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Legislation would waive passport fees for family to visit injured servicemembers abroad

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Servicemembers injured while serving overseas often must remain abroad until they are stable enough to be transferred to the United States.

In the event of an extended stay, the U.S. Department of Defense will often arrange for a family member to travel to visit the injured servicemember, but a valid passport is required. Under existing law, passport fees are waived for family members attending an overseas funeral or memorial service for a fallen servicemember.

The No Passport Fees for Heroes’ Families Act would expand upon that precedent and waive passport fees, including passport expedite fees, as visiting a combat-injured servicemember is often time-sensitive, for family members visiting servicemembers who are not yet medically cleared to travel back to the U.S.

U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Mike Carey of Ohio introduced the bipartisan legislation.

“When a parent, spouse, or sibling receives the dreaded phone call that their loved one has been injured in combat, that family member should not have to worry about the extra cost of obtaining a passport to be by their side. Our nation’s servicemembers — and their families — deserve our highest standard of care and support for their immense sacrifice,” Spanberger said. “I’m proud to once again help lead this bipartisan legislation to give our military families a small measure of peace of mind at an incredibly difficult time — and to help our heroic combat-injured servicemembers receive the comfort and reassurance of a loved one.”

According to Carey, added stress and expense are not necessary for military families when vising an ill or injured loved one.

“As a veteran myself, I understand that families serve, too. We’re proud to lead this bipartisan bill to support our military families when they’re needed most,” Carey said.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.

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