usa – What are the current travel restrictions on individuals entering the United States from regions affected by Covid-19?

This answer currently lists nationwide entry restrictions imposed by the United States federal (national) government in response to COVID-19. Some states as well as counties, municipalities, towns, and cities have imposed entry bans or automatic quarantine-upon-entry orders as well as stay-at-home orders that may prevent your intended travel. This answer cannot index all of these orders, which have slight differences, technicalities, and effective dates that must be consulted to determine if your planned travel activity is allowed under state and local law.

Travelers who do not already have a valid visa and will need one for their planned travel should note that the US Embassies and Consulates are beginning to re-open at this time for limited services. Check the website of the consulate in your country for more information. Be aware that their home countries consulates in the US may not be operating normally.


Entry bans for foreigners who have been in certain countries

Individuals who have been physically present anywhere in Mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen Area1, the UK1 (excluding territories outside Europe), Ireland1, Brazil, South Africa2, or India within the past 14 days cannot travel to the US at all unless they meet one of these exceptions:

  • US citizens and nationals
  • US lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
  • spouses of US citizens or LPRs
  • parents of unmarried US citizens/LPRs under 21
  • siblings of US citizens/LPRs, both unmarried and under 21
  • children, foster children, and adoptees of US citizens/LPRs
  • air and sea crew members
  • diplomats and foreign officials
  • those granted exceptions by officials
  • immigrant visa holders, fiance visa holders, and certain exchange visitors3
  • F-1 and M-1 students in a program commencing August 1, 2021 or later4

Text of the presidential proclamations and effective dates:

  • For Mainland China: Proclamation 9984, effective February 2, 2020 at 5:00pm EST
  • For Iran: Proclamation 9992, effective March 2, 2020 at 5:00pm EST
  • For the Schengen Area: Proclamation 9993, effective March 13, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
  • For the UK and Ireland: Proclamation 9996, effective March 16, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
  • For Brazil: Proclamation 10041 (as amended by Proclamation 10042), effective May 26, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
  • For South Africa: Proclamation 10143, effective January 30, 2021 at 12:01am EST
  • For India: Proclamation 10199, effective May 4, 2021 at 12:01am EDT

(1 As of July 16, 2020, the Department of State announced that students with F-1 and M-1 visas who will travel from the UK, Ireland, or the Schengen Area are automatically allowed to travel. J-1 students and others, such as E visa treaty traders/investors, academics, and certain other business travels, who will travel from those countries, may be able to obtain a National Interest Exception and should contact their nearest consulate or embassy to do so.

2 As of January 28, 2021, the Department of State announced that H-2 workers who will travel from South Africa may be able to obtain a National Interest Exception and will be considered for the exception when applying for the visa. Those who already have visas should contact the consulate or embassy that processed their visa.

3 As of April 8, 2021, the Department of State announced that immigrants, fiance visa holders, and certain exchange visitors who are subject to the geographic entry bans have a National Interest Exception and will be able to obtain a visa when visa services otherwise resume at the local US consulate. This also applies to the subsequent India ban.

4 As of April 26, 2021, the Department of State announced that F-1 or M-1 students from all countries, in programs beginning August 1, 2021 or later qualify for a national interest exception. If they already have valid visas, they may travel to the US no more than 30 days before the beginning of their program, without needing to contact a US consulate. Those applying for an F-1 or M-1 for a program beginning August 1, 2021 or later will automatically be considered for an exception. This also applies to the subsequent India ban.)

Upon arrival, such excepted passengers may be subject to public health screenings upon arrival. The US Centers for Disease Control have asked all international arrivals to self-quarantine for 14 days. This is not legally binding, however, it is possible that federal, state/territory, or local health officers could impose mandatory quarantine orders on specific passengers.

The Department of Homeland Security has a page on air travel restrictions, a fact sheet, and a list of news and updates. The CDC has a page on procedures for travelers from the affected countries.

This action does not affect aliens (immigrants or nonimmigrants) already in the US. It does not cancel or revoke valid visas, though it temporarily prevents their use and may prevent the issuance of new visas in some cases.

