Frequently Asked Questions

The Office of Foreign Assets Control administers and enforces economic sanctions programs primarily against countries and groups of individuals, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers. The sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals.

The Treasury Department has a long history of dealing with sanctions. Dating back prior to the War of 1812, Secretary of the Treasury Gallatin administered sanctions imposed against Great Britain for the harassment of American sailors. During the Civil War, Congress approved a law which prohibited transactions with the Confederacy, called for the forfeiture of goods involved in such transactions, and provided a licensing regime under rules and regulations administered by Treasury.

OFAC is the successor to the Office of Foreign Funds Control (the "FFC''), which was established at the advent of World War II following the German invasion of Norway in 1940. The FFC program was administered by the Secretary of the Treasury throughout the war. The FFC's initial purpose was to prevent Nazi use of the occupied countries' holdings of foreign exchange and securities and to prevent forced repatriation of funds belonging to nationals of those countries. These controls were later extended to protect assets of other invaded countries. After the United States formally entered World War II, the FFC played a leading role in economic warfare against the Axis powers by blocking enemy assets and prohibiting foreign trade and financial transactions.

OFAC itself was formally created in December 1950, following the entry of China into the Korean War, when President Truman declared a national emergency and blocked all Chinese and North Korean assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

Prohibited transactions are trade or financial transactions and other dealings in which U.S. persons may not engage unless authorized by OFAC or expressly exempted by statute. Because each program is based on different foreign policy and national security goals, prohibitions may vary between programs.

Yes. OFAC regulations often provide general licenses authorizing the performance of certain categories of transactions. OFAC also issues specific licenses on a case-by-case basis under certain limited situations and conditions. Guidance on how to request a specific license is found below and at 31 C.F.R. 501.801.

To apply for a specific license, please go to our License Application Page.

A summary description of each particular embargo or sanctions program may be found in the Sanctions Programs and Country Information area and in the Guidance and Information for Industry Groups area on OFAC's website. The text of Legal documents may be found in the Legal Documents area of OFAC's website which contains the text of 31 C.F.R. Chapter V and appropriate amendments to that Chapter which have appeared in the Federal Register.

OFAC usually has the authority by means of a specific license to permit a person or entity to engage in a transaction which otherwise would be prohibited. In some cases, however, legislation may restrict that authority.

To apply for a specific license, please go to our License Application Page.

In some situations, authority to engage in certain transactions is provided by means of a general license. In instances where a general license does not exist, a written request for a specific license must be filed with OFAC. The request must conform to the procedures set out in the regulations pertaining to the particular sanctions program. Generally, application guidelines and requirements must be strictly followed, and all necessary information must be included in the application in order for OFAC to consider an application. For an explanation about the difference between a general and a specific license as well as answers to other licensing questions, see the licensing questions section.

To apply for a specific license, please go to our License Application Page.

Another word for it is "freezing." It is simply a way of controlling targeted property. Title to the blocked property remains with the target, but the exercise of powers and privileges normally associated with ownership is prohibited without authorization from OFAC. Blocking immediately imposes an across-the-board prohibition against transfers or dealings of any kind with regard to the property.

OFAC administers a number of U.S. economic sanctions and embargoes that target geographic regions and governments. Some programs are comprehensive in nature and block the government and include broad-based trade restrictions, while others target specific individuals and entities. (Please see the “Sanctions Programs and Country Information” page for information on specific programs.) It is important to note that in non-comprehensive programs, there may be broad prohibitions on dealings with countries, and also against specific named individuals and entities. The names are incorporated into OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons ("SDN list") which includes approximately 6,400 names of companies and individuals who are connected with the sanctions targets. In addition, OFAC maintains other sanctions lists that may have different prohibitions associated with them. A number of the named individuals and entities are known to move from country to country and may end up in locations where they would be least expected. U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with SDNs wherever they are located and all SDN assets are blocked. Entities that a person on the SDN List owns (defined as a direct or indirect ownership interest of 50% or more) are also blocked, regardless of whether that entity is separately named on the SDN List. Because OFAC's programs are dynamic, it is very important to check OFAC's website on a regular basis to ensure that your sanctions lists are current and you have complete information regarding the latest restrictions affecting countries and parties with which you plan to do business.

U.S. persons must comply with OFAC regulations, including all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, all U.S. incorporated entities and their foreign branches. In the cases of certain programs, foreign subsidiaries owned or controlled by U.S. companies also must comply. Certain programs also require foreign persons in possession of U.S.-origin goods to comply.

The fines for violations can be substantial. In many cases, civil and criminal penalties can exceed several million dollars. Civil penalties vary by sanctions program, and the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalty Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, requires OFAC to adjust civil monetary penalty amounts annually. For current penalty amounts, see section V.B.2.a of Appendix A to OFAC’s Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines at 31 C.F.R Part 501.

OFAC encourages anyone who may have violated OFAC-administered regulations to disclose the apparent violation to OFAC voluntarily.  Voluntary self-disclosure to OFAC is considered a mitigating factor by OFAC in enforcement actions, and pursuant to OFAC’s Enforcement Guidelines, will result in a reduction in the base amount of any proposed civil penalty.  

Please submit all voluntary self-disclosures electronically to OFACDisclosures@treasury.gov.  Unless the disclosure is an initial disclosure which will be supplemented with additional information, the submission should contain sufficient detail to afford OFAC a complete understanding of an apparent violation’s circumstances.  Please review the Office of Compliance and Enforcement (“OCE”) Data Delivery Standards Guidance: Preferred Practices for Productions to OFAC, which details OFAC’s preferred technical standards for formatting electronic document productions submitted to OCE.

OFAC does not have an "amnesty" program.  OFAC does, however, review the totality of the circumstances surrounding any apparent violation, including whether a matter was voluntarily self-disclosed to OFAC.  OFAC will also consider the existence, nature, and adequacy of a subject person’s risk-based OFAC compliance program at the time of the apparent violation, where relevant, among other factors.  Please see OFAC’s Enforcement Guidelines for additional information regarding voluntary self-disclosures and other mitigating factors, as well as the agency’s general framework for the enforcement of economic sanctions programs administered by OFAC.  

Great care should be taken when placing reliance on such materials to ensure that the transactions in question fully conform to the letter and spirit of the published materials and that the materials have not been superseded.

Yes. OFAC, therefore, strongly encourages parties to exercise due diligence when their business activities may touch on an OFAC-administered program and to contact OFAC if they have any questions about their transactions.

OFAC’s regulations are broader than the specific laws dealing with terrorists and persons who support them.  All individuals and entities that fall under U.S. jurisdiction should use OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).  This list includes specially designated global terrorists and narcotics traffickers, among other designated persons, and is available on OFAC’s website.  In addition, OFAC maintains other sanctions lists that may have different prohibitions associated with each that apply to U.S. persons or transactions otherwise subject to U.S. jurisdiction.  It is important to note that some OFAC sanctions block categories of persons even if those persons do not appear on the SDN List.  For example, this is the case for any person that meets the definition of the “Government of Venezuela” in Executive Order 13884 of August 5, 2019 (“Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela”).  It is also important to note that OFAC’s Cuba sanctions prohibit most transactions with Cuban nationals, wherever located.  U.S. persons are expected to exercise due diligence in determining whether any such persons are involved in a proposed transaction. 

There may have been one or more reasons the package was rejected.  For example, was it destined for Cuba and lacking a description of the contents?  Was it an unlicensed commercial shipment destined for North Korea?  Was it a personal gift destined for an individual in Iran with a stated value exceeding $100?  These examples are legitimate reasons for shipping companies to refuse to process such packages, such as packages that do not conform with shipping company guidelines and rules, as well as OFAC and other U.S. government regulations.  Not only could you be liable for attempting to send such packages, but the shipping companies also could be liable for their role in processing these.  See OFAC’s country program webpages for more information on the restrictions on shipments to high-risk jurisdictions, for example the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, or Syria. 

Shipping companies are required to "block" packages in which a Specially Designated National ("SDN") or other blocked person has an interest. When a package is required to be "blocked," the shipper must retain the package rather than reject and return it to the sender. Blocking is not required if a general or specific license from OFAC authorizes the shipper to reject or process the package, or if the transaction is otherwise exempted from the prohibitions based on the type or content of the package. To request a license for the package’s release, apply online or send a letter with a detailed description of the package’s contents and an explanation of the parties involved in the transaction, along with a copy of the package’s air waybill or Customs Declaration and Dispatch form, to:

U.S. Department of the Treasury
Office of Foreign Assets Control
Licensing Division
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220

If you have questions about the authenticity of an OFAC document that is not publically posted on the OFAC website, you can contact OFAC and reference the specific case ID or FAC number that is included on the document.

  • To verify a specific license, please contact the OFAC Licensing Division at 1-202-622-2480.
  • To verify an SDN removal letter, please email ofac.reconsideration@treasury.gov.
  • To verify another OFAC document, please contact the OFAC Compliance Division at 1-202-622-2490.

In order to further aid the global fight against COVID-19, OFAC has extended time-limited general licenses, Iran GL N-1, Syria GL 21A, and Venezuela GL 39A (together, the COVID-19-related GLs), to continue to provide broad authorizations for certain COVID-19-related transactions and activities.  The general licenses expand upon longstanding humanitarian exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations in OFAC sanctions programs, which remain in effect (see OFAC’s June 16, 2022 Fact Sheet on the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Trade to Combat COVID-19) to cover additional COVID 19-related transactions and activities.  For example, Iran GL N-1 continues to allow for expanded authorizations under the Iran sanctions program to cover certain items that previously would have required a specific license for exportation or reexportation to Iran, such as certain COVID-19 testing or vaccine manufacturing equipment.  Both U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons whose activities are within U.S. jurisdiction — including exporters, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and financial institutions — may rely upon the authorizations in these COVID-19-related GLs provided they meet the applicable conditions.  All three GLs expire on June 17, 2023.  

The COVID-19-related GLs provide authorization that is independent of OFAC’s other humanitarian-related authorizations.  Accordingly, conditions and limitations included in other humanitarian-related authorizations do not apply to transactions and activities conducted pursuant to the COVID-19-related GLs, unless explicitly incorporated therein.  For example, for sales to Iran of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices pursuant to the general license in 31 C.F.R. § 560.530, payment terms and financing must be limited to and consistent with those authorized by 31 C.F.R. § 560.532.  However, because Iran GL N-1 does not incorporate similar limitations on payment terms, COVID-19-related exports and reexports to Iran authorized by Iran GL N-1 are not subject to the payment terms in 31 C.F.R. § 560.532

Prior to the expiration of the COVID-19-related GLs, OFAC may issue additional guidance, as appropriate.  OFAC’s longstanding humanitarian exemptions, exceptions and authorizations in each of these sanctions programs will not be impacted by the expiration of these GLs.  For transactions not otherwise authorized or exempt, OFAC considers license requests on a case-by-case basis and prioritizes applications, compliance questions, and other requests related to humanitarian support for people in areas subject to comprehensive sanctions. 

Updated: June 10, 2022

For the purposes of Iran GL N-1 and Syria GL 21A, services related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 include, for example:  treatment of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19; training necessary for the safe and effective use, repair, or maintenance of goods for use in connection with the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19; water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion materials and supplies, and shelter activities to prevent or treat COVID-19, including Risk Communication and Community Engagement efforts related to COVID-19, and other goods and services, directly related to prevention or treatment of COVID-19; conduct of research into COVID-19; services necessary for the operation, maintenance, or repair of goods for use in connection with the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19; collaboration on the development or enhancement of information related to COVID-19 to the extent not authorized or exempt; development of medical devices or medicines to counteract COVID-19; conduct of clinical studies in connection with COVID-19; provision of public education in connection with COVID-19; and disposal of medical waste in connection with COVID-19, provided all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N-1 or Syria GL 21A are satisfied.

Transactions and activities related to the exportation or reexportation of such services include, for example:  processing and transfer of funds; payment of taxes, fees, and import duties; purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services; making of shipping or cargo inspection arrangements; obtaining of insurance; arrangement of financing and payment; delivery of services; receipt of payment; and entry into contracts (including executory contracts), provided all conditions of Iran GL N-1 or Syria GL 21A are satisfied.  

As noted in Iran GL N-1 and Syria GL 21A, these general licenses do not authorize the unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to any part of 31 CFR chapter V, including property of the Government of Iran or property of the Government of Syria.  

Updated: June 10, 2022

U.S. financial institutions are authorized to process transfers of funds or engage in trade finance transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the transactions and activities authorized by Iran GL N-1, Syria GL 21A, and Venezuela GL 39A.  

Such financial institutions may rely on the originator of the funds transfer with regard to compliance with Iran GL N-1, Syria GL 21A, and Venezuela GL 39A, provided that the financial institution does not know or have reason to know that the funds transfer is not in compliance with such GLs. 

Updated: June 10, 2022

No.  Non-U.S. persons do not risk exposure under U.S. sanctions for engaging in certain activities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that would be authorized under Iran GL N-1, Syria GL 21A, or Venezuela GL 39A, as appropriate, if engaged in by a U.S. person.  This includes non-U.S. exporters, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and foreign financial institutions, as well as other non-U.S. persons engaging in certain activities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For additional information on humanitarian activities by non-U.S. persons in relation to sanctioned jurisdictions, please see FAQs 844, 884, and 885.  For information specific to the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people, please see OFAC’s August 6, 2019 Fact Sheet: Guidance Related to the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Support to the Venezuelan People.  For more information on other relevant exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations for humanitarian assistance and trade to combat COVID-19 under OFAC’s sanctions program, please see OFAC’s June 10, 2022 Fact Sheet: Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Trade to Combat COVID-19.

Updated: June 10, 2022

With respect to blocked funds transfers, you are encouraged to file an electronic application to have blocked funds released.

You may also submit an application for the release of blocked funds which is available on OFAC's website under "Forms." You should print this form, complete the required information, attach payment instructions, and mail it to:

Office of Foreign Assets Control
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Treasury Annex
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
Attn: Licensing Division

It is extremely important that the underlying transaction be described in detail and copies of supporting documentation be included in the package.

Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis and often requires interagency consultation. Although we cannot predict how long this review might take, following existing application guidelines will help to expedite your determination.

Most OFAC sanctions programs provide exemptions to their prohibitions for certain donated goods, such as articles to relieve human suffering. This is not the case for all programs, however. You should refer to the legal section of OFAC's website for the regulations applicable to the specific target or target country of your donation.

A license is an authorization from OFAC to engage in a transaction that otherwise would be prohibited. There are two types of licenses: general licenses and specific licenses.

A general license authorizes a particular type of transaction for a class of persons without the need to apply for a license.

A specific license is a written document issued by OFAC to a particular person or entity, authorizing a particular transaction in response to a written license application.

Persons engaging in transactions pursuant to general or specific licenses must make sure that all conditions of the licenses are strictly observed.

OFAC's regulations may contain statements of OFAC's specific licensing policy with respect to particular types of transactions.

Most license applications do not have to be submitted on a particular form. However, it is essential to include in the request all necessary information as required in the application guidelines or the regulations pertaining to the particular embargo program. When applying for a license, provide a detailed description of the proposed transaction, including the names and addresses of any individuals/companies involved. The mailing address for license applications is:

Office of Foreign Assets Control
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Treasury Annex
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
Attn: Licensing Division

In order to apply for a specific license to release blocked funds, you are encouraged to file an electronic application to have blocked funds released by visiting the following link: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/ofac-license-application-page.

You may also submit an application for the release of blocked funds which is available on OFAC's website under "Forms." You should print this form, complete the required information, attach payment instructions, and mail it to the address listed above.

Depending upon the transaction, there may be specific guidance available on OFAC's website under relevant "Guidance on Licensing policy" on OFAC's various sanctions program web pages.

A denial by OFAC of a license application constitutes final agency action. The regulations do not provide for a formal process of appeal. However, OFAC will reconsider its determinations for good cause, for example, where the applicant can demonstrate changed circumstances or submit additional relevant information not previously made available to OFAC.

OFAC will notify applicants in writing as soon as a determination has been made on their application. The length of time for determinations to be reached will vary depending on the complexity of the transactions under consideration, the scope and detail of interagency coordination, and the volume of similar applications awaiting consideration. Applicants are encouraged to wait at least two weeks before telephonically contacting the Licensing Division at (202) 622-2480 to inquire about the status of their application. Callers can use OFAC's automated license application status hotline (accessible through the 202-622-2480 number) to check on the status of their application.

Many of OFAC's licensing determinations are guided by U.S. foreign policy and national security concerns. Numerous issues often must be coordinated with the U.S. Department of State and other government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Commerce. Please note that the need to comply with other provisions of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, and with other applicable provisions of law, including any aviation, financial, or trade requirements of agencies other than the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Such requirements include the Export Administration Regulations, 15 C.F.R. Parts 730 et seq., administered by the Department of Commerce, and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, 22 C.F.R. Parts 120-130, administered by the Department of State.

OFAC permits two format options for submitting TSRA license applications:  online or hard-copy, though we highly recommend the use of OFAC’s online application portal.  Applications submitted via mail must be accompanied by a cover letter that includes some essential information:  the purpose of the application and the applicant’s full contact information.  If either the cover letter or the pertinent information is missing, the application is considered incomplete and risks delay or rejection. 

Applicants should clearly enumerate in a table format all pertinent information related to their proposed transactions, including: a) Full names and addresses of all parties involved in the transactions and their roles, including financial institutions and any Iranian broker (identify company principals), purchasing agent (identify company principals), end-user(s) (full contact name), or other participants involved in the purchase of the proposed export items; and b) If applicable, the commodity classification numbers that are associated with the proposed export items.

OFAC requires applicants to submit each individual application separately; regardless of if you are completing the online application or sending in a hard copy application through the mail. If an applicant is submitting a hard copy, each application should be in a separate envelope, accompanied by a separate cover letter. Applicants should not submit multiple applications in a single envelope with a single cover letter. If you submit applications in that manner, you may encounter some delay in the processing of your applications. Therefore, in order to prevent such delay, submit one application with one cover letter per envelope.

No. OFAC does not require samples of proposed export products to be sent as attachments to any application. OFAC does not need to examine samples of the actual product in making its final determination. Therefore, please do not include any samples with your application.

This language is in the general license at section 560.532(a)(4) of the ITSR because it is contrary to U.S. foreign policy to allow U.S. financial institutions to maintain active correspondent relationships with Iranian banks. The language, however, does not preclude a U.S. financial institution or an entity owned or controlled by a United States Person and established or maintained outside the United States (“U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity”) from being a second advising bank (i.e. receiving and passing forward advice from a third-country bank that the credit has been issued), nor does it preclude the U.S. financial institution or a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity from receiving funds in payment for the licensed export from a third-country bank. You should also note that the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations authorize U.S. financial institutions and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities to directly advise or confirm letters of credit issued by third-country banks for authorized shipments. The third-country bank may not be an overseas branch of a U.S. financial institution, a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity, an Iranian financial institution, or the Government of Iran, unless otherwise authorized by OFAC. In none of these circumstances, however, may there be any direct or indirect involvement of entities the property and interests in property of which have been blocked under any of the programs administered by OFAC, except for persons whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599 and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations.

Yes. OFAC has multiple e-mail subscription services available. Please visit the following link to sign up for these services:

https://service.govdelivery.com/service/multi_subscribe.html?code=USTREAS

OFAC also maintains a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed. This feed is updated whenever the OFAC site is updated.

Check to see if the messages are in your SPAM folder. Mostly likely, it is your SPAM filter or your network configuration that is preventing you from receiving the OFAC broadcast messages. If you believe that may be the case, please discuss the matter with your IT department or network administrator. You may need to have your IT personnel allow e-mails from the following domain to come through the SPAM filter, "subscriptions.treas.gov;" in some cases allowing the domain, “treas.gov” through the filter will also work. If you believe that you have been removed from the subscription list in error you may contact OFAC at O_F_A_C@treasury.gov or re subscribe to our email services.

Failure to receive a confirmation e-mail is typically (though not always) the result of a configuration problem on the user’s end. The user should follow these steps to ensure that he or she is using the system properly.

  1. Be patient. For a variety of reasons e-mail sometimes take a little longer than expected to reach a user. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail within a day of subscribing, proceed to step 2.
  2. Confirm that you have entered the correct e-mail address and address punctuation. A surprising number of errors have been the result of users accidentally using commas instead of periods.
  3. Check to see if you have a SPAM filter in place. SPAM filters have a variety of configurations. Some of these filters have been known to erroneously block e-mails originating from OFAC’s list servers. OFAC cannot provide technical support for local configuration issues. If you believe a SPAM filter is preventing you from receiving OFAC e-mails, please discuss the matter with your IT department or network administrator. You will need to have your IT personnel allow e-mails from the following domain to come through the SPAM filter "subscriptions.treas.gov". Once this is done you may proceed to step 4. If you can confirm that you do not have a SPAM filter in place or any other local configuration problem, please skip step 4 and proceed to step 5.
  4. If your network or e-mail client’s configuration is preventing you from receiving your subscription confirmation e-mail, it is likely that you will not be able to receive e-mail from OFAC’s list servers even if OFAC manually adds you to our listserv. These configuration issues must be resolved with your IT department or network administrator before you can proceed.
  5. If, after you have exhausted all of the above options, you still fail to receive OFAC’s broadcast notifications, please call our support hotline at 1-800-540-6322.

Credit bureaus and agencies in particular have adopted new measures to ensure compliance with OFAC regulations. Before issuing a credit report, they use screening software to determine if a credit applicant is on OFAC's Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list or one of OFAC's other sanctions lists. This software matches the credit applicant's name and other information to the names on OFAC's sanctions lists. If there is a potential match, the credit bureaus may place a "red flag" or alert on the report. This does not necessarily mean that someone is illegally using your social security number or that you have bad credit. It is merely a reminder to the person checking your credit that he or she should verify whether you are the individual on one of OFAC's sanctions lists by comparing your information to the OFAC information. If you are not the individual on the sanctions list, the person checking your credit should disregard the OFAC alert, and there is no need to contact OFAC. However, if the person checking your credit believes you are the person on one of OFAC's sanctions lists, then he or she should call the OFAC Hotline to verify and report it.

A consumer has the right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., to request the removal of incorrect information on his/her credit report. To accomplish this, consumers should contact the credit reporting agency or bureau that issued the credit report. For more information on consumers' rights under the FCRA, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at 855-411-2372.

No.  OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule speaks only to ownership and not to control.  An entity that is controlled (but not owned 50 percent or more) by one or more blocked persons is not considered automatically blocked pursuant to OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule.  OFAC may, however, designate the entity under an available sanctions criteria or otherwise identify the entity as blocked property if determined to be controlled by one or more designated persons and add the entity to OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List). 

OFAC urges caution when considering a transaction with an entity that is not a blocked person (a non-blocked entity) in which one or more blocked persons have a significant ownership interest that is less than 50 percent or which one or more blocked persons may control by means other than a majority ownership interest.  Such non-blocked entities may become the subject of future designations or enforcement actions by OFAC.  In addition, persons should be cautious in dealing with such a non-blocked entity to ensure that they are not, for example, dealing with a blocked person representing the non-blocked entity, such as entering into a contract that is signed by a blocked person.  Please also note that some sanctions programs (e.g., the Crimea region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela) block certain persons without an OFAC designation; these blockings are based on criteria separate from OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule, such as the blocking of persons that meet the definition of a blocked government. 

Yes. On August 13, 2014, OFAC indicated in its revised 50 Percent Rule guidance that OFAC's 50 Percent Rule applies to entities owned 50 percent or more in the aggregate by one or more blocked persons. Accordingly, if Blocked Person X owns 25 percent of Entity A, and Blocked Person Y owns another 25 percent of Entity A, Entity A is considered to be blocked. This is so because Entity A is owned 50 percent or more in the aggregate by one or more blocked persons. For the purpose of calculating aggregate ownership, the ownership interests of persons blocked under different OFAC sanctions programs are aggregated.

No. OFAC sanctions generally prohibit transactions involving, directly or indirectly, a blocked person, absent authorization from OFAC, even if the blocked person is acting on behalf of a non-blocked entity. Therefore, U.S. persons should be careful when conducting business with non-blocked entities in which blocked individuals are involved; U.S. persons may not, for example, enter into contracts that are signed by a blocked individual.

"Indirectly," as used in OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule, refers to one or more blocked persons' ownership of shares of an entity through another entity or entities that are 50 percent or more owned in the aggregate by the blocked person(s). OFAC urges persons considering a potential transaction to conduct appropriate due diligence on entities that are party to or involved with the transaction or with which account relationships are maintained in order to determine relevant ownership stakes. Please see FAQ 116 for additional guidance on due diligence standards for intermediary parties to wire transfers. Please refer to the examples below for further guidance on determining whether an entity is blocked pursuant to OFAC's 50 Percent Rule.

Example 1: Blocked Person X owns 50 percent of Entity A, and Entity A owns 50 percent of Entity B. Entity B is considered to be blocked. This is so because Blocked Person X owns, indirectly, 50% of Entity B. In addition, Blocked Person X's 50 percent ownership of Entity A makes Entity A a blocked person. Entity A's 50 percent ownership of Entity B in turn makes Entity B a blocked person.

Example 2: Blocked Person X owns 50 percent of Entity A and 50 percent of Entity B. Entities A and B each own 25 percent of Entity C. Entity C is considered to be blocked. This is so because, through its 50 percent ownership of Entity A, Blocked Person X is considered to indirectly own 25 percent of Entity C; and through its 50 percent ownership of Entity B, Blocked Person X is considered to indirectly own another 25 percent of Entity C. When Blocked Person X's indirect ownership of Entity C through Entity A and Entity B is totaled, it equals 50 percent. Entity C is also considered to be blocked due to the 50 percent aggregate ownership by Entities A and B, which are themselves blocked entities due to Blocked Person X's 50 percent ownership of each.

Example 3: Blocked Person X owns 50 percent of Entity A and 10 percent of Entity B. Entity A also owns 40 percent of Entity B. Entity B is considered to be blocked. This is so because, through its 50 percent ownership of Entity A, Blocked Person X is considered to indirectly own 40 percent of Entity B. When added to Blocked Person X's direct 10 percent ownership of Entity B, Blocked Person X's total ownership (direct and indirect) of Entity B is 50 percent. Entity B is also blocked due to the 50 percent aggregate ownership by Blocked Person X and Entity A, which are themselves both blocked persons.

Example 4: Blocked Person X owns 50 percent of Entity A and 25 percent of Entity B. Entities A and B each own 25 percent of Entity C. Entity C is not considered to be blocked. This is so because, even though Blocked Person X is considered to indirectly own 25 percent of Entity C through its 50 percent ownership of Entity A, Entity B is not 50 percent or more owned by Blocked Person X, and therefore Blocked Person X is not considered to indirectly own any of Entity C through its part ownership of Entity B. Blocked Person X's total ownership (direct and indirect) of Entity C therefore does not equal or exceed 50 percent. Entity A is itself a blocked person, but its ownership of Entity C also does not equal or exceed 50 percent.

Example 5: Blocked Person X owns 25 percent of Entity A and 25 percent of Entity B. Entities A and B each own 50 percent of Entity C. Entity C is not considered to be blocked. This is so because Blocked Person X's 25 percent ownership of each of Entity A and Entity B falls short of 50 percent. Accordingly, neither Entity A nor Entity B is blocked and Blocked Person X is not considered to indirectly own any of Entity C through its part ownership of Entities A or B.

According to OFAC's 50 Percent Rule, entities are considered blocked if they are owned 50 percent or more (directly or indirectly) in the aggregate by one or more blocked persons. If one or more blocked persons divest their ownership stake such that the resulting combined ownership by blocked persons is less than 50 percent, the entity is no longer considered automatically to be a blocked entity. Any such divestment transactions must occur entirely outside of U.S. jurisdiction and must not involve U.S. persons, as any blocked property or interests in property that come into the possession or control of a U.S. person must be blocked and reported to OFAC, and OFAC does not recognize any subsequent unlicensed transfers, through changes in ownership or otherwise, of such property.

Entities in which the aggregate of one or more blocked persons' ownership stakes has fallen below 50 percent are not considered blocked pursuant to OFAC's 50 Percent Rule, and therefore property of such entities that comes into the United States or the possession or control of a U.S. person while the aggregate of one or more blocked persons' ownership stakes is below 50 percent is not considered blocked by OFAC's 50 Percent Rule. OFAC urges caution when dealing with or processing transactions involving such entities, as those entities may become the subject of future designations or enforcement actions by OFAC. Sufficient due diligence should be conducted to determine that any purported divestment in fact occurred and that the transfer of ownership interests was not merely a sham transaction.

When the property of an entity owned 50 percent or more by a single blocked person comes within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person and is blocked, the property remains blocked unless and until (1) OFAC authorizes the unblocking of or other dealings in the property or (2) OFAC removes the blocked person from the SDN List. The property remains blocked even if the blocked person's ownership of the entity subsequently falls below 50 percent. This is so because the blocked person is considered to have an interest in the blocked property, and OFAC does not recognize the unlicensed transfer of the blocked person’s interest after the property becomes blocked in the United States or in the possession or control of a U.S. person. Persons holding such property may request authorization from OFAC's Licensing Division to transfer or otherwise deal in that property (the electronic application can be found on OFAC's website), and OFAC will evaluate such requests on a case-by-case basis.

