Posted 25 May 2012

We’re all aware that a passport is a necessity to travel between most countries, even if you’re only flying between Ireland and the UK. The authorities want to know it’s really you purely for security reasons. These restrictions have been in place for at least a couple of hundred years and the lack of official identification has caused major headaches for most people at some point in their lives. If you don’t have your passport at the airport, you won’t be able to travel and if you lose it while abroad this can be an even bigger problem. It often falls to embassies to lend a hand in these situations… but could the era of paper passports be coming to an end?

Given this bizarre story from the U.S, you could be forgiven for thinking the end is in sight for hassled international travellers. Over the Christmas period this year, a Canadian citizen, Martin Reisch, was driving to the United States when he realized he forgot his passport at home. According to Time Magazine, Reisch claims he was able to cross the border thanks to his iPad. Reisch was lucky enough to encounter a tech-savvy U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent who let him show his passport on his iPad. In addition, Reisch showed his driver’s license to back up his I.D.

Are passports about to go digital?

Can the use of technology really impress people enough to skim past security? Spokespersons with the U.S. customs agency say no. In fact, there is debate as to whether Reisch actually had a scanned copy of his passport on the iPad or not. The agency claims that he had a driver’s license and birth certificate, which were both adequate to prove his identity. On the flip side, Reisch stands firm that the agent he dealt with was impressed with the scanned images on his iPad, and that’s why he made it into the United States.

Let’s be realistic here. There is no mistaking that International security measures will never be reduced over a cool piece of technology, even if it is made by Apple. Don’t start relying on your iPad to carry your passport just yet. It is highly unlikely that anything like the story above would be accepted on our side of the pond. It would be too big a risk to national security. The passport is still king!

When travelling for business or pleasure, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid being unlucky. You may forget your passport somewhere, or it you may have it stolen. At Jury’s Inns, our staff will be available to help in any way possible when disaster strikes.


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