Port employees, longshoremen, mariners, trucker drivers and others who require unescorted access to secure port facilities—as many as 750,000 workers—will be able to apply for the long-awaited Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) starting in March 2007.
The required background check includes a criminal history, outstanding wants and warrants and should take 10 days or less, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TWIC will cost workers $139 to $159 and it will be valid for five years. A discount rate is available to workers who have already undergone background checks to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement to their commercial drivers license (CDL), to merchant mariners, or workers with FAST (Free and Secure Trade) credentials. Those workers would pay $107 to $127 for the new credential.
Implementation will begin at a limited number of ports and will gradually expand, according to DHS.
The TWIC will be a “smart card” containing the photo and name of the individual, an expiration date and a serial number. An on-board microchip will store a fingerprint template and personal identification number (PIN) selected by the holder.
The TWIC will be available to U.S. citizens and non-citizens who are lawful permanent residents, lawful non-immigrants with unrestricted employment authorization, refugees with unrestricted employment authorization, aliens granted asylum with unrestricted employment authorization or CDL holder licensed in Canada or Mexico who is admitted to the U.S. in 8 CFR 214.2(b) (4)(i)(E) to conduct business in the U.S.
There are two types of criminal offenses that will disqualify a worker from obtaining a TWIC. Permanent disqualifying criminal offenses include espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage, sedition or conspiracy to commit sedition, treason or conspiracy to commit treason, a crime listed in 18 U.S.C. Chapter 113B—Terrorism or state law that is comparable or conspiracy to commit such a crime. Also under the permanent offences are improper transportation of hazardous materials, unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, manufacture, purchase, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, import, export, storage of, dealing in an explosive or explosive device. Murder and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) if a predicate act involves murder or a crime listed in 18 U.S.C. 113 B.
Interim disqualifying criminal offences for which an applicant was convicted (or found not guilty by reason of insanity) within the seven years preceding application or was released from incarceration within five years preceding the date of application include assault with intent to murder, kidnapping or hostage taking, rape or aggravated assault, unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export of or dealing in a firearm or other weapon. Also on the list of interim disqualifying offenses are extortion, dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation (including identity fraud), bribery, smuggling, immigration violations, violations of RICO, robbery, distribution, possession with intent to distribute or importation of a controlled substance, arson, conspiracy or attempt to commit the interim crimes.