Similarly, when the property of an entity owned 50 percent or more in the aggregate by more than one blocked person comes within the United States or in the possession or control of a U.S. person and is blocked, the property remains blocked unless and until (1) OFAC authorizes the unblocking of or other dealings in the property or (2) OFAC removes from the SDN List one or more of the blocked persons such that the aggregate ownership by blocked persons falls below 50 percent. If the aggregate ownership of the entity by blocked persons falls below 50 percent not due to SDN List removal actions by OFAC but instead due to actions by one or more of the blocked persons, including the entity itself, the property remains blocked. This is so because the group of blocked persons is considered to have an interest in the blocked property, and OFAC does not recognize the unlicensed transfer of any of the blocked persons' interests after the property becomes blocked in the United States or in the possession or control of a U.S. person. Persons holding such property may request authorization from OFAC's Licensing Division to transfer or otherwise deal in that property (the electronic application can be found on OFAC's website), and OFAC will evaluate such requests on a case-by-case basis.

OFAC has received numerous inquiries, many from foreign companies at outreach events, regarding whether U.S. persons may provide, and whether U.S. persons have been able to provide in the past, certain types of legal and compliance services to covered persons. The Compliance Services Guidance provides clarity in response to those inquiries. For purposes of the Compliance Services Guidance, “covered persons” means U.S. persons and foreign persons other than any person (i) whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, including persons listed on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List), or (ii) to whom a U.S. person is prohibited from exporting services or from whom a U.S. person is prohibited from importing services pursuant to any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V. The Compliance Services Guidance does not describe every allowable service relating to the requirements of U.S. sanctions laws.

No. The Compliance Services Guidance does not reflect a change in OFAC’s policy with respect to the provision of these types of legal and compliance services. OFAC is issuing the Compliance Services Guidance in response to numerous inquiries to ensure that both U.S. and foreign individuals and entities understand that U.S. persons may provide services consistent with the Compliance Services Guidance.

Yes. In providing services to a foreign covered person, a U.S. person may opine on the legality of a transaction under U.S. sanctions laws, including by providing a legal opinion, certification, or other clearance as to the legality of such transaction, where it would be prohibited for a U.S. person to engage in the transaction. U.S. persons may not provide such services to persons who are subject to certain restrictions under OFAC’s regulations, such as persons listed on OFAC’s SDN List.

U.S. persons, wherever located, may not otherwise approve, finance, facilitate, or guarantee any transaction by a foreign person, including one that meets the definition of a covered person, as defined in FAQ #495, where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by 31 C.F.R. chapter V if performed by a U.S. person or within the United States. For example, U.S. persons could not vote on a transaction (e.g., as a board member), or execute transaction documents (other than as to the legality of the transaction, as specified above), where the transaction would be prohibited if performed by a U.S. person or within the United States.

U.S. persons may conduct research using the internet, including searches of commercial databases, as well as published reference materials for the purpose of determining the legality of transactions under U.S. sanctions laws. In addition, U.S. persons may solicit information regarding a transaction from covered persons, such as, for example, the currency involved; any involvement of U.S. persons, directly or indirectly; and the identity of the covered person’s counterparty.

A U.S. person may not conduct research that otherwise involves the importation or exportation of services where such transactions are prohibited by any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, unless such transactions are authorized by OFAC.

Pending OFAC enforcement matters will proceed irrespective of the termination of OFAC-administered sanctions on Burma, and OFAC will continue to review app​arent violations of the BSR, whether they came to the agency’s attention before or after the Burma sanctions program was terminated. Under longstanding practice, apparent sanctions violations are analyzed in light of the laws and regulations that were in place at the time of the underlying activities, and civil and criminal enforcement authorities are applied accordingly. Current or future investigations regarding apparent violations of the BSR will not be impacted by its termination and may result in OFAC enforcement actions after the termination of the BSR.

For an organizational chart of the United Nations, which lists the Programmes, Funds, and Other Entities and Bodies, as well as the Specialized Agencies and Related Organizations covered by this GL, see the following page on the United Nations website:  https://www.un.org/en/pdfs/un_system_chart.pdf.

Burma General License (GL) 4 authorizes, subject to certain conditions, all transactions and activities prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) 14014, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving, directly or indirectly, Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC) or Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL), or any entity in which MEC or MEHL owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, through 12:01 a.m., eastern daylight time, June 22, 2021.  Persons unable to wind down transactions prohibited by E.O. 14014 in which such blocked persons have an interest before that time are encouraged to seek formal guidance from OFAC.  

For the duration of GL 4, non-U.S. persons may wind down transactions involving, directly or indirectly, MEC or MEHL, or any entity in which MEC or MEHL owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, without exposure to sanctions under E.O. 14014, provided that such wind down activity is consistent with GL 4.  

While GL 4 is in effect, wind down transactions may be processed through the U.S. financial system or involve U.S. persons, as long as the transactions comply with the terms and conditions in GL 4.

Travel-related transactions are permitted by general or specific licenses for certain travel related to the 12 categories of activities identified in 31 CFR § 515.560(a).  Those travel-related transactions permitted by general license, subject to specified criteria and conditions, include: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; athletic competitions by amateur or semi-professional athletes or athletic teams; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.  Each person relying on a certain general authorization must retain specific records related to the authorized travel transactions.  See §§ 501.601 and 501.602 of the Reporting, Procedures and Penalties Regulations for applicable recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended § 515.564(a) to include a general license authorizing, subject to conditions, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to travel to Cuba for purposes of attending or organizing professional meetings or conferences in Cuba.  OFAC also amended § 515.565 to remove certain restrictions on authorized academic educational activities (§ 515.565(a)) and to authorize group people-to-people educational travel conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact, provided such travelers are accompanied by an employee, paid consultant, or agent of the sponsoring organization (§ 515.565(b)).  Travel-related transactions authorized pursuant to § 515.565(b) must be for the purpose of engaging, while in Cuba, in a full-time schedule of activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities; and will result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.  This amendment does not authorize individual people-to-people travel.  Travel for tourist activities is not permitted.

The CACR continue to include the prohibition added on November 9, 2017 that restricts certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List.  For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see § 515.209.   

Also, the CACR continue to include a prohibition added on September 24, 2020 at § 515.210, which prohibits any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction from lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property that the Secretary of State has identified as a property in Cuba that is owned or controlled by:  the Cuban government; a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, as defined in § 515.337; a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, as defined in § 515.338; a close relative, as defined in § 515.339, of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, or a close relative of a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, when the terms of the general or specific license expressly exclude such a transaction.  The State Department maintains the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List, which identifies the names, addresses, or other identifying details, as relevant, of properties identified as meeting such criteria. 

Updated: June 08, 2022

Consistent with the Administration’s interest in avoiding negative impacts on Americans for arranging lawful travel to Cuba, any travel-related arrangements that include direct financial transactions with entities and subentities that appear on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List will continue to be permitted, provided that those travel arrangements were initiated prior to the State Department’s addition of the entity or subentity to the list. Once the State Department adds an entity or subentity to the Cuba Restricted List, new direct financial transactions with the entity or subentity are prohibited, unless authorized by OFAC or exempt. For a complete description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209.

No. No further permission from OFAC is required to engage in transactions by a person who meets all criteria in a general license. Individuals wishing to engage in activities that may fall within the scope of a general license should review the relevant general licenses contained in the CACR to determine whether their travel-related transactions are covered by such general licenses. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who wish to engage in any travel within the 12 categories of activities specified in the CACR that does not meet the requirements of a general license will need to apply for a specific license from OFAC.

No. Consistent with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), travel-related transactions involving Cuba are only permitted for the 12 categories of activities identified in the CACR. Travel-related transactions for other purposes remain prohibited.

OFAC regulations generally authorize persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and those sharing a dwelling with them as a family to visit a close relative in Cuba, including a close relative who is a Cuban national or a person ordinarily resident in Cuba, or to visit or accompany a close relative who is located in or traveling to Cuba pursuant to the authorizations in § 515.562 (official government business), § 515.563 (journalistic activity), § 515.564(a) (professional research), § 515.565(a)(1)(i) through (iv) and (vi) (educational activities), § 515.566 (religious activities), § 515.575 (humanitarian projects), or § 515.576 (activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes). A close relative is defined as any individual related to a person “by blood, marriage, or adoption who is no more than three generations removed from that person or from a common ancestor with that person.” For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.339 and § 515.561. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended the general license in § 515.561 to exclude direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List from the authorizations. For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209

Section 515.563 of the CACR contains a general license that authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to journalistic activities in Cuba. Among other things, this general license authorizes, subject to conditions, full-time journalists, supporting broadcast or technical personnel, and freelance journalists to travel to Cuba. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule. An entire group does not qualify for the general license merely because some members of the group qualify individually. Also, and effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.563.

31 CFR § 515.564 (a)(1) contains a general license that authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to professional research in Cuba.  Among other things, this general license authorizes, subject to conditions, professional research in Cuba relating to a traveler’s profession, professional background, or area of expertise.

Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended § 515.564(a) to include a general license authorizing, subject to conditions, travel-related and other transactions incident to attendance at or organization of professional meetings or conferences in Cuba.  This general license authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to travel to Cuba for purposes of attending or organizing professional meetings or conferences, such as  meetings or conferences to support expanded internet access and remittance processing companies and to provide additional support and training to independent Cuban entrepreneurs. 

Please note that these general licenses exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210.  For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see § 515.210.  The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule of professional research or a full-time schedule of attendance at, or organization of, professional meetings or conferences, respectively.  An entire group does not qualify for the general license merely because some members of the group qualify individually.  For a complete description of what these general licenses authorize and the restrictions that apply, see § 515.564.

Updated: June 08, 2022

 

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including U.S. academic institutions and their faculty, staff, and students, are authorized to engage in the travel-related transactions set forth in 31 CFR § 515.560(c) and such additional transactions as are directly incident to the 12 categories of educational activities, as described in § 515.565(a).  Among other things, this general license authorizes, subject to conditions, faculty, staff, and students at U.S. academic institutions and secondary schools to engage in certain educational activities, including study abroad programs, in Cuba, Cuban scholars to engage in certain educational activities in the United States, and certain activities to facilitate licensed educational programs. U.S. and Cuban universities may engage in academic exchanges and joint non-commercial academic research under the general license.  This provision also authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide standardized testing services and certain internet-based courses to Cuban nationals.  For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see § 515.565.

In addition, a general license at § 515.565(b) authorizes, subject to conditions, group people-to-people educational travel conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact, provided such travelers are accompanied by an employee, paid consultant, or agent of the sponsoring organization.  See FAQ 704.

Please note that this general license excludes direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List.  For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see § 515.209.  This general license also excludes from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210

Updated: June 08, 2022

Yes. Educational exchanges, including study abroad programs, sponsored by Cuban or U.S. secondary schools involving secondary school students’ participation in a formal course of study or in a structured educational program offered by a secondary school or other academic institution, and led by a teacher or other secondary school official are authorized. Such exchanges must take place under the auspices of an organization that is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction who is an employee, paid consultant, agent, or other representative of the sponsoring organization (including the leading teacher or secondary school official) must accompany each group traveling to Cuba. Also, and effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. 

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may not travel to Cuba to engage in “people-to-people” educational exchanges on an individual basis.  However, group people-to-people travel is generally authorized for educational activities, subject to certain conditions.  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended 31 CFR § 515.565(b) to authorize group people-to-people educational travel conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact, provided such travelers are accompanied by an employee, paid consultant, or agent of the sponsoring organization.  Travel-related transactions authorized pursuant to § 515.565(b) must be for the purpose of engaging, while in Cuba, in a full-time schedule of activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities; and will result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.  

For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see § 515.565

The export or reexport to Cuba of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730 through 774), including vessels and aircraft used to provide carrier services, may require separate authorization from the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).  See § 515.533.  For additional information regarding BIS’s export controls, see BIS’s Cuba webpage.

Updated: June 08, 2022

Section 515.566 of the CACR contains a general license that authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to religious activities in Cuba. All persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including religious organizations located in the United States and members and staff of such organizations, are generally authorized to engage in travel-related transactions that are directly incident to engaging in religious activities in Cuba provided, among other things, that the travel must be for the purpose of engaging in a program of religious activities. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Also, and effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.566.

Section 515.567(a) of the CACR contains a general license that authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to organization of and participation in amateur and semi-professional international sports federation competitions. Transactions incident to the organization of such competitions include marketing related to those specific events in Cuba.  

Effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended section 515.567 to remove a general authorization related to public performances, clinics, workshops, other athletic or non-athletic competitions, and exhibitions previously found at § 515.567(b). OFAC will consider issuing specific licenses, on a case-by-case basis, for travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to participation in or organization of a public performance, clinic, workshop, athletic competition not covered by the general license in § 515.567(a), non-athletic competition, or exhibition in Cuba, subject to certain conditions. As a result of these amendments, effective September 24, 2020, the only remaining general license in Section 515.567 for participation in and organization of athletic competitions in Cuba will be the general license in § 515.567(a) for athletic competitions by amateur or semi-professional athletes or athletic teams.

In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the Cuba Restricted List. Also effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.567.
 

Section 515.574 of the CACR contains a general license that authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are intended to provide support for the Cuban people, which include activities of recognized human rights organizations; independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy; and individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license on November 8, 2017 to require that each traveler utilizing this authorization engage in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities and that result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba. OFAC also amended this general license to exclude from the authorization certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Also, and effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. An entire group does not qualify for this general license merely because some members of the group qualify individually. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.574.

Section 515.575 of the CACR contains a general license that authorizes, subject to conditions, transactions, including travel-related transactions, that are related to humanitarian projects in or related to Cuba. These authorized humanitarian projects are: medical and health-related projects; construction projects intended to benefit legitimately independent civil society groups; disaster preparedness, relief, and response; historical preservation; environmental projects; projects involving formal or non-formal educational training, within Cuba or off-island, on the following topics: entrepreneurship and business, civil education, journalism, advocacy and organizing, adult literacy, or vocational skills; community-based grassroots projects; projects suitable to the development of small-scale private enterprise; projects that are related to agricultural and rural development that promote independent activity; microfinancing projects, except for loans, extensions of credit, or other financing prohibited by 31 CFR § 515.208; and projects to meet basic human needs. Also, and effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. For persons traveling pursuant to this authorization, the traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. An entire group does not qualify for this general license merely because some members of the group qualify individually. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.575

Section 515.576 of the CACR contains a general license that authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to activities by private foundations or research or educational institutes with an established interest in international relations to collect information related to Cuba for noncommercial purposes, among other things. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Also, and effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.576. Additionally, 31 CFR § 515.573(d) authorizes private foundations or research or educational institutes engaging in transactions authorized by § 515.576 to establish a physical presence in Cuba, such as an office. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.573(a).

The general license at 31 CFR § 515.545(b)(1) authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to the exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Also, and effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full- time schedule in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.545(b)(1).

The general license at 31 CFR §515.545(b)(2) authorizes, subject to conditions, travel-related transactions and other transactions that are directly incident to professional media or artistic productions of information or informational materials for exportation, importation, or transmission, including the filming or production of media programs (such as movies and television programs), the recording of music, and the creation of artworks in Cuba, provided that the traveler is regularly employed in or has demonstrated professional experience in a field relevant to such professional media or artistic productions. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List.

Also, and effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. The traveler’s schedule of activities must not include free time or recreation in excess of that consistent with a full-time schedule. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.545(b)(2). The definition of “information and informational materials” may be found at 31 CFR § 515.332. 

Authorized travelers to Cuba pursuant to most general license categories are expected to maintain a full-time schedule of activities consistent with the terms of the general license(s) pursuant to which they are traveling. For example:

  • An individual traveling to Cuba for four days pursuant to the authorization for professional research (31 CFR § 515.564(a)), such as a professional  architect, could conduct two days of research on Cuban architectural heritage that directly relates to the traveler’s profession, followed by one day of meetings with Cuban nationals engaging in historical preservation of colonial and baroque buildings in Havana. The following day the traveler could engage in a full day of site visits and fact-finding around Havana at key architectural sites.
  • An individual traveling pursuant to the authorization for journalistic activities could engage in three full days of interviews with local residents, followed by one full day of follow-up investigative research at local institutions.
  • A group of friends traveling to Cuba could maintain a full-time schedule volunteering with a recognized non-governmental organization to build a school for underserved Cuban children with the local community (31 CFR § 515.574). The travelers would need to ensure that their activities promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba and that they engage in a full-time schedule of activities that enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and result in meaningful interaction between the travelers and individuals in Cuba. 

Yes, provided that you are authorized to travel to Cuba pursuant to an OFAC general or specific license. Airlines and travelers are responsible for maintaining records of their Cuba-related transactions for at least five years.

The export or reexport to Cuba of items subject to the EAR, including commercial vessels used to provide carrier services and private vessels, requires separate authorization from the Department of Commerce. See 31 CFR § 515.533. For a complete description of BIS’s regulatory requirements, see BIS’s Cuba webpage.

While 31 CFR § 515.572 generally authorizes the provision of carrier services, OFAC amended its regulations effective June 5, 2019 to highlight the separate BIS requirements. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572.

The export or reexport to Cuba of items subject to the EAR, including commercial vessels used to provide carrier services and private vessels, requires separate authorization from the Department of Commerce. See 31 CFR § 515.533. For a complete description of BIS’s regulatory requirements, see BIS’s Cuba webpage.

While 31 CFR § 515.572 generally authorizes the provision of carrier services, and 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(4) generally authorizes the provision of lodging services by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who are authorized to provide carrier services, OFAC amended its regulations effective June 5, 2019 to highlight the BIS requirements. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572.

There is no specific dollar limit on authorized expenses; however, in accordance with National Security Presidential Memorandum-5 on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba, OFAC amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations to restrict persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in direct financial transactions with entities or subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List, with certain exceptions. See 31 CFR §§ 515.209 and  515.421. Consistent with these authorizations and restrictions, authorized travelers may engage in transactions ordinarily incident to travel within Cuba, including payment of living expenses and the acquisition in Cuba of goods for personal consumption there. OFAC amended 31 CFR § 515.421 to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the State Department’s Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by 31 CFR § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. In addition, travelers are authorized to acquire in Cuba and import as accompanied baggage into the United States merchandise for personal use only; effective September 24, 2020, this authorization excludes imports into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol or tobacco products. OFAC considers “personal use” of an imported item to include giving the item to another individual as a personal gift, but not the transfer of the item to another person for payment or other consideration. Value imports remain subject to the normal limits on duty and tax exemptions for merchandise imported as accompanied baggage and for personal use. 

A non-U.S. person (i.e., not a U.S. citizen or resident) arriving in the United States is authorized to import Cuban-origin merchandise as accompanied baggage provided the merchandise is not in commercial quantities, is not imported for resale, and does not include Cuban-origin alcohol or tobacco products. See 31 CFR § 515.569. 

Persons authorized to travel to Cuba may purchase alcohol and tobacco products while in Cuba for personal consumption in Cuba. Please note that effective September 24, 2020, authorized travelers may no longer return to the United States with alcohol and/or tobacco products acquired in Cuba as accompanied baggage for personal use.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may purchase or acquire Cuban-origin merchandise, including alcohol and tobacco products, while in a third country for personal consumption outside the United States. Please note that effective September 24, 2020, authorized travelers may no longer import such products into the United States.  For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.585(c) and (d).

Yes, a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in authorized travel-related transactions may travel to Cuba from a third country or to a third country from Cuba. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling to and from Cuba via a third country may only do so if their travel-related transactions are authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, and such travelers are subject to the same restrictions and requirements as persons traveling directly from the United States.

The general license authorizing travel-related transactions incident to the exportation or reexportation of authorized goods includes travel-related and such other transactions directly incident to the facilitation of the temporary sojourn of aircraft authorized by the Department of Commerce for travel between the United States and Cuba and that are transporting other authorized travelers. This authorization includes travel-related transactions by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who are required for normal operation and service on board an aircraft or who are required to provide services to an aircraft on the ground. Travel-related transactions by such persons must be limited to the duration and scope of their duties in relation to the particular authorized temporary sojourn. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.533(c)(2).

For a complete description of BIS’s regulatory requirements, see BIS’s Cuba webpage.

No. A general license authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide carrier services by vessel or aircraft to, from, or within Cuba, in connection with authorized travel, without the need for a specific license from OFAC. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(2).

However, while no additional license is required from OFAC, the export or reexport of certain vessels or aircraft providing carrier services under § 515.572(a)(2) requires separate authorization from BIS. For a complete description of BIS’s regulatory requirements, see BIS’s Cuba webpage.

In addition, persons providing carrier services may still need to secure regulatory approvals from other concerned U.S. government agencies, including the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Secretary and the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security.

No. A general license authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including travel agents and tour group operators, to provide travel services in connection with authorized travel without the need for specific licenses from OFAC. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(1). In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Also, effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. The provision of services related to travel for tourist activities or other unauthorized travel to Cuba remains prohibited. 

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide carrier services either directly or indirectly between the United States and Cuba for authorized travelers, provided that they hold any additional authorizations required by other U.S. government agencies. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(2).

The export or reexport of vessels or aircraft providing carrier services under 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(2) requires separate authorization from BIS. For a complete description of BIS’s regulatory requirements, see BIS’s Cuba webpage.

Yes. OFAC allows persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing authorized carrier or travel services to a customer traveling under a specific license to maintain either the specific license number or a copy of the license on file. See 31 CFR § 515.572(b)(1) Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing authorized carrier or travel services that choose to collect the specific license number in lieu of the license must maintain a record of that number, as well as the other required information set forth in § 515.572(b), for at least five years.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing authorized carrier or travel services must retain for at least five years from the date of the transaction a certification from each customer indicating the provision of the CACR that authorizes the person to travel to Cuba. In the case of a customer traveling under a specific license, a copy of the license or the license number must be maintained on file. The names and addresses of individual travelers must also be maintained on file for at least five years. See 31 CFR § 515.572(b). This information, including certifications and copies of licenses or license numbers, may be collected and maintained in any form, including electronically.

The entry into blocked space, code-sharing, or leasing agreements to facilitate the provision of carrier services by air is authorized. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(2)(ii). Transactions, including the remittance of payments, ordinarily incident to such arrangements are also authorized (see 31 CFR § 515.421).Further, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the State Department’s Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by 31 CFR § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. Certain transactions ordinarily incident to such arrangements are also authorized (see 31 CFR § 515.421 for additional information and restrictions).

  • Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who are traveling to or from Cuba pursuant to a general license under one of the 12 categories of travel listed in section 515.560 of CACR, 31 CFR part 515 (CACR), or under a specific license from OFAC may be transported between the United States and Cuba.
  • Cuban nationals applying for admission to the United States, as well as third-country nationals, with a valid visa or other travel authorization issued by the U.S. government may be transported to the United States from Cuba. (This includes individuals eligible to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), as administered through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).)
  • Cuban nationals present in the United States in a non-immigrant status or pursuant to other  non-immigrant travel authorization issued by the U.S. government may be transported from the United States to Cuba. Cuban nationals who have taken up residence in the United States and are licensed as unblocked nationals pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.505(a)(1) are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction and may be transported between the United States and Cuba if they meet the criteria set out in the first bullet above.
  • An individual, including a foreign national, who is traveling on official business of the U.S. government, a foreign government, or an intergovernmental organization of which the United States is a member or in which the United States holds observer status — including an employee, contractor, or grantee of such government or intergovernmental organization and any individual traveling on a diplomatic passport, as well as any close relative, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.339, accompanying the traveler — may be transported between the United States and Cuba.

Section 515.572 of the CACR authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide carrier services to, from, or within Cuba, in connection with travel and transportation of individuals between the United States and Cuba, directly or indirectly, authorized pursuant to the CACR. BIS regulates the temporary sojourn to Cuba of both aircraft and vessels, which in some cases is authorized by License Exception Aircraft, Vessels and Spacecraft (AVS) but may require separate authorization by BIS. Persons engaging in carrier services may require additional authorizations by other U.S. government agencies. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing travel or carrier services are required to retain for at least five years from the date of the transaction a certification from each customer indicating the section of the CACR, or a copy of the specific license or the specific license number, that authorizes the person to travel to Cuba. Certifications may be collected and maintained in any form, including electronically, and must be retained for at least five years from the date of the transaction. 

Section 515.533 of the CACR authorizes all transactions ordinarily incident to the export to Cuba of items licensed or otherwise authorized by BIS. Accordingly, a person providing carrier services for authorized travelers going from the United States to Cuba may transport cargo and baggage accompanying an authorized traveler provided that the export of the cargo and baggage is authorized by BIS. Additionally, a person providing carrier services for authorized travelers going from the United States to Cuba may transport other cargo or unaccompanied baggage whose export to Cuba is authorized by BIS.

The exportation of information and informational materials, as defined in section 515.332 of the CACR, to Cuba from the United States is exempt from the prohibitions of the CACR.

Under the CACR, an authorized traveler departing Cuba for the United States may carry as accompanied baggage:

  • For persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, Cuban-origin items for personal use only, as authorized by 31 CFR § 515.560(c) (3). Please note that, as of September 24, 2020, this authorization no longer applies to Cuban-origin alcohol or tobacco products.
  • For foreign nationals, Cuban-origin items, provided that such goods are not in commercial quantities, are not imported for resale, and do not include Cuban-origin alcohol or tobacco products as authorized by 31 CFR § 515.569. 
  • For all travelers, goods produced by Cuban entrepreneurs as authorized by 31 CFR § 515.582 and the State Department’s Section 515.582 List.
  • For a traveler who left the United States for Cuba and is now returning to the United States, any items the traveler temporarily exported to Cuba pursuant to a BIS authorization.

Additionally, persons authorized to provide carrier services may transport from Cuba to the United States cargo, other than accompanied baggage, the importation of which has been authorized by general or specific license from OFAC, subject to obtaining any additional authorization(s) that may be required by any other relevant U.S. government agency.

The importation of Cuban-origin information and informational materials, as defined in section 515.332 of the CACR, is exempt from the prohibitions of the CACR. Imports authorized by OFAC would still be subject to other U.S. laws, such as import duties.

 

OFAC currently authorizes a number of categories of remittances from persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to persons in Cuba pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.570.  Section 515.570 excludes from the scope of the authorization any transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List.  Authorized remittance categories include: 

Family remittances:  Persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who are 18 years of age or older are authorized to make remittances to nationals of Cuba who are close relatives, as defined in § 515.339, of the remitter, provided that the recipient is not a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, or a close relative of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba or prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, and provided that the remittances are not made for emigration purposes.  See §§ 515.337, 515.338, and 515.339 for relevant definitions.  

Donative remittances:  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended § 515.570(b) to authorize donative remittances to Cuban nationals who are not prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba, prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party, or close relatives of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba or prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party.  

Remittances to certain individuals and independent non-governmental organizations in Cuba:  Persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are authorized to make remittances to certain individuals and independent non-governmental organizations in Cuba, including remittances that encourage the development of private businesses and operation of economic activity in the non-state sector by self-employed individuals.  Section 515.340 defines the term “self-employed individual” to mean a Cuban national who satisfies one or more of the following conditions:  (a) is an owner or employee of a small private business or a sole proprietorship, including restaurants (paladares), taxis, and bed-and-breakfasts (casas particulares); (b) is an independent contractor or consultant; (c) is a small farmer who owns his or her own land; or (d) is a small usufruct farmer who cultivates state-owned land to sell products on the open market.  This general license also authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to make remittances to pro-democracy groups and civil society groups in Cuba, and to members of such groups or organizations, to support:  humanitarian projects in or related to Cuba that are designed to directly benefit the Cuban people and to support the Cuban people through activities of recognized human rights organizations, independent organizations designed to promote a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy, and activities of individuals and non-governmental organizations that promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society.  See § 515.570(g) for additional applicable conditions.

Remittances to religious organizations in Cuba:  Persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are authorized to make remittances to religious organizations in Cuba in support of religious activities, provided that the remittances are not made from a blocked source and that the remitter, if an individual, is 18 years of age or older.  See § 515.570(c).

Remittances to students in Cuba pursuant to an educational license:  Persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who are 18 years of age or older are authorized to make remittances to close relatives, as defined in § 515.339, who are students in Cuba pursuant to the general license authorizing certain educational activities in § 515.565(a) or a specific license issued pursuant to § 515.565(f), provided that the remittances are not made from a blocked source and are for the purpose of funding transactions authorized by the general licenses in § 515.565(a) or the specific license issued pursuant to § 515.565(f) under which the student is traveling.  See § 515.570(d).

