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US sailors and TWIC cards
Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 1:20 PM
Joined: 13/05/2013
Posts: 5

My question is this- for any US merchant mariners and yachties, are you able to use your TWIC card to gain access to a country where normally you would require a visa? I'm not suggesting to stay in the country, but rather meet the ship/boat. 

I have a TWIC, Merchant Mariner Credentials as well as my Cayman Islands Seaman's Discharge book. From my understanding you should be able to, but just wanted to see if anyone has run into problems. 

Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 5:04 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277



I believe you will find that the TWIC is of no use outside the US (the purpose of the TWIC is to provide unescorted access to US port facilities - and only DHS and related agencies can read it).


Your US Merchant Mariner Credential and a letter of employment from the ship should provide access via foreign ports of entry.



Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 10:33 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061

TWIC card will serve you no governmental/official recognition outside the US, it barely has any use within the US. They never really have implemented the system. There's only a couple handfuls of the chip readers in port facility hands in the whole country. Unless you are sailing on a US flag vessel from a MARSEC rated facility, you will never be asked for it. You can use it for security ID at airports in lieu of a drivers license or Passport. I do however get a government/best rate discount at hotels all across America by using it at check in, including top end hotels.

Your MMC is another matter though, there is a level of diplomatic weight on your Merchant Mariners Credential. Thank god they have put it in a passport format finally and made it red as well. While not a passport per se, You can expect to be allowed to stay on the vessel in their waters and be allowed free pratique to the airport and to the vessel without having a passport in your possession. While not required to allow you liberty privileges ashore, typically you will be allowed as long as you behave yourself. 

I wish they would have also issued the MMD card though, they could combine your government ratings and licenses on your TWIC, that would actually provide us some value, I could carry one card to cover planes, boats, and land based vehicles along with my security clearance. It's already got my biometrics except for DNA. 

Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 11:44 PM
Joined: 19/10/2008
Posts: 38

Here is an add-on to

"<Your MMC is another matter though, there is a level of diplomatic weight on your Merchant Mariners Credential>"

For you US Sailors - two things happen when you swear in at the USCG - 1st. you can be called in to the Merchant Marines for the needs of the US Gov. for Defense purposes.....2 d. This is the BEST - only MMC/seamen(persons) because of the Jones Act, the American Embassy by law must help you get back to the main land (closest port of entry) and you will most likely have to pay for the travel.  The American Embassy DOES NOT have to help any American with any color passport, ONLY MMC Seamen, by law. Note: you have got to get to the Embassy!!!  MMC is why many a traveler carries...don't leave home without it.  GOD Speed - Page

captain paul_1
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 6:38 AM
Joined: 05/05/2008
Posts: 12

Because I also have a class 1truck license with tanker endorsement the DMV made me get a second TWIC card...insanity!
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 12:44 PM
Joined: 03/01/2010
Posts: 1

The TWIC card is an expensive identification card useful for renewing your CG MM creds and gaining access to secure areas of which you are approved.  Don't think you can just mosey into any secure yard without pre-approval.  Interestingly, here are two facts I have experienced.  1. Don't bother using it as government approved identification at some airports.  The TSA agent will look at you as if you're some freak and request a different form of government issued identification.  If you point out that it is a DHS/TSA issued credential, they'll ask you if you really want to get on your plane and if so show a different form of government approved identification.  2. Apparently, the CG is not requiring mariners who are renewing to have a current TWIC card.  If they have your previous expired TWIC data on file, that's all they need to do a renewal...of course with all the other required documentation needed for a renewal.  You might want to double check that with the CG NMC.

 Oh yuh, one other thing.  You can renew your TWIC card for 3 years for $60 US with a phone call and one visit to your local TWIC center or renew for 5 years with two visits to your local TWIC center  for $129.75 US.  Hmmm, you do the math. 

Here's the renewal process...The process is fairly straight forward...once you have gone through it...and had somebody explain it.  Here ya go..

1. Call the 1 866 347-8942 number ( or if you prefer...the more "intuitive and simplistic" 1 866 DHS-TWIC).  The line is very busy.  It took me 12 separate calls before I got through.  This gets you to the TWIC Help Center.  This will also get you to an extensive button pushing menu.  The first, of course, is press #1 for EnglishAnyway, burrow down through the menu items and be patient, one of the menu items a few button presses down is a #5 which will get you to the EED menu item.
2. Here after a short wait, you will actually get a human being who speaks English and is located in America.  They will ask you name, birthdate, e-mail address, telephone number, etc.  They set up an account and provide you with a ticket #  which you will reference anytime you contact the TWIC Help Center.
3. Then they will transfer you to the "next level of help", who will take your VISA/MC card number to pay the fee.  Pretty simple huh?....except you better have your phone and bluetooth earpiece well charged as I waited 1-1/2  hours listening to mind numbing synthetic electo-jazz xylophone/sax music and frequent "Your call is important to us.  Please continue to hold....blah blah blah".  They also suggest if you can't wait visit the TWIC website (which won't get you anywhere) or to call the Help Center at 1 866 347-8942....ha ha ha ha.....don't do it sucka'.  See 1. above AND it won't get you directly to the "next level of help".  So you will be recycled through the system like a lump of Soylent Green. 
4. Once the "next level of help" answers, they will ask for your ticket # and name, dob...yada yada and finally take your credit card number.  They also ask where the new TWIC card should be sent.  You should choose the most convenient location.  Locations can be found on the TWIC website at....

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 1:05 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061

Yep, you can always pull the "Destitute Seaman" routine and get home on it, many times with pay when you get there, especially if you hold an AB Unlimited fully endorsed. If you claim destitute seaman the Jones Act says they have to get you back, preferably by putting you aboard a ship home bound with a watch to stand, but they have to get you home whether you can pay or not.
Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014 12:13 PM
Joined: 12/01/2014
Posts: 1

Hello everybody ,
I need some explanations about TWIC.
I'm AB Seaman from Europe-EU Citizen and I tried to find some explanations about TWIC for foregners but I couldn't find it.
I want to work in Gulf of Mexico and I need TWIC , what do I need to get TWIC?
If somone knows something about it please write to me, on post or email :
With Kind Regards
AB Srdjan Njegic

 Average 2 out of 5