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Man Uses iPad, Not Passport, To Gain Entry To U.S.

A Canadian man has been making headlines because he used an image of his passport saved on his iPad — instead of the official document itself — to cross the U.S.-Canadian border two times.

Martin Reisch, 33, says he forgot his passport when he left for a car trip across the border in Quebec. But he had an iPad with him, and it contained a scan of his passport. So Reisch gave the device to the U.S. border officer, along with his drivers' license, and the explanation that he was merely driving to Vermont, to drop off some Christmas presents.

"There was a slight hesitation, he didn't really seem like he was impressed," Reisch told the CBC.

But he was eventually waved through — and Reisch successfully used the same method to cross back into Canada. As he told the Montreal Gazette:

"'(The Canadian guard) was a really young guy. We had a cool chat about iPhones and technology. He was really interested and didn't make a big deal that he was letting me through,' Reisch said."

"I'm a huge believer in technology," said Reisch, who works as a photographer — and whose story has now also been immortalized in a "rage comic."

Until 2009, Canadian citizens only needed to show a drivers' license to cross the U.S. border. In a statement provided to the CBC, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency confirmed that its policy is to not accept scanned images of passports.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


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