Frequently Asked Questions

884. Do non-U.S. persons, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and foreign financial institutions, risk exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (Caesar Act) for activities that would be authorized under the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR)?

Answer

With respect to non-U.S. persons, OFAC will not consider transactions to be “significant” for the purpose of a sanctions determination under the Caesar Act if U.S. persons would not require a specific license from OFAC to participate in such a transaction.  Accordingly, non-U.S. persons, including NGOs and foreign financial institutions, would not risk exposure to sanctions under the Caesar Act for engaging in activity, or facilitating transactions and payments for such activity, that is authorized for U.S. persons under a general license (GL) issued pursuant to the SySR.  For a list of GLs within the SySR related to humanitarian assistance and trade with Syria, please see OFAC’s April 16, 2020 Fact Sheet: Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Trade to Combat COVID-19.  Further, Section 7425 of the Caesar Act codifies, with some exceptions, the general license in § 542.516 of the SySR that authorizes certain services in support of NGOs.  Additionally, Section 7432 of the Caesar Act includes a humanitarian waiver for activities not otherwise covered by GL § 542.516 of the SySR.

Please note that this guidance with respect to non-U.S. persons does not apply to transactions and activities that may be subject to sanctions under other sanctions programs administered by OFAC (e.g., transactions with blocked persons designated under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 (OFAC’s counterterrorism authority) or E.O. 13894 (OFAC’s Syria-related authority)), unless exempt or otherwise permitted by OFAC.

Date Released
April 5, 2021