Amata, Levin, Fitzpatrick, and Peters introduce bipartisan Passports for Purple Hearts bill
Washington, D.C. — Uifa’atali Amata took part with sponsor Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49), and the other original cosponsors Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1), and Rep. Scott Peters (CA-50), in introducing Thursday their bipartisan Passports for Purple Hearts Act to eliminate passport book fees for Purple Heart recipients.
The current cost for an adult to obtain their passport book for the first time or renew their passport book for international travel is $130, and there is an additional $35 execution fee for first time passport book applicants.
The Passports for Purple Hearts Act, H.R. 5765, would exempt recipients of the Purple Heart medal from paying passport book fees, as a small token of gratitude for the recipients’ incredible sacrifice and service. The Purple Heart is considered the military’s oldest medal and is awarded to those wounded or killed in combat.
“Passports are the keys to see the world, but the application fees are expensive. This is one government fee that can be waived as a thank you to our Purple Heart Veterans, who have put their lives on the line,” said Congresswoman Amata. “I’m proud to say that American Samoa has one of the highest per capita veteran populations in the country, and I appreciate Congressman Levin for leading this bill to thank our Purple Heart Veterans.”
“The costs of obtaining and renewing a passport should not be a burden for veterans who made great sacrifices in the line of duty. They deserve our support, and our bipartisan bill is a small token of gratitude for the service of our nation’s men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Levin. “Eliminating this potential financial barrier will make it easier for Purple Heart recipients to obtain this essential document.”
“Our Purple Heart recipients flew to foreign lands to put their bodies and lives on the line to protect us and our freedoms. The very least we can do to express our gratitude is to remove the cost of obtaining a passport so they can travel more freely,” said Rep. Peters.
“Obtaining passports often comes with bureaucratic roadblocks and hefty application fees,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I’m proud to join this bipartisan effort to alleviate these burdens for our Purple Heart Veterans to make their travels easier and more accessible.”
Already included in exemptions from paying passport book fees are:
- Officers or employees of the U.S. proceeding abroad in discharge of official duties,
- American seamen who require a passport in connection with duties aboard an American flag-vessel,
- A widow, widower, child, parent, grandparent, brother, or sister of a deceased member of the Armed Forces proceeding abroad to visit the grave of such member or to attend such member’s funeral,
- An individual abroad returning to the U.S. when the Secretary of State determines that foregoing such a fee is justified for humanitarian or law enforcement purposes,
- Peace Corps volunteers,
- American Red Cross employees traveling to perform duties.
This bill would add Purple Heart recipients to the above list.
“As the Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, we are undertaking in support of our nation's Purple Heart Veterans by eliminating the fees associated with passports and/or renewals for Purple Heart Veterans. We believe that this is a small yet meaningful step in showing our appreciation for the sacrifices made by our veterans and ensuring that they can enjoy the benefits of their hard-earned freedoms,” said National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Carder Ferguson.
The Passports for Purple Hearts Act has been endorsed by the American Ex-Prisoners of War, Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Vietnam Veterans of America.