The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice from the government. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is to advise the President at least every 15 days whether or not the ban should be changed or cancelled.


COVID-19 test requirement

All travelers to the US by air, including US citizens, who are 2 years of age or older, must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight in order to board the airplane. This does not apply to entry to the US by land. See frequently asked questions.


Land border entry restrictions

Entering the US through land borders from Canada or Mexico is limited to “essential travel”:

  • US citizens and permanent residents returning to the US
  • Travel for medical purposes
  • Travel to attend educational institutions
  • Travel to work in the US
  • Travel for emergency response and public health purposes
  • Lawful cross-border trade
  • Official government or diplomatic travel
  • US armed forces and their family returning to the US
  • Military-related travel

These rules cover anyone traveling across the land border, even if they are not Canadian/Mexican. They do not affect entry from Canada or Mexico by air, although there have been reports of CBP officers applying extra scrutiny to such travelers.

Effective date: March 20, 2020 at 11:59pm EDTJuly 21, 2021 at 11:59pm EDT (may be extended on a monthly basis as needed)

Text of the regulations:

  • For US-Canada land border: this document, as extended by this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document (as corrected), this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, and this document
  • For US-Mexico land border: this document, as extended by this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document (as corrected), this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, and this document

DHS has announcements for the US-Canada and US-Mexico land border restrictions.


Immigrant visa and work visa bans (no longer in effect)

Foreigners could not enter the US as immigrants, or as non-immigrants on H-1b, H-2b, J-1, or L-1 status or their dependents, unless they met one of these exceptions:

  • people who were inside the US on the effective date of the ban
  • people who had a visa of the same type on which they are seeking entry, that was valid on the effective date of the ban
  • people who had a travel document other than a visa that permits them to travel to the US (e.g. an Advance Parole), that was valid on the effective date of the ban or issued thereafter
  • US lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
  • people entering the US as medical professionals or to conduct research on COVID-19
  • immigrants entering on the EB-5 investment immigration category
  • spouses of US citizens
  • unmarried under-21 children and adoptees of US citizens
  • people whose entry furthers law enforcement objectives
  • members of the US armed forces and their spouses and children
  • immigrants in the SI and SQ special immigrant categories
  • people whose entry would be in the national interest

Text of the presidential proclamations and effective dates:

The Department of State has detailed the national interest exceptions for these two bans.


Entry airport restrictions (no longer in effect)

From the effective date of the entry ban for a given country until September 14, 2020, all flights carrying at least one non-crew passenger that had been physically present in Mainland China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the UK, aireland, or Brazil within the past 14 days but who were exempt from the entry ban, were required to land at one of the following airports: JFK, ORD, SFO, SEA, HNL, LAX, ATL, IAD, EWR, DFW, DTW, BOS, MIA, FLL, or IAH.


Questions and Answers

I heard about some changes to student visa rules. Where are those? You likely heard about a rule change to the Student Exchange Visitor Program that would have forced international students on F-1/M-1/J-1 visas to leave the country if did not have at least one in-person class, even if their entire school had moved online. The US Government abandoned this rule when it was challenged it court. This rule is no longer in effect and no changes to your I-20 or student visa should be required for you to enter the country. If you are a new student and do not have an F-1 visa, be sure to closely follow the website of the embassy in your country–each consular post is announcing their own plans for resumption of visa services.

What if I do not comply with these rules? If you lie to officials to avoid the regulations, you could face serious immigration consequences including expedited removal from the country and a permanent inadmissibility in the future.

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usa – How much to tip in the United States?

I find this article, Everything You Don’t Know About Tipping, by Tim Urban of Wait but Why, to be the best I’ve found.

Even those of us who are native US citizens like him (or myself) often find ourselves in “ambiguous tipping situations”, where we are not quite sure what the right amount to tip is, and want to avoid blunders such as:

The Inadvertent Undertip, the Inadvertent Overtip, and the “Shit Am I Supposed To Tip Or Not?” Horror Moment.

In Tim’s words,

Tipping is not about generosity. Tipping isn’t about gratitude for good service. And tipping certainly isn’t about doing what’s right and fair for your fellow man.