Two one-time $1,000 emigration-related remittances:  Persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are authorized to remit the following amounts, subject to certain conditions:  (1) Up to $1,000 per payee on a one-time basis to Cuban nationals for the purpose of covering the payees' preliminary expenses associated with emigrating from Cuba to the United States; and (2) up to an additional $1,000 per payee on a one-time basis to Cuban nationals for the purpose of enabling the payees to emigrate from Cuba to the United States, including for the purchase of airline tickets and payment of exit or third-country visa fees or other travel-related fees.  See § 515.570(e)

Unblocking and return of blocked remittances:  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC added a general license in § 515.570(h) authorizing the unblocking and return of blocked remittances, provided they would be authorized under revised § 515.570(a) or (b).

See § 515.570 for a complete description of what the OFAC general licenses related to remittances authorize and the restrictions that apply, as well as statements of specific licensing policy.

For remittances from Cuban nationals to persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, see § 515.587

Updated: June 08, 2022

Yes. Pursuant to a general license at 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3), banking institutions, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.314, U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities, and U.S.-registered money transmitters are permitted to process authorized remittances to or from Cuba without having to obtain a specific license, subject to the recordkeeping and reporting requirements set forth in 31 C.F.R § 515.572(b). Please note, effective November 26, 2020, OFAC amended 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3) to exclude from the scope of the authorization any transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3). 


 

 

In accordance with National Security Presidential Memorandum-5 on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba (NSPM-5) , the State Department publishes a list of entities and subentities that are under the control of, or act for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel, and with which direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba. This list is called the Cuba Restricted List, and is available on the State Department’s website at https://www.state.gov/cuba-sanctions/cuba-restricted-list/. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC maintains a prohibition to restrict direct financial transactions with entities and subentities on the Cuba Restricted List. For a complete description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209. This prohibition applies to the following general licenses: §§ 515.530, 515.534, 515.545, 515.560, 515.561,515.564, 515.565, 515.566, 515.567, 515.572, 515.573, 515.574, 515.576, 515.577, 515.578, 515.581,515.584, and 515.590. For a complete description of what each general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see the aforementioned general licenses. 

In addition, on October 27, 2020, OFAC also amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to exclude from the scope of certain remittance-related general licenses any transactions relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List (CRL), effective November 26, 2020. This restriction is distinct from the prohibition in § 515.209, which, for example, contains certain exceptions for pre-existing commercial engagements with CRL entities or subentities. See Note 2 to § 515.209, reinforcing this distinction. Specifically, OFAC’s October 27, 2020 rule removes from the scope of certain general licenses any transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity on the CRL, regardless of the existence of any pre-existing commercial engagements. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may use the 30 days before the rule becomes effective to wind down those engagements and make alternative arrangements. 

Section 515.421 of the CACR contains an interpretive provision for incidental transactions where OFAC has clarified that authorized transactions ordinarily incident to licensed transactions and necessary to give effect thereto exclude direct financial transactions with such entities or subentities if the terms of the applicable general or specific license expressly exclude such direct financial transactions. OFAC also amended 31 CFR § 515.421 to make clear that a transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity identified on the CRL is not authorized as an ordinarily incident transaction where the terms of the general or specific license expressly exclude any such transactions. For a complete description of the scope of the interpretive provision and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.421.

 

A person subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling to Cuba to engage in an authorized family visit pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.561 is prohibited from engaging in direct financial transactions with the entities and subentities on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. As such, this traveler would not be authorized to book a hotel room directly with a hotel included on the Cuba Restricted List.  

An individual working for a church subject to U.S. jurisdiction interested in establishing a physical presence in Cuba pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.573(d)(3) is prohibited from engaging in direct financial transactions with the entities and subentities on  the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. As such, this traveler would not be able to sign a new contract directly with a real estate company on the Cuba Restricted List to rent a location for the church’s physical presence.

 

In certain circumstances, yes. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may engage in transactions in U.S. dollars in Cuba or with Cuban nationals with respect to activity that is authorized pursuant to the CACR. For example, payments for telecommunications services in Cuba provided pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.542 may be made in U.S. dollars. Further, the use of U.S. dollars for transactions that are exempt from the prohibitions of or not otherwise prohibited by the CACR is also authorized. For example, payments related to the importation or exportation of informational materials as defined in 31 CFR § 515.332, such as books or musical recordings, may be made in U.S. dollars.

The September 9, 2019 amendment to the CACR eliminates the authorization for banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction to process “U-turn” transactions in 31 CFR § 515.584(d). In addition, the amendment replaces the “U-turn” authorization with an authorization to reject such transactions. For more on changes to the “U-turn” general license, please see FAQ 757.
 

Yes. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who are traveling to Cuba pursuant to one of the 12 authorized categories of travel may open and maintain bank accounts in order to access funds while located in Cuba for authorized transactions, and are authorized to close such accounts. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR §  515.560(c)(6). In accordance with  NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization certain direct financial transactions with entities and sub-entities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209.

Yes. Authorized travelers in Cuba are permitted to use credit or debit cards issued by a U.S. financial institution with respect to activity that is authorized pursuant to the CACR. Travelers are advised to check with their financial institution before traveling to Cuba to determine whether the institution has established the necessary mechanisms for its issued credit or debit cards to be used in Cuba. See 31 CFR § 515.560(c)(5) and 515.584(c).

OFAC regulations do not require financial institutions or credit card companies to accept, maintain, or facilitate authorized financial relationships or transactions.

Yes, credit card network operators that are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may process such transactions and related settlements for third-country financial institutions. Section 515.584(c) of the CACR authorizes all transactions incident to the processing and payment of credit and debit cards transactions for third-country nationals traveling to, from, or within Cuba.

Yes, credit card network operators that are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may process such transactions and related settlements for third-country financial institutions. Section 515.584(c) of the CACR authorizes all transactions incident to the processing and payment of credit and debit cards transactions for third-country nationals traveling to, from, or within Cuba.

Depository institutions, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.333, which include certain financial institutions other than banks, are permitted to open correspondent accounts at banks in Cuba. See 31 CFR § 515.584(a).

No. U.S. depository institutions are permitted to open correspondent accounts at Cuban banks located in Cuba and in third countries, and at foreign banks located in Cuba, but Cuban banks are not generally licensed to open such accounts at U.S. banks. See note to 31 CFR § 515.584(a).

Yes. Correspondent accounts of depository institutions (as defined in 31 CFR § 515.333) at a financial institution that is a national of Cuba authorized pursuant to § 515.584(a) may be established and maintained in U.S. dollars. Such accounts may be used only for transactions that are authorized by or exempt from the CACR. Transactions necessary to establish and maintain such correspondent accounts —– such as originating, processing, and terminating authorized funds transfers in U.S. dollars —– are authorized.

Additionally, correspondent accounts used for transactions authorized by 31 CFR § 515.584(g), which permits banking institutions as defined in 31 CFR § 515.314(g) that are persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to accept, process, and give credit to U.S. dollar monetary instruments presented indirectly by a financial institution that is a national of Cuba, may be denominated in U.S. dollars.

However, financial institutions that are nationals of Cuba remain prohibited from opening correspondent accounts at a U.S. financial institution. For a complete description of what these general licenses authorize and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.584(a) and (g).


 

 

Banking institutions are permitted to maintain accounts for certain Cuban nationals present in the United States in a non-immigrant status or pursuant to other non-immigrant travel authorization. Although the account may remain open while the Cuban national is not in the United States, access to such accounts must be limited to while the Cuban national is lawfully present in the United States. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.571(a)(5). A Cuban national in Cuba would not be able to access such an account to make and receive certain payments pursuant to the authorization in 31 CFR § 515.584(h); separate accounts would be required to utilize each of these authorizations.

Cuban nationals lawfully present in the United States in a non-immigrant status or pursuant to another non-immigrant travel authorization issued by the U.S. government may receive any salary or other compensation consistent with the individual’s non-immigrant status or applicable non-immigrant travel authorization provided that the recipient is not subject to any special tax assessment by the Cuban government in connection with the receipt of such salary or other compensation. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.571.

Section 515.585 of the CACR contains a general license that authorizes all persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide goods and services to Cuban national individuals located in a third country, provided that the transaction does not involve commercial exportation to or from Cuba. Additionally, the general license authorizes banking institutions to open, maintain, and close bank accounts for such Cuban nationals, provided that such accounts are used only while the Cuban national is located outside of Cuba and may not be used for transactions that involve a commercial exportation of goods or services to or from Cuba. For a complete description of what the OFAC general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.585.

Section 515.584(h) of the CACR contains a general license that allows banking institutions to open and maintain bank accounts in the United States for Cuban nationals in Cuba to receive payments in the United States for transactions authorized pursuant to, or exempt from the prohibitions of, the CACR and to remit such payments back to Cuba. For example, an author who is a Cuban national located in Cuba may open an account with a bank or online payment platform in the United States to receive payments for sales of her book. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.584(h).

Certain Cuban nationals who have taken up residence in the United States on a permanent basis and who meet the requirements set forth in 31 CFR § 515.505(a) are licensed as unblocked nationals, and may participate fully in the U.S. financial system. See 31 CFR §§ 515.505(a)(1) and (d).

Pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.571, Cuban nationals who are present in the United States in a non-immigrant status or pursuant to other non-immigrant travel authorization issued by the U.S. government, such as a non-immigrant visa, may open and maintain bank accounts in the United States, provided that the Cuban-national account holder may only access the account while lawfully present in the United States. Section 515.571 also authorizes such Cuban nationals to engage in normal banking transactions involving foreign currency drafts, travelers’ checks, or other instruments negotiated incident to travel in the United States.

No. If a Cuban national has taken up residence in the United States and has applied to become a lawful permanent resident alien of the United States and has an adjustment of status application pending, then the Cuban national is considered unblocked and does not need to apply to OFAC to be treated as an unblocked national, provided that he or she is not a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba or a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist party. See 31 CFR § 515.505(a)(1).

The CACR include a general license authorizing banking institutions to unblock any account that had been previously blocked solely because of the interest therein of one or more persons now licensed as unblocked nationals. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.505(b).

The CACR also include a general license at 31 CFR § 515.584(e) that authorizes the unblocking and return of funds transfers that could have been processed pursuant to 31 CFR §§ 515.562(b) or 515.579(b), if the processing of those transfers would have been authorized by the current text of the general licenses. Funds unblocked pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.584(e) that were originally blocked on or after August 25, 1997 must be reported to OFAC. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.584.

If your situation appears to meet the requirements of these general licenses, OFAC suggests that you contact the financial institution maintaining the blocked account or blocked funds transfer to request that it review your situation within the context of the terms of the appropriate general license. If the terms of a general license apply, there is no need to seek specific license authorization from OFAC. It is OFAC’s policy not to grant specific licenses authorizing transactions for which the provisions of an outstanding general license are applicable. See 31 CFR § 501.801(a).

If a transaction was previously blocked pursuant to the CACR at the time of the transaction, and the CACR was later amended to allow similar transactions, the earlier transaction is not unblocked unless the CACR amendments include a general license that unblocks previously blocked funds. Transactions must be authorized pursuant to the CACR at the time that they are processed. To the extent that the unblocking of a funds transfer or blocked account is not authorized by a general license, a specific license would be required to release funds transfers or unblock accounts previously blocked.

No. A financial institution may rely on U.S. travelers to provide their certifications of authorized travel directly to the person providing travel or carrier services when processing Cuba travel-related transactions, unless the financial institution knows or has reason to know that the travel is not authorized by a general or specific license.

The CACR requires persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction providing travel or carrier services to retain for at least five years from the date of the transaction a certification from each customer indicating the section of the CACR that authorizes the person to travel to Cuba. See 31 CFR §515.572(b). U.S. travelers utilizing a general or specific license are also required to retain for five years records associated with their travel to Cuba.

No. To the extent the transaction involves an entity or subentity on the Cuba Restricted List, a financial institution can rely on the statements of its customer that the transaction is authorized unless it knows or has reason to know the transaction is not authorized. A financial institution is expected to do its normal due diligence with respect to a transaction involving Cuba or a Cuban national.

No. A financial institution receiving U.S. dollar monetary instruments for processing and payment directly or indirectly (in the case of a U.S. banking institution) may rely on the institution having presented such monetary instruments as confirmation that the underlying transactions are authorized, exempt, or otherwise not prohibited, unless the financial institution knows or has reason to know that the transaction is not authorized, exempt, or otherwise not prohibited. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.584(g).

Yes. Subject to certain exceptions, transactions that are ordinarily incident to an authorized transaction are permitted. See the examples in 31 CFR § 515.421. Such transactions may include use of online payment platforms to facilitate authorized transactions. Authorized transactions ordinarily incident to licensed transactions exclude direct financial transactions with Cuba Restricted List entities, as well as, effective September 24, 2020, lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by  § 515.210, if the terms of the applicable general or specific license expressly exclude such transactions. See 31 CFR § 515.421(5)-(6). Also, effective November 26, 2020, OFAC amended 31 CFR § 515.421 to make clear that a transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity identified on the Cuba Restricted List is not authorized as an ordinarily incident transaction where the terms of the general or specific license expressly exclude any such transactions. For a complete description of the scope of transactions ordinarily incident to a licensed transaction and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.421. 

 

No. Effective October 9, 2019, banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction are not permitted to process “U-turn” transactions, i.e., funds transfers originating and terminating outside the United States, where neither the originator nor the beneficiary is a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction. While banking institutions subject to U.S. jurisdiction are no longer authorized to process “U-turn” transactions, they are authorized to reject such transactions, subject to certain conditions (see 31 CFR § 515.584(d)).

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are prohibited from doing business or investing in Cuba unless authorized by OFAC. An OFAC general license authorizes, subject to certain conditions and limitations, the exportation from the United States, and the reexportation from third countries, of items to Cuba where the exportation or reexportation is licensed or otherwise authorized by BIS. See 31 CFR § 515.533(a). BIS currently authorizes certain categories of items to be exported or reexported to Cuba. In addition, OFAC currently generally licenses the establishment of a business presence or physical presence in Cuba for certain types of entities or persons. See 31 CFR § 515.573. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended the general licenses for the establishment of a business presence or physical presence in Cuba to exclude from the authorizations certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209.

Consistent with the Administration’s interest in not negatively impacting U.S. businesses for engaging in lawful commercial opportunities, most existing Cuba-related commercial engagements that include direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List continue to be permitted, pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.209 (c), provided that those commercial engagements were in place prior to November 9, 2017 (or the date the entity or subentity was otherwise added to the Cuba Restricted List, as published in the Federal Register). For example, businesses will be permitted to continue with authorized transactions outlined in contingent or other types of contractual arrangements agreed to prior to the issuance of the 2017 regulations, consistent with other OFAC authorizations. However, effective November 26, 2020, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will no longer be authorized to engage in any transactions relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List, regardless of whether any commercial engagements with the entity or subentity were in place prior to November 9, 2017 (or the date the entity or subentity was otherwise added to the Cuba Restricted List, as published in the Federal Register). For a complete description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply to transactions relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances, see 31 CFR §§ 515.209, 515.421, 515.570. 515.572(a)(3) and 515.587. 

The names of the entities and subentities that the State Department identifies as meeting the criteria set forth in NSPM-5 are published on the Cuba Restricted List, which is available on the State Department’s website and in the Federal Register (updates to the Cuba Restricted List will also be published in the Federal Register). Entities or subentities that are owned or controlled by another entity or subentity on the Cuba Restricted List are not treated as restricted unless also specified by name on the Cuba Restricted List. The Cuba Restricted List is maintained by the State Department on its website: https://www.state.gov/cuba-sanctions/cuba-restricted-list/.

Trade delegations are authorized to travel to Cuba only if each member of the delegation meets the criteria of an applicable general license authorizing travel to Cuba or has obtained a specific license from OFAC. Authorized trade delegations generally fall under one of two general licenses for travel authorization: either (1) 31 CFR § 515.533(c)(1), which authorizes travel-related and other transactions incident to the exportation of certain authorized goods from the U.S. to Cuba, specifically the conduct of “market research, commercial marketing, sales or contract negotiation, accompanied delivery, installation, leasing, servicing, or repair in Cuba of items consistent with the export or reexport licensing policy of the Commerce Department,” or (2) 31 CFR § 515.564(a), which authorizes transactions related to professional research in Cuba. Further, please note that, effective September 24, 2020, OFAC has amended both general licenses to exclude from the authorizations lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. For a complete description of what these general licenses authorize and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR §§ 515.533(c)(1) and 515.564(a)

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction that are exporting or reexporting items to Cuba pursuant to an authorization from the Department of Commerce or OFAC or that are otherwise exempt may assemble such items in Cuba provided that the assembly does not involve the incorporation of Cuban-origin goods into items assembled or the processing of any raw materials into finished goods in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see the note to 31 CFR § 515.573(c)(3).

Yes, provided such items were exported or reexported to Cuba pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.533(a) or 31 CFR § 515.559. For a complete description of what this general licenses authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.533(b). The exportation or reexportation of repaired or replacement items to Cuba must be separately authorized pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.533(a) or § 515.559, in addition to any Department of Commerce authorization that may be required.

No. Consistent with Section 1706 of the Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, (CDA), the general license provided at 31 CFR § 515.533(a) does not authorize any transaction between a U.S.-owned or -controlled firm in a third country and Cuba for the exportation to Cuba of commodities produced in a country other than the United States or Cuba. Such transactions must be specifically licensed pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.559 in addition to any required authorization from the Department of Commerce. There are also restrictions imposed by the CDA on the types of transactions that may be licensed pursuant to that section.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may establish and maintain a physical presence, such as an office, warehouse, or retail outlet, in Cuba to engage in transactions authorized by or exempt from the CACR in the following categories: entities engaging in non-commercial activities authorized by section 515.574 (support for the Cuban people); entities engaging in humanitarian projects set forth in section 515.575(b) (humanitarian projects); private foundations or research or educational institutes engaging in transactions authorized by § 515.576; news bureaus; exporters of certain goods authorized for export or reexport pursuant to 31 CFR §§ 515.533 and 515.559; entities providing mail or parcel transmission services; providers of telecommunications or internet-based services; entities organizing or conducting certain educational activities; religious organizations; and providers of carrier and certain travel services. These persons may employ Cuban nationals in Cuba as well as persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction in Cuba (and such persons may maintain a domicile in Cuba). These persons may open and maintain bank accounts to facilitate authorized transactions. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.573. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction that do not meet the terms of the general license may apply to OFAC for a specific license. Such applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Additional authorizations from the Cuban government may also be required.

Section 515.533(a) of the CACR does not restrict payment and financing terms for exports of items from the United States or reexports of 100 percent U.S-origin items from a third country, other than agricultural commodities. Examples of permissible payment and financing terms for authorized exports and reexports that are not agricultural commodities include: payment of cash in advance; sales on an open account; and financing by U.S. or third-country financial institutions.

OFAC has issued a general license authorizing banking institutions to provide financing for such authorized exports or reexports of items other than agricultural commodities, including issuing, advising, negotiating, paying, or confirming letters of credit (including letters of credit issued by a financial institution that is a national of Cuba), accepting collateral for issuing or confirming letters of credit, and processing documentary collections. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.584(f). In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization certain direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a description of the scope of the prohibition on direct financial transactions and the restrictions and exceptions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.209.

For such exports and reexports, only the following payment and financing terms may be used: payment of cash in advance, or financing by a banking institution located in a third country, subject to certain restrictions. This limitation is required by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000, 22 U.S.C. § 7207(b)(1). See 31 CFR § 515.533(a)(4). This provision only applies to exports and reexports of “agricultural commodities,” as defined in 15 CFR part 772, and not to exports or reexports of “agricultural items” authorized pursuant to 15 CFR § 746.2(b)(2)(iv).

The regulatory interpretation of “cash in advance,” which describes one of the permissible payment and financing terms for authorized exports and reexports of agricultural commodities, is “cash before transfer of title and control.” For the full text, see 31 CFR § 515.533.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction authorized to travel to Cuba may import into the United States as accompanied baggage merchandise acquired in Cuba provided that the merchandise is for personal use only. Please note that, as of September 24, 2020, this authorization no longer applies to the import into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol or tobacco products. See 31 CFR § 515.560. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction located in third countries may purchase or acquire Cuban-origin merchandise and may import such merchandise into the United States as accompanied baggage provided that the merchandise is for personal use only; however, effective September 24, 2020, this authorization excludes imports into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol or tobacco products. See 31 CFR § 515.585. Foreign persons traveling to the United States from a third country may import into the United States as accompanied baggage Cuban-origin merchandise provided that the merchandise is not in commercial quantities, is not imported for resale, and does not include alcohol or tobacco products. See 31 CFR § 515.569. In addition, Cuban nationals who are present in the United States in a non-immigrant status or pursuant to other non-immigrant travel authorization issued by the U.S. government are no longer authorized to bring Cuban-origin alcohol or tobacco products for personal use as accompanied baggage. See 31 CFR § 515.571. Normal limits on duty and tax exemptions for merchandise imported as accompanied baggage will apply. 

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are also authorized to import certain goods produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs as determined by the State Department, as set forth in the State Department’s Section 515.582 list. If these goods are for personal use, certain personal exemptions from U.S. Customs and Border Protection may apply.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are also authorized to import Cuban-origin software, including Cuban-origin mobile applications. See 31 CFR § 515.578.

The importation into the United States of merchandise from Cuba or Cuban-origin merchandise from a third country intended as gifts is authorized, provided that the value of the merchandise is not more than $100, the merchandise is of a type and in quantities normally given as gifts between individuals, the merchandise is sent and not carried by a traveler, and the merchandise is not alcohol or tobacco products. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.544.

The importation into the United States from Cuba of information and informational materials is exempt from the prohibitions of the CACR. The definition of “information and informational materials” may be found at 31 CFR § 515.332.

Pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.582, certain goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs, as set forth in a list maintained by the State Department on its website, are authorized for importation, and persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may engage in associated transactions necessary to import these authorized goods and services.  The State Department list provides details of the goods and services authorized for importation into the U.S. from Cuba pursuant to this provision. This list references sections and chapters of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States to indicate categories of goods that are not eligible for importation into the United States pursuant to § 515.582, even if such goods were produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs; any other goods produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs and not covered by the listed sections and chapters of the HTS may be imported, as provided in the State Department’s Section 515.582 list and subject to compliance with all other relevant requirements under state and federal law and regulations.  Section 515.582 authorizes the importation of all services supplied by independent Cuban entrepreneurs, again, as provided in the State Department’s Section 515.582 list and subject to compliance with other requirements in state and federal law and regulations.  Imports authorized by § 515.582 are not subject to the limitations set forth in § 515.560(c) or § 515.544, including the $100 limitation on imported merchandise from Cuba or Cuban-origin merchandise from a third country intended as gifts.

Updated: June 08, 2022

Yes. OFAC considers the provision of training to persons in Cuba, including to Cuban nationals, on the use of items authorized for export or reexport to Cuba by the Department of Commerce to be ordinarily incident to the export or reexport of the item and therefore authorized by 31 CFR § 515.533(a). Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized, subject to certain conditions, to travel to Cuba to provide such training. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.533(c)(1). Please note that OFAC amended 31 CFR § 515.533 to exclude from the authorization lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. The exportation or reexportation to Cuba of technology subject to the EAR may require separate authorization from the Department of Commerce. 

Yes, provided that the insurance policy is a global policy, and not specific to the third-country national’s travel to or within Cuba. Section 515.580 of the CACR authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to issue or provide global health, life, or travel insurance policies for individuals ordinarily resident in a country outside of Cuba who travel to or within Cuba, regardless of whether the insurance policy is issued only to that individual or to a group, such as to all employees of a particular company. For instance, a U.S. insurer may pay medical claims pursuant to a group health insurance policy to or on behalf of a covered third-country national injured while traveling in Cuba. However, this provision does not authorize a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction to issue an insurance policy that is specific to travel to Cuba. A separate provision of the CACR, § 515.560, authorizes the provision of health, life, and travel insurance-related services that are specific to Cuba for authorized U.S. travelers. Also, effective September 24, 2020, OFAC amended § 515.560 to exclude from the authorization at § 515.560(c)(2) lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property in Cuba on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List to the extent prohibited by § 515.210. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. 
 

Other than certain global health, life, or travel insurance policies for individuals authorized by 31 CFR § 515.580, absent specific authorization from OFAC, U.S. insurers and their subsidiaries are not permitted to issue policies, provide reinsurance coverage, or pay insurance or reinsurance claims related to non-U.S. persons, including entities such as foreign airlines, providing goods or services that facilitate travel by third-country nationals from a third country to Cuba.

Section 515.580 of the CACR authorizes global health, life, or travel insurance policies covering individuals ordinarily resident in a country outside of Cuba traveling to Cuba. The policy may be issued to a group, such as all employees of a company. The “global” requirement means it cannot be specific to travel to Cuba. For example, it does not authorize an individual travel policy issued to a traveler specifically to cover a trip to Cuba. It also does not authorize issuing a policy to a non-U.S. travel agent specifically to cover its traveler clients where the travel agency is solely in the business of planning trips to Cuba.

Where the provision of insurance-related services is directly incident to activity authorized by general or specific license, then the provision of such services is authorized as well. For example, § 515.566 of the CACR authorizes travel and travel-related transactions directly incident to engaging in religious activities in Cuba. The provision of health insurance-, life insurance-, and travel insurance-related services to authorized travelers traveling to Cuba pursuant to § 515.566 would be authorized. For additional information, see Note 2 to 31 CFR § 515.560. As an additional example, the provision of insurance to a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction that is incident to convening authorized athletic competitions, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.567(a), would also be authorized.

Additionally, § 515.533 of the CACR authorizes transactions ordinarily incident to the exportation or reexportation to Cuba of certain goods licensed or otherwise authorized by the Department of Commerce. Transactions directly incident to the exportation or reexportation of such goods, such as the provision of cargo insurance for the transportation of the goods, are authorized by § 515.533. For additional information, see Note 1 to paragraph (a) of 31 CFR § 515.533.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, however, are prohibited from engaging in reinsurance arrangements where the underlying activity is not authorized by the CACR. For example, a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction would be prohibited from participating in a reinsurance arrangement that involved coverage for a foreign company that provides investment opportunities in Cuban state- owned businesses. 
 

Where the provision of insurance-related services is authorized by general license, either expressly or as a transaction ordinarily incident to a licensed transaction, this authorization extends to the payment or settlement of claims, including to a Cuban national.

The 180-day rule is a statutory restriction prohibiting any vessel that enters a port or place in Cuba to engage in the trade of goods or the purchase or provision of services there from entering any U.S. port for the purpose of loading or unloading freight for 180 days after leaving Cuba, unless authorized by OFAC. This restriction is applied even if a vessel has stopped in Cuba solely to purchase services unrelated to the trade of goods, such as planned ship maintenance. The 180-day rule is separate from a second statutory restriction – the goods/passengers-on-board rule – which prohibits any vessel carrying goods or passengers to or from Cuba or carrying goods in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest from entering a U.S. port with such goods or passengers on board, unless authorized or exempt. There are certain exceptions to these rules. For a complete description of the 180-day rule, the goods/passengers-on-board rule, and the general licenses and exemptions that apply, see 31 CFR §§ 515.206, 515.207, and 515.550. 

Yes. OFAC has authorized by general license certain exceptions to these rules. If a vessel engages only in one or more of the following activities with Cuba, it will qualify for the general license and therefore will not be subject to the 180-day rule or the goods/passengers-on-board rule:

  • Engaging or has engaged in trade with Cuba authorized under the CACR, such as a vessel carrying goods from the United States that are licensed or otherwise authorized for export or reexport to Cuba by the U.S. Department of Commerce pursuant to the EAR;
  • Engaging or has engaged in trade with Cuba that is exempt from the prohibitions of the CACR, such as a vessel carrying exclusively informational materials;
  • Engaging or has engaged in the export or reexport from a third country to Cuba of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices that, were they subject to the EAR, would be designated as EAR99;
  • Carrying or has carried persons between the United States and Cuba or within Cuba pursuant to the general license for the provision of carrier services under the CACR; or
  • A foreign vessel that has entered a port or place in Cuba while carrying students, faculty, and staff that are authorized to travel to Cuba pursuant to the general license for educational activities under the CACR.

Additionally, if a vessel’s only transactions with Cuba are the exportation to Cuba from a third country of items that, were they subject to the EAR, would be designated as EAR99 or controlled on the Commerce Control List only for anti-terrorism reasons, the vessel will not be subject to the 180- day rule.

These exceptions to the 180-day rule do not apply to a vessel that:

  • Carries for export to Cuba any additional goods that, were they subject to the EAR, would not be designated as EAR99 or controlled on the Commerce Control List only for anti-terrorism reasons;
  • Picks up any goods in Cuba, unless the transactions involving those goods are authorized by OFAC or exempt from the prohibitions of the CACR; or
  • Purchases or provides services in Cuba, other than docking, unloading, or other services associated with normal shipping transactions.

For a complete description of the 180-day rule, the goods/passengers-on-board rule, and the general licenses and exemptions that apply, see 31 CFR §§ 515.206, 515.207, and 515.550. 

