Replacement fees waived for passports lost or damaged in hurricane
By The Star Staff
Secretary of State Omar Marrero Díaz announced Sunday that Emergency Declaration-4671-PR issued by President Joseph Biden in response to Hurricane Fiona’s passage through Puerto Rico grants an exemption to the cost of replacing the U.S. passport to all citizens affected by a natural disaster.
Individuals must have a valid passport and mail in official forms to benefit from the exemption.
“We urge citizens who have lost their passport, or whose passport has been damaged as a result of Hurricane Fiona, to take advantage of this assistance offered by the federal government to replace the travel document,” Marrero Díaz said in a written statement. “To verify your eligibility, you can access travel.state.gov/disaster or visit our offices in San Juan, Ponce, Mayagüez, Fajardo, and Arecibo, where they will guide you to fill out the required forms correctly.”
The secretary of state noted that office hours vary from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. depending on the location.
Federal law provides for the president of the United States, in collaboration with the governor of a state or territory, to waive the costs of applying for a replacement U.S. passport, as well as the charges of finding passport records for those who lost their document during a natural disaster.
Because of Hurricane Fiona, thousands of U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico were substantially impacted, and much federal government assistance has been made available through the Disaster Recovery Reform Act.
David Giamellaro, director of the San Juan Passport Agency, reported that “among these grants is the waiver of the application fee to replace a current passport for citizens affected by Hurricane Fiona.”
The director emphasized that the assistance from the U.S. Department of State is only to replace a valid passport lost or damaged due to Hurricane Fiona with the same remaining validity of the passport lost or damaged. For those eligible, the passport replacement application fee waiver will remain in effect until Sept. 20, 2025, and the passport records search fee waiver will remain in effect until March 20, 2024.
If a passport holder qualifies for the fee waiver, the U.S. Department of State will issue a replacement passport with the remaining validity of the lost or damaged passport. That is unless the passport is less than one year old, in which case, a one-year passport would be issued.
For additional information and to arrange for a renewal, access www.travel.state.gov.