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How to Get an MMD Card

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The merchant mariners Document (or MMD card) is mandatory for merchant mariners working in the deck or engineering departments of ships and cruise liners. The card, which resembles a U.S. passport, is now known as the Merchant Mariner Credentials (or MMC). The U.S. Coast Guard issues the cards through its National Maritime Center. Qualified applicants receive their cards after undergoing an intensive application process. Once you navigate the MMC application process you’ll be prepared for navigating the ocean as professional mariner.

Enroll in a mariner training program. There are approved mariner training schools throughout the U.S. National Mariner Center (or NMC) has a list of approved courses and schools on its website. Contact the school for enrollment information and training schedules.

Obtain a transportation workers identification card (or TWIC). Your TWIC grants you unescorted access to secure locations of maritime vessels and facilities. You apply for this card through the TWIC website. The application process involves submitting biographic information, identity documents, fingerprints, a digital photo and a fee. As of this writing, the fee is $132.50. The card is valid for 5 years.

Prepare your merchant mariner application. Include information such as your prior employment, drug tests, medical history, criminal or court records, 3 character references, a photocopy your TWIC and a copy of your training certificate. Make sure you sign and date the application.

Pay the user fee. Payments are made online to the U.S. Department of Treasury. You’ll receive a copy of your receipt. Include a copy of the receipt with your application. MMC fees vary, so check the fee schedule before making your payment. The current fee schedule is posted on the Government Printing Office website.

Mail the completed application to the local Regional Examination Center (or REC). There are 17 centers located throughout the United States. Mail your application to the center closest to you. The mailing addresses are listed on the U.S. Coast Guard website.


Rachel Moore began her freelance writing career in 1993. Her articles have appeared in the Arkansas "Democrat Gazette," Little Rock "Free Press" and the "Arkansas Times." Moore holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science/pre-law from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.