McAllister Yard, NYC.

McAllister Yard, NYC.
McAllister Yard, NYC. Courtesy, Capt. Paul Brown

Thursday, March 1, 2012

HME/TWIC Comparable Security Threat Assessments

Recently posted on the TSA TWIC FAQ site (02/27/12):

HME/TWIC COMPARABLE SECURITY THREAT ASSESSMENTS

  • Are the background checks for an HME the same as the background checks conducted for individuals applying for a TWIC STA?
    • Yes. They have the same eligibility requirements, share a consistent waiver and appeal process, and leverage the same fingerprint-based criminal history records check. As a result, the HME and TWIC STAs have been deemed comparable.
  • Do applicants with HMEs have to repeat the STA if they are applying for TWICs?
    • No. Applicants who apply for a TWIC do not have to pay the full price for the TWIC STA if they apply successful clearance results from their most recent HME STA, and as a result, the fee for the TWIC is reduced by $27.25. All TWIC applicants must pay the fees that cover the other components of the TWIC program, including enrollment and card issuance. Applicants are always offered the option to apply for a full-fee TWIC STA if they determine it is more cost- and time-effective to do so.
  • Do applicants with TWICs have to repeat the STA if they are applying for HME STAs?
    • Effective Monday, February 27, 2012, applicants who apply for an HME STA do not have to pay the full price for an HME STA if they apply successful clearance results from their most recent TWIC STA and they obtain an HME in a State that can offer comparability. Applicants must fill out the HME STA application online or over the phone (depending on existing application procedures within the State in which the individual is applying) and confirm the TWIC STA is valid and there is at least one year remaining prior to the TWIC expiration date. Applicants are always offered the option to apply for a full-fee HME STA if they determine it is more cost- and time-effective to do so.
  • If applicants already have TWICs and qualify for comparable HME STAs, what is the application fee?
    • Overall, the application fee is reduced by $22.25. The programmatic portion of the threat assessment fee is reduced by $5, because this is the historical cost of the portion of the threat assessment that is satisfied by previously conducted TSA vetting services. In addition, the $17.25 FBI fee is not required because the applicant is not submitting fingerprints for a criminal check.
    • For individuals licensed in the 38 States and the District of Columbia that use the TSA-contracted agent for this program, the HME STA application fee is $89.25 (this fee covers the TSA threat assessment only and your State may charge additional fees for the HME application process, including testing and license issuance). If applicants already have TWICs and qualify for comparable HME STAs, the application fee is reduced by $22.25 to $67.00.
    • As of February 27, 2012, the only States offering comparability to their drivers are part of the group of States serviced by the TSA-contracted agent. As States not serviced by the TSA-contracted agent begin to offer comparability at a future date, the HME STA fee will be reduced by $22.25 (not including any additional fees charged by those States for the HME application process).
    • All HME STA applicants must pay the fees that cover the other components of the HME Threat Assessment Program (HTAP), including application fees and any other fees charged by their respective States for license testing and issuance.
    • Note: Individuals should consider the expiration date of their current TWIC in order to determine if it is more cost- and time-effective to apply for a full or a comparable/reduced fee HME STA.
  • Since HME requirements are specific to the individual States, are all 50 States and the District of Columbia offering individuals who hold TWICs a reduced fee when applying for an HME STA? No. Due to specific State statutes, license cycles, and system limitations, not all States will be able to offer a reduced fee for the HME STA to their HME applicants as of February 27, 2012. Applicants in a State that can offer comparability will be provided notice during the application process, and the application itself will offer individuals the option to pay a reduced fee by electing to use a comparable TWIC STA. As of February 27, 2012, the following 12 jurisdictions (including the District of Columbia) can support comparability:

1. Arizona

7. Nebraska

2. California

8. North Carolina

3. Delaware

9. Oregon

4. District of Columbia

10. South Dakota

5. Hawaii

11. Utah

6. Missouri

12. West Virginia

  • If TWIC holders choose to use comparable HME STAs, when will their HMEs expire?
    • The HME will be issued with the same expiration date as the individual’s TWIC. Therefore, individuals should consider the expiration date of their current TWIC to determine if it is cost- and time-effective to apply for a comparable HME STA.
  • How do TWIC holders who are applying for HME STAs know if the State where they are applying for the HME STA offers comparability?
    • Please see the listing of States above. Applicants can ask States about comparability during their application process, or they can contact the HazPrints help desk at (877) 429-7746 (7AM-9PM Eastern, Monday - Friday). Effective February 27, 2012, the online application (available at http://hazprints.tsa.dhs.gov) for the HME STA will also identify whether particular States offer comparability once applicants specify the State in which they are licensed.