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The USCG National Maritime Center (NMC) issues credentials to American Mariners. To receive your credentials, you must be fully compliant with the latest regulations. USCG and TSA credential requirements for entry, renewal, and upgrading can be complicated and frustrating. Many mariners have difficulty following up with these requirements while at sea. On this page, the APMA provides guidance and Quick-Links to USCG, TWIC, and commercial agencies that assist Mariners in the process.

USCG Credential Application Process​:

USCG Application Process:

There are just a few basic steps to the process:

  1. Download forms from the USCG National Maritime Center (NMC) home page or obtain them from your nearest USCG Regional Exam Center (REC).
  2. Separately from the USCG process; you must obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC). Instructions on the TWIC are below.
  3. You must apply for a credential at your local REC. The REC ensures the application is complete. You can travel to the REC or you may submit your application to the REC by mail, fax, or email. The APMA quick link takes you to the USCG website for specific information and video guides to help with your application.
  4. The REC places your application in the database and forwards it to the NMC. You may follow the application process online by clicking the “Application Status” button on the NMC Home Page.
  5. The NMC reviews your application for;
    • Safety and Suitability (TWIC, Citizenship, Convictions)
    • Medical (Physical and Medical Evaluation)
    • Professional qualifications (Qualification and Certification)
  6. The Credential is printed and reviewed for quality and mailed to you.


A Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is a credential for all personnel requiring un-escorted access to secure areas of regulated facilities and vessels, and all mariners holding United States Coast Guard-issued credentials. Individuals who meet TWIC eligibility requirements will be issued a tamper-resistant credential containing the worker's biometric data (fingerprint template) to allow for a positive link between the card and the individual.

To obtain a TWIC:

  1. ​​You must bring certain identity documents to the TWIC enrollment center. Click here for a list of accepted documents.
  2. Appointments to visit an enrollment center can be made by calling 1-855-347-8371) Monday through Friday from 8 AM - 10 PM Eastern. Applicants must visit an enrollment center where they will complete the enrollment form, pay the fee, provide biographic information, a complete set of fingerprints and sit for a digital photograph.
  3. Enrollment forms can be found at this link: Enroll
  4. TSI directions to pick up your TWIC You will be notified by email or phone when your TWIC is available at the enrollment center. You must return to the center where you enrolled to pick up your TWIC. Check the status of your card and schedule a pick-up appointment by clicking here.

Medical Requirements:

The NMC Medical Division is responsible for determining the medical fitness for mariners to serve in the capacities specified by the domestic and international endorsements for which they apply. NVIC 04-08 provides guidance for evaluating the physical and medical conditions of applicants for Merchant Mariner Credential. Failure to provide supporting medical documentation for conditions can lead to significant delays in processing and evaluations.

Drug Testing:

A drug test is required for all transactions EXCEPT increases of scope, duplicates, and International Endorsements (STCW). In order to meet drug testing requirements, you must provide one of the below options.

  1. The results of an approved drug test.
  2. A letter attesting to participation in a random drug testing program.
  3. A letter attesting to pre-employment drug testing.

Credentialing Services:

There are professional services that specialize in assisting Mariners navigate the routes for career advancement as an American Mariner. These companies and others may guide you through the application process and even submit your application package to the USCG. Contact the APMA to list your service or advertise on our website.

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