No. The general licenses involving the 180-day rule only authorize certain vessels to enter a U.S. port within 180 days after leaving a port or place in Cuba; they do not authorize any shipments to or from Cuba. Shipments to or from Cuba may be separately authorized under other provisions of the CACR or, as in the case of most shipments from third countries to Cuba, may simply not be subject to the restrictions of the CACR, though other U.S. government agency restrictions may apply. For a complete description of the 180-day rule and the general licenses and exemptions that apply, see 31 CFR §§ 515.206, 515.207(a), and 515.550

Yes, provided that no other factors trigger the 180-day rule or the goods/passengers-on-board rule. For example, no goods may be unloaded in Cuba other than goods that would be designated as EAR99 or controlled on the Commerce Control List only for anti-terrorism reasons if they had been exported from the United States; and no merchandise may be loaded in Cuba that is not licensed or exempt. Goods entering the United States that remained on board the ship while it docked in a Cuban port are not considered goods carried to or from Cuba or goods in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest for purposes of the goods/passengers-on-board rule. Furthermore, such goods are not considered goods that have been located in or transported through Cuba for the purposes of 31 CFR § 515.204, which prohibits the importation of certain merchandise into the United States. For a complete description of the 180-day rule, the goods/passengers-on-board rule, the importation prohibition, and the general licenses and exemptions that apply, see 31 CFR §§ 515.204, 515.206, 515.207, and 515.550

The exceptions to the 180-day rule apply to each individual vessel that meets the requirements of the general license irrespective of any code-sharing arrangement. Thus, any shipping company may deploy a vessel in a broader shipping arrangement and, so long as the vessel meets the terms of the general license, that vessel may enter a U.S. port accordingly. There is no requirement for authorization of the individual companies or the broader code-sharing arrangement. Code-sharing agreements do not affect the general license or its requirements.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to engage in transactions that establish mechanisms to provide commercial telecommunications services in Cuba or linking third countries and Cuba. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are also authorized to engage in telecommunications-related transactions, including payment related to the provision of telecommunications involving Cuba or provided to Cuban individuals. Pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.542, U.S. persons may, for example, purchase calling cards for people to use in Cuba or pay the bills of such people directly to a telecommunications operator located in Cuba, such as ETECSA. These steps to facilitate improved access to telecommunications services for Cubans and increased international connections are intended to increase the ability of the Cuban people to communicate freely and to better provide for efficient and adequate telecommunications services between the United States and Cuba.

The CACR define telecommunications services to include data, telephone, telegraph, internet connectivity, radio, television, news wire feeds, and similar services, regardless of medium of transmission, including transmission by satellite. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.542.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may provide certain services incident to internet-based communications and related to certain authorized exportations and reexportations of communications items. For example, transactions incident to providing fee-based internet communications services such as e-mail or other messaging platforms, social networking, VOIP, web-hosting, or domain-name registration are authorized in most circumstances. Services related to many kinds of software (including applications) used on personal computers, cell phones, and other personal communications devices are also authorized, along with other services related to the use of such devices. Finally, services such as cloud storage, software design, business consulting, and the provision of IT management and support related to use of hardware and software exported or reexported to Cuba pursuant to the Commerce Department’s License Exception Consumer Communications Device (CCD) authorization or commodities or software used to develop software exported or reexported to Cuba pursuant to the Commerce Department’s License Exception Support for the Cuban People (SCP) is permitted. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.578.

Yes. For example, a U.S. company could enter into a peering arrangement with ETECSA, the Cuban telecommunications provider, for the provision of internet services. See § 515.542(b).

Yes. Section 515.578 authorizes the exportation or reexportation to Cuba of services incident to the exchange of communications over the internet. To the extent data caching services are incident to such exchanges of communications, the provision of such services is authorized. Section 515.578 also authorizes the exportation of services, including business consulting and information technology management services that are related to certain consumer communications devices. For instance, the provision by an internet or telecommunications provider of caching services related to items exported to Cuba pursuant to Commerce License Exception Consumer Communications Devices (CCD) or an individual license issued by Commerce is authorized. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.578.

Section 515.573 of the CACR contains a general license that authorizes certain persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including telecommunications and internet-based service providers, to establish a physical and business presence in Cuba to provide authorized telecommunications and internet-based services. A business presence may include subsidiaries, branches, offices, joint ventures, franchises, and agency or other business relationships with any Cuban individual or entity (including ETECSA) and a physical presence may include leasing physical premises, including an office, warehouse, classroom, or retail outlet. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.573.

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction that are providers of telecommunications or internet-based services who establish a business or physical presence in Cuba pursuant to the authorization in 31 CFR § 515.573 are authorized to engage in marketing related to that business or physical presence.

Individuals or entities subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in authorized transactions, either pursuant to a general or specific license, may engage with Cuban state-owned entities as authorized by the OFAC license. For example, a U.S. company engaging in authorized telecommunications-related transactions pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.542, such as payment for activation, installation, usage, roaming, maintenance, or termination fees, may engage directly with the Cuban state-owned telecommunications company, ETECSA, for these authorized purposes.

Yes, but any individual Cuban national who can establish that he or she has taken up permanent residence outside of Cuba and otherwise meets the requirements set forth in 31 CFR § 515.505 is generally licensed as an unblocked national. Additionally all persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to provide goods and services to Cuban national individuals located outside of Cuba, provided there is no commercial exportation of goods or services to or from Cuba. Individuals subject to U.S. jurisdiction who are located in a third country may also receive or obtain services from a Cuban national that are ordinarily incident to travel and maintenance within that country. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.585.

U.S.-owned or -controlled entities in third countries may provide goods and services to a Cuban national located outside of Cuba, provided that the transaction does not involve a commercial exportation, directly or indirectly, of goods or services to or from Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.585.

Other general licenses may authorize persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including U.S.-owned or-controlled entities in third countries, to engage in certain specified transactions with Cuban nationals that involve the commercial exportation of services to Cuba. For example, 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(5) authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide certain civil aviation safety-related services to Cuba or to Cuban nationals, wherever located. 
 

Yes. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction may provide financial services to a Cuban national located outside of Cuba who is an individual, provided that the transaction does not involve a commercial exportation, directly or indirectly, of goods or services to or from Cuba. Additionally, banking institutions are authorized to open and maintain accounts, including the deposit of funds in such accounts by wire transfer, for such Cuban nationals provided that the accounts are used only while the Cuban national is located outside of Cuba and the account is not used for transactions involving a commercial exportation, directly or indirectly, of goods or services to or from Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.585.

Section 515.590 of the CACR authorizes the provision of certain grants, scholarships, or awards to Cuban nationals or in which Cuba or a Cuban national has an interest. Such grants, scholarships, or awards must relate to educational activities, certain humanitarian projects (as set forth in § 515.575 (b)), scientific research, or religious activities. In accordance with NSPM-5, OFAC amended this general license to exclude from the authorization direct financial transactions with entities and subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.590

Section 515.590 of the CACR authorizes the provision of grants, scholarships, or awards to a Cuban national, including a Cuban state-owned entity provided that entity is not included on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List, and as long as any such grant, scholarship, or award is related to educational activities, humanitarian projects (as set forth in § 515.575(b)), scientific research, or religious activities. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.590.

Section 515.523 of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations authorizes all transactions incident to the administration and distribution of the assets of a blocked estate of a decedent. All property distributed pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.523 is unblocked, provided that neither Cuba nor a Cuban national (other than the decedent or a person unblocked pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.505) has an interest in the property. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, please see 31 CFR § 515.523.

Furthermore, funds deposited in a blocked account in a banking institution in the United States held in the name of, or in which the beneficial interest is held by, a national of Cuba as a result of a valid testamentary disposition, intestate succession, or payment from a life insurance policy or annuity contract triggered by the death of the policyholder or contract holder may be remitted to the national of Cuba pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.570(f)(1). For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, please see 31 CFR § 515.570(f). 

Please note, effective November 26, 2020, 31 CFR § 515.570 no longer authorizes any transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving an entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. 

 

Among other things, the provision for microfinancing projects in section 515.575 of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) authorizes the provision of certain financial services to unemployed, underemployed, and low-income Cubans who have little or no access to conventional banks or comparable resources, and which may include a limited return on investment.

In addition, section 515.570(g)(1) of the CACR authorizes remittances to individuals and independent non-governmental entities in Cuba to support authorized microfinancing projects. These provisions would authorize, for example, relatively limited contributions of funds to support individual entrepreneurs in sectors that need access to working capital, investment loans, insurance, or training in order to start or expand their operations.

Please note, effective November 26, 2020, 31 CFR § 515.570 no longer authorizes any transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Furthermore, 31 CFR § 515.575 and 31 CFR § 515.570(g)(1) do not authorize loans, extensions of credit or other financing related to transactions involving confiscated property the claim to which is owned by a U.S. national, which are prohibited by 31 CFR § 515.208. For additional guidance or fact-specific questions, we encourage you to contact OFAC. 

No. If persons meet the qualifications listed in the general license, then they do not need to wait for an official determination from OFAC regarding their specific license application. Persons who have determined they may proceed under a general license may wish to contact OFAC Licensing to withdraw existing applications.

Generally no, a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction is not authorized to purchase or lease real property in Cuba. The CACR prohibit any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction from purchasing or leasing property in Cuba unless authorized by OFAC.

Section 515.573 of the CACR authorizes certain entities subject to U.S. jurisdiction to establish a physical and/or business presence in Cuba to conduct authorized activities. The purchase or lease of real property in Cuba by such entities incident to their establishment of such physical or business presence is authorized. Additionally, employees of such entities authorized by § 515.573(a)(4) of the CACR to establish domicile in Cuba may purchase or lease residential property for use while domiciled in Cuba. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.573.

Authorized travelers to Cuba may lease property in Cuba as accommodations for the duration of their stay in Cuba. See 31 CFR § 515.560(c). This authorization is limited to the period of time when the traveler is in Cuba for authorized travel and does not permit the traveler to retain the property upon departure from Cuba.

Transactions related to the purchase or lease of real property in Cuba remain subject to the prohibitions in 31 CFR § 515.208.

Section 515.547(b) of the CACR authorizes all transactions incident to obtaining approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Cuban-origin pharmaceuticals. The general license includes discovery and development, pre-clinical research, clinical research, regulatory review, regulatory approval and licensing, regulatory post-market activities, and the importation into the United States of Cuban-origin pharmaceuticals. Section 515.547(c) of the CACR authorizes the importation into the United States, and the marketing, sale, or other distribution in the United States, of FDA-approved Cuban-origin pharmaceuticals. For a complete description of what these general licenses authorize and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.547. Those engaging in the aforementioned activities may still need to secure regulatory approvals from other concerned U.S. government agencies, particularly the FDA.

Section 515.591 of the CACR authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide Cuba or Cuban nationals (including the Cuban government and state-owned entities) with services related to developing, repairing, maintaining, and enhancing Cuban infrastructure that directly benefit the Cuban people, consistent with the export or reexport licensing policy of the Department of Commerce. “Infrastructure” in this case means systems and assets used to provide the Cuban people with goods and services produced by the public transportation, water management, waste management, non-nuclear electricity generation, and electricity distribution sectors, as well as hospitals, public housing, and primary and secondary schools. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.591.

With respect to the receipt or transmission of mail and parcels between the United States and Cuba, Section 515.542(a) of the CACR authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to engage in all transactions, including payments, incident to such activities, provided that the importation or exportation of such mail and parcels is exempt from or authorized by the CACR. For a complete description of what this general license authorizes and the restrictions that apply, see 31 CFR § 515.542(a).

This general license does not authorize transactions incident to the receipt of transmission of mail and parcels between third countries and Cuba, or involving Cuban nationals in third countries. To the extent that such mail or parcels contain information or informational materials, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.332, transactions incident to their receipt or transmission are exempt pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.206 or authorized by 31 CFR § 515.545(a). Additionally, the provision of mail or parcel delivery services to a Cuban national who is an individual located in a third country is authorized by 31 CFR § 515.585(a), provided that the transaction does not involve a commercial export of goods or services to Cuba.

Effective September 24, 2020, OFAC issued an amendment to the CACR restricting imports of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products, as well as specific categories of authorized travel to Cuba related to professional meetings or conferences and certain public performances or other events, and also incorporating a new prohibition related to lodging in Cuba. Specifically, the September 24, 2020 amendment makes the following changes to the CACR:

  • Restrictions on lodging, paying for lodging, or making reservations for lodging at certain properties in Cuba.  Incorporates a prohibition in § 515.210, which prohibits any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction from lodging, paying for lodging, or making any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property that the Secretary of State has identified as a property in Cuba that is owned or controlled by the Cuban government; a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, as defined in § 515.337; a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, as defined in § 515.338; a close relative, as defined in § 515.339, of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, or a close relative of a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party. In furtherance of this change, the State Department is creating a new list, the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List, to publish the names, addresses, or other identifying details, as relevant, of properties identified as meeting such criteria. For more on section § 515.210, please see FAQ 838.
  • Restrictions on importation into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products.  Amends four authorizations in the CACR to exclude the importation into the United States of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products. See 31 CFR §§ 515.560(c)(3); 515.569; 515.571(a)(1); and 515.585(d). Previously, the importation of Cuban-origin alcohol and tobacco products as accompanied baggage was authorized for non-commercial use under certain circumstances; with this amendment, OFAC is eliminating those authorizations. For more information, please see FAQ 731.
  • Professional research and professional meetings in Cuba.  Eliminates the general authorization in § 515.564(a)(2) related to attendance at, or organization of, professional meetings or conferences in Cuba. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are no longer authorized via this general license to attend or organize professional meetings or conferences in Cuba. As a result, the only remaining general license in § 515.564(a) will be the general license for certain professional research in Cuba. In addition, OFAC is clarifying that specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis authorizing certain transactions related to professional research or professional meetings or conferences. For more information, please see FAQ 701
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions.  Eliminates the general authorization in § 515.567(b) related to public performances, clinics, workshops, competitions, and exhibitions. As a result, the only remaining general license for participation in and organization of athletic competitions in Cuba will be the general license in § 515.567(a) for athletic competitions by amateur or semi-professional athletes or athletic teams. In addition, OFAC is clarifying that specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis authorizing certain activity. For more information, please see FAQ 706.

Please note that the Cuba embargo remains in place, and most transactions between Cuba and the United States, or persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, continue to be prohibited under the CACR, which are enforced by OFAC. 

No person subject to U.S. jurisdiction may lodge, pay for lodging, or make any reservation for or on behalf of a third party to lodge, at any property that the Secretary of State has identified as a property in Cuba that is owned or controlled by: the Cuban government; a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba, as defined in § 515.337; a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party, as defined in § 515.338; a close relative, as defined in § 515.339, of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba; or a close relative of a prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party when the terms of the general or specific license expressly exclude such a transaction.  Such properties are identified on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List. See FAQ 839 for travel arrangements initiated prior to a property’s listing on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210.

Consistent with the Administration’s interest in avoiding negative impacts on Americans for arranging lawful travel to Cuba, any existing travel-related arrangements that include lodging at properties in Cuba identified on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List will continue to be permitted, provided that those travel-related arrangements were initiated prior to the State Department’s addition of the property to the list as published in the Federal Register. Once the State Department publishes notice in the Federal Register that it has added the property to the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List, new lodging-related transactions with the property prohibited by § 515.210, such as a reservation on behalf of a third party to lodge at a property on the Cuba Prohibited Accommodations List, are prohibited, unless authorized by OFAC or exempt. For a complete description of the scope of this prohibition, see 31 CFR § 515.210. 

On October 27, 2020, OFAC issued an amendment to the CACR, effective November 26, 2020, to remove from the scope of certain remittance-related general authorizations any transactions involving entities or subentities identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. Specifically, the October 27, 2020 rule amends the following general licenses: (i) 31 CFR § 515.570, relating to remittances from persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction or from blocked accounts; (ii) 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3), relating to the provision of remittance forwarding services; and (iii) 31 CFR § 515.587, relating to remittances from Cuban nationals to persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction. For more information, see 31 CFR §§ 515.570, 515.572, and 515.587.  

Further, the October 27, 2020 rule amends 31 CFR § 515.421 to clarify that a transaction relating to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving an entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List is not authorized as an ordinarily incident transaction where the terms of the general or specific license expressly exclude any such transactions (see, e.g., 31 CFR § 515.570(j), 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3), or 31 CFR § 515.587). For more information, see 31 CFR § 515.421.  OFAC also added a clarifying note in 31 CFR § 515.209, consistent with the amended text of 31 CFR § 515.421. As a result of these amendments, effective November 26, 2020, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will no longer be authorized to process remittances to or from Cuba through FINCIMEX or any other entity or subentity on the Cuba Restricted List. 

Effective June 9, 2022, in consultation with the Department of State, OFAC amended the CACR to implement elements of policy changes announced by the Administration on May 16, 2022 to increase support for the Cuban people.

Professional meetings and conferences in Cuba:  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended 31 CFR § 515.564(a) to include a general license authorizing, subject to conditions, travel-related and other transactions incident to attending or organizing professional meetings or conferences in Cuba, such as   professional meetings or conferences to support expanded internet access and remittance processing and to provide additional support and training to independent Cuban entrepreneurs.  OFAC also amended and added cross-references to § 515.564(a) in notes to §§ 515.534, 515.542, 515.547, 515.572, 515.577, and 515.591.

Group people-to-people and other academic educational activities:  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended § 515.565(a) to remove certain restrictions on authorized academic educational activities. OFAC also amended § 515.565(b) to authorize group people-to-people educational travel conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact, provided such travelers are accompanied by an employee, paid consultant, or agent of the sponsoring organization.  Travel-related transactions authorized pursuant to § 515.565(b) must be for the purpose of engaging, while in Cuba, in a full-time schedule of activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities; and will result in meaningful interactions with individuals in Cuba.  This amendment does not authorize individual people-to-people travel.  Travel for tourist activities is not permitted.

Remittances:  Effective June 9, 2022, OFAC amended § 515.570(a) to remove the $1,000 quarterly limit on family remittances to Cuban nationals who are close relatives.  OFAC also added § 515.570(b) to authorize donative remittances to Cuban nationals who are not prohibited officials of the Government of Cuba, prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party, or close relatives of a prohibited official of the Government of Cuba or prohibited member of the Cuban Communist Party.  Finally, OFAC added a general license in § 515.570(h) authorizing the unblocking and return of previously blocked remittances, provided they would be authorized under the revised § 515.570(a) or (b).

No.  Under 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3), banking institutions, as defined in § 515.314, including U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities and U.S.-registered money transmitters, are authorized to provide services in connection with the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances authorized pursuant to the CACR, subject to certain conditions.  In addition, under § 515.570(h), banking institutions are authorized to unblock and return blocked remittances that would have been authorized under § 515.570(a) or (b).  Banking institutions may rely on the statements of their customers that remittance transactions are authorized unless they know or have reason to know a transaction is not authorized.  A banking institution is expected to conduct a level of due diligence commensurate with its overall risk profile and internal compliance policies and procedures with respect to a transaction involving Cuba or a Cuban national. 

Yes, provided the underlying remittance transactions are authorized under 31 CFR § 515.570 of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and the digital payment service provider is a U.S.-registered money transmitter or other qualifying banking institution within the definition of that term provided in 31 CFR § 515.314.  For purposes of this FAQ, “digital payments” means transfers of funds sent through mobile money, mobile wallets, digital bank accounts, credit/debit cards, online payments, or other digital technology.

Pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.570 of the CACR, OFAC authorizes persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to make certain categories of remittances to persons in Cuba, subject to certain conditions (please see FAQ 732 for an overview of the types of remittances U.S. persons can send and applicable conditions and requirements).  Additionally, pursuant to 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3) of the CACR, banking institutions, as defined in 31 CFR § 515.314, including U.S.-registered money transmitters, are authorized to provide services in connection with the collection, forwarding, or receipt of authorized remittances.  Thus, digital payments service providers that fall within the definition of “banking institution” provided in 31 CFR § 515.314, including U.S.-registered money transmitters, can process authorized remittances to Cuba via digital payments. 

A banking institution is expected to conduct a level of due diligence commensurate with its overall risk profile and internal compliance policies and procedures.  However, as noted in FAQ 1057, banking institutions, including U.S-registered money transmitters within the context of § 515.572(a)(3), may rely on the statements of their customers that remittance transactions are authorized unless they know or have reason to know a transaction is not authorized. 

Section 515.572(a)(3) of the CACR does not authorize any transaction related to the collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances involving any entity or subentity identified on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List (CRL).  

Generally, OFAC’s general licenses are self-executing.  This means that if U.S. persons assess that their transactions fall within the scope of the authorizations in 31 CFR § 515.570 and 31 CFR § 515.572, they may execute such transactions without further assurance from OFAC.  
For transactions that do not fall within the scope of these authorizations, U.S. persons may apply for an OFAC specific license.  For example, financial institutions that fall outside the scope of 31 CFR § 515.572(a)(3) that seek to provide remittance forwarding services would not qualify for the authorization and would require a specific license.  Consistent with U.S. foreign policy, OFAC will prioritize specific license applications seeking authorization to enable remittances to flow more freely to the Cuban people via digital payments.  It is OFAC’s policy to deny specific license requests that involve transactions with CRL-listed entities for the purpose of collection, forwarding, or receipt of remittances.  Please see OFAC’s License Application Page for additional details regarding the specific licensing process.
 

Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, as amended on December 29, 2016, focuses on specific harms caused by significant malicious cyber-enabled activities, and directs the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on those persons he or she determines to be responsible for or complicit in activities leading to such harms. Acting pursuant to delegated authority, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) works in coordination with other U.S. government agencies to identify individuals and entities whose conduct meets the criteria set forth in E.O. 13694, as amended, and designate them for sanctions. Persons designated under this authority are added to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

E.O. 13694, as amended, is intended to address situations where, for jurisdictional or other issues, certain significant malicious cyber actors may be beyond the reach of other authorities available to the U.S. government. [12-29-2016]

As with many of the sanctions programs that Treasury administers, U.S. persons (and persons otherwise subject to OFAC jurisdiction) must ensure that they are not engaging in trade or other transactions with persons named on OFAC’s SDN List pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, or any entity owned by such persons.

As a general matter, U.S. persons, including firms that facilitate or engage in online commerce, are responsible for ensuring that they do not engage in unauthorized transactions or dealings with persons named on any of OFAC’s sanctions lists or operate in jurisdictions targeted by comprehensive sanctions programs. Such persons, including technology companies, should develop a tailored, risk-based compliance program, which may include sanctions list screening or other appropriate measures. An adequate compliance solution will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of business involved, and there is no single compliance program or solution suitable for every circumstance.

The names of, and identifying information for, all individuals and entities included on OFAC’s sanctions lists may be located via OFAC’s free, online search engine at the following URL: http://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov. In addition, OFAC offers text and PDF versions of these lists for manual review and a number of data file versions of its lists that are designed to facilitate automated screening. Depending on the scale, sophistication, and risk profile of your business, you may consider one of the numerous commercially available screening software packages. [12-29-2016]

We anticipate that regulations to be promulgated will define “cyber-enabled” activities to include any act that is primarily accomplished through or facilitated by computers or other electronic devices. For purposes of E.O. 13694, malicious cyber-enabled activities include deliberate activities accomplished through unauthorized access to a computer system, including by remote access; circumventing one or more protection measures, including by bypassing a firewall; or compromising the security of hardware or software in the supply chain. These activities are often the means through which the specific harms enumerated in the E.O. are achieved, including compromise to critical infrastructure, denial of service attacks, or massive loss of sensitive information, such as trade secrets and personal financial information.

E.O. 13694 is tailored to address cyber-enabled activities that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States. As this language indicates, it is intended to counter the most significant cyber threats that we face, whether they target our critical infrastructure, our companies, our citizens, or our economic health or financial stability.

The measures in this order are directed against significant malicious cyber-enabled activities that have the purpose or effect of causing specific enumerated harms, and are not designed to prevent or interfere with legitimate cyber-enabled academic, business, or non-profit activities. The U.S. government supports efforts by researchers, cybersecurity experts, and network defense specialists to identify, respond to, and repair vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors.

Similarly, these measures are not intended to target persons engaged in legitimate activities to ensure and promote the security of information systems, such as penetration testing and other methodologies, or to prevent or interfere with legitimate cyber-enabled activities undertaken to further academic research or commercial innovation as part of computer security-oriented conventions, competitions, or similar “good faith” events

The measures in this order are designed to address the threat posed by individuals and entities engaged in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities that have the purpose or effect of causing specific enumerated harms. These measures are not designed to prevent or interfere with legitimate network defense or maintenance activities performed by computer security experts and companies as part of the normal course of business on their own systems, or systems they are otherwise authorized to manage.

No. These sanctions are designed to target those actors whose malicious cyber-enabled conduct is reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States. These measures are not intended to target victims of such activities, including the unwitting owners of compromised computers.

For more information about best practices for securing home networks and engaging in responsible online behavior, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at OnGuardOnline.gov.

The United States’ whole-of-government strategy to combat cyber threats draws from a broad range of tools and authorities to respond to the growing and evolving threat posed by malicious cyber actors. Similar to our approach to global threats from terrorists, narcotics traffickers, and transnational criminal organizations, we will use financial sanctions in the fight against malicious cyber actors as a complement to existing tools, including diplomatic outreach and law enforcement authorities.

As with all financial sanctions programs Treasury administers, these measures will be implemented in accordance with domestic law and our international obligations.

No. This authority does not target American whistleblower activity or constitutionally protected activity. The E.O. defines misappropriation to be the “taking or obtaining by improper means, without permission or consent, or under false pretenses.” Importantly, to be eligible for sanctions under this provision, an individual or entity must not only “misappropriate” information, but it must also do so with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.

GL 1Bauthorizes transactions and activities with the Federal Security Service (a.k.a. Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti) (a.k.a. FSB) that are necessary and ordinarily incident to requesting, receiving, utilizing, paying for, or dealing in certain licenses and authorizations for the importation, distribution, or use of certain information technology products in the Russian Federation. It also authorizes transactions and activities necessary and ordinarily incident to compliance with rules and regulations administered by, and certain actions or investigations involving, the Federal Security Service.

This general license does not authorize U.S. persons to engage in transactions and activities with the Federal Security Service, except for the limited purposes described above, nor does it authorize the exportation, reexportation, or provision of any goods, technology, or services to the Crimea region of Ukraine.

 

GL 1B only authorizes certain transactions and activities with the Federal Security Service acting in its administrative and law enforcement capacities. The GL was issued in order to ensure that U.S. persons engaging in certain business activities in Russia that are not otherwise prohibited are not unduly impacted. All other transactions and activities involving any property subject to U.S. jurisdiction or within the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the Federal Security Service has an interest, including all other transactions and activities directly or indirectly with the Federal Security Service, remain prohibited unless exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC.

No. GL 1B does not authorize the export of any goods, technology, or services directly or indirectly to the Federal Security Service or any other blocked person, except for the limited purposes of complying with rules and regulations administered by, and certain actions and investigations involving, the Federal Security Service or requesting certain licenses or authorizations for the importation, distribution, or use of information technology products in the Russian Federation.

No, the sanctions on the FSB do not apply to transactions by U.S. persons that are ordinarily incident to travel to or from Russia, including those transactions required to enter into or exit the country (i.e., complying with Russian border control requirements).

On August 8, 2022, OFAC designated the entity Tornado Cash for facilitating the laundering of proceeds of cybercrimes, including those committed by the Lazarus Group, a North Korea state-sponsored hacking group that was sanctioned in 2019.  As described in FAQs 561 and 562, OFAC may include as identifiers on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) specific virtual currency wallet addresses associated with blocked persons.  As part of the SDN List entry for Tornado Cash, OFAC included as identifiers certain virtual currency wallet addresses associated with Tornado Cash, as well as the URL address for Tornado Cash’s website.  The Tornado Cash website has since been deleted from the Internet, but it currently remains available through certain Internet archives.

While engaging in any transaction with Tornado Cash or its blocked property or interests in property is prohibited for U.S. persons, interacting with open-source code itself, in a way that does not involve a prohibited transaction with Tornado Cash, is not prohibited.  For example, U.S. persons would not be prohibited by U.S. sanctions regulations from copying the open-source code and making it available online for others to view, as well as discussing, teaching about, or including open-source code in written publications, such as textbooks, absent additional facts.  Similarly, U.S. persons would not be prohibited by U.S. sanctions regulations from visiting the Internet archives for the Tornado Cash historical website, nor would they be prohibited from visiting the Tornado Cash website if it again becomes active on the Internet.

No.  U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving Tornado Cash, including through the virtual currency wallet addresses that OFAC has identified.  If U.S. persons were to initiate or otherwise engage in a transaction with Tornado Cash, including or through one of its wallet addresses, such a transaction would violate U.S. sanctions prohibitions, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.

OFAC is aware of reports following the designation of Tornado Cash that certain U.S. persons may have received unsolicited and nominal amounts of virtual currency or other virtual assets from Tornado Cash, a practice commonly referred to as “dusting.”  Technically, OFAC’s regulations would apply to these transactions.  To the extent, however, these “dusting” transactions have no other sanctions nexus besides Tornado Cash, OFAC will not prioritize enforcement against the delayed receipt of initial blocking reports and subsequent annual reports of blocked property from such U.S. persons.

