Survivors of natural disasters like the Marshall Fire often have to pay thousands of dollars to replace critical documents lost
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet and Representative Joe Neguse introduced the Replacing Essential Passports and Licenses After Certain Emergencies (REPLACE) Act, a bill to automatically waive replacement fees for critical documents lost in major disasters.
Under current law, federal agencies may waive the fees for the replacement of passports, visas, proof of citizenship, and other documents. However, the waiver process is not automatic and the current process can cause confusion for survivors who may not know to wait for a fee waiver to be issued or who need documentation replaced immediately. Additionally, waivers are not guaranteed and are not always issued.
“Disaster survivors don’t have time to worry about passport or green card replacement fees,” said Hickenlooper. “We waive most of these fees already, so let’s make it standard for every major disaster.”
“As families recover from major disasters like the Marshall Fire, the last thing they should have to worry about is paying to replace passports and other essential immigration documents lost in the damage,” said Bennet. “Our bill will ensure document replacement is free, taking one burden off of people’s shoulders as they move forward after disaster strikes.”
“Over the past several months my staff has assisted survivors of the Marshall Fire in recovering critical documents. From passports to birth certificates, the fees for replacing all that was lost can quickly become overwhelming.” said Neguse “The REPLACE Act will ease the burden of recovery by issuing fee waivers for people impacted, allowing passports to be replaced at no additional cost. We must continue to be present for our healing communities, and this bill is a small way we can show our support.”
The REPLACE Act would amend the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 to require certain critical document fees be automatically waived for individuals and households that are affected by major disasters and eligible to receive funding under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) assistance.
Specifically, fees would be automatically waived for the following:
- Passport and/or Visa forms
- Permanent Resident Card replacement forms
- Declaration of Intention forms
- Naturalization/Citizenship Document forms
- Employment Authorization forms
- Biometric service fees