Tipping is about making sure you don’t mess up what you’re supposed to do.

(And though I like to be generous and fair, there’s certainly much wisdom in that.)

He interviewed 123 people in New York City working in jobs that involved tipping, and then supplemented with information from “a bunch of readers” and research, including the website of Wm. Michael Lynn, recognized tipping expert and Burton M. Sack Professor in Food & Beverage Management at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

This handy table breaks it down by tipping situation, percentage of customers who typically tip, how much low, average, and high tippers give, what the providers typically think of people who don’t tip in that situation (fine, cheap, the worst), what percentage of their salary is typically provided by tips, and other helpful notes.

So basically, decide whether you want to be a low, average, or high tipper, and tip accordingly.

Tipping Statistics -- broken down by tipping situation with percentage of customers who tip, amounts for low, average, and high tippers, how much of a faux pas it is not to tip, which percentage of their salary tipping is

On his page is also included a handy table to help estimate the impact on one’s budget of being a low, average, and high tipper, depending on if you’re a low, mid, or big spender when it comes to buying tipped services, and other handy notes about factors that should influence the decision, and how it looks from the service provider’s perspective.

And, a fascinating “tipping spectrum” of where people in different groups tend to fall on the tipping spectrum, based on a survey of 1000+ waiters (Sample: Best: All-Male Dining Parties, followed closely by Gay Men; Average: All-Female Dining Parties, Young Adults; worst: Teenagers, Foreigners, Coupon Users), and other interesting things about tips.

The TripAdvisor page referenced in @DJClayworth’s answer is also an excellent reference, and includes a few situations not included in Tim Urban’s table and article. But Tim’s table is just about the most convenient and informative guide I’ve found for most common situations in a format that provides more info on the server’s perspective.

Notes I’ll add from personal experience:

  • As a former sometime taxi driver (in Albuquerque, NM, not NYC), it seemed to me that people were being cheap if they tipped on a straight percentage when the percentage would result in a tip under $1, or were stingy about rounding up to the closest whole dollar (esp. when paying cash). (But, I’d never hold it against people who didn’t tip; it did impact my bottom line, but I prefer to think the best of people and not to attribute to malice what can attributed to ignorance, poverty, lack of consciousness, etc.)

    • As a consequence, I personally feel cheap tipping less than $1 almost
      anywhere (except maybe a coffeeshop or similar place where ticket
      prices are low and tips are not expected). YMMV: Your Mileage May
      Vary. Albuquerque is not NYC, but is certainly fairly representative
      of many mid-size non-“Cab Towns” you may find across America.
  • It’s always OK to add more to an automatically included gratuity, if you feel it’s warranted, or you want to be a “good” tipper. Only paying the included gratuity puts you in “average” range.

  • “Doubling the tax” is highly unreliable, as it varies from state to state and city to city, and some localities have none at all.

  • I’d agree that most servers prefer cash — and it’s not all that unusual to mix payment types (leave cash at table, pay ticket with card, etc.). If you feel so inclined, there’s nothing wrong with it, and for better or worse, servers prefer it because they’re likely to be able to take it home the same day, and taxes and card fees are not taken out, so they can take home more, leaving up to their own conscience and discretion how much of their tips they report for tax purposes.

    • But, if you’re paying by card and don’t have cash, no big deal, just
      leave it on the card.
  • 15% is not “a bit much for California”, at least for a restaurant. It’s solidly in “low tipper” range anywhere I’ve been in the USA.

  • It’s true that it can be considered insulting, or at the least very awkward, to give a tip in a “non-tipping situation”. Eeesh. :/ But, that’s up to your own conscience and knowledge of the situation.

united kingdom – Is a PTE Home B1 test sufficient for a UK Skilled Worker visa application?

I am about to apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa.

For that I need to prove proficiency in English, and I chose Pearson as one of the designated providers of English tests. Pearson provides, among others, the following two tests:

  • PTE Home B1 (cheaper, takes about 30 minutes),
  • PTE Academic UKVI (more expensive, takes about 3 hours).