For guidance related to filing an initial and annual report of blocked property, please see FAQs 49, 50, and 646, respectively, and 31 C.F.R. § 501.603.  Please note that the annual filing requirement for 2022 applies only to persons holding blocked property as of June 30 of this year.

For transactions involving Tornado Cash that were initiated prior to its designation on August 8, 2022 but not completed by the date of designation, U.S. persons or persons conducting transactions within U.S. jurisdiction may request a specific license from OFAC to engage in transactions involving the subject virtual currency.  U.S. persons should be prepared to provide, at a minimum, all relevant information regarding these transactions with Tornado Cash, including the wallet addresses for the remitter and beneficiary, transaction hashes, the date and time of the transaction(s), as well as the amount(s) of virtual currency.  OFAC would have a favorable licensing policy towards such applications, provided that the transaction did not involve other sanctionable conduct.

In order to apply for a specific license to complete a transaction or withdraw virtual currency involving Tornado Cash that was deposited prior to its designation, or to engage in other transactions or dealings with Tornado Cash, you are encouraged to file a licensing request by visiting the following link: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/ofac-license-application-page.

No, the accounts are restricted. The Iranian sanctions prohibit the export of goods or services to Iran. By operating an account for an individual or company in Iran, the bank would be exporting services to that person or entity in violation of the Iranian Transactions Regulations. The accounts, however, are not blocked. The account holder can close the account and have the funds transferred to his or her account outside the United States.

No, as of November 10, 2008 U-Turn payments are no longer allowed.

In the absence of information proving to your satisfaction that the account holder is not in Iran, you should consider the account restricted based on the W-8 filing. See FAQ 37.

No. As long as you are satisfied that the client is not ordinarily resident in Iran, then the account does not need to be restricted. See FAQ 37

As described in the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations, the sanctionable activities of a foreign financial institution are:

  • Facilitating the efforts of the Government of Iran (GOI) to acquire or develop Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) or delivery systems for WMD or to provide support for terrorist organizations or acts of international terrorism;
  • Facilitating the activities of a person subject to financial sanctions pursuant to UNSCRs 1737, 1747, 1803, or 1929, or any other Security Council resolution that imposes sanctions with respect to Iran;
  • Engaging in money laundering, or facilitating efforts by the Central Bank of Iran or any other Iranian financial institution, to carry out either of the facilitating activities described above; or
  • Facilitating a significant transaction or transactions or providing significant financial services for: (i) the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or any of its agents or affiliates whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), or (ii) a financial institution whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to IEEPA in connection with Iran’s proliferation of WMD, Iran’s proliferation of delivery systems for WMD, or Iran’s support for international terrorism.

The list of blocked IRGC affiliates and blocked Iran-linked financial institutions is dynamic and is based on the identity of “designated” persons, which refers both to natural persons (i.e., individuals) and legal persons (such as corporations and other entities). The most recent list of designated persons – which includes most, but not all, blocked entities* – can be found at here. The listings of designated IRGC entities will be followed by the tag [IRGC]; those of designated Iran-linked financial institutions will have the tag [IFSR].

*Under Department of the Treasury regulations, designated persons are those that are named on the list. All interests in property of such persons are blocked, and such persons are considered to have an interest in all property and entities in which they own, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest. As a result, such property and entities are also blocked, even if they do not themselves appear on the list.

The Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) define “U.S. financial institutions” to include: depository institutions, banks, savings banks, money service businesses, trust companies, insurance companies, securities brokers and dealers, commodities exchanges, clearing corporations, investment companies, employee benefit plans, and U.S. holding companies, U.S. affiliates, or U.S. subsidiaries of any of these entities. Covered institutions include those branches, offices, and agencies of foreign financial institutions that are located in the United States.

The Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) define “foreign financial institutions” to include foreign depository institutions, banks, savings banks, money service businesses, trust companies, securities brokers and dealers, commodities exchanges, clearing corporations, investment companies, employee benefit plans, and holding companies, affiliates, or subsidiaries of any of these entities.

The term “knowingly” as used in the IFSR means that a person has actual knowledge or should have known of specific conduct, a circumstance, or a result. In other words, the IFSR could be implicated if the Treasury Department finds that a foreign financial institution knew or should have known that it engaged in one or more of the sanctionable activities.

As set out in the IFSR, in determining whether a transaction or financial service is “significant,” the Treasury Department may consider: (1) the size, number, frequency, and nature of the transaction(s); (2) the level of awareness of management of the transaction(s) and whether or not the transaction(s) are a part of a pattern of conduct; (3) the nexus between the foreign financial institution involved in the transaction(s) and a blocked Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps individual or entity or blocked Iran-linked financial institution; (4) the impact of the transaction(s) on the goals of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA); (5) whether the transaction(s) involved any deceptive practices; and (6) other factors the Treasury Department deems relevant on a case-by-case basis.

A finding by the Treasury Department that a foreign financial institution knowingly engages in one or more of the sanctionable activities is necessary before the Treasury Department can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts for that foreign financial institution.

As a general matter, the Treasury Department will reach out to foreign financial institutions to inquire about their conduct before making a finding. If the Treasury Department decides to impose strict condition(s), the Treasury Department will issue an order or a regulation that sets out the strict condition(s) to be imposed on the U.S. correspondent accounts or U.S. payable-through accounts of the relevant foreign financial institution and publish the order or regulation in the Federal Register. The Federal Register is available at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/. If the Treasury Department decides to prohibit the opening or maintaining of U.S. correspondent accounts or U.S. payable-through accounts for a foreign financial institution, the Treasury Department will add the name of the foreign financial institution and publish it to the part 561 list.

Any U.S. person who violates the correspondent account provisions of the IFSR may be subject to civil penalties of up to the greater of $250,000 or twice the transaction value, and criminal penalties for willful violations of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. A U.S. financial institution may be subject to civil penalties of up to the greater of $250,000 or twice the transaction value, if any person that it owns or controls violates the IFSR prohibition on engaging in any transaction with or benefitting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or any of its agents or affiliates whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and if the U.S. financial institution knew or should have known that the person violated the IFSR.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) provides for a waiver of the sanctions under the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR)  if the Secretary of the Treasury determines that a waiver is necessary to the national interest of the United States.

The text of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) can be found here

E.O. 13599 requires U.S. persons to block (i.e., freeze) all property and interests in property of the Government of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran, and of all Iranian financial institutions, which also includes the Central Bank of Iran. This means that all individuals and entities that meet the definition of “Government of Iran” (“GOI”) as defined by section 7(d) of the new E.O. as well as all Iranian financial institutions (whether or not they meet the definition of the GOI) are now blocked. Previously, under the Iranian Transactions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (the “ITR”), financial institutions and other U.S. persons were prohibited from engaging in transactions with the GOI. Under those prior rules, U.S. financial institutions receiving instructions to execute transactions involving these entities were not required to block the transactions, but were instead required to reject those instructions rather than carry them out, unless the transactions were exempt, authorized, or not prohibited by OFAC. The Executive Order defines an “Iranian financial institution” as a financial institution organized under the laws of Iran or any jurisdiction within Iran (including foreign branches), any financial institution in Iran, any financial institution, wherever located, owned or controlled by the Government of Iran, and any financial institution, wherever located, owned or controlled by any of the aforementioned entities.

As a result, transactions involving entities bearing the [IRAN] tag on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN List”) will now need to be blocked unless exempt or authorized by OFAC. Going forward, the [IRAN] tag will connote that a person or entity meets the definition of the term “GOI” or “Iranian Financial Institution”. OFAC will continue to update the SDN List and may add, delete, or edit entries as appropriate.

E.O. 13599 blocks the property and interests in property of any individual or entity that comes within its definition of the term “Government of Iran” regardless of whether it is listed on the SDN List, and similarly it blocks the property and interests in property of all Iranian financial institutions as defined in the order regardless of whether the Iranian financial institution is listed on the SDN List.

E.O. 13599 builds upon the prohibitions in the ITR, which remain in effect.

Please note, pursuant to OFAC guidance, even when an entity does not itself appear on the SDN List or otherwise meet the definition of the GOI or an Iranian financial institution, the property and interests in property of that entity are blocked if the entity is owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to an Executive Order or regulations administered by OFAC.

Generally yes. Under new General License A, almost all transactions that are authorized under existing general licenses issued pursuant to the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR) or under existing OFAC specific licenses will continue to be authorized under the authority of E.O. 13599. However, transactions previously authorized under one existing ITR general license are not authorized pursuant to E.O. 13599. Specifically, the closing of accounts of the Government of Iran or an Iranian financial institution and the lump sum transfer of the balances to an account outside of the United States, which is authorized by sections 560.517(a)(3) & (b)(2) of the ITR, is not authorized by General License A, and, therefore, those transactions are prohibited by E.O. 13599 and the accounts must be blocked. In addition, General License A does not authorize any payments from blocked funds or debits to blocked accounts, with a limited exception for payments from funds or debits to accounts blocked under the Iranian Assets Control Regulations (the hostage crisis blocking program that began in 1979) that are authorized by specific licenses issued by OFAC.

New General License B authorizes U.S. depository institutions and U.S. registered brokers or dealers in securities to process noncommercial, personal remittances, to or from Iran, or for or on behalf of individuals ordinarily resident in Iran who are not included in the term “Government of Iran”, provided that such funds transactions are not made by, to, or through a financial institution blocked pursuant to the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 544 (the “WMDPSR”), or the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 594 (the “GTSR”), or a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to any other part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, or any Executive order, except an Iranian financial institution whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599.

Transactions not previously authorized by OFAC that involve property or interests in property of the Government of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran, or of Iranian financial institutions must be blocked.

Yes. E.O. 13599 builds upon the prohibitions of the ITR, and the prohibitions of the ITR remain in effect.

The ITR prohibit prohibit virtually all direct or indirect transactions involving Iran or the Government of Iran by U.S. persons or with a nexus to the United States, unless otherwise authorized by OFAC or exempted by statute, but they do not contain blocking provisions. E.O. 13599 requires U.S. persons to block all property and interests in property of the Government of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran, and of Iranian financial institutions, which also includes the Central Bank of Iran, unless it relates to a transaction that is exempted by statute or authorized by OFAC.

To illustrate the difference between how a transaction would be treated under the ITR and the new E.O., imagine a commercial wire transfer being processed through the U.S. financial system by order of a third-country, non-U.S. company for credit to a third-country financial institution in favor of a correspondent account it maintains for an Iranian financial institution. The transaction is not exempt or authorized by a general or specific license, and the Iranian bank is not blocked pursuant to the GTSR or the WMDPSR. Previously, under the ITR, any U.S. financial institution handling the transaction would have needed to reject the payment because allowing it to be processed would constitute a prohibited exportation of services to Iran. With the new E.O. in place, the U.S. financial institution would be required to block (“freeze”) that transaction.

General License B under E.O. 13599 authorizes U.S. depository institutions and U.S. registered brokers or dealers in securities to process noncommercial, personal remittances to or from Iran provided that the payment is not made by, to, or through a financial institution designated by OFAC under the WMDPSR, or the GTSR, or a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to any other part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, or any Executive order, except an Iranian financial institution whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599. Exempt or authorized transactions to or from Iran may also be processed subject to the above conditions.

Such transactions must be processed through a third country, as U.S. banks are prohibited from operating correspondent accounts for Iranian banks. The transactions may involve the use of blocked Iranian financial institutions as long as the Iranian financial institution is blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 (and not pursuant to any other Executive order or part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V) and there is a third-country, non-U.S. financial institution as an intermediary between the U.S. financial institution and the Iranian financial institution.

E.O. 13599 requires U.S. persons to block all property and interests in property of the Government of Iran, unless otherwise exempt or authorized by OFAC.

Please contact the OFAC Hotline at 202-622-2490 or 1-800-540-6322, or by email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov, for guidance regarding entities that you suspect are owned or controlled by the Government of Iran that do not appear on the SDN List. As a general matter, OFAC expects financial institutions to conduct due diligence on their own direct customers (including, for example, their ownership structure) to confirm that those customers are not persons whose property and interests in property are blocked.

With regard to other types of transactions where a financial institution is acting solely as an intermediary and fails to block transactions involving a sanctions target, OFAC will consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding the bank’s processing of the transaction to determine what, if any, regulatory response is appropriate.

Yes, U.S. persons should now block the property and interests in property of the Government of Iran entities appearing on the SDN List, unless OFAC has authorized the underlying transaction or the transaction is exempt.

Under General License A issued pursuant to E.O. 13599, transactions authorized under existing specific licenses issued pursuant to TSRA and the ITR are authorized under E.O. 13599 until the specific license expires, per the terms of the license.

Under General License A issued pursuant to E.O. 13599, transactions authorized by (non-TSRA) specific licenses issued prior to the issuance of E.O. 13599 and issued pursuant to any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V are also authorized under E.O. 13599. As set forth in General License A, in most cases these new authorizations under E.O. 13599 are in effect until theexpiration date of the individual specific license, or, if the specific license has no expiration date, until April 6, 2012.

On December 31, 2011, the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Section 1245 of the NDAA requires the President to block the property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of all Iranian financial institutions, including the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). It also aims to reduce Iranian oil revenues and discourage transactions with the CBI by providing for sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate certain significant financial transactions with the CBI.

For private financial institutions, the Act mandates that the President sanction those institutions that are found to knowingly conduct or facilitate any significant transactions with a U.S.-designated Iranian financial institution or with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) – whether for the purchase of petroleum or otherwise – unless the transaction is for the sale of food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran. For all transactions with the CBI other than petroleum purchases, this provision takes effect on February 29, 2012, i.e., 60 days after the enactment of the Act. The timing of the petroleum purchase sanctions is discussed immediately below.

Private financial institutions and all other foreign financial institutions – including central banks or foreign state-owned or -controlled banks – potentially face sanctions under the NDAA if they knowingly conduct or facilitate significant financial transactions for the purchase of Iranian petroleum or petroleum products with a U.S.-designated Iranian financial institution or with the CBI after the provision takes effect as early as June 28, 2012, i.e., 180 days after enactment.* This NDAA provision may be held in abeyance beyond June 28, 2012, depending on the President’s determination on the availability and price of alternative supplies. Foreign central and foreign state-owned or -controlled banks are also subject to these sanctions if the transactions are for the sale of petroleum or petroleum products to Iran and they occur after June 28, 2012.

All foreign financial institutions, including private and state-owned institutions, remain subject to section 104(c) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), which calls for sanctions on foreign financial institutions that are found to have knowingly engaged in facilitating significant transactions for specific Iranian-linked individuals and entities.

*Irrespective of the timeframes set forth in the NDAA, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates significant transactions with any U.S.-designated Iranian financial institution would still be subject to CISADA.

No. Any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates significant transactions or provides significant financial services for a U.S.-designated, Iranian-linked financial institution can be sanctioned under section 104(c) of CISADA and section 561.201 of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (“IFSR”) even if those transactions are not sanctionable under section 1245(d) of the NDAA. Though the NDAA imposes sanctions on foreign financial institutions similar to financial sanctions under CISADA and the IFSR (i.e., prohibiting and/or imposing strict conditions on opening or maintaining correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts in the United States), there are differences in the scope and operation of the statutes.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) applies to transactions with only those Iranian financial institutions that are designated in connection with Iran’s WMD or terrorism activities and are denoted on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the SDN list) with the [IFSR] tag. While E.O. 13599 does block the property of all Iranian financial institutions, that action is not grounded in the authorities that relate to counterproliferation or counterterrorism, and therefore does not implicate CISADA.

Yes.  Section 1245 of the NDAA for FY 2012 includes an exception that prohibits the President from imposing sanctions “with respect to any person for conducting or facilitating a transaction for the sale of food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran.”

"significant financial transaction"

The Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR), which implement section 104(c) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), identify factors to be used in determining what is significant (as it relates to transactions) in 31 C.F.R § 561.404, which allows the Secretary of the Treasury to consider the “totality of the facts and circumstances” while providing a list of seven broad factors that can play a role in the determination, including: (1) the size, number, and frequency of transactions; (2) the nature of the transaction(s); (3) the level of awareness of management and whether the transaction(s) are part of a pattern of conduct; (4) the nexus between the transaction(s) and a blocked person; (5) the impact of the transaction(s) on statutory objectives; (6) whether the transaction(s) involve deceptive practices; and (7) such other factors that the Secretary deems relevant on a case-by-case basis. Treasury anticipates closely modeling the definition of “significant” for National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) purposes on the IFSR.

We anticipate utilizing a broad definition of “financial transaction” that encompasses “any transfer of value involving a financial institution.” The term “transaction” includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • The holding of nostro, vostro, or loro accounts for or with the Central Bank of Iran or designated banks, such as Bank Melli Iran and/or Bank Saderat Iran, including any of their branches or subsidiaries worldwide (collectively the “Listed Parties”);
  • The provision of trade finance and/or letter of credit services for or with Listed Parties;
  • The provision of guarantees or similar instruments for or with Listed Parties;
  • The provision of investment products or instruments for Listed Parties and/or the participation with Listed Parties in investments;
  • The receipt or origination of wire transfers on behalf of or involving Listed Parties;
  • The acceptance of commercial paper (both retail and wholesale) drawn on Listed Parties, and the clearance of such paper (including, but not limited to, checks and similar drafts);
  • The receipt or origination of ACH or ATM transactions with Listed Parties; and/or
  • Any other transactions for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Listed Parties and/or with Listed Parties serving as correspondents, respondents, or beneficiaries. That would include transactions where the Listed Parties do not appear on the face of the transaction but where the transaction is undertaken with knowledge of the involvement of a Listed Party based on a relationship that exists through a third party such as a money exchange or trading house.

"knowingly"

The IFSR defines “knowingly” with respect to conduct, a circumstance, or a result, to mean that an entity or individual had actual knowledge, or should have known, about the conduct, the circumstance, or the result. 31 C.F.R. § 561.314. Treasury anticipates closely modeling the definition of this term on the IFSR.

“owned or controlled by the government of a foreign country”

The Iranian Transactions Regulations (“ITR”) define “an entity owned or controlled by the Government of Iran” in section 560.313. Borrowing from that definition, a financial institution “owned or controlled by the government of a foreign country” would be deemed to include a financial institution in which a foreign government owns a 50% or greater interest or which is otherwise controlled by a foreign government. Treasury anticipates closely modeling the definition of this term under the NDAA on the ITR definition.

“food, medicine, and medical devices”

“Food”: The October 2011 general license for the ITR and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (“SSR”) authorizing certain food exports to Iran and Sudan defines “food” as “items that are intended to be consumed by and provide nutrition to humans or animals in Iran – including vitamins and minerals, food additives and supplements, and bottled drinking water – and seeds that germinate into items that are intended to be consumed by and provide nutrition to humans or animals in Iran.” The regulations also specify that food does not include alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, gum, or fertilizer. Treasury anticipates closely modeling the definition of this term under the NDAA on this license definition.

“Medicine”: ITR section 560.530(e)(2) states that: “For the purposes of this part, the term medicine has the same meaning given the term ‘drug’ in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321) but does not include any item listed on the Commerce Control List in the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR part 774, supplement no. 1 (excluding items classified as EAR 99).” Similarly, under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Act (“TSRA”), 22 U.S.C. 7201(5), “[t]he term ‘medicine’ has the meaning given the term "drug" in section 321 of title 21.” Treasury anticipates closely modeling the definition of this term under the NDAA on the ITR and TSRA.

“Medical Devices”: ITR section 560.530(e)(3) states that: “For the purposes of this part, the term medical device has the meaning given the term ‘device’ in section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. § 321) but does not include any item listed on the Commerce Control List in the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR part 774, supplement no. 1 (excluding items classified as EAR 99).” Similarly, under TSRA, 22 U.S.C. 7201(4), “[t]he term "medical device" has the meaning given the term ‘device’ in section 321 of title 21.” Treasury anticipates closely modeling the definition of this term under the NDAA on the ITR and TSRA.

“foreign financial institution”

“Foreign financial institution” is defined in section 1245 of the NDAA with reference to section 104(i) of CISADA (22 U.S.C. § 8513(i)). As further defined in the IFSR, a “foreign financial institution” is “any foreign entity that is engaged in the business of accepting deposits, making, granting, transferring, holding, or brokering loans or credits, or purchasing or selling foreign exchange, securities, commodity futures or options, or procuring purchasers and sellers thereof, as principal or agent. It includes but is not limited to depository institutions, banks, savings banks, money service businesses, trust companies, securities brokers and dealers, commodity futures and options brokers and dealers, forward contract and foreign exchange merchants, securities and commodities exchanges, clearing corporations, investment companies, employee benefit plans, and holding companies, affiliates, or subsidiaries of any of the foregoing.” 31 C.F.R. § 561.308. It does not include “the international financial institutions identified in 22 U.S.C. 262r(c)(2), the International Fund for Agricultural Development, or the North American Development Bank.” 31 C.F.R. § 561.308. Treasury anticipates closely modeling the definition of this term under the NDAA on the IFSR.

“Iranian financial institution”

This term is defined in E.O. 13599 as: “a financial institution organized under the laws of Iran or any jurisdiction within Iran (including foreign branches), any financial institution in Iran, any financial institution, wherever located, owned or controlled by the Government of Iran, and any financial institution, wherever located, owned or controlled by any of the foregoing.” Such financial institutions include, but are not limited to, any foreign entity that is engaged in the business of accepting deposits, making, granting, transferring, holding, or brokering loans or credits, or purchasing or selling foreign exchange, securities, or commodity futures or options, or procuring purchasers and sellers thereof, as principal or agent. It includes but is not limited to depository institutions, banks, savings banks, money service businesses, trust companies, insurance companies, securities brokers and dealers, commodity futures and options brokers and dealers, forward contract and foreign exchange merchants, securities and commodities exchanges, clearing corporations, investment companies, employee benefit plans, and holding companies, affiliates, or subsidiaries of any of the foregoing.

“significantly reduced”

The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Energy, and the Director of National Intelligence, will make determinations as to whether any country has significantly reduced the volume of Iranian crude oil purchases. Any determinations will be preceded by a process of rigorous due diligence. The Secretary of State intends to consider relevant evidence in assessing each country’s efforts to reduce the volume of crude oil imported from Iran, including the quantity and percentage of the reduction in purchases of Iranian crude oil over the relevant period, termination of contracts for future delivery of Iranian crude oil, and other actions that demonstrate a commitment to substantially decrease such purchases.

“whether the price and supply of petroleum and petroleum products produced in countries other than Iran is sufficient”

The President will make a determination, based on the reports required by subparagraph (A) of Section 1245(d)(4) of the NDAA, as to whether the price and supply of petroleum and petroleum products produced in countries other than Iran is sufficient to permit purchasers of petroleum and petroleum products from Iran to reduce significantly in volume their purchases from Iran.

As defined by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), petroleum products include unfinished oils, liquefied petroleum gases, pentanes plus, aviation gasoline, motor gasoline, naphtha-type jet fuel, kerosene-type jet fuel, kerosene, distillate fuel oil, residual fuel oil, petrochemical feedstocks, special naphthas, lubricants, waxes, petroleum coke, asphalt, road oil, still gas, and miscellaneous products obtained from the processing of crude oil (including lease condensate), natural gas, and other hydrocarbon compounds. In keeping with the EIA’s standard definition, petroleum products do not include natural gas, liquefied natural gas, biofuels, methanol, and other non-petroleum fuels.

Please see National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 as amended for the definition of "law," in this FAQ.

This will be a case-by-case determination and will require specifics on what “passive holding” entails. As a general matter, we would likely not view the holding of reserves as sanctionable in the following circumstances: the accounts are frozen or restricted, under which the CBI would be allowed to maintain accounts that it had already opened as of December 31, 2011, but would otherwise be unable to direct the disposition of those funds, with ordinary commercial interest payments and routine roll-overs of time deposits under pre-existing instructions being the only new transactions.

No general exception will be provided for payments arising out of pre-existing contracts. The assessment of whether such payments are “significant” will be done on a case-by-case basis in line with the criteria discussed in FAQ #174.

As noted, no general exception will be provided for payments arising out of pre-existing contracts. The assessment of whether such payments are “significant” will be done on a case-by-case basis in line with the criteria discussed in FAQ #174. Regarding payments for food, medicine, and medical devices, the NDAA does not allow sanctions based on transactions for the sale of food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran. Payments related to the export of broader humanitarian items would be dealt with in our analysis of what constitutes a “significant financial transaction” and would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Both blocked and designated entities appear on the SDN List.

“Blocked” persons, in the context of E.O. 13599, appear on the SDN List due to the United States Government’s identification of these entities as the Government of Iran and/or as an Iranian financial institution. Such entities are identified on the SDN List with the tag [IRAN]. For example, Bank Keshavarzi is a Government of Iran owned Iranian financial institution and is identified with the [IRAN] tag. Additionally, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is a non-financial institution that has been identified as the Government of Iran and bears the [IRAN] tag.

“Designated” persons appear on the SDN List due to the United States Government’s having determined that they meet the criteria set forth in any of a number of other Executive Orders concerning, for example, assisting Iran’s weapons of mass destruction development, or aiding international terrorism and designating them for such activities. Such entities are identified on the SDN List with various tags other than [IRAN], such as [NPWMD] or [SDGT]. For example, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines is listed as: “IRISL [NPWMD].”

Note that many entries on the SDN List have more than one tag. For example: Bank Saderat Iran has three tags: [SDGT], indicating that it has been sanctioned for providing services to terrorism; [IRAN], indicating that it is the Government of Iran; and [IFSR], referring to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations to signal to third country financial institutions that engage with entities with this tag that they risk sanctions under CISADA.

The GHRAVITY E.O. follows prior Executive orders issued by the President in response to the commission of human rights abuses by the Governments of Iran and Syria. With the GHRAVITY E.O., the President recognized that the commission of serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran and Syria by their governments, facilitated by computer and network disruption, monitoring, and tracking by those governments, threatens the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The GHRAVITY E.O. targets this activity in order to deter and disrupt such abuses.

The GHRAVITY E.O. blocks (i.e., freezes) the property and interests in property of, among others, any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with or at the recommendation of the Secretary of State, (1) to have operated, or to have directed the operation of, information and communications technology that facilitates computer or network disruption, monitoring, or tracking that could assist in or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran or the Government of Syria; or (2) to have sold, leased, or otherwise provided, directly or indirectly, goods, services, or technology to Iran or Syria likely to be used to facilitate such activities.

U.S. persons in possession of property or interests in property belonging to persons listed in the Annex to the GHRAVITY E.O., or designated in the future by Treasury under the E.O., are obligated to block the property and report the blocking to OFAC within 10 days of blocking. Entities that are 50% or more owned by persons blocked by the GHRAVITY E.O. are also blocked, regardless of whether such entities appear on the Annex or OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (“SDN list”).

The GHRAVITY E.O. targets the provision and use of information and communications technology to facilitate computer or network disruption, monitoring, or tracking that could assist in or enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran or the Government of Syria. It is not intended to block exports of technology that enable the Syrian and Iranian people to freely communicate among themselves and with the outside world.

“Information and communications technology” means any hardware, software, or other product or service primarily intended to fulfill or enable the function of information processing and communication by electronic means, including transmission and display, including via the Internet.

Persons designated under the GHRAVITY E.O. appear on the publicly available Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN list) bearing the [HRIT] tag. U.S. persons are obligated to block property involving the persons bearing the tag [HRIT] on the SDN list, unless the transaction is exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC.

This E.O. does not generally prohibit transactions involving persons that do business with Iran or Syria, unless the person has been designated pursuant to this order. You should consult with the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) regarding exports to companies that do business with Syria.

The measures in this order are designed primarily to address the need to prevent entities located in whole or in part in Iran and Syria from facilitating or committing serious human rights abuses. These measures are not designed to prevent the provision of information and communications technology necessary to enable the Iranian and Syrian people to freely communicate with each other and the outside world. That said, those providing communications technology to Iran or Syria that has the potential to facilitate computer or network disruption, monitoring, or tracking should exercise great caution given Iran and Syria’s use of this technology to assist in the commission of serious human rights abuses.

Yes. For more information regarding exports of goods or technology to persons blocked under the GHRAVITY E.O. please contact OFAC or BIS.

U.S. persons who have been issued licenses involving persons designated under the GHRAVITY E.O. should check with the issuing agency regarding the validity of their licenses.

This Executive Order gives Treasury new authorities. First, it strengthens Treasury’s ability to address behavior by foreign individuals and entities determined to have violated, attempted to violate, conspired to violate, or caused a violation of U.S. sanctions on Syria or Iran. This E.O. also gives Treasury the authority to impose sanctions on foreign persons who have facilitated deceptive transactions for or on behalf of persons subject to U.S. sanctions.

Transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States involving persons sanctioned under this authority are prohibited, effectively cutting the listed persons off from the U.S. marketplace and financial system. By cutting off access to the U.S. marketplace and financial system to such sanctions evaders, Executive Order 13608 provides Treasury with a powerful tool to prevent and deter such behavior and to hold such persons accountable and to convince them to change their behavior. Publicly identifying such persons will also allow U.S. persons to avoid unwittingly engaging in transactions with identified foreign persons that may expose U.S. persons to the risk of sanctions violations.

