Frequently Asked Questions: Credentialing FAQ

1. What is TWIC?
Transportation Workers Identification Credential.  A security initiative sponsored by the Transportation Security Administration to prevent hostile acts from disrupting environments of transportation facilities and US ports.

2. Do all students at Massachusetts Maritime Academy need a TWIC?
Students who need a TWIC are:
     - Students who are declared MENG/MTRA majors,
     - Students who need unescorted access to the TS Kennedy, or
     - Students who need access to a port/transportation facility for their co-op or an employment opportunity.

3. When do I apply for a TWIC?  
Students in license-yielding majors must apply for the TWIC by October 1st – the process from application to delivery of the TWIC card take 4-5 weeks. The actual TWIC card itself must be physically IN HAND before Sea Term I.

4.  Who qualifies for a TWIC?
Any citizen of the United States may apply for a TWIC.  Foreign national students attending MMA on an F-1 VISA do not qualify for a TWIC through normal channels.  MARAD (Maritime Administration) can facilitate a TWIC for a foreign national attending a maritime academy.  See CDR Huhnke, Director of Mariner Credentialing, for further assistance.

5.  How do I Apply for TWIC? 
Instructions are available at the link on the next line:
TWIC Instructions 

6.  How much does a TWIC cost?
The cost is $125.25 and payable by money order, credit card or certified check.  

7.  Where can I find a TWIC enrollment center?
Go to and go to the link for TWIC, to enter the state from the drop down menu for locations and hours near you.

8.  What is an MMC?  
A Merchant Mariner Credential is a USCG credential containing identification information and indicates the positions onboard a vessel that an individual is qualified to sail in.

9.  How long is my USCG Physical Examination valid?
12 months. It will be invalid if you submit it after 12 months from the date of the exam. Physicals must be taken within a year of:
     - applying for the Cadet MMC,
     - participating in commercial shipping experience, and
     - applying for the license.

10.  When do I apply for an MMC?  
According to Massachusetts Maritime Academy policy, cadets in the Marine Engineering and Marine Transportation academic majors must apply in the fall of their freshman/first year.

11.  What are the eligibility requirements of a cadet MMC?
     - Must be a US citizen or alien lawfully admitted to the US for permanent residence.
     - Must have a TWIC.
     - Must be free of all legal issues (the CG deals with prior convictions on a case-by-case basis).
     - Must be able to meet medical criteria for licensure.

12. What ratings does an MMC have?  
A cadet Engine and Deck MMC includes ordinary seaman (os), wiper, stewards department, cadet Deck/Engine rating.

13.  What forms of personal documentation are required to apply for an MMC?
     - Valid drivers license
     - Social Security Card
     - Passport
     - TWIC
     - Valid USCG 719-K Physical Examination
     This is a partial list - you can access the complete process and documentation by pressing the link on the next line:
Licensing Process

14. What is the cost for a Cadet Merchant Mariner Credential (applied for in freshman year and needed to commercial ship)?  
$ 140.00

15. Where do I pay for an MMC?  
On the USCG website @ A link for the payment instructions is on the next line: Instructions

16.  Can I apply for an MMC on my own outside of the Academy process?  
Not recommended. The Academy does not recommend obtaining an MMC outside of its standard process because the student will not be eligible for the cadet deck/engine rating, a requirement for commercial ship.

17.  What documents are required to submit with an MMC Application Packet?
See the 4/c checklist on the next line:
4/c Checklist

18.  When do I apply for the USCG License Exam?
September of the senior year.

19.  How do I apply to take the exam?
All 1C Engine and Deck students applying to test must complete their Third Assistant Engineer License Application or Third Mate License Application and be “Approved to Test”.

20.  What forms of personal identification are required to apply to license?
      Valid drivers license
      Valid USCG 719K Physical Examination
      Photocopy of TWIC
      Photocopy of Valid Passport
      Photocopy of Social Security Card
​      Photocopy of Permanent Resident Alien Card, if applicable
      This is a partial list - complete information is located at the following link: 1/c Year / License Checklist

21.  What is the fee to apply to license?  
$ 255.00

22.  How do I pay for the USCG License application Exam?  
Go to the official USCG website at
or look at the MMA instructions posted at the following link: Instructions

23.  What documents are required to submit with a Third AE or Third Mate License Application Packet?
See this link:
License Application Page

24.  What is the time frame to receive my license once I have completed my academic requirements, successfully passed the USCG exams and completed licensing requirements?
     The license accompanies your diploma at graduation if, and ONLY IF:
     - you graduate in June,
     - your sea time obligations are completed the May preceding graduation, and
     - you pass ALL the Coast Guard license exam modules on exam day in May.
     Graduating with outstanding academic or sea time requirements or completing the program at a time other than June will result in a delay of 6-8 weeks in issuance and delivery of your license.

25.  What is STCW Gap Closing? Will this impede my license process?
Students completing license programs at Massachusetts Maritime Academy will be employable beyond the 31 December 2016 “gap closing” deadline set by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Academy has taken steps to “close the gap” between the former requirements and the new amendments to the STCW convention (known as the “2010 Manila amendments”). Compliance requires minimal effort for students as many gap closing elements have already been integrated into the prescribed programs of study.  Leadership and Teamwork skills training is satisfied by a mandatory leadership seminar held during the Fall semester. Standalone courses are offered at no cost to current students in Fatigue Management, Engine Room Resource Management, and Vessel Security.