The Transportation Security Administration is close to releasing a final rule for its biometric identification card program for workers and drivers requiring unescorted access to ports.
The program, known as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), should appear in the Federal Register “in the coming days” but a draft of the final rule is now available on TSA’s website.
The rule lays out the enrollment process, disqualifying crimes, usage procedures, fees and other ID card requirements for workers, port owners, and operators. The rule is expected to impact more than 750,000 port workers. Of that number, 110,000 will be truckers.
According to the draft, TWIC applicants will undergo a comprehensive background check of criminal history records, terrorist watch lists, immigration status, and outstanding warrants. It also would require that applicants submit a complete set of fingerprints and sit for a digital photograph.
The TWIC program could spark a driver shortage as some experts contend a significant portion of the port driver population is believed to comprised of illegal immigrants. Read Illegal immigrant truckers facing a federal crackdown.
The fee for TWIC applicants will be between $139 and $159 for a card that is valid for five years. Workers who have undergone a current and similar background check, such as those for a hazmat endorsement to a commercial driver’s license or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) credential, are eligible for a reduced rate of between $107 and $127.
The TWIC credential will be a “smart card” containing the applicant’s photo and name, an expiration date and a serial number. There will also be an embedded circuit chip that stores the holder’s fingerprint, a PIN and a “card holder unique identifier.”
The TWIC enrollment will begin in March 2007 at certain ports, with additional deployments at ports nationwide on a phased basis, according to TSA.
For more information, go to www.tsa.gov/twic
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