More proof that passport problems can happen to anyone: Zach Braff, the actor and director who starred the in the popular TV series Scrubs and the movie Garden State, almost didn’t make it to Toronto for the premiere of his latest indie flick, The High Cost of Living. The culprit? An expired passport. As reported on Canada’s National Post website, the drama came to light on Twitter, when Braff tweeted from the airport, “My passport expired on my birthday. The nation of Canada won’t let me in. I am a danger. Any ideas? Government offices closed on sunday.”
Oops! For most of us mere mortals, that would have been the end of the story, at least until Monday. And yet, after tweeting a string of jokes about tunneling into Canada, a few hours later Braff’s Twitter account announced the happy news: “Dear Canada, I’m in.”
So, how’d he do it? Does Zach Braff have super powers? No, but he does have a pilot’s license. Via the National Post:
“He decided to, oh, fly himself after getting rejected by the commercial flight. Keeping his fingers crossed that things might just be less tricky with customs on this side of the border — “it’s tougher leaving the States, but easier in Canada,” a source close to him told us — he arranged to arrive on his plane at the same time as his publicist arrived from L.A., and with a driver parked on the tarmac to give real-time updates to said publicist, the high-wire plot unfolded. Long story short: It worked!”
How was this possible? Well, technically, US citizens are not required to have a passport to enter Canada. All the Canada Border Services Agency really needs to see is photo ID and proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate. However, the US government tightened rules for re-entering the United States after 9/11, to require a passport book if you’re traveling by air and either a passport book or a passport card if you’re traveling by land or sea.
Of course, it’s generally a really bad idea to enter a country without the documents you are required to show to get back home. If you do so, the government has to let you back in if you’re a citizen, but they don’t have to be happy about it. Expect delays and other hassles while they confirm you are who you say you are and you don’t pose a security threat.
Also, keep in mind that since you’re supposed to have a passport for air travel to Canada, commercial airlines won’t let you board without one, no matter how famous you are.
If an expired passport catches you by surprise at the last minute, you do have options other than digging a tunnel or commandeering a private plane. You can make an appointment at one of the 24 Regional Passport Agency offices serving the US, or use a private expediting company like RushMyPassport. We hand-deliver your passport renewal application to the Department of State for processing in as little as 24 hours, with no need to go through the hassle of making an appointment or waiting in line.
Need a passport renewal ASAP? Let us help!