Frequently Asked Questions

E.O. of March 11, 2022 prohibits the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of U.S. dollar-denominated banknotes to the Government of the Russian Federation or any person located in the Russian Federation.  However, Russia-related General License (GL) 18 authorizes certain transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the transfer of U.S. dollar-denominated banknotes for noncommercial, personal remittances from:  (i) the United States or a U.S. person, wherever located, to an individual located in the Russian Federation; or (ii) a U.S. person who is an individual located in the Russian Federation.

GL 18 authorizes methods of payment including withdrawals of U.S. dollar-denominated banknotes via automated teller machines and the hand carrying of U.S. dollar-denominated banknotes. 

Note that GL 18 does not authorize U.S. financial institutions to process transactions for the provision of U.S. dollar-denominated banknotes to foreign financial institutions for further distribution or supply to the Government of the Russian Federation or any person located in the Russian Federation.
 

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For the purposes of E.O. of March 11, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control anticipates publishing regulations defining these terms to include the following:

  • “Russian Federation origin” – see FAQ 1,019.
  • “fish, seafood, and preparations thereof” – articles defined at Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings 0301.11.00 to 0301.99.03; 0302.11.00 to 0302.99.00; 0303.11.00 to 0303.99.00; 0304.31.00 to 0304.99.91; 0305.20.20 to 0305.79.00; 0306.11.00 to 0306.99.01; 0307.11.00 to 0307.99.03; 0308.11.00 to 0308.90.01; 0309.10.05 to 0309.90.90; 1603.00.10; 1603.00.90; 1604.11.20 to 1604.32.40; 1605.10.05 to 1605.69.00; 0508.00.0000; 2301.20.0010; 2310.20.0090; 1504.10.20 to 1504.20.60; and 2106.90.9998, including any subsequent revisions to the list of HTSUS classifications.
  • “alcoholic beverages” – articles defined at HTSUS subheadings 2203.00.00; 2204.10.00 to 2204.30.00; 2205.10.30 to 2205.90.60; 2206.00.15 to 2206.00.90; 2207.10.30 to 2207.20.00; and 2208.20.10 to 2208.90.80, including any subsequent revisions to the list of HTSUS classifications.
  • “non-industrial diamonds” – articles defined at HTSUS subheadings 7102.31.00 and 7102.39.00, including any subsequent revisions to the list of HTSUS classifications.

With respect to the export prohibitions set forth in section 1(a)(ii) of E.O. of March 11, 2022, please consult the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, for guidance.

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E.O. of March 11, 2022 prohibits the importation into the United States of fish, seafood, and preparations thereof; alcoholic beverages; and non-industrial diamonds of Russian Federation origin.  To the extent the import of such products of Russian Federation origin to jurisdictions outside of the United States does not involve a sanctioned person or an otherwise prohibited transaction, non-U.S. persons are not exposed to sanctions under E.O. of March 11, 2022.

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Russia-related GL 6 (“Transactions Related to the Exportation or Reexportation of Agricultural Commodities, Medicine, Medical Devices, Replacement Parts and Components, or Software Updates, or the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic”) remains valid and authorizes, among other things, transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to (1) the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, including products such as fish, seafood, or preparations thereof — to the extent they fall within the definition of agricultural commodities provided in GL 6 — to, from, or transiting the Russian Federation (see FAQ 979).  However, GL 6 does not authorize any transactions prohibited by E.O. of March 11, 2022.  As such, U.S. persons can continue to rely on GL 6 for transactions otherwise prohibited by E.O. 14024 involving agricultural commodities, such as fish, seafood, and preparations thereof, provided such transactions are not for the importation of these Russian origin products into the United States, unless otherwise authorized by OFAC.

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Yes.  E.O. 14068 prohibits the importation into the United States of fish, seafood, and preparations thereof; alcoholic beverages; and non-industrial diamonds of Russian Federation origin.  It does not prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions to sell or re-direct shipments outside the United States that were previously destined for the United States.

In addition, the Office of Foreign of Assets Control (OFAC) has issued Russia-related General License (GL) 17A to authorize the import, for a limited time, of certain items pursuant to pre-existing written contracts or written agreements (see FAQ 1023).  GL 17A provides such authorization for importing alcoholic beverages or non-industrial diamonds of Russian Federation origin until March 25, 2022 and authorization for importing fish, seafood, and preparations thereof of Russian Federation origin until June 23, 2022.  OFAC may issue specific licenses on a case-by-case basis to authorize shipments occurring after the expiry of GL 17A or for other activity outside the scope of this GL. 

