04/01/2012 03:26 GMT | Updated 04/03/2012 05:12 GMT

Martin Reisch Crosses US Border From Canada With iPad Instead Of Passport

Just arrived at the border without your passport? If you have an iPad handy you may just be in luck.

According to reports a Canadian man recently managed to cross the border into the United States with an iPad instead of his passport.

Martin Reisch from Quebec told the Canadian Press news agency that he arrived at US Customs to cross into Vermont without his official documents. Instead of turning around he decided to present a scanned image of his passport and "give it a shot".

“He kind of gave me a stare, like neither impressed nor amused,” he told the Canadian Press.

But after he presented the device (and a driving licence), and a long, nervous wait, he was allowed to pass.

"Happy holidays", the border guard reportedly said to him as Reisch breezed by.

“He was very nice about it,” Reisch said. “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.”

Until recently a Canadian citizen only needed a driver's licence to cross into the US. The American authorities now require a passport, enhanced driver's licence or 'Nexus pass' on land crossings, but don't specify whether scans and photocopies count.

Experts say that Reisch's experience shows that in practice the law is still fairly flexible.

In the UK, however, iPads can only be used to carry boarding passes and e-Tickets and we don't recommend trying to get past customs with one. Not unless you want to travel back home again immediately.

Just to check we made a quick call to the UK Borders Agency to ask what would happen if you turned up at the border with an iPad:

"You'd be turned away," they said.

Fair enough.