Executive Order 13608 expands Treasury’s ability to address the behavior of foreign persons determined to have violated or attempted to violate U.S. sanctions on Syria or Iran, or to have facilitated deceptive transactions on behalf of persons subject to those sanctions, where the foreign person had no physical, financial, or other presence in the United States and did not submit to U.S. administrative proceedings. Treasury may use this authority where it appears that a foreign person violated U.S. sanctions on Iran or Syria but may not meet criteria for designation under existing Executive Orders. Executive Order 13608 will provide a means through which Treasury can limit the risk to U.S. commercial and financial systems posed by foreign persons determined to have violated U.S. sanctions on Iran or Syria, or to have engaged in deceptive transactions for or on behalf of persons subject to U.S. sanctions on Iran or Syria.

Such a listing under Executive Order 13608 also provides Treasury with the capability to put the world on notice as to such foreign persons’ activity and the risk of similar future activity. Such identification will help prevent U.S. persons from unwittingly engaging in transactions with foreign persons that may pose a risk of sanctions violations.

If an individual or entity is made subject to sanctions under this authority, U.S. persons generally may no longer provide to or procure from such individual or entity any goods, services, or technology. From a practical standpoint, it means that the sanctioned individual or entity will be cut off from the U.S. commercial and financial systems.

No. Identifications or listings under Executive Order 13608 do not block any assets. However, a U.S. person may not provide or procure goods or services, including financial services, or technology to or from a listed person without authorization from OFAC, unless the transaction is otherwise exempt from regulation under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (e.g., certain travel-related transactions).

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with Executive Order 13608.

A U.S. financial institution must reject any wire transfer involving a listed person and file a report with OFAC within 10 days.

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with Executive Order 13608.

The account is not blocked; however, it is restricted and you cannot allow it to be operated without authorization from OFAC.

Property of an Executive Order 13608-listed person is not blocked, but U.S. persons must have authorization from OFAC to provide or procure such property to or from a listed person, or to provide or procure services to or from a listed person in connection with such property. Additionally, wire transfers involving the assets of an Executive Order 13608-listed person must be rejected.

No. U.S. persons are prohibited from all transactions or dealings described in Executive Order 13608 with persons listed under Executive Order 13608, unless authorized by OFAC or where the transaction is otherwise exempt from regulation under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act .

Like a designation, a U.S. person is prohibited, unless authorized by OFAC or if the underlying transaction is exempt from regulation under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act , from dealing with an identified or listed person. Unlike a blocking designation, the property and the interests in property of a person listed under Executive Order 13608 are not blocked.

Treasury’s authority under Executive Order 13608 has some similarities to Commerce’s authority under the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”). Commerce may impose denial orders on persons (both foreign and U.S.) who have committed violations of the EAR or present an imminent risk of committing a violation. These individuals or organizations are listed on Commerce’s Denied Persons List. It is prohibited to deal with Denied Persons in any export transaction involving items (commodities, software, and technology) subject to the EAR. Treasury’s authority under Executive Order 13608 complements Commerce’s authority by addressing at least two types of sanctions violations that are outside the scope of the EAR. Specifically, Treasury may prohibit the provision of services (in addition to goods and technology) to or from identified or listed persons and Treasury may prohibit transactions or dealings involving goods and technology that are not subject to the EAR. However, unlike Commerce’s authority, Treasury’s authority to sanction or list an individual or entity under Executive Order 13608 may be implemented only with respect to foreign individuals or entities.

No. U.S. persons cannot have any dealings with a person identified or listed under this Executive Order absent specific authorization from OFAC pursuant to the Executive Order 13608, unless the transaction is exempt from regulation under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act .

If a transaction is underway at the time of an Executive Order 13608-listing, a U.S. person must cease dealing with the listed person and the U.S. person is prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings in or related to any goods, services, or technology to or from the listed person, unless the transaction is exempt under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act , or until such time that OFAC authorizes the transactions pursuant to the Executive Order 13608. Additionally, if the transaction underway involves a wire transfer, a U.S. financial institution must reject it and file a report with OFAC within 10 days.

Like all of its programs, OFAC has the authority under Executive Order 13608 to license transactions that are consistent with U.S. foreign policy.

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with Executive Order 13608.

No. Without specific authorization from OFAC, U.S. persons cannot use a listed person to process personal remittances.

The authorities granted under this Executive Order are in addition to current authorities that Treasury has to pursue an enforcement action for violations of U.S. law, and Treasury is not required to pursue a civil enforcement action prior to identifying or listing a person pursuant to Executive Order 13608.

Based on information made available to the Treasury Department, the Department has found that China’s Bank of Kunlun has knowingly facilitated significant transactions for various Iranian-linked banks designated by the United States under our WMD or terrorism authorities.

Upon finding that Bank of Kunlun was knowingly engaged in these activities that are sanctionable under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), the Secretary of the Treasury has prohibited U.S. banks from opening or maintaining correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts in the United States for Bank of Kunlun – effectively cutting off Bank of Kunlun’s direct access to the U.S. financial system.

Since CISADA was signed into law in July 2010, Treasury has engaged with over 120 financial institutions and bank regulators in more than 60 countries all over the world to brief them on the financial provisions of CISADA, and, in cases where we had specific concerns, has shared information about those concerns.

This global engagement campaign has proven highly successful, as we have seen the overwhelming majority of financial institutions with which we have engaged change their business practices – even close any correspondent accounts with U.S. designated Iranian banks – to ensure that their access to the U.S. financial system is not put at risk.

The July 31, 2012 action against Bank of Kunlun was in response to its ongoing relationships with U.S.-designated Iranian banks.

Note: The Treasury Department had also made a CISADA finding against Iraq’s Elaf Islamic Bank on July 31, 2012. On May 17, 2013, Elaf Islamic Bank was delisted and its name was removed from the Part 561 List.

In determining whether transactions or financial services are significant, the Secretary of the Treasury may consider a number of factors related to the transactions or services, including, but not limited to: size, number, and frequency; type, complexity and commercial purpose; the level of awareness or involvement by the bank’s management; whether the activity or payment illustrates a pattern of practice or is an isolated event; the ultimate economic benefit conferred upon the designated person(s); and whether the transactions involved the use of deceptive financial practices to obscure the identities of the parties involved.

Bank of Kunlun

Bank of Kunlun has provided hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of services to U.S. designated Iranian banks. These financial services include maintaining accounts, transferring payments, and serving as the paying bank for letters of credit opened by U.S. designated Iranian banks. The facilitation of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars worth of transactions with U.S. designated Iranian banks over the past year is significant.

In 2012, after Treasury designated Bank Tejarat, Bank of Kunlun transferred hundreds of payments totaling approximately $100 million dollars for accounts it holds for Bank Tejarat and made a payment for an IRGC affiliate pursuant to a letter of credit opened by Bank Tejarat.

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).

To our knowledge, Bank of Kunlun does not currently hold correspondent accounts with U.S. financial institutions.

The July 31, 2012 action prohibits financial institutions in the United States from opening or maintaining correspondent or payable-through accounts for Bank of Kunlun.

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).

A U.S. financial institution that maintains or opens a correspondent or payable-through account for Bank of Kunlun is subject to civil penalties in the amount of up to $250,000 or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater.

Criminal penalties of up to $1 million can be imposed for willful violations, and individuals who willfully violate the prohibition can face up to 20 years in prison.

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).

Any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates significant transactionson behalf of designated Iranian banks – whether directly or indirectly – may face Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act(CISADA) sanctions. OFAC defines “knowingly” in this context as meaning the financial institution knew or should have known of the conduct, circumstance, or result. Bank of Kunlun has demonstrated its willingness to move hundreds of millions dollars on behalf of designated Iranian banks. Accordingly, we would expect heightened due diligence in any dealings with Bank of Kunlun.

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).

The prohibitions implemented as a result of today’s action apply to Bank of Kunlun and all of its offices, around the world.

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).

No. U.S. financial institutions are not required to block or reject financial or trade transactions that involve Bank of Kunlun.

That said, we would expect heightened due diligence in any dealings with Bank of Kunlun given its demonstrated willingness to facilitate transactions on behalf of Iranian banks designated by well over a dozen countries worldwide.

Context Information:  This FAQ is associated with the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA).

Treasury regulations provide a 10-day period in which U.S. financial institutions are authorized to engage in the transactions necessary to close an affected account. If a U.S. financial institution that is in the process of closing an affected account seeks to engage in transactions beyond those already authorized, Treasury may issue specific licenses on a case-by-case basis.

The July 31, 2012 Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) finding prohibits the opening or maintaining of correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts in the United States for Bank of Kunlun. This action does not require the immediate freezing of any assets that Bank of Kunlun may hold within U.S. jurisdiction.

Yes. Executive Order 13622 provides for sanctions on foreign financial institutions found to have knowingly conducted or facilitated significant financial transactions with NIOC (except for sales of refined petroleum products to NIOC that fall below the dollar threshold that could trigger sanctions under the Iran Sanctions Act). Executive Order 13622 also provides authority for the Secretary of the Treasury to block the property and interests in property of persons determined to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, NIOC (as well as other specified entities). Note, however, that these sanctions are not applicable to certain transactions related to the Shah Deniz pipeline project, in which NIOC has a minority stake, under Executive Order 13622. In addition, NIOC was already blocked as an entity of the Government of Iran under  E.O. 13599, which was issued pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), as amended, among other authorities. Nevertheless, as described below, the determination that NIOC is an agent or affiliate of the IRGC carries consequences.

As a result of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (TRA) section 312 determination, NIOC now is also a person described under section 104(c)(2)(E)(i) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) as an agent or affiliate of the IRGC whose property or interests in property are blocked pursuant to IEEPA. This means that foreign financial institutions determined to knowingly facilitate significant transactions or provide significant financial services for NIOC are exposed to CISADA sanctions, including prohibitions or the imposition of strict conditions on the opening or maintaining of correspondent or payable-through accounts in the United States.

In addition, section 302 of TRA requires sanctions on foreign persons determined to have knowingly provided certain material support to, or engaged in significant transactions with, the IRGC or its officials, agents, or affiliates whose property or interest in property are blocked. Consequently, foreign persons that knowingly engage in significant transactions with NIOC after the September 24, 2012 determination could be exposed to sanctions.

An “IRGC” identifier will be added to NIOC’s entry on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List available on OFAC’s website.

As noted below, the potential application of sanctions under section 104(c)(2)(E)(i) of CISADA and section 302 of TRA is affected by whether the country with primary jurisdiction has received a significant reduction exception from the Secretary of State.

Significant transactions, financial services, or material support involving National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for the purchase of Iranian petroleum or petroleum products by a foreign financial institution or entity based in a country that has received a significant reduction exception from the Secretary of State do not carry potential sanctions consequences – under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA), sections 302 and 312 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (TRA), section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA), or sections 1 and 2 of Executive Order 13622. Sections 302 and 312 of TRA authorize the President not to impose sanctions for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran if an exception under subsection 1245(d)(4)(D) of the NDAA applies to the country with primary jurisdiction over the foreign financial institution at the time of the transactions or the provision of services. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any significant transaction for other sanctioned entities (such as Iranian designated banks or other persons described in section 104(c)(2)(E) of CISADA) may result in sanctions, regardless of whether the transaction is for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products and involves NIOC.

This statement means only that, based on the currently available information, Treasury is not able to determine at this time that NITC is an agent or affiliate of the IRGC.

The effect of the determination is similar to the effect of Executive Order 13622 section 1(a), which provides for prohibitions on the opening of and prohibitions or strict conditions on maintaining correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts in the United States for foreign financial institutions determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to have knowingly conducted or facilitated significant financial transactions with NIOC. Executive Order 13622 likewise contains an exception that covers transactions with NIOC conducted or facilitated by foreign financial institutions based in NDAA-excepted jurisdictions. A significant difference between these authorities is that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) exception in the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (TRA) section 312 is limited to transactions or financial services for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran.

The ITSR block the property and interests in property of the Government of Iran and all Iranian financial institutions that come within the possession or control of any U.S. person, including any foreign branch, and prohibit all U.S. persons from dealing with any property interests whatsoever, present, future, or contingent, of persons identified as already blocked pursuant to E.O. 13599 and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

OFAC is adding section 560.211 to the ITSR to implement the blocking prohibitions set forth in E.O. 13599 and the NDAA. New sections 560.212 through 560.214 are being added to set forth certain consequences and requirements that stem from the blocking prohibitions, including, inter alia, the requirement to hold blocked funds in interest-bearing accounts. New paragraphs (e) and (f) are being added to section 560.210 to incorporate two exemptions from the blocking prohibitions that are set forth in E.O. 13599. These exemptions concern the official business of the Federal Government and the property and interests in property of the Government of Iran that were blocked pursuant to Executive Order 12170 of November 14, 1979.

The Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations(ITSR) authorize United States depository institutions to process transfers of funds to or from Iran, or for the direct or indirect benefit of persons in Iran or the Government of Iran , if the transfer arises from, and is ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to, an underlying transaction that has been authorized by a specific or general license issued pursuant to, or set forth in, the ITSR and does not involve debiting or crediting an Iranian account. See 31 CFR 560.516(a).

In addition, the ITSR authorize United States registered brokers or dealers in securities to process transfers of funds to or from Iran, or for the direct or indirect benefit of persons in Iran or the Government of Iran, if the transfer arises from, and is ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to, an underlying transaction that has been authorized by a specific or general license issued pursuant to, or set forth in, the ITSR and does not involve debiting or crediting an Iranian account. See 31 CFR 560.516(b).

The authorizations set forth in section 560.516 of the ITSR do not allow a U.S. person who is authorized to engage in the underlying transaction to deal directly with money service businesses (MSBs) or hawalas, wherever located. However, these authorizations do not preclude United States depository institutions or United States registered brokers or dealers in securities from engaging or dealing with third-country MSBs or hawalas in the processing of the authorized transfers pursuant to section 560.516 of the ITSR.

The ITSR authorize the transfer of funds that are noncommercial and personal in nature to or from Iran or for or on behalf of an individual ordinarily resident in Iran, other than an individual whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to § 560.211, subject to certain restrictions and limitations. See 31 CFR 560.550. Such transfers must be processed by a United States depository institution or a United States registered broker or dealer in securities and not by any other U.S. person. The personal remittances general license does not permit a U.S. person to deal directly with money service businesses (MSBs) or hawalas, wherever located. However, this general license does not preclude United States depository institutions or United States registered brokers or dealers in securities from engaging or dealing with third-country MSBs or hawalas in the processing of the authorized transfers pursuant to section 560.550 of the ITSR.

The hand-carrying of certain noncommercial, personal remittances is also authorized, provided that the individual who is a U.S. person is hand-carrying the funds on his or her behalf, but not on behalf of another person. See 31 CFR 560.550.

The ITSR include several general licenses that newly authorize, or continue to authorize, activities that are otherwise prohibited by the regulations. Categories of activities affected by these changes include, among other things, visa-related transactions, journalistic activities in Iran, the sale of real property in Iran and the transfer of related proceeds to the United States, educational activities (including certain exchange programs), participation in conferences, and the exportation and reexportation of medicine and basic medical supplies to Iran.

The Statement of Licensing Procedure reflects procedures established pursuant to section 413 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (the TRA). These procedures stipulate that, as of the effective date of the TRA, license determinations for complete requests for authorization under this policy shall be made not later than 90 days after receipt by OFAC, with certain exceptions. The Statement of Licensing Policy applies to applications submitted by the following categories of U.S. persons seeking to engage in certain human rights-, humanitarian-, and democracy-related activities with respect to Iran: (1) entities receiving funds from the Department of State to engage in the proposed activity; (2) the Broadcasting Board of Governors; and (3) other appropriate agencies of the United States Government. The ITSR also include separate statements of licensing policy related to the sharing of information over the Internet in Iran and the support of democracy and human rights in Iran and academic and cultural exchange programs.

Pursuant to the restrictions already in place under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”) face restrictions on, or loss of, correspondent and payable-through account access in the United States if they knowingly engage in significant financial transactions with the Central Bank of Iran (“CBI”) or a designated Iranian financial institution, unless an NDAA exception, such as the significant reduction exception, applies. The NDAA significant reduction exception applies if the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and other agencies, has determined that the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI has significantly reduced its purchases of Iranian crude oil during a specified period of time.

Effective February 6, 2013, section 504 amends the NDAA in several ways. Most importantly, it narrows the NDAA’s significant reduction exception to (a) exempt from sanctions only transactions that conduct or facilitate bilateral trade in goods or services between the country granted the exception and Iran, and (b) require that funds owed to Iran as a result of the bilateral trade be credited to an account located in the country granted the exception and not be repatriated to Iran. In addition, it -

(i) eliminates the distinction between state-owned or -controlled FFIs (not including foreign central banks) and private FFIs, thereby expanding the scope of sanctionable transactions for state-owned or -controlled FFIs with the CBI or designated Iranian financial institutions; and

(ii) clarifies that countries that have reduced their Iranian crude oil purchases to zero may continue to receive the significant reduction exception.

The sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran (the “Humanitarian Exception”) is not impacted by section 504 of the TRA.

The purchase or acquisition of petrochemicals from Iran remain sanctionable activities and are not subject to the significant reduction exception.

Yes, the section 504 modifications also narrow the scope of transactions excepted from certain sanctions available under E.O. 13622. Accordingly, foreign financial institutions (FFIs) in countries that are determined by the Secretary of State to have significantly reduced their purchases of Iranian crude oil pursuant to the NDAA, that knowingly conduct significant financial transactions with the National Iranian Oil Company (“NIOC”), the Naftiran Intertrade Company (“NICO”), or otherwise for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran, are only eligible for the significant reduction exception if the FFIs adhere to the bilateral trade restrictions, credit the funds to an account in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI, and do not repatriate the funds to Iran.

Example 1: A FFI in a country which has received a significant reduction exception and with primary jurisdiction over the FFI may facilitate a transaction enabling an oil refinery in that country to purchase crude oil from Iran without having exposure to U.S. correspondent account sanctions, so long as the transaction meets section 504’s bilateral trade requirements, the funds are credited to an account in the FFI in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI, and the funds are not repatriated to Iran.

Example 2: If, however, a FFI in a country which has received a significant reduction exception facilitates a third country’s crude oil purchase – even a third country with a significant reduction exception – from Iran, the FFI would have exposure to sanctions because the transaction was not solely for the FFI host country’s purchase of crude oil from Iran.

Significant financial transactions* knowingly conducted or facilitated by a foreign financial institution (FFI) with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) on or after November 5, 2018 or with a designated Iranian financial institution may be subject to sanctions under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and section 561.203 of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR), 31 C.F.R. Part 561, unless –

(i) the country that has primary jurisdiction over the FFI conducting or facilitating such significant financial transactions has received a significant reduction exception under section 1245(d)(4)(D) of the NDAA; and
(ii) the significant financial transaction is for bilateral trade only, and any funds owed to Iran as a result of such trade are credited to an account at the FFI in the country that has primary jurisdiction over the FFI and are not repatriated to Iran.

However, any FFI that knowingly facilitates significant transactions or provides significant financial services for persons designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction pursuant to E.O.s 13224 or 13382 can be sanctioned under section 104(c) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (“CISADA”) and section 561.201 of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR), even if those transactions are not sanctionable under section 1245(d) of the NDAA, section 561.203 of the IFSR, sections 1244 and 1247 of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012, and Executive Order 13846 for countries that receive an SRE.

* These do not include sales relating to the Humanitarian Exception.

As of February 6, 2013, 20 jurisdictions have been granted a 180-day significant reduction exception.

The following jurisdictions received their 180-day significant reduction exception to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sanctions on September 14, 2012: Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The following jurisdictions received their 180-day significant reduction exception to NDAA sanctions on December 7, 2012: China, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Turkey.

OFAC interprets bilateral trade between Iran and the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI to mean trade in only those goods or services originating in (e.g., produced in or substantially transformed in) –

(i) the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI conducting or facilitating the transaction, or
(ii) Iran (for purposes of the import of Iranian-origin goods or services by the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI),

and the trade in services cannot include brokering transactions involving goods or services from or to third countries.

Furthermore, the goods or services must be exported and sold directly to either the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI (in the case of Iranian-origin goods or services), or Iran (in the case of goods or services originating in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI).

The Humanitarian Exception is not impacted by section 504’s bilateral trade limitations (see FAQ 265).

Section 504 of the TRA requires that, in order for a sanctionable transaction to fall within the bounds of the significant reduction exception, any funds owed to Iran as a result of the bilateral trade transaction must be credited to an “account located in the country with primary jurisdiction over the [FFI].” For purposes of implementing this requirement, OFAC interprets the “account located in the country with primary jurisdiction over the [FFI]” to be an account in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI, and at the same FFI that facilitated the transaction for the importation of goods or services from Iran.

Once the funds are deposited in the FFI, they can be -

(i) used to pay for a purchase by Iran of goods or services originating in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI which are exported and sold directly to Iran, or for the Humanitarian Exception (see Figure 1); or
(ii) transferred to a SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT (see FAQ 260) within that same FFI, in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI, where the funds may be later debited to purchase goods or services originating in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI which are exported and sold directly to Iran, or for the Humanitarian Exception (see Figure 2).

The funds may not be repatriated to Iran.

A SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT is an account set up with conditions and safeguards that require the account to be used only for bilateral trade in goods or services between Iran and the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI, and for sales made under the Humanitarian Exception (see FAQ 265). Funds paid as a result of bilateral trade under the NDAA’s significant reduction exception may be transferred to a SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT, so long as the account is at the same FFI that facilitated or conducted the original transaction, in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI.

Transfers on or after February 6, 2013, of funds deposited in the RECIPIENT ACCOUNT or the SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT to third-country financial institutions are not covered by the National Defense Authorization Act's (NDAA) significant reduction exception, and create exposure to sanctions for FFIs conducting or facilitating such transfers, unless the transfer is to pay a third-country exporter for sales made pursuant to the Humanitarian Exception (see FAQ 265).

In order for the National Defense Authorization Act's (NDAA) significant reduction exception to apply on or after February 6, 2013, funds withdrawn from the RECIPIENT ACCOUNT or SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT at the FFI may only be used to pay for bilateral trade or purchases relating to the Humanitarian Exception. Cash withdrawals from the RECIPIENT ACCOUNT or SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT would be deemed to fall outside of the scope of bilateral trade and would expose the FFI to sanctions. Bank checks written on the account may be used only to pay for bilateral trade or purchases relating to the Humanitarian Exception, and are subject to further restrictions set out in FAQ 263 below.

In order for the National Defense Authorization Act's (NDAA) significant reduction exception to apply on or after February 6, 2013, the person receiving payment (e.g., the manufacturer or service provider) for goods or services being exported to Iran must be

(i) a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI maintaining the accounts containing the bilateral trade funds; or
(ii) an entity organized under the laws of the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI maintaining such accounts.

Furthermore, the person receiving such payment may not be -

(i) the Government of Iran (as defined in 31 CFR Part 561.321) (“GOI”);* or
(ii) a financial institution that appears on the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Part 561, which is maintained on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Web site (https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/office-of-foreign-assets-control-sanctions-programs-and-information).

*The term “Government of Iran” as defined in 31 CFR Part 561.321 includes: (a) The state and the Government of Iran, as well as any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof; (b) Any entity owned or controlled directly or indirectly by the foregoing; (c) Any person to the extent that such person is, or has been, or to the extent that there is reasonable cause to believe that such person is, or has been, acting or purporting to act directly or indirectly on behalf of any of the foregoing; and (d) Any person or entity identified by the Secretary of the Treasury to be the Government of Iran under 31 CFR Part 560.

No. If funds from the RECIPIENT ACCOUNT or the SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT are remitted, directly or indirectly, to Iran, or paid to any person that is the GOI, the FFI would be exposed to sanctions.

The National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) generally exempts from sanctions sales made under the Humanitarian Exception (i.e., the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices from third countries to Iran). Funds deposited in the RECIPIENT ACCOUNT or the SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT can be used to pay for sales made pursuant to the Humanitarian Exception

Yes. On September 24, 2012, NIOC was identified as an agent or affiliate of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (“IRGC”) under section 312 of the TRA , and designated on November 8, 2012, under E.O. 13382 for providing services and support to the IRGC. Accordingly, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA) applies to transactions with NIOC. As a result of these additional sanctions against NIOC, only transactions solely for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from NIOC will fall within the scope of the significant reduction exception. A FFI in a significantly reducing country that is found to knowingly conduct or facilitate other types of significant transactions with NIOC (i.e., transactions unrelated to the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran) would face exposure to CISADA sanctions.

Example 3: If a FFI in a country with a significant reduction exception facilitates a transaction enabling a company in that country to purchase drilling equipment from NIOC, the FFI risks restrictions on, or loss of, correspondent and payable-through account access in the United States, because the transaction was not solely for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran.

As a general matter, we intend to rely, where applicable, on definitions of terms previously included in Treasury regulations.

“Iran”

The Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (31 CFR part 561) (IFSR) define “Iran” as the Government of Iran and the territory of Iran and any other territory or marine area, including the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, over which the Government of Iran claims sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction, provided that the Government of Iran exercises partial or total de facto control over the area or derives a benefit from economic activity in the area pursuant to international arrangements. (31 CFR § 561.329)

“knowingly”

The IFSR define “knowingly” with respect to conduct, a circumstance, or a result, to mean that a person has actual knowledge, or should have known, of the conduct, the circumstance, or the result. (31 CFR § 561.314)

“significant”

As a general matter, in determining for purposes of IFCA and relevant Executive orders whether transactions, financial transactions, or financial services are significant, the Department of the Treasury will rely on the interpretation set out in §561.404 of the IFSR. The IFSR provide that the Department of the Treasury may consider the totality of the facts and circumstances set forth a list of broad factors that can play a role in the determination whether transactions, financial services, and financial transactions are significant, including: (a) the size, number, and frequency of the transactions, financial services, or financial transactions; (b) the nature of the transactions, financial services, or financial transactions, including their type, complexity, and commercial purpose; (c) the level of awareness of management and whether the transactions are part of a pattern of conduct; (d) the nexus of the transactions, financial services, and financial transactions and blocked persons; (e) the impact of the transactions, financial services, and financial transactions on statutory objectives; (f) whether the transactions, financial services, and financial transactions involve deceptive practices; (g) whether the transactions solely involve the passive holdings of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) reserves or repayment by the CBI of official development assistance or the transfer of funds required as a condition of Iran’s membership in an international financial institution; and (h) other relevant factors that the Secretary of the Treasury deems relevant. We anticipate adopting a similar approach to interpreting the term “significant” as it applies to goods or services. (31 C.F.R. §561.404

“transfer”

We anticipate that regulations to be promulgated will define “transfer” to include import, transshipment, export, or reexport, whether direct or indirect. 

There is no general exception for payments, sales, deliveries, or transfers arising out of contracts entered into prior to July 1, 2013, on or after which date certain activities become sanctionable under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA). The assessment of whether such payments are “significant” or result in the transfer of “significant goods or services” or “significant financial support” will be done on a case-by-case basis in line with the criteria discussed above.

IFCA generally excepts from sanctions transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran, as set out in more detail in Q&As 297 and 304.

We anticipate that regulations to be promulgated will define “energy sector of Iran” to include activities involving the exploration, extraction, production, refinement, or liquefaction of petroleum, natural gas, or petroleum products in Iran. (See also discussion of activities involving natural gas in Q&A 297.)

We anticipate that regulations to be promulgated will define “shipping sector of Iran” to include activities involving the transportation of goods by seagoing vessels, including oil tankers and cargo vessels, flying the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or owned, controlled, chartered, or operated directly or indirectly by the Government of Iran.

We anticipate that regulations to be promulgated will define “shipbuilding sector of Iran” to include activities involving the construction of seagoing vessels, including oil tankers and cargo vessels, in Iran.

Persons determined to be part of Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors, or a port operator in Iran for purposes of IFCA section 1244(c) will be identified as such on the SDN List. Knowingly providing certain significant support to persons determined to be part of Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors, or a port operator in Iran will have exposure to sanctions, unless the transaction is excepted (see also Q&A 297).

We anticipate that regulations to be promulgated will define goods and services used in connection with Iran’s energy, shipping and shipbuilding sectors to include:

a. Energy Sector: In the case of Iran’s energy sector, goods or services that contribute to,

  • Iran’s ability to develop its domestic petroleum resources;
  • The maintenance or expansion of Iran’s domestic production of petroleum products; and
  • Iran’s ability to import or export petroleum or petroleum products.

b. Shipping Sector: In the case of Iran’s shipping sector,

  • The provision of crude and product tankers to Iran;
  • The provision of registry, flagging, or classification services of any kind;
  • The supervision of and participation in the repair of ships and their parts;
  • The inspection, testing, and certification of marine equipment materials and components;
  • The carrying out of surveys, inspections, audits and visits, and the issuance, renewal or endorsement of the relevant certificates and documents of compliance, as they relate to ships and shipping; and
  • Any other goods or services relating to the maintenance, supply, bunkering, and docking of vessels flying the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or owned, controlled, chartered, or operated directly or indirectly by, or for or on behalf of the Government of Iran (GOI) or an Iranian person.

c. Shipbuilding Sector: In the case of Iran’s shipbuilding sector,

  • The building and refit of vessels;
  • The provision or refit of items such as (i) steam turbines and their parts for marine propulsions, (ii) marine propulsion engines and parts used solely or principally with them, (iii) other gas turbines for marine propulsion, (iv) ship or boat propellers and blades, and (v) direction finding compasses and other navigational instruments and appliances solely for the maritime industry;
  • Other goods used in connection with building and propulsion of vessels; and
  • Technical assistance and training relating to, and financing of, the building, maintenance or re-fitting of vessels.

