TSA Urges Drivers To Apply For Background Check 60 Days In Advance Of HME Renewal Due To Processing Delays

EMA has received an increasing number of calls from CDL drivers who are experiencing delays in processing security background checks required for hazardous material endorsements (HME).

EMA reached out to TSA to inquire whether the delays are significant enough to warrant a temporary waiver of the Security Threat Assessment (STA) similar to the waiver granted in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

TSA said it is experiencing increased enrollment volumes for all TSA vetted populations in the National Transportation System. Applicants for HMEs have increased from 15,000 per month to 20,000 per month.

The increased volume is caused by several factors, including changes in the labor force, driver shortages or turnover, and supply chain demands resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the TSA.

Most HME applicants are approved within 48 hours after enrolling for their STA. However, those HME applicants with a criminal history require a manual review by a TSA adjudicator; a lengthier process, but one that usually takes no longer than 45 days.

In order to adjust to the increased enrollment volumes, TSA is taking steps to reduce adjudication times for applicants by prioritizing the vetting and adjudication of applicants who require an STA for employment purposes, including HME.

TSA is also communicating directly with States on a daily basis to address eligibility concerns for specific applicants.

The TSA strongly encourages HME applicants to enroll at least 60 days in advance of when they require an HME on their commercial driver’s license, even though many will be approved much sooner.

Drivers who enrolled at a Universal Enrollment Services (UES) enrollment center may check their service status online by visiting https://universalenroll.dhs.gov  or contact the UES Call Center at 855-DHS-UES1 (855-347-8371).

Customers from all states may contact TSA Customer Service at 833-848-4759 or email HME.question@tsa.dhs.gov  for STA status updates.

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