Question: Is passing a PTE Home B1 test sufficient for a Skilled Worker visa application?

Given all the circumstances (costs, duration, but also the date and location of the tests) I would really prefer to go with PTE Home B1 if possible.


I find that there is contradictory information around on this.

GOV.UK states that they accept PTE Home tests, and that a Skilled Worker visa application requires a proof of proficiency on level B1.
However, the first statement appears on a site not specific to the a Skilled Worker visa, and could as well mean that some visa types allow a PTE Home test (e.g. spouse visa require only PTE Home A1). The Skilled Worker specific site is not talking about PTE Home.

Pearson recommends PTE Academic UKVI for this kind of visa.


I have contacted several parties with this question:

  • The UK Visa and Immigration International Contact Center replied with a generic answer copied from here (the same link as above), not explicitly talking about the Skilled Worker visa or PTE Home B1. They says, Yes, PTE Home is okay, but the wording gives me doubt about their understanding of my specific question.
  • The HR Immigration Support Team at my future working place replied that I need the PTE Academic UKVI, but gave no further reason. Note that they do not care about any tests themselves (i.e. I do not have to prove my language abilities to them), but they only care about me having the visa.
  • Pearson themselves replied with a generic copy from their FAQ, stating that PTE Academic is appropriate. I consider this a non-answer, because it says nothing about whether PTE Home B1 is suitable or not. Given that they make a profit of selling more expensive tests, I am skeptical about this answer.

Can I travel domestically within the United States with my USA expired passport?

The TSA explicitly allows people to travel without ID. The following is taken from https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification:

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete a form to include your name and current address, and may ask additional questions to confirm your identity. If your identity is confirmed, you will be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint. You may be subject to additional screening.

You will not be allowed to fly if your identity cannot be confirmed, you chose to not provide proper identification or you decline to cooperate with the identity verification process.

TSA recommends you to arrive at least two hours in advance of your flight time to allow ample time for security screening and boarding the aircraft.

As I noted in a comment, I once traveled with someone who did this. She is a US resident (non-immigrant) with no official ID issued by any US entity, and she forgot her passport at home. They checked some of her credit/bank cards (and maybe her work ID, if I recall correctly), and let her fly. I think it took about 10 minutes, maybe 15, to get past the ID check. On the way home, it only took a minute or so extra.

I would therefore recommend that you bring everything you can that has your name on it, including your expired passport. They may reject it because it is expired; the page quoted above does say that the ID must be “valid.” The expired passport may nonetheless lend weight to your claim, and it certainly won’t hurt it.

Also bring bank cards, library cards, employee ID, social security card, birth certificate, school records, anything you can readily get your hand on. The worst possible outcome would be to leave something at home only to be told that you would have been allowed to board if you had brought it.

When you approach the ID officer, hand your boarding pass and say something like “I’m afraid I don’t have any valid ID, but I do have this expired passport and these other documents.”

If you are sensitive about being scolded, and worried what they might say, you can bring a printed copy of the TSA page that explains that ID isn’t strictly necessary.

usa – What are the current travel restrictions on individuals entering the United States from regions affected by Covid-19?

This answer currently lists nationwide entry restrictions imposed by the United States federal (national) government in response to COVID-19. Some states as well as counties, municipalities, towns, and cities have imposed entry bans or automatic quarantine-upon-entry orders as well as stay-at-home orders that may prevent your intended travel. This answer cannot index all of these orders, which have slight differences, technicalities, and effective dates that must be consulted to determine if your planned travel activity is allowed under state and local law.

Travelers who do not already have a valid visa and will need one for their planned travel should note that the US Embassies and Consulates are beginning to re-open at this time for limited services. Check the website of the consulate in your country for more information. Be aware that their home countries consulates in the US may not be operating normally.


