It’s Okay, it’s Christmas! | Montreal Man Crosses Border with iPad

Posted by Gayatri Bajpai & filed under Technology, Travel.

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Next time before you head down south for a quick Seattle fix, snap a quick copy of your passport on your i-device, because it might just save you from trekking all the way back home if you happen to forget the real thing. A 33-year-old Montreal man crossed the Canada-US border with his driver’s license and iPad. Yes, his iPad, with a scanned image of his passport on it.

Martin Reisch told the official that he was heading down to Vermont to commence Santa Claus duties—delivering Christmas presents. He had forgotten to bring his passport, and presented his iPad copy of his passport in an attempt to get through. Reisch claimed that the officer took his iPad into the border room and checked it out for about 5 to 6 minutes before coming back. The officer then let him cross the border after wishing him a Merry Christmas.

The US Customs spokeswoman Jenny Burke disputed this case, claiming that the traveler crossed the border with not just his driving license but also a birth certificate. Reisch denied that he was carrying his birth certificate, though.

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Since 2009, Canadians passing through the US-Canada border were required to present a passport, a change that received some disgruntled whines of inconvenience from frequent travelers. So I’m sure I’m not the only one that felt naively excited after reading this. Does this mean that soon we’ll have the option to just email a copy of your passport to the border officials in advance?

But then I start to think about just how much of Reisch’s story was made possible by him declaring that he was delivering gifts for Christmas. What I mean is, I wonder if he could get the same leniency if he was, say, delivering the dumplings for Chinese New Year, or meeting up with family for Ramadan? Even Reisch himself said that he believed that his Christmas reason, along with his driver’s license, helped him cross the border.


Ada Lee is a sixth year Human Geography/International Relations student who is interested in people and what makes them tick. The list ranges from social justice to astrology. She tries to get by in life by getting high on ideas, breathing deeply, and dreaming vividly. Follow 0415ADA at your own risk.



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