(Updated March 24, 2022)

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Russia-related General License (GL) 17A  authorizes until March 25, 2022 transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the importation into the United States of alcoholic beverages or non-industrial diamonds of Russian Federation origin pursuant to written contracts or written agreements entered into prior to March 11, 2022.  GL 17A also authorizes until June 23, 2022 transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the importation into the United States of fish, seafood, and preparations thereof of Russian Federation origin pursuant to written contracts or written agreements entered into prior to March 11, 2022.  GL 17A does not authorize entry into new contracts.

Additionally, E.O. 14068 does not prohibit transactions such as the unwinding of contracts or other business-related activities by U.S. persons to comply with the import ban imposed under E.O. 14068.  Likewise, E.O. 14068 does not prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions to sell or re-direct shipments outside the United States of prohibited imports previously destined for the United States.

Note that other prohibitions specified in E.O. 14068 are effective immediately. Additionally, with respect to the export prohibitions set forth in section 1(a)(ii) of E.O. 14068, please consult the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, for guidance.

(Updated March 24, 2022)

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E.O. of March 11, 2022 prohibits the following activities:

  • the importation into the United States of the following products of Russian Federation origin:  fish, seafood, and preparations thereof; alcoholic beverages; non-industrial diamonds; and any other products of Russian Federation origin as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Commerce;
  • the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of luxury goods, and any other items as may be determined by the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, to any person located in the Russian Federation;
  • new investment in any sector of the Russian Federation economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, by a United States person, wherever located;
  • the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of U.S. dollar-denominated banknotes to the Government of the Russian Federation or any person located in the Russian Federation; and
  • any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by sections 1(a)(i)-(iv) of E.O. of March 11, 2022 if performed by a United States person or within the United States.
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Yes.  The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed expansive sanctions actions against certain Russian entities and individuals pursuant to E.O. 14024, in addition to other authorities.  All U.S. persons are required to comply with OFAC regulations, regardless of whether a transaction is denominated in traditional fiat currency or virtual currency (see FAQ 560).

Sanctioned Russian persons are known to employ a wide variety of measures in their efforts to evade U.S. and international sanctions.  As such, U.S. persons, wherever located, including firms that process virtual currency transactions, must be vigilant against attempts to circumvent OFAC regulations and must take risk-based steps to ensure they do not engage in prohibited transactions.  For additional information regarding sanctions compliance best practices for the virtual currency industry, please see OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance Guidance for the Virtual Currency Industry.

U.S. persons, including virtual currency exchanges, virtual wallet hosts, and other service providers, such as those that provide nested services for foreign exchanges, are generally prohibited from engaging in or facilitating prohibited transactions, including virtual currency transactions in which blocked persons have an interest.  U.S. persons are further prohibited from engaging in or facilitating any transaction by a non-U.S. person that would be prohibited if performed by a U.S. person or within the United States, including virtual currency transactions involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.  Among other activities, U.S. financial institutions are also generally prohibited from processing transactions, including virtual currency transactions, involving foreign financial institutions that are determined to be subject to the prohibitions of Directive 2 under Executive Order 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Correspondent or Payable-Through Accounts and Processing of Transactions Involving Certain Foreign Financial Institutions” (Russia-related CAPTA Directive).  For additional information regarding the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, please see FAQ 967.

Non-U.S. persons are also subject to certain OFAC prohibitions.  Such persons, for example, are prohibited from causing or conspiring to cause U.S. persons to violate U.S. sanctions, as well as engaging in conduct that evades or avoids a violation of OFAC sanctions.  Violations of OFAC regulations may result in criminal or civil penalties.

E.O. 14024 further authorizes sanctions against persons determined to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent U.S. sanctions, including through the use of digital currencies or assets, or the use of physical assets.  E.O. 14024 also authorizes sanctions against persons determined to operate or to have operated in the financial services or technology sectors of the Russian Federation economy, as well as persons that have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, blocked persons.

OFAC is closely monitoring any efforts to circumvent or violate Russia-related sanctions, including through the use of virtual currency, and is committed to using its broad enforcement authorities to act against violations and to promote compliance.

For additional information regarding the application of sanctions to virtual currency, please see FAQs 559, 560, 561, 562, 563, 594, 646, 647, and 971, as well as OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance Guidance for the Virtual Currency Industry.

For additional Treasury guidance on Russia and sanctions evasion, please see FinCEN’s Alert on Increased Vigilance for Potential Russian Sanctions Evasion Attempts.

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