U.S. Customs Now Accepting iPads Instead Of Passports



Meet Martin Reisch, a slightly forgetful Canadian who recently took a trip to the United States only to find shortly before landing that he had forgotten his passport. Fortunately for him, that was the day U.S. customs were allowing people into the country armed only with a photograph of their passport on their iPad. Or so he claims.

Reisch had luckily stored an image of his passport on his iPad 2, and after realizing he’d flown to the U.S. without it, he loaded it up and tried his luck with a U.S. customs officer. The Winnipeg Free Press reports:

“He kind of gave me a stare, like neither impressed nor amused,” Reisch said of their exchange last Friday in southern Quebec. The officer took the iPad into the border office for five minutes before coming back out to give Reisch the green light and wish him happy holidays. “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.”

As noted by Macgasm, this is a surprising story when you consider that the U.S. is famously very strict about its security. It’s unclear whether pictures of your passport on your tablet can be officially used a replacement for the real thing these days, but we’re guessing that’s not usually the case.

  • csman

    You cultofmac guys are so funny. Please, don’t misinform people!

  • MisterJonjon

    Title: U.S. Customs Now Accepting iPads Instead Of Passports

    Then at the end of article…
    “It’s unclear whether pictures of your passport on your tablet can be officially used a replacement for the real thing these days, but we’re guessing that’s not usually the case.”
    lol. So misleading.

  • Mike Shyu

    Probably helped that he was Caucasian.  Just sayin’

  • prof_peabody

    bull.  he was lucky.  as long as they are still sticking their hands down everyone’s pants, there is no way they will accept a jpeg of a passport.  the agent actually violated policy and law to do so for this guy.  

  • prof_peabody

    It’s almost policy at CoM.  The title inflames, then they take it off in the body of the article (usually on the second page).  That way they get the hit from the lie in the title, then they can’t be accused of anything legally because of the “clarification.”  

    At least John and Nicole are funny as well.  Without the humour they provide it just comes off as the scam that it truly is. 

  • andymcclung

    Learn to write headlines.

  • Jim Morrissey

    yeah this is “real”

  • James Robert Casey Jones

    Great Article, except for the part where you lie in the title…

  • Dave Greene

    John’s funny?

  • Warren Tabolt

    Misleading titles like this make me tempted to delete my CoM RSS feed…

  • Jordan Clay

    I’m getting dizzy from all the spin here. 

  • Hand Weaver

    People get upset when the border guards or other government officials are too strict in their interpretation of the rules. This shows why they are that way…

    A border guard feels sorry for this guy and saves him from making a 4 hour return trip to get his passport. Instead of thanking the border guard, this guy calls the newspaper and gets them to do a story that will be seen by the guards boss and everyone above him right up to the head of homeland security. They then have to discipline the guard for his mistake. Do you think he’s going to help anyone out after this?

  • Al

    It would be OK if they just added a question mark on the end: “U.S. Customs Now Accepting iPads Instead Of Passports?” is just as click-enticing but much more accurate.

  • Al

    I like his style, it’s cheerful and funny if nothing else!

  • Al

    Can I just say I’m loving the guy’s haircut in his passport photo. It’s the classic “hobo waking up in a shopping cart” look.

  • Mike Rathjen

    In related news, a US Customs officer was fired today…

  • Srose428

    This is truly the future of Identification except I think it is more likely to see wide spread use on the iPhone and available for the iPad as well.  Imagine E-Wallet, E-Identifications, Etc..  I am ready to ditch my bi-fold…

  • Dave Greene

    John may be funny but it’s strictly unintentional.

  • 69Voltage

    Sounds fishy. Who would load a pic of their passport, knowing that it wouldn’t be accepted at any customs? And, this article seems to call BS also.


  • PhilRead

    The source article indicates he was driving (…instead of turning his car around…) and not flying. The distinction is important. Some Canadian airports have US Customs which you have to clear before departure. So remembering “before landing that he had forgotten his passport” wouldn’t have applied.

  • Jack McClauren

    Same thing happened to me when I arrived to FT. Lauderdale International Airport a couple months ago

  • chimpthedestroyer

    I hope none of these people actually get payed to spread these stories, it’s the sort of thing you wake up to after posting at the end of a night out!

  • ivancarlos

    I don’t think that can be a security problem if they can verify the informations on a database.

  • Jack McClauren

    Yes, as long as the prints match with the right picture and I.D number on their system.