Sections 1244(d)(1) and (2) of IFCA make sanctionable certain transactions for the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of such goods and services if they are significant goods or services used in connection with Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors. (See FAQ 289 above for an interpretation of “significant.”) The provision of goods or services identified above could be sanctionable regardless of whether any person involved in the transaction has been determined to be part of Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors.

If a non-Iranian vessel is transporting non-sanctionable goods to or from Iran, the bunkering of that non-Iranian vessel in a country other than Iran — and related payments for these bunkering services — will not be subject to sanctions, only if (1) the transaction either does not involve U.S. persons (including U.S. financial institutions) or U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities, or the transaction is exempt from OFAC regulation or authorized by OFAC if it does involve U.S. persons (including U.S. financial institutions) or U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities, and (2) the transaction does not involve persons on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) that have been designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including designated Iranian financial institutions or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), or activity that is subject to other sanctions authorities.

The following transactions are excepted from the provisions of section 1244 of IFCA.

a. Transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran or for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Iran.

b. The export of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran to a country with a significant reduction exception under section 1245(d)(4)(D)(i) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA 2012).

c. A significant financial transaction conducted or facilitated by a foreign financial institution (FFI), provided that a significant reduction exception under 1245(d)(4)(D)(i) of NDAA 2012 applies to the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI and the financial transaction is for trade in goods or services (i) between Iran and the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI and (ii) not otherwise subject to sanctions under the law of the United States, and any funds owed to Iran as a result of the trade are credited to an account located in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI. We anticipate the implementation of these trade requirements to be similar to the trade requirements set forth in the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR), in particular 31 CFR §561.203(j) and 31 CFR §561.203(k).

d. The sale, supply, or transfer of natural gas to or from Iran. IFCA section 1244, however, does set out sanctions that may apply to FFIs that conduct or facilitate a transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer of natural gas to or from Iran unless the financial transaction is for trade in goods or services (i) between Iran and the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI and (ii) not otherwise subject to sanctions under the law of the United States, and any funds owed to Iran as a result of the trade are credited to an account located in the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI. We anticipate the implementation of these trade requirements to be similar to the trade requirements set forth in the IFSR, in particular 31 CFR §561.203(j) and 31 CFR §561.203(k).

e. Certain activities relating to the pipeline project to supply natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe and Turkey.

For purposes of IFCA, we anticipate that regulations to be promulgated will define graphite, raw or semi-finished metals described in section 1245(d) of IFCA to include steels; aluminum metal and its alloys; base metals of single or complex borides of titanium; beryllium metal and its alloys; boron metal and its alloys; cobalt metal and its alloys; copper infiltrated tungsten metal; copper-beryllium metal; germanium metal and its alloys; graphites; hastelloy; inconel; magnesium metal and its alloys; molybdenum metal and its alloys; neptunium-237 metal and its alloys; nickel metal and its alloys; nickel aluminide metals; niobium metal and its alloys; niobium-titanium filaments; plutonium metal and its alloys; porous nickel metal; silver infiltrated tungsten metal; tantalum metal and its alloys; tellurium metal and its alloys; titanium aluminide metals; titanium metal and its alloys; tungsten metal, tungsten carbide metal, and their alloys; uranium titanium alloy metals; and zirconium metal and its alloys and compounds.

For purposes of IFCA, we anticipate that regulations to be promulgated will define the term “precious metals” to include silver (including silver plated with gold or platinum, unwrought or in semi-manufactured forms, or in powder form); gold (including gold plated with platinum, unwrought or in semi-manufactured forms, or in powder form); base metals or silver, clad with gold, not further worked than semi-manufactured; platinum, unwrought or in semi-manufactured forms, or in powder form; iridium; osmium; palladium; rhodium; ruthenium; base metals, silver or gold, clad with platinum, not further worked than semi-manufactured; waste and scrap of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metals, other waste and scrap containing precious metal or precious-metal compounds, of a kind used principally for the recovery of precious metal.

Pursuant to delegated authority, the Secretary of State issues periodic reports pursuant to section 1245(e) of IFCA with respect to which sectors of the Iranian economy are controlled directly or indirectly by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Given the opaque business environment in Iran and the significant role that the IRGC plays in the Iranian economy, OFAC recommends that a person considering business in Iran or with Iranian persons conduct due diligence sufficient to ensure that it is not knowingly engaging in transactions with the IRGC, or its officials, agents, or affiliates.

A FFI, prior to conducting or facilitating a significant financial transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of the materials listed in 1245(d) – as described in part in Q&A 298– will need to undertake due diligence to ensure that the transaction does not involve the materials being sold, supplied, or transferred, directly or indirectly, to or from Iran for sanctionable uses under section 1245. Pursuant to delegated authority, the Secretary of State issues periodic reports pursuant to section 1245(e) of IFCA, which contains determinations on which materials identified in section 1245(d) are used by Iran as a medium for swap or barter, are listed as assets on the national balance sheet of Iran, or are used in connection with the nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs of Iran.

A person will not be subject to sanctions under section 1245 of IFCA if a determination is made by the Department of the Treasury or the Department of State, as appropriate, that the person has established and enforced official policies, procedures, and controls to ensure that the person does not sell, supply, or transfer to or from Iran, or facilitate or conduct a significant financial transaction to sell supply, or transfer to or from Iran, materials listed in section 1245 as sanctioned under section 1245. The Department of the Treasury or the Department of State, as appropriate, will make this determination on a case by case basis as part of an investigation or enforcement action by the relevant Department.

A number of insurance activities are subject to sanctions under IFCA, including knowingly providing insurance, reinsurance, or underwriting services to or for Iranian persons on the SDN List to or for any person designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or WMD proliferation, or for activities with respect to Iran for which sanctions have been imposed (e.g., knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran). However, the provision of insurance, reinsurance, or underwriting services to non-Iranian persons on the SDN List is generally not sanctionable under section 1246(a)(1) of IFCA if the provision of insurance, reinsurance or underwriting services is not to or for an Iranian person on the SDN List, to or for any person designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or WMD proliferation, or for any activity with respect to Iran for which sanctions have been imposed.

Yes. IFCA includes the following exceptions to insuring, reinsuring, or underwriting sanctioned activities.

a. Transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran or for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Iran can be insured, reinsured, or underwritten.
b. A person that provides insurance, reinsurance, or underwriting services to sanctioned activity, if a determination is made by the Department of the Treasury or the Department of State, as appropriate, that the person has established and enforced official policies, procedures, and controls to ensure that the person does not underwrite or enter into a contract to provide insurance or reinsurance for activities targeted under section 1246 of IFCA. The Department of the Treasury or the Department of State, as appropriate, will make this determination on a case by case basis as part of an investigation or enforcement action by the relevant Department.

IFCA was signed into law on January 2, 2013, as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, and provides for several new sanctions related to Iran. IFCA authorizes broad sanctions on: certain activities related to Iran’s energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors; the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of precious and certain other metals, graphite, coal, and industrial software; the provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance to activities and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions against Iran; financial transactions involving sanctioned Iranian individuals and entities; and persons involved in the diversion of goods intended for the Iranian people. Most of the IFCA provisions target conduct occurring on or after July 1, 2013.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury will be issuing regulations to implement certain provisions in IFCA. In addition, the U.S. Department of State expects to adopt an interpretation of IFCA similar to that set forth below.

Yes. So long as the transaction does not involve a designated individual or entity, banks on the Part 561 List located on OFAC’s website, or otherwise proscribed conduct, such transactions are not sanctionable under U.S. law. Furthermore, there is no requirement under U.S. law that agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices be routed through the country with the significant reduction exception.

Such a payment mechanism is not the exclusive mechanism for the purchase of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices under U.S. law. Other options include receiving payment from a third-country account of the CBI or a non-designated Iranian financial institution.

The Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations describe the exception for transactions relating to agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices in 31 CFR § 561.203(g) and Note 2 to 51 CFR § 561.203. Additional information and clarifying guidance about humanitarian assistance and related exports to the Iranian people can be found in the Clarifying Guidance document.

Any company involved in loading or unloading cargo in Iran should exercise great caution to avoid engaging in transactions with entities designated by the United States, including the Tidewater Middle East Co. which was designated for its involvement in Iran’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. However, to the extent that a shipping company transacts with port operators in Iran that have been identified as such under IFCA but not otherwise designated, and as long as such payments are limited strictly to routine fees including port dues, docking fees, or cargo handling fees, paid for the loading and unloading of non-sanctioned goods at Iranian ports, we anticipate that such transactions would not be considered significant transactions for the purposes of IFCA. Non-routine and/or large payments or fees that materially exceed standard industry rates could expose a person to sanctions. Furthermore, providing any port operator in Iran with any significant financial, material, technological, or other support could expose a person to sanctions.

No. The GL for medical devices appearing at section 560.530(a)(3)(i) of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) authorizes covered persons, as defined in section 560.530(e)(4), to export or reexport to Iran medical devices as defined in section 560.530(e)(3) of the ITSR, except for items on the List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization, which is maintained on OFAC’s website. This list will be published in the Federal Register, as will any changes to the list.

No. While the GL under section 560.530(a)(3)(i) of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) authorizes exports or reexports of certain medical devices to most entities in Iran, it does not authorize exports or reexports to military, intelligence, or law enforcement purchasers or importers, nor does it authorize exports or reexports to persons whose property and interests in property are blocked under any of the programs administered by OFAC, except for persons whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599 and the ITSR. When engaging in activities pursuant to this GL, exporters and reexporters are expected to undertake due diligence regarding all parties to the transactions, just as they would when acting pursuant to a specific license issued by OFAC.

First, General License (GL) D-1 expands the authorization in GL D to permit the exportation, reexportation, or provision, directly or indirectly, to Iran of certain personal communications software, hardware, and related services subject to Commerce's Export Administration Regulations, 15 C.F.R. parts 730 through 774 (“EAR”) (rather than just the exportation or reexportation from the United States or by a U.S. person of such software, hardware, and services). See GL D-1, paragraphs (a)(2)(i) & (a)(3). For purposes of GL D-1, the term “provision” could include, for example, an in-country transfer of covered software or hardware. The general license now authorizes, for example, a non-U.S. person located outside the United States to export certain hardware and software subject to the EAR to Iran. See FAQ 341.

Second, GL D-1 adds new authorizations for the exportation, reexportation, or provision, directly or indirectly, by a U.S. person located outside the United States to Iran of certain software and hardware not subject to the EAR. See GL D-1, paragraphs (a)(2)(ii) & (a)(3). The general license now authorizes, for example, a U.S. company to export to Iran, from a location outside the United States, certain hardware or software that is not subject to the EAR (including foreign-origin hardware or software containing less than a de minimis amount of U.S. controlled content). See FAQ 342.

Third, a new Note has been added to paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) clarifying that the authorization in those paragraphs includes the exportation, reexportation, or provision, directly or indirectly, of the authorized items by an individual leaving the United States for Iran. GL D-1 also adds a new authorization for the importation by an individual into the United States of certain hardware and software previously exported by the individual to Iran pursuant to other provisions of GL D-1 or 31 C.F.R. § 560.540. See GL D-1, paragraph (a)(5). The general license now authorizes, for example, an individual to carry a smartphone that falls within the scope of the GL D-1 authorization while traveling to and from Iran. See FAQ 343.

Finally, to further ensure that the sanctions on Iran do not have an unintended chilling effect on the willingness of companies to make available certain publicly available, no cost personal communications tools to persons in that country, GL D-1 adds a new authorization related to the potential recipients of certain publicly available, no cost services and software. See GL D-1, paragraph (a)(6).

Notwithstanding these changes, nothing in this general license relieves an exporter from compliance with the export license requirements of another Federal agency.

Qualifying services or software must be “incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet.” In addition, qualifying software under paragraph (a)(2) must meet the stated export control-related criteria. Both paragraphs provide an illustrative but not exhaustive list of the types of services that are authorized: “instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, and blogging.” See FAQ 344 and OFAC’s Interpretive Guidance and Statement of Licensing Policy on Internet Freedom in Iran (March 20, 2012), available at https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/internet_freedom.pdf

Qualifying services or software need not be specifically listed in the Annex in order to be authorized by paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2), provided that they otherwise meet the requirements of paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2).

No. The Annex lists software, hardware, and related services determined to be “incident to personal communications” for purposes of the authorization in paragraph (a)(3) of GL D-1.

If you require assistance interpreting the authorizations contained in GL D-1 and how they apply to your situation, please contact OFAC’s Licensing Division online at http://www.home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/ofac-license-application-page, by phone at 202-622-2480, or by email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov.

 

Yes, for purposes of the authorities administered by OFAC, amendments made by General License (GL) D-1 authorize the exportation, reexportation, or provision of certain hardware and software subject to the EAR by non-U.S. persons outside the United States. See GL D-1, paragraphs (a)(2)(i) & (a)(3). For example, a non-U.S. person manufacturer of smartphones that are (a) subject to the EAR because they contain more than a de minimis amount of U.S. controlled content and (b) within the scope of the GL D-1 authorization may export the smartphones from its third-country manufacturing facility directly or indirectly to Iran. See FAQ 337.

Yes. Amendments made by General License (GL) D-1 authorize the exportation, reexportation, or provision to Iran by U.S. persons located outside of the United States of certain specified hardware and software items that are not subject to the EAR. See GL D-1, paragraphs (a)(2)(ii) & (a)(3). GL D-1 also extends this authorization to an entity owned or controlled by a U.S. person and established or maintained outside the United States (“a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity”), subject to the conditions set forth in 31 C.F.R. § 560.556. See GL D-1, Note 2 to paragraph (a). Under these amendments, for example, an overseas branch of a U.S. company or a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity may export to Iran, from a location outside the United States, certain hardware or software that is not subject to the EAR (including foreign-origin hardware or software containing less than a de minimis amount of U.S. controlled content) if the hardware or software is within the scope of the GL D-1 authorization. These amendments also authorize the exportation, reexportation, or provision of certain fee-based software that is not subject to the EAR because it is described in section 734.3(b) of the EAR. See FAQ 337. Section 734.3(b) of the EAR describes “publicly available” software for purposes of those regulations.

Yes. As amended, General License (GL) D-1 authorizes both the exportation, reexportation, or provision to Iran and the importation into the United States by an individual entering the United States directly or indirectly from Iran, of software authorized by 31 C.F.R. § 560.540 paragraph (a)(2) and software and hardware authorized by paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) of GL D-1, provided that the items were previously exported, reexported, or provided by the individual to Iran. See GL D-1, paragraph (a)(5) and the Note to paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3). See FAQ 337.

The General License (GL) in § 560.540 authorizes the exportation from the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located, to persons in Iran of no-cost services incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet and no-cost software necessary to enable such services. Please also see OFAC’s Interpretive Guidance and Statement of Licensing Policy on Internet Freedom in Iran (March 20, 2012). See https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/internet_freedom.pdf Paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of GL D-1 go beyond § 560.540 by, among other things, authorizing fee-based services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet.

In addition, to further ensure that the sanctions on Iran do not have an unintended chilling effect on the willingness of companies to make available certain publicly available, no cost personal communications tools to persons in Iran, pursuant to paragraph (a)(6) of GL D-1, the exportation, reexportation, or provision to the Government of Iran of certain publicly available, no-cost services and software described in § 560.540(a) or categories (6) through (11) of the Annex to GL D-1 is authorized. U.S. persons continue generally to be prohibited from exporting goods and services to persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V, other than Government of Iran end-users blocked solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599. See GL D-1 paragraph (b)(2). Prohibited end-users include Iranian persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to OFAC authorities relating to WMD proliferation, terrorism, and human rights abuses. In addition, GL D-1 does not authorize any action or activity involving any item (including information) subject to Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR) that is prohibited by, or otherwise requires a license under, part 774 of the EAR or participation in any transaction involving a person whose export privileges have been denied pursuant to part 764 or 766 of the EAR, without authorization from the Department of Commerce.

In general, the payment requirements under General License (GL) D-1 are the same as for all other general licenses under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”). Section 560.516 of the ITSR authorizes U.S. depository institutions to process transfers of funds to or from Iran, or for the direct or indirect benefit of persons in Iran or the Government of Iran, if the transfer arises from, and is ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to, an underlying transaction that has been authorized by a specific or general license issued pursuant to the ITSR and does not involve debiting or crediting an Iranian account. 31 C.F.R. § 560.516(a).

Due diligence programs should be tailored to the particular risks encountered by exporters. As a general matter, companies selling fee-based services, software, or hardware authorized by General License (GL) D-1 should undertake reasonable, risk-based measures designed to ensure that they do not export their products to persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to any sanctions program administered by OFAC, regardless of whether the Government of Iran or other end-user appears on OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (or any of OFAC's other sanctions lists). See FAQ 337.

U.S. sanctions on Iran do not impose any restrictions as to the use of the Farsi language. See FAQ 337.

No. General License D-1 does not authorize the employment of persons in Iran to facilitate sales, the maintenance of a physical sales presence in Iran, or the utilization of Iranian marketing services. However, certain copy-ready advertising materials are exempt from the prohibitions of the ITSR to the extent they qualify as information or informational materials pursuant to 31 C.F.R. § 560.210(c). See FAQ 337.

The specified items excluded from the scope of the agricultural commodities general license are: castor beans, castor bean seeds, certified pathogen-free eggs (unfertilized or fertilized), dried egg albumin, live animals (excluding live cattle, shrimp, and shrimp eggs), embryos (excluding cattle embryos), Rosary/Jequirity peas, non-food-grade gelatin powder, peptones and their derivatives, super absorbent polymers, western red cedar, and all fertilizers.

The persons excluded from the scope of the agricultural commodities general license are Iranian military, intelligence, or law enforcement purchasers or importers. In addition, the agricultural commodities general license does not authorize exports or reexports to persons whose property and interests in property are blocked under any of the programs administered by OFAC, except for persons whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to  Executive Order 13599and the ITSR.

Exports or reexports involving the excluded items or excluded persons discussed above continue to require the level of review afforded by specific licensing and therefore are not authorized by the agricultural commodities general license.

Yes. The definitions of the terms “agricultural commodities,” “medicine,” and “medical device” used in the relevant general licenses in the ITSR include, in the case of items subject to Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR), items that are designated as EAR99 and, in the case of items not subject to the EAR, items that would be designated as EAR99 if they were located in the United States. For example, under the agricultural commodities general license, a company located in the United States would be authorized to arrange for the exportation from a third country to Iran of agricultural commodities produced in the third country if those commodities would be designated as EAR99 if they were located in the United States, provided that all conditions of the general license are otherwise satisfied.

Yes. A non-U.S. person may export or reexport agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to Iran under the relevant general licenses in the ITSR, provided that the items are subject to Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR); and all conditions of the relevant general license are otherwise satisfied. For example, a non-U.S. person would be authorized under the medicine and medical devices general license to arrange for the exportation or reexportation to Iran of EAR99 medicines located in the United States or a third country.

In addition, an entity owned or controlled by a U.S. person and established or maintained outside the United States (a “U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity”) may export or reexport agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Iran under the relevant general licenses in the ITSR (including both items subject to the EAR and items not subject to the EAR), provided that all conditions of the relevant general license are otherwise satisfied. For example, a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity would be authorized under the medicine and medical devices general license to arrange for the reexport to Iran of EAR99 medicines, as well as the export to Iran of medicines not subject to the EAR (e.g., medicines produced outside the U.S. by a non-U.S. person with no controlled U.S. content) that would be designated as EAR99 if they were located in the United States.

If an export or reexport is not authorized by general license, any U.S. person, or non-U.S. person exporting items subject to Commerce's Export Administration Regulations (EAR); and designated as EAR99, wherever located, or U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity may apply for a specific license. For example, a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity may apply for a specific license for the export or reexport to Iran of agricultural commodities excluded from the scope of the agricultural commodities general license, such as live animals.

U.S. persons continue to be authorized to provide brokerage services on behalf of U.S. persons for the sale and exportation or reexportation by U.S. persons of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Iran, provided that the sale and exportation or reexportation itself is authorized by either general or specific license.

OFAC will no longer issue specific licenses for exports or reexports that are covered by the agricultural commodities general license in the ITSR.

However, a small number of specified agricultural commodities and certain persons are excluded from the agricultural commodities general license and continue to require the level of review afforded by specific licensing. As a result, persons seeking authorization for the exportation or reexportation to Iran of castor beans, castor bean seeds, certified pathogen-free eggs (unfertilized or fertilized), dried egg albumin, live animals (excluding live cattle, shrimp, and shrimp eggs), embryos (excluding cattle embryos), Rosary/Jequirity peas, non-food-grade gelatin powder, peptones and their derivatives, super absorbent polymers, western red cedar, or all fertilizers, or for the exportation or reexportation of any agricultural commodities to Iranian military, intelligence, or law enforcement purchasers or importers, must still apply for a specific license from OFAC.

The agricultural commodities general license in the ITSR also does not authorize exports or reexports to persons whose property and interests in property are blocked under any of the programs administered by OFAC, except for persons whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599 and the ITSR.

For purposes of the relevant exclusion from the agricultural commodities general license in the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations(ITSR), the term “bioactive peptide” means an item that must be less than 50 amino acids in length and bioactive (antioxidant, antiallergic, antimicrobial, antithrombotic, antiatherogenic, hypoglycaemic, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, cytostatic, immunosuppressive properties, or hepatoprotective properties.)

No.  Provided that the relevant transactions do not involve the U.S. financial system or persons on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), payments of charges for services rendered by the Government of Iran in connection with the overflight of Iran or landing in Iran of aircraft owned by a non-U.S. person and registered outside the United States are not subject to sanctions under U.S. law.  The involvement of persons on the SDN List, including Iranian financial institutions or airlines designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224 or Executive Order 13382, would create sanctions exposure for participants to such transactions.

U.S. persons and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities cannot participate in transactions related to the payment of overflight or landing fees to the Government of Iran, nor can such transactions transit the U.S. financial system, unless the transactions fall within the scope of 31 C.F.R. § 560.522 or a specific license issued by OFAC and the payments in connection with such authorized transactions are consistent with 31 C.F.R. § 560.516

The provision of goods and services for the conduct of the official business of the diplomatic missions of the Government of Iran located outside the United States or for the personal use of the employees of the missions, including financial services such as the opening of a bank account, by a non-U.S. person would not be sanctionable under U.S. law, provided that such goods and services do not involve persons on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (other than any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of Iran listed solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599 or any Iranian depository institution listed solely pursuant to Executory Order 13599) or other activities that would be sanctionable under U.S. law.

Further, the provision of goods and services to the diplomatic missions of the Government of Iran outside the United States cannot involve U.S. persons or U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities, or the provision to the Government of Iran of goods, technology, or services subject to the prohibitions of 31 C.F.R. §§ 560.204-205, nor can related transactions transit the U.S. financial system, unless the activities and/or transactions are authorized by OFAC.

The amendment primarily expands the scope of medical devices that can be exported or reexported to Iran without specific authorization. It authorizes the exportation or reexportation to Iran of all items meeting the definition of the term “medical device” as defined in section 560.530(e)(3) of the ITSR, except for certain excluded persons as well as certain medical devices that are excluded from the authorization and published on the List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization. The exportation and reexportation of items on the List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization or to excluded persons requires a specific license from OFAC. The amendment also adds shrimp and shrimp eggs to the list of agricultural commodities that may be exported to Iran without specific authorization, other than to certain excluded persons.

In addition, the amendment authorizes covered persons to provide training, other than to certain excluded persons, necessary and ordinarily incident to the safe and effective use of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices exported or reexported pursuant to section 560.530 of the ITSR. It also authorizes the importation into the United States of certain U.S.-origin agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices that were previously exported or reexported to Iran pursuant to the authorizations in section 560.530 of the ITSR and that are broken, defective, or non-operational, or are connected to product recalls, adverse events, or other safety concerns. Additionally, the amendment authorizes the exportation or reexportation to Iran, and storage within Iran for future use, of a limited number of replacement parts for certain medical devices previously exported or reexported to Iran pursuant to an OFAC license to replace broken or non-operational components or where it is ordinarily incident and necessary to proper preventative maintenance of the medical device, and the exportation or reexportation of software and services related to the operation, maintenance, and repair of medical devices.

An exporter should refer to the List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization, which is maintained on OFAC’s website, on the Iran Sanctions page. An exporter must obtain a specific license from OFAC to export or reexport any medical device on that list to Iran. An exporter must also obtain a specific license for exports to excluded persons as defined in section 560.530(a)(3)(iv) of the ITSR.

OFAC considers training activities including the dissemination of product information on the intended use of the device; comparisons of other devices and options; and the manufacturer’s instructions for use, labeling, warning, contraindications, storage, and maintenance of the medicine or device to be necessary and ordinarily incident to the safe and effective use of medicines and medical devices. Other examples include training health care professionals to use medical devices safely in order to achieve the desired patient outcome, training on procedures for cleaning and inspecting devices regularly to ensure they are functioning correctly, ongoing training and periodic testing to ensure users stay competent, and training on procedures for adverse events or device failure.

OFAC amended section 560.306 of the ITSR to clarify that the terms “goods of Iranian origin” and “Iranian-origin goods” do not include the following categories of goods, provided that such goods were not grown, produced, manufactured, extracted, or processed in Iran: (i) goods exported or reexported to Iran under an authorization issued pursuant to the ITSR (e.g., a medical device or a personal communications device exported or reexported to Iran pursuant to a general or specific license issued pursuant to the ITSR) and that subsequently have been reexported from and are located outside of Iran, or (ii) goods transported on a vessel or aircraft that passed though Iranian territorial waters or stopped at a port or place in Iran en route to a destination outside of Iran and that have not otherwise come into contact with Iran.

Goods have come into contact with Iran, if, for example, they are removed from a port or airport in Iran or are processed through Iranian customs, or if they transit Iran by truck or train en route to a destination outside of Iran.

Yes. These goods have otherwise come in contact with Iran and thus do not fall within the carve-out to the definition of Iranian-origin goods or goods of Iranian-origin at section 560.306 (b)(2) of the ITSR . However, if these goods are being exported or reexported to Iran under an authorization issued pursuant to the ITSR and they subsequently are reexported from and are located outside of Iran, they would fall within the carve-out to the definition of Iranian-origin goods or goods of Iranian-origin at section 560.306(b)(1) of the ITSR.

On August 2, 2017, the President signed into law the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (Public Law 115-44) (CAATSA), which, among other things, imposes new sanctions on Iran. Section 105 of CAATSA requires the imposition of sanctions applicable pursuant to the global terrorism Executive Order 13224 on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and foreign persons that are officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC. Consistent with that requirement of CAATSA, OFAC designated the IRGC on October 13, 2017, pursuant to E.O. 13224 for providing support to the IRGC-Qods Force, which previously had been designated for its support to various terrorist groups. In addition, effective October 31, 2017, OFAC amended the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 594, to block the property and interests in property of foreign persons that have been identified by OFAC as officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC.

Before October 13, 2017, the IRGC was blocked under Executive Order 13382 (relating to WMD proliferation), 13553 (relating to Iranian human rights abuses), and 13606 (relating to Iranian and Syrian human rights abuses via information technology), and persons who engaged in certain activity involving the IRGC were already subject to secondary sanctions. OFAC’s October 13, 2017 action designating the IRGC under E.O. 13224 (relating to counterterrorism) and OFAC’s October 31, 2017 action under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 594 (GTSR), to block the property and interests in property of foreign persons that have been identified by OFAC as officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC carry additional consequences that limit certain activities with respect to the IRGC and foreign persons identified by OFAC as officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC. Certain exemptions available under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) relating to personal communications, humanitarian donations, information or informational materials, and travel do not apply to transactions with persons designated under E.O. 13224 or otherwise blocked pursuant to the GTSR, which include the IRGC and foreign persons that have been identified by OFAC as officials, agents, or affiliates of the IRGC.

In light of the tragic earthquake in Iran, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) would like to highlight some of the ways in which Americans can provide humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people, consistent with the Iran-related sanctions administered by OFAC.

General License E, issued by OFAC in 2013 pursuant to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR), authorizes nongovernmental organizations to export services to Iran in support of activities related to humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in Iran, including the provision of relief services related to natural disasters, the provision of donated health-related services, and the distribution of donated articles (such as food, clothing, and medicine) intended to be used to relieve human suffering in Iran. In addition, nongovernmental organizations are authorized to transfer up to $500,000 per year in support of these activities, subject to certain conditions, including reporting requirements.