Entry bans for foreigners who have been in certain countries

Individuals who have been physically present anywhere in Mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen Area1, the UK1 (excluding territories outside Europe), Ireland1, Brazil, South Africa2, or India within the past 14 days cannot travel to the US at all unless they meet one of these exceptions:

  • US citizens and nationals
  • US lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
  • spouses of US citizens or LPRs
  • parents of unmarried US citizens/LPRs under 21
  • siblings of US citizens/LPRs, both unmarried and under 21
  • children, foster children, and adoptees of US citizens/LPRs
  • air and sea crew members
  • diplomats and foreign officials
  • those granted exceptions by officials
  • immigrant visa holders, fiance visa holders, and certain exchange visitors3
  • F-1 and M-1 students in a program commencing August 1, 2021 or later4

Text of the presidential proclamations and effective dates:

  • For Mainland China: Proclamation 9984, effective February 2, 2020 at 5:00pm EST
  • For Iran: Proclamation 9992, effective March 2, 2020 at 5:00pm EST
  • For the Schengen Area: Proclamation 9993, effective March 13, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
  • For the UK and Ireland: Proclamation 9996, effective March 16, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
  • For Brazil: Proclamation 10041 (as amended by Proclamation 10042), effective May 26, 2020 at 11:59pm EDT
  • For South Africa: Proclamation 10143, effective January 30, 2021 at 12:01am EST
  • For India: Proclamation 10199, effective May 4, 2021 at 12:01am EDT

(1 As of July 16, 2020, the Department of State announced that students with F-1 and M-1 visas who will travel from the UK, Ireland, or the Schengen Area are automatically allowed to travel. J-1 students and others, such as E visa treaty traders/investors, academics, and certain other business travels, who will travel from those countries, may be able to obtain a National Interest Exception and should contact their nearest consulate or embassy to do so.

2 As of January 28, 2021, the Department of State announced that H-2 workers who will travel from South Africa may be able to obtain a National Interest Exception and will be considered for the exception when applying for the visa. Those who already have visas should contact the consulate or embassy that processed their visa.

3 As of April 8, 2021, the Department of State announced that immigrants, fiance visa holders, and certain exchange visitors who are subject to the geographic entry bans have a National Interest Exception and will be able to obtain a visa when visa services otherwise resume at the local US consulate. This also applies to the subsequent India ban.

4 As of April 26, 2021, the Department of State announced that F-1 or M-1 students from all countries, in programs beginning August 1, 2021 or later qualify for a national interest exception. If they already have valid visas, they may travel to the US no more than 30 days before the beginning of their program, without needing to contact a US consulate. Those applying for an F-1 or M-1 for a program beginning August 1, 2021 or later will automatically be considered for an exception. This also applies to the subsequent India ban.)

Upon arrival, such excepted passengers may be subject to public health screenings upon arrival. The US Centers for Disease Control have asked all international arrivals to self-quarantine for 14 days. This is not legally binding, however, it is possible that federal, state/territory, or local health officers could impose mandatory quarantine orders on specific passengers.

The Department of Homeland Security has a page on air travel restrictions, a fact sheet, and a list of news and updates. The CDC has a page on procedures for travelers from the affected countries.

This action does not affect aliens (immigrants or nonimmigrants) already in the US. It does not cancel or revoke valid visas, though it temporarily prevents their use and may prevent the issuance of new visas in some cases.

The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice from the government. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is to advise the President at least every 15 days whether or not the ban should be changed or cancelled.


COVID-19 test requirement

All travelers to the US by air, including US citizens, who are 2 years of age or older, must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their flight in order to board the airplane. This does not apply to entry to the US by land. See frequently asked questions.


Land border entry restrictions

Entering the US through land borders from Canada or Mexico is limited to “essential travel”:

  • US citizens and permanent residents returning to the US
  • Travel for medical purposes
  • Travel to attend educational institutions
  • Travel to work in the US
  • Travel for emergency response and public health purposes
  • Lawful cross-border trade
  • Official government or diplomatic travel
  • US armed forces and their family returning to the US
  • Military-related travel

These rules cover anyone traveling across the land border, even if they are not Canadian/Mexican. They do not affect entry from Canada or Mexico by air, although there have been reports of CBP officers applying extra scrutiny to such travelers.

