works. Since TSA began issuing the new version in May 2014, only the first 14 characters of the applicant’s last name are printed on the card. This has caused some TWIC cardholders to have their credentials questioned at facilities because the name on the card does not match the person’s full name, according to TSA. It will soon make a system change to extend the last name as printed on the TWIC cards so they will carry a maximum of 19 characters. TSA said is looking into ways to include full last names, regardless of the number of characters, given the limited space available on the card for printing.

More information on these changes in the TWIC program are available by calling the UES Call Center at 1-855-DHS-UES1 or 1-855-347-8371, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Eastern time.