In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has granted a temporary exemption from requirements in 49 CFR part 1572 regarding the expiration of certain Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs). For the duration of this exemption, TSA will extend the expiration date of TWICs that expired on or after March 1, 2020, by 180 days. This exemption became effective on April 10, 2020, and remains in effect through July 31, 2020, unless otherwise modified by TSA.

TSA established requirements for TWICs for merchant mariners and workers, including delivery truck drivers, who need unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels. These individuals must successfully complete a security threat assessment (STA) conducted by TSA and hold a TWIC in order to enter secure areas without escort. A TWIC is generally valid for five years, and individuals must go to a TSA enrollment center to initiate a new STA to receive a new credential.

Approximately one-third of TSA’s TWIC enrollment centers have been forced to close as a result of COVID-19. For those that are operating, the TWIC-required process of collecting fingerprints and completing enrollment may introduce risk to TSA staff or TWIC applicants.

Thus, the TSA exemption states that for TWICs that expire on or after March 1, 2020, the expiration date is now 180 days after the expiration date that appears on the face of the credential. TSA deems these eligible TWICs to be valid for the purpose of unescorted access to secured areas of maritime facilities and vessels. If the 180-day period extends beyond the duration of this temporary exemption, the TWIC will be valid for the remainder of the extended 180-day period based on the expiration date of the TWIC.