DHS, DOS Establish Annotated B-1 Visa for Foreign Maritime Workers Applying for ID Program
The Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and State (DOS) have announced the creation of an annotated version of the B-1 visa that will make foreign maritime workers eligible to apply for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). The TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric identification card that maritime workers must obtain to gain unrestricted access to secure areas of maritime facilities.
Under this process, foreign maritime workers who need to acquire a TWIC for the performance of their official duties must provide notice of their need for the TWIC to DOS upon applying for a B-1 visa, and a letter from their employer stating that the worker must perform service in secure port areas. Upon receipt of the new TWIC-annotated B-1 visa, each individual will apply separately for a TWIC. The new process will apply to the approximately 4,000 to 6,000 foreign workers in U.S. ports who must have a TWIC for the performance of their official duties.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published a TWIC final rule in January 2007 allowing noncitizens to apply for a TWIC provided that they meet one of TSA’s eligible categories. Following input from maritime industry stakeholders, DHS and DOS collaborated to create the new process.