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This Montrealer was Able to Enter the U.S. and Canada by Showing his Passport on iPad [Update]

by on January 3rd, 2012

Update 2: @safesolvent refers to this Wired story that gives the most accurate account of his iPad ‘passport’ experience. He also had his non-enhanced driver’s license with him.

Update 1: We spoke with Martin (@safesolvent) on twitter and he noted he used Dropbox to store his scanned copy of his passport. He has unofficially won the prize of iPad User of the Week. Congrats 😉


Gaining entry into the U.S. requires showing a passport to U.S. Customs, but when Montrealer Martin Reisch realized he forgot his, he did the next best thing–show a scanned copy of it via his iPad.

He told the customs agent his situation then handed over his iPad, and after a 5 minute inspection of his iPad within the border office he was wished ‘happy holidays’ and sent on his way, notes the Globe and Mail:

“I figured I’d try, and in the worst case, I would have to go home,” he said Tuesday.

“He kind of gave me a stare, like neither impressed nor amused,” Reisch said of their exchange last Friday in southern Quebec.

“He was very nice about it,” he said of the officer.

“I think a good part of it had to do with the fact that it was the holidays and I seem like a nice-enough person.”

Even crazier, was Reisch was able to use his same scanned document on his iPad to regain entry into Canada on his way home. I’m not surprised how the U.S. customs agent handled the situation–I’ve always encountered friendly and warm agents heading down South. As for Canada Customs on the way home–they seem to always make you feel like a criminal at times.

Who’s going to give this a try next time?

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Posted under: iPad News

  • Your customs experience is totally the opposite of mine.. I always have had a hard time getting south (waited 10 hours at the boarder once when I was taking a team of teens to New Orleans to do volunteer dister relief work.. Yes, I said TEN) but when coming back o Canada got a quick pop on a hello and jump off the bus when coming back into Canada… Other times we waited 6, 8 4 and 3 hours to get in the states (always at the Detroit border)

  • Mars

    Well, what can I say, good for him!  If it had to be me, I would have been hauled off to the side for a good slapping around, never to enter again.  I am not surprised at this, my husband has been to the US on an expired passport and a citizenship card that is so old, it’s hilarious!  He got in no questions asked and he’s done this twice!!  But, he’s white and I am not…

  • Mr. Mac

    Ditto, the US has the toughest customs I’ve experienced in the world. I could write way too many stories, the most recent being that I had to turn off my car and open my trunk just last summer, to being illegally refused entry twice in 1994. I think part of it is that I have a beard and there are stereotypes associated with that, but no other customs has ever treated me so rudely, though I will agree with you that I do find Americans to be polite.

  • Anonymous

    I think that it was a bad idea of his to reveal his story. He should have kept this favour to himself.

  • Moe

    This entire article is false. The Toronto Star posted an article stating that this man had more than his iPad and a drivers license. Read article here: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1110482–ipad-image-of-passport-didn-t-help-canadian-man-cross-border-u-s-customs?bn=1

  • At the time of publishing that was only what we had. Martin actually refers to the updated Wired we posted as the most accurate depiction of his experience.

  • Hasd767

    Well from CJAD 800 Montreal news, it was said that he tried but was refused the entry, so which story to believe, hummmmm.

  • Davidx

    FYI You do not require a passport to enter Canada as a Canadian. As a Canadian you cannot be denied entry to Canada. Going South is a different matter though.