Effective date: March 20, 2020 at 11:59pm EDTJune 21, 2021 at 11:59pm EDT (may be extended on a monthly basis as needed)

Text of the regulations:

  • For US-Canada land border: this document, as extended by this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document (as corrected), this document, this document, this document, this document, and this document
  • For US-Mexico land border: this document, as extended by this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document, this document (as corrected), this document, this document, this document, this document, and this document

DHS has announcements for the US-Canada and US-Mexico land border restrictions.


Immigrant visa and work visa bans (no longer in effect)

Foreigners could not enter the US as immigrants, or as non-immigrants on H-1b, H-2b, J-1, or L-1 status or their dependents, unless they met one of these exceptions:

  • people who were inside the US on the effective date of the ban
  • people who had a visa of the same type on which they are seeking entry, that was valid on the effective date of the ban
  • people who had a travel document other than a visa that permits them to travel to the US (e.g. an Advance Parole), that was valid on the effective date of the ban or issued thereafter
  • US lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
  • people entering the US as medical professionals or to conduct research on COVID-19
  • immigrants entering on the EB-5 investment immigration category
  • spouses of US citizens
  • unmarried under-21 children and adoptees of US citizens
  • people whose entry furthers law enforcement objectives
  • members of the US armed forces and their spouses and children
  • immigrants in the SI and SQ special immigrant categories
  • people whose entry would be in the national interest

Text of the presidential proclamations and effective dates:

The Department of State has detailed the national interest exceptions for these two bans.


Entry airport restrictions (no longer in effect)

From the effective date of the entry ban for a given country until September 14, 2020, all flights carrying at least one non-crew passenger that had been physically present in Mainland China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the UK, aireland, or Brazil within the past 14 days but who were exempt from the entry ban, were required to land at one of the following airports: JFK, ORD, SFO, SEA, HNL, LAX, ATL, IAD, EWR, DFW, DTW, BOS, MIA, FLL, or IAH.


Questions and Answers

I heard about some changes to student visa rules. Where are those? You likely heard about a rule change to the Student Exchange Visitor Program that would have forced international students on F-1/M-1/J-1 visas to leave the country if did not have at least one in-person class, even if their entire school had moved online. The US Government abandoned this rule when it was challenged it court. This rule is no longer in effect and no changes to your I-20 or student visa should be required for you to enter the country. If you are a new student and do not have an F-1 visa, be sure to closely follow the website of the embassy in your country–each consular post is announcing their own plans for resumption of visa services.

What if I do not comply with these rules? If you lie to officials to avoid the regulations, you could face serious immigration consequences including expedited removal from the country and a permanent inadmissibility in the future.

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Which vaccines when traveling to the United States?

Does each state have different vaccines?
Which vaccines are important take when traveling to the United States?

united kingdom – Will getting UK student visa cancel my current Tier 2 ICT visa?

Background:
I am working in UK on ICT Tier 2 Visa which is ending on 31st August. But, I am planning to join university on 14th or 21st September. I can apply for Student visa 3 months prior to start of course. and Home office takes 8 weeks to make a decision.

Scenario:
Suppose I consider 14th September as course start date and apply for student visa on 14th July within UK. Though it takes 8 weeks for decision, if I get it in 2 weeks then:

  • Will my current Tier 2 visa stand cancelled?

  • Will I not be able to continue to work for the same employer till
    31st August?

  • Should I inform employer before applying for student visa?

  • Can I inform once decision is made on student visa?

denmark – Travel from the United States to Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands opened travel for holiday in April 2021. As long as one is vaccinated, there is no quarantine requirement, but still have to be tested for Covid prior to leaving and when you land. However, the travel rules for Denmark seem to be in contradiction to that of the Faroe Islands. If I were to travel through (transit) Copenhagen, the Danish government says I can travel on holiday through the airport, but not to the Faroe Islands. This doesn’t make sense to me since the Faroese police have already informed me that I could go on holiday there, but the Danish government won’t let me transit through the Copenhagen airport, even though you can transit through on holiday as long as it is not the Faroe Islands or Greenland. Has anyone experienced traveling through Denmark to get to the Faroe Islands and was there a problem? Thanks.