U.S. individuals may raise funds outside of Iran in support of relief services provided by nongovernmental organizations pursuant to General License E, and may make financial donations to such nongovernmental organizations in support of authorized activities. General License E does not, however, authorize U.S. individuals to transfer financial donations directly to Iran or nongovernmental organizations in Iran or to organize disaster relief services in Iran such as fire, rescue, or medical services. U.S. persons interested in doing so should consider working through a nongovernmental organization in order to conduct such activity.

In addition, donations of articles such as food, clothing, and medicine intended to be used to relieve human suffering are exempt from the sanctions on trade between the United States and Iran, as long as the donations are not being sent to the Government of Iran or any Iranian individual or entity on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

Finally, U.S. financial institutions are authorized to process noncommercial, personal remittances to Iran, which may include a personal transfer of funds from the United States to Iran to assist a friend or family member, provided that the transfer complies with the requirements of sections 560.516 and 560.550 of the ITSR.

In accordance with his May 8, 2018 decision to cease the United States’ participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to reimpose all of the U.S. sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, the President issued E.O. 13846 on August 6, 2018 to reimpose relevant provisions of E.O. 13574 of May 23, 2011; E.O. 13590 of November 20, 2011; E.O. 13622 of July 30, 2012; and E.O. 13645 of June 3, 2013, that had been revoked by E.O. 13716 of January 16, 2016. Consistent with guidance issued by the Department of the Treasury on May 8, 2018 , E.O. 13846 reimposes specified sanctions relating to Iran following relevant wind-down periods, i.e., on or after August 7, 2018 or November 5, 2018, depending on the activity involved. In addition, to provide clarity and consolidate relevant authorities into a single E.O., E.O. 13846 revokes E.O.s 13716 and 13628 and continues in effect sanctions authorities provided for in those E.O.s. E.O. 13846 also broadens the scope of certain provisions contained in those E.O.s, as outlined in FAQ 601 below.

E.O. 13846 reimposes relevant blocking sanctions, correspondent and payable-through account sanctions, and menu-based sanctions previously provided for in E.O.s 13574, 13590, 13622, and 13645, which were revoked by E.O. 13716, and continues in effect sanctions authorities provided for in E.O.s 13628 and 13716. As incorporated into E.O. 13846, these measures include implementing authority for and additional tools related to: the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as amended (ISA), the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, as amended (CISADA), the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA), and the Iran Freedom Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA) (see FAQ 605). As a general matter, E.O. 13846 incorporates exceptions to these sanctions, including for transactions for the provision of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran, to the same extent such exceptions applied under the prior E.O.s. E.O. 13846 also broadens the scope of certain provisions contained in those E.O.s, as outlined in FAQ 601 below.

Section 1 of E.O. 13846 authorizes blocking sanctions on persons determined:

  • i. On or after August 7, 2018, to have provided material support for, or goods or services in support of, the purchase or acquisition of U.S. bank notes or precious metals by the Government of Iran (GOI) (subsection 1(a)(i));
  • ii. On or after November 5, 2018, to have provided material support for, or goods or services in support of, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), or the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) (subsection 1(a)(ii));
  • iii. On or after November 5, 2018, to have provided material support for, or goods or services in support of:
    • a. Any Iranian person on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) (other than an Iranian depository institution whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599) (subsection 1(a)(iii)(A)); or
      b. Any other person on the SDN List whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection 1(a) of E.O. 13846 or E.O. 13599 (other than an Iranian depository institution whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599) (subsection 1(a)(iii)(B)); or

    iv. Pursuant to the relevant statutory authorities in IFCA, to be:

    • a. Part of Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors (subsection 1(a)(iv)(A));
    • b. A port operator in Iran (subsection 1(a)(iv)(B)); or
    • c. A person that knowingly provides significant support to a person determined to be part of Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors, a port operator in Iran, or an Iranian person included on the SDN List (other than a person described in section 1244(c)(3) of IFCA)) (subsection 1(a)(iv)(C)).

Section 2 of E.O. 13846 authorizes correspondent and payable-through account sanctions on foreign financial institutions (FFIs) determined to have knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant financial transaction:


i. On or after August 7, 2018, for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with Iran’s automotive sector (subsection 2(a)(i));
ii. On or after November 5, 2018, on behalf of an Iranian person on SDN List (other than an Iranian depository institution whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599) or any other person on the SDN List whose property is blocked pursuant to subsection 1(a) of E.O. 13846 or E.O. 13599 (other than an Iranian depository institution whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599) (subsection 2(a)(ii));
iii. On or after November 5, 2018, with NIOC or NICO, except for the sale or provision to NIOC or NICO of the products described in section 5(a)(3)(A)(i) of ISA provided that the fair market value of such products is lower than the applicable dollar threshold specified in that provision (subsection 2(a)(iii));
iv. On or after November 5, 2018, for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran (subsection 2(a)(iv)); and
v. On or after November 5, 2018, for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petrochemical products from Iran (subsection 2(a)(v)).

Section 3 of E.O. 13846 authorizes menu-based sanctions on persons determined to:

i. Have knowingly engaged, on or after August 7, 2018, in a significant transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with Iran’s automotive sector (subsection 3(a)(i));
ii. Have knowingly engaged, on or after November 5, 2018, in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran (subsection 3(a)(ii));
iii. Have knowingly engaged, on or after November 5, 2018, in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petrochemical products from Iran (subsection 3(a)(iii)); or
iv. Be a successor entity to a person determined to meet any of the criteria set out in subsections 3(a)(i)-(a)(iii) of E.O. 13846 (subsection 3(a)(iv)); or
v. Own or control a person determined to meet any of the criteria set out in subsections 3(a)(i)-(a)(iii) of E.O. 13846 and to have had knowledge that the person engaged in the activities referred to in the relevant subsection (subsection 3(a)(v)); or
vi. Be owned or controlled by, or under common ownership or control with, a person determined to meet any of the criteria set out in sections 3(a)(i)-3(a)(iii) of E.O. 13846, and knowingly engaged in the activities referred to in the relevant subsection (subsection 3(a)(vi)).

Section 4 of E.O. 13846 provides authority for the heads of relevant agencies of the U.S. government to implement the menu-based sanctions provided for in section 3.

Section 5 of E.O. 13846 provides authority for the Treasury Department to implement the menu-based sanctions provided for in ISA, CISADA, TRA, IFCA, and section 3 of E.O. 13846

Section 6 of E.O. 13846 authorizes correspondent or payable-through account sanctions or blocking sanctions on FFIs that are determined to have, on or after August 7, 2018: (a) knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant transaction related to the purchase or sale of Iranian rials or a derivative, swap, future, forward, or other similar contract whose value is based on the exchange rate of the Iranian rial (subsection 6(a)(i)); or (b) maintained significant funds or accounts outside the territory of Iran denominated in the Iranian rial (subsection 6(a)(ii)).

Section 7 of E.O. 13846 carries forward sections 2 and 3 of E.O. 13628 and subsection 3(c) of E.O. 13716 (see FAQ 602 below) by providing for blocking sanctions on persons determined to:

i. Have engaged, on or after January 2, 2013, in corruption or other activities relating to the diversion of goods, including agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices, intended for the people of Iran (subsection 7(a)(i));
ii. Have engaged, on or after January 2, 2013, in corruption or other activities relating to the misappropriation of proceeds from the sale or resale of goods described in subsection 7(a)(1) of E.O. 13846 (subsection 7(a)(ii));
iii. Have knowingly, on or after August 10, 2012, transferred or facilitated the transfer of, goods or technologies to Iran, any entity organized under the laws of Iran, or otherwise subject to the jurisdiction of the GOI, or any national of Iran for use in or with respect to Iran, that are likely to be used by the GOI or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, or by any person on behalf of the GOI or any such agencies or instrumentalities, to commit serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran (subsection 7(a)(iii));
iv. Have knowingly, on or after August 10, 2012, provided services, including services relating to hardware, software, or specialized information or professional consulting, engineering, or support services with respect to goods or technologies that have been transferred to Iran and that are likely to be used by the GOI or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, or by any person on behalf of the GOI or any such agencies or instrumentalities, to commit serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran (subsection 7(a)(iv));
v. Have engaged in censorship or other activities with respect to Iran, on or after June 12, 2009, that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran, or that limit access to print or broadcast media, including the facilitation or support of intentional frequency manipulation by the GOI or an entity owned or controlled by the GOI that would jam or restrict an international signal (subsection 7(a)(v));
vi. Have materially assisted or provided other support for activities listed in subsections 7(a)(i)-(a)(v) of E.O. 13846 (subsection 7(a)(vi)); or
vii. Be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant section 7 of E.O. 13846 (subsection 7(a)(vii)).

Section 8 of E.O. 13846 continues in effect the sanctions previously contained in section 4 of E.O. 13628, which prohibit an entity owned or controlled by a U.S. person and established or maintained outside the United States (a “U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity”) from knowingly engaging in any transaction, directly or indirectly, with the GOI or any person subject to the jurisdiction of the GOI, if that transaction would be prohibited by specified authorities if engaged in by a U.S. person or in the United States (see FAQs 621-623).

Section 9 of E.O. 13846 provides that it revokes and supersedes E.O.s 13628 and 13716 (see FAQ 602).

Sections 10-22 of E.O. 13846 contain exceptions, definitions, and other implementing provisions related to the sanctions in the E.O.

E.O. 13846 is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time (EDT) on August 7, 2018. However, certain sanctions set out in E.O. 13846 apply only to activities that take place on or after November 5, 2018, as set out in FAQ 598 above and in the relevant provisions of E.O. 13846.

E.O. 13846 is being issued to coincide with the end of the 90-day wind down period which started on May 8, 2018. The last day of the 90-day wind-down period is August 6, 2018, and, as announced on May 8, 2018, certain sanctions previously lifted under the JCPOA will be reimposed on August 7, 2018, including sanctions set out in E.O. 13846 (see FAQ 598 above).

Subsection 1(a)(iv) authorizes blocking sanctions pursuant to section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA on persons determined to: (A) be part of the energy, shipping, shipbuilding sectors of Iran; (B) operate a port in Iran; or (C) knowingly provide significant support to certain other persons sanctioned pursuant to section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA or an Iranian person on the SDN List. Consistent with the guidance issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on May 8, 2018, the relevant sanctions in section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA are waived through November 4, 2018 to provide a wind-down period for activities involving Iran that were consistent with the U.S. sanctions relief provided for under the JCPOA. However, the sanctions provided for in section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA targeting significant support to Iranian persons on the SDN List remained in effect even when the JCPOA sanctions relief was in effect. To the extent activities within the scope of section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA involve persons on the SDN List or otherwise sanctionable conduct, persons engaging in such activities could be exposed to sanctions under subsection 1(a)(iv) of E.O. 13846 prior to November 5, 2018.

Yes. E.O. 13846 broadens the scope of the sanctions that were in effect prior to January 16, 2016 and provides for greater consistency in the administration of Iran-related sanctions provisions. See FAQ 597.

These added measures are as follows:

i. Subsection 1(a)(iii)(B): Providing new authority for blocking sanctions on persons determined, on or after November 5, 2018, to have provided material support for, or goods and services in support of, persons blocked for:
a. Providing material support for, or goods and services in support of, the purchase or acquisition of U.S. bank notes or precious metals by the GOI (i.e., persons designated pursuant to subsection 1(a)(i));
b. Providing material support for, or goods and services in support of, NIOC, NICO, or CBI (i.e., persons designated pursuant to subsection 1(a)(ii)); or
c. Being part of the energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors of Iran or a port operator in Iran or knowingly providing significant support to certain other persons blocked pursuant to section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA or to an Iranian person on the SDN List (i.e., persons blocked pursuant to subsection 1(a)(iv) for meeting the criteria of section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA).
ii. Subsection 2(a)(ii): Providing new authority for correspondent and payable-through account sanctions on FFIs determined to have, on or after November 5, 2018, knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant financial transaction on behalf of the persons blocked under the new authorities in subsection 1(a)(iii)(B) described above (i.e., any person blocked pursuant to subsections 1(a)(i), 1(a)(ii), or 1(a)(iv) and included on the SDN List).
iii. Sections 4 and 5: Expanding the menu of sanctions available to impose on persons determined to have, on or after November 5, 2018, knowingly engaged in certain significant transactions relating to petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemicals from Iran (i.e., persons determined to meet the criteria in subsections 3(a)(ii)-(a)(iii) or to be a derivative thereof pursuant to subsections 3(a)(iv)-(a)(vi)) by authorizing the imposition of:
a. Visa restrictions on corporate officers, principals, or controlling shareholders of a sanctioned person (subsection (4)(e));
b. Any of the sanctions from the menu set forth in subsections 4(a)-(e) on principal executive officers of a sanctioned person (subsection 4(f));
c. Prohibitions on U.S. persons investing in or purchasing significant amounts of equity or debt instruments of a sanctioned person (subsection 5(a)(v)); or
d. Any of the sanctions from the menu set forth in subsections 5(a)(i)-(a)(vi) on principal executive officers of a sanctioned person (subsection 5(a)(vii)).
iv. Section 8: Expanding the prohibition on U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities previously contained in section 4 of E.O. 13628 (see FAQs 621-623) by prohibiting transactions with persons blocked for:
a. Providing material support for, or goods and services in support of, Iranian persons on the SDN List and certain other designated persons (i.e., persons designated pursuant to subsection 1(a)(iii)); or
b. Being part of the energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors of Iran or a port operator in Iran or knowingly providing significant support to certain other persons blocked pursuant to section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA or to an Iranian person on the SDN List (i.e., persons blocked pursuant to subsection 1(a)(iv) for meeting the criteria of section 1244(c)(1)(A) of IFCA).

To provide clarity and consolidate relevant authorities into a single document, E.O. 13846 revokes E.O.s 13716 and 13628, and continues in effect relevant provisions from those two revoked E.O.s. See FAQ 597 and FAQ 598.

Provisions of E.O. 13846 that carry forward relevant provisions of E.O.s 13628 and 13716 include:

• Section 7, which consolidates into a single section designation authorities targeting corruption or other activities relating to the diversion of goods intended for the people of Iran, the transfer of goods or technologies to Iran that are likely to be used by the Government of Iran or any of its agencies or instrumentalities to commit serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran or the provision of certain services with respect to such goods or technologies, and persons engaged censorship in Iran (these provisions previously appeared in sections 2 and 3 of E.O. 13628 and section 8 of E.O. 13645, which was carried forward by subsection 3(c) of E.O. 13716), and

• Section 8 extends certain prohibitions applicable to U.S. persons under OFAC-administered Iran sanctions to U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities and provides for civil penalties on the U.S. parent for any violations of such prohibitions to the same extent that they would apply to a U.S. person for the same conduct, consistent with section 218 of the TRA (this provision was formerly contained in section 4 of E.O. 13628).

Yes. OFAC is taking action under section 7 of E.O. 13846 to continue in effect the designations of persons who were designated pursuant to E.O. 13628 at the time of the issuance of E.O. 13846. See FAQ 602. U.S. persons must continue to block the property and interests in property of these individuals and entities, and non-U.S. persons should be aware of the sanctions risk associated with these persons.

The Treasury Department implementation authorities set out in section 1 of E.O. 13574 for “menu-based” sanctions under ISA have been superseded by the implementation authorities for “menu-based” sanctions under a broader range of authorities that include ISA, CISADA, TRA, and IFCA, and section 3 of E.O. 13846 As a result, section 1 of E.O. 13574 is not included verbatim in E.O. 13846. See FAQ 597 and FAQ 598.

The sanctions set out in section 1 of E.O. 13590 — relating to development of petroleum resources in Iran and Iran’s domestic production of petrochemical products — were incorporated into subsections 5(a)(5)-(a)(6) of ISA by a statutory amendment set forth in section 201 of the TRA. As a result, the sanctions previously set forth in section 1 of E.O. 13590 are not included in E.O. 13846, but remain in place pursuant to statutory authorities. Implementation authorities for the sanctions in subsections 5(a)(5)-(a)(6) of ISA are delegated to the appropriate agency heads through the Presidential Memorandum of October 9, 2012, or through section 5 of E.O. 13846.

E.O. 13846 implements provisions of, and provides additional tools related to, ISA, CISADA, TRA, and IFCA that were contained in the prior E.O.s. These include:

i. Invoking the President’s authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) to supplement statutory authorities in IFCA with prohibitions or restrictions on the importation of goods;
ii. Continuing to implement the statutory requirements of sections 105A and 105B of CISADA, as added by sections 402 and 403 of TRA, by providing authority to block the property and interests in property and suspend the entry into the United States of persons determined to have engaged in the transfer of goods or technologies to Iran that are likely to be used by the GOI or any of its agencies or instrumentalities to commit serious human rights abuses against the people of Iran or the provision of services with respect to such goods or technology after they are transferred to Iran, and persons determined to have engaged in censorship in Iran; and
iii. Continuing to implement the statutory requirements of section 105C of CISADA, as added by section 1249 of IFCA, by providing authority to block the property and interests in property and suspend the entry into the United States of persons determined to have engaged in corruption or other activities relating to the diversion of goods intended for the Iranian people or the misappropriation of proceeds from the sale or resale of such goods.

After the 90-day wind-down period ends on August 6, 2018, the following sanctions come into effect, including under provisions of E.O. 13846 and relevant statutory authorities:

i. Sanctions on the purchase or acquisition of U.S. dollar banknotes by the GOI (see, e.g., subsection 1(a)(i) of E.O. 13846);
ii. Sanctions on Iran’s trade in gold or precious metals (see, e.g., subsection 1(a)(i) of E.O. 13846 and subsection 1245(a)(1)(A) of IFCA );
iii. Sanctions on the direct or indirect sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of graphite, raw, or semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, coal, and software for integrating industrial processes (see, e.g., section 5 of E.O. 13846 and subsections 1245(a)(1)(B)-(a)(1)(C) and (c) of IFCA);
iv. Sanctions on significant transactions related to the purchase or sale of Iranian rials, or the maintenance of significant funds or accounts outside the territory of Iran denominated in the Iranian rial (see, e.g., section 6 of E.O. 13846);
v. Sanctions on the purchase, subscription to, or facilitation of the issuance of Iranian sovereign debt (see, e.g., section 5 of E.O. 13846 and subsection 213(a) of TRA); and
vi. Sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector (see, e.g., subsections 2(a)(i) and 3(a)(i) of E.O. 13846).

After the 180-day wind-down period ends on November 4, 2018, the following sanctions come into effect, including under provisions of E.O. 13846 and relevant statutory authorities:

i. Sanctions on Iran’s port operators, and shipping and shipbuilding sectors, including on the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), South Shipping Line Iran, or their affiliates (see, e.g., subsection 1(a)(iv) and section 5 of E.O. 13846 and section 1244(c)(1) of IFCA);
ii. Sanctions on petroleum-related transactions with, among others, NIOC, NICO, and the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), including the purchase of petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemical products from Iran (see, e.g., subsections 1(a)(ii), 1(a)(iv), 2(a)(iii)-(a)(v), and 3(a)(ii)-(a)(iii) and sections 4 and 5 of E.O. 13846);
iii. Sanctions on transactions by FFIs with the CBI and designated Iranian financial institutions under section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 (NDAA 2012) (see, e.g., section 5 of E.O. 13846, section 1245 of NDAA 2012, and subsection 1247(a) of IFCA);
iv. Sanctions on the provision of specialized financial messaging services to the CBI and Iranian financial institutions described in subsection 104(c)(2)(E)(ii) of CISADA (see, e.g., section 5 of E.O. 13846, section 220 of TRA, and subsection 1244(c)(1) of IFCA);
v. Sanctions on the provision of underwriting services, insurance, or reinsurance (see, e.g., section 5 of E.O. 13846, section 5(a)(7) of ISA, subsections 211(a) and 212(a) of TRA, and subsections 1246(a) and 1247(a) of IFCA); and
vi. Sanctions on Iran’s energy sector (see, e.g., subsection 1(a)(iv) and section 5 of E.O. 13846, subsection 5(a) of ISA, section 212(a) of TRA, and sections 1244(c)(1), (d) and (h)(2), 1246(a), and 1247(a) of IFCA).

Section 6 of E.O. 13846 reimposes the sanctions previously contained in section 1 of E.O. 13645 with respect to transactions involving the Iranian rial. FFIs risk correspondent and payable-through account sanctions and blocking sanctions if they, on or after August 7, 2018, (i) knowingly conduct or facilitate any significant transaction related to the purchase or sale of Iranian rials or a derivative, swap, future, forward, or other similar contract whose value is based on the exchange rate of the Iranian rial, or (ii) maintain significant funds or accounts outside the territory of Iran denominated in the Iranian rial.

E.O. 13846 reimposes the sanctions previously contained in subsections 3(a)(ii) and section 5 of E.O. 13645 by authorizing the imposition of correspondent and payable-through account sanctions (subsection 2(a)(i)) of E.O. 13846) and menu-based sanctions (subsection 3(a)(i) of E.O. 13846) for certain transactions, on or after August 7, 2018, for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with Iran’s automotive sector.

E.O. 13846 defines the automotive sector of Iran as the manufacturing or assembling in Iran of light and heavy vehicles including passenger cars, trucks, buses, minibuses, pick-up trucks, and motorcycles, as well as original equipment manufacturing and after-market parts manufacturing relating to such vehicles.

E.O. 13846 reimposes sanctions on certain transactions on or after August 7, 2018, for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of “significant” goods or services used in connection with the automotive sector of Iran. (See FAQ 289 for an interpretation of the term “significant.”)

We anticipate that forthcoming regulations will define “goods or services used in connection with the automotive sector of Iran” to include goods or services that contribute to (i) Iran’s ability to research, develop, manufacture, and assemble light and heavy vehicles, and (ii) the manufacturing or assembling of original equipment and after-market parts used in Iran’s automotive industry.

E.O. 13846 does not make sanctionable the export of finished vehicles to Iran if no further assembly or manufacturing is required. As such, exporting fully assembled and finished vehicles to Iran for sale would not be sanctionable, so long as the transaction is consistent with U.S. sanctions, including that it does not involve a sanctioned person.

In contrast, “auto kits” (or “knock-down kits”) exported to Iran for assembly in Iran would be considered goods or services used in connection with the automotive sector of Iran and the export of such kits to Iran would be sanctionable if the transaction is “significant.” (See FAQ 289 for an interpretation of the term “significant.”)

Goods or services for the maintenance of finished vehicles exported to Iran would generally not be considered “significant goods or services used in connection with the automotive sector of Iran” for the purposes of E.O. 13846, and the provision of such goods or services would generally not be sanctionable. However, the export, sale, or distribution of goods (e.g., auto parts and accessories) or services that would contribute to Iran’s ability to manufacture or assemble vehicles, or manufacture original equipment and after-market parts in Iran, could create exposure to sanctions. Persons exporting parts and services to Iran for the maintenance or upkeep of finished automobiles, and FFIs facilitating such exports, should exercise caution to ensure that the parts or services are not diverted for the manufacturing or assembly of vehicles in Iran or the manufacturing of original equipment or after-market parts in Iran, and are used only for maintenance and upkeep.

E.O. 13846 reimposes sanctions previously set out in E.O.s 13622, 13628, and 13645 with respect to the Iranian energy, petroleum, and petrochemical sectors. As such, subsections 1(a)(ii) and (2)(a)(ii) of E.O. 13846 authorize blocking sanctions and correspondent or payable-through account sanctions on persons providing material support for, or goods or services to, NIOC or NICO. Separately, subsection 2(a)(iii) of E.O. 13846 authorizes the imposition of correspondent or payable-through account sanctions on an FFI determined to have knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant financial transaction with NIOC or NICO (except for sales of refined petroleum products to NIOC or NICO that are below the dollar threshold that could trigger sanctions under section 5(a)(3)(A)(i) of ISA). Subsections 2(a)(iv)-(a)(v) provide authority to impose sanctions on FFIs determined to have knowingly conducted or facilitated a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemicals from Iran, with the aim of deterring Iran or any other country or institution from establishing workaround payment mechanisms for the purchase of Iranian oil to circumvent the NDAA 2012 oil sanctions. Subsections 3(a)(ii)-(a)(iii) provide authority to impose menu-based sanctions or persons determined to have engaged in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran. Furthermore, persons that sell, supply, or transfer to or from Iran significant goods or services used in connection with Iran’s energy sector are exposed to menu-based sanctions pursuant to subsection 1244(d) of IFCA and section 5 of E.O. 13846 The existing exception rules under NDAA 2012 apply to these sanctions. Thus, countries that are determined by the Secretary of State to have significantly reduced their purchases of Iranian crude oil will be excepted from these measures as well. (See FAQs 169-182 relating to the NDAA 2012 sanctions.)

The provisions in E.O. 13846 reimposing these sanctions come into effect beginning on November 5, 2018.

These measures, which apply to transactions occurring on or after November 5, 2018, establish a key element of the comprehensive Iran sanctions framework by deterring work-around financial transactions involving NIOC or NICO that were not being captured under the sanctions previously implemented against the CBI at the time E.O. 13622 was issued. Iranian trade partners can continue to buy petroleum and petroleum products from Iran without risking sanctions under E.O. 13846if they receive a significant reduction exception under relevant provisions of the NDAA 2012 for the relevant period. However, E.O. 13846 provides authority to sanction, on or after November 5, 2018, the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products and significant dealings with NIOC or NICO by persons in jurisdictions that do not have a significant reduction exception. In addition, IFCA provides for sanctions on persons determined to be part of the energy sector of Iran, or to sell, supply, or transfer to or from Iran significant goods or services used in connection with the energy sector of Iran, provided the person is not in a jurisdiction that has received a significant reduction exception. (See FAQs 293-297 relating to IFCA.)

All property and interests in property of NIOC and NICO subject to U.S. jurisdiction are already blocked pursuant to E.O. 13599, and U.S. persons are prohibited from all dealings with these entities. E.O. 13846 reestablishes the authority previously contained in E.O. 13622 to sanction FFIs that, on or after November 5, 2018, knowingly conduct or facilitate any significant transaction with NIOC or NICO. Financial institutions in jurisdictions that have received a significant reduction exception are not subject to these sanctions for transactions with NIOC and NICO for the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran while the exception applies. In addition, IFCA provides for sanctions on persons that knowingly provide significant financial, material, technological, or other support to, or goods or services in support of any activity or transaction on behalf of or for the benefit of an Iranian person on the SDN List (other than non-designated Iranian financial institutions), provided the person is not in a jurisdiction that has received a significant reduction exception. (See FAQs 293-297relating to IFCA.)

No. Section 10 of E.O. 13846 maintains the exceptions previously provided for in E.O. 13622 and E.O. 13645, as well as in subsection 603(a) of the TRA and section 1254 of IFCA, for the pipeline project to supply natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe and Turkey.

Yes. To the extent a financial institution is involved, that financial institution could be sanctioned under E.O. 13846 for a barter arrangement, on or after November 5, 2018, related to the purchase or acquisition of petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemical products from Iran. In addition, barter transactions knowingly conducted with NIOC, NICO, or the CBI also could result in sanctions — regardless of whether a financial institution is involved — to the extent that those transactions constitute material support for, or services to, NIOC, NICO, or the CBI

The term “petroleum products,” as defined in section 16(o) of E.O. 13846, includes unfinished oils, liquefied petroleum gases, pentanes plus, aviation gasoline, motor gasoline, naphtha-type jet fuel, kerosene-type jet fuel, kerosene, distillate fuel oil, residual fuel oil, petrochemical feedstocks, special naphthas, lubricants, waxes, petroleum coke, asphalt, road oil, still gas, and miscellaneous products obtained from the processing of: crude oil (including lease condensate), natural gas, and other hydrocarbon compounds. The term does not include natural gas, liquefied natural gas, biofuels, methanol, and other non-petroleum fuels.

The term “petrochemical products,” as defined in section 16(m) of E.O. 13846, includes any aromatic, olefin, and synthesis gas, and any of their derivatives, including ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, toluene, xylene, ammonia, methanol, and urea

Consistent with Section 218 of TRA, section 8 of E.O. 13846 continues in effect the sanctions previously contained in section 4 of E.O. 13628 and expands them to cover activity sanctionable under E.O. 13846 (see FAQ 601). This provision prohibits a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity from knowingly engaging in any transaction, directly or indirectly, with the GOI, or any person subject to the jurisdiction of the GOI, if that transaction would be prohibited by certain Executive orders prohibiting trade and other dealings with, and investment in, Iran and blocking the GOI and Iranian financial institutions, or any regulation issued pursuant to the foregoing (including the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR)), if the transaction were engaged in by a United States person or in the United States. Civil penalties for the U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity’s violation of Section 8, attempted violation, conspiracy to violate, or causing of a violation shall apply to the U.S. person that owns or controls such entity to the same extent that they would apply to a U.S. person for the same conduct.

Section 20(c) of E.O. 13846 contains a savings clause that continues in effect under E.O. 13846 regulations, orders, directives, and licenses that were issued pursuant to E.O. 13628 and remained in effect immediately prior to the date of E.O. 13846 Pursuant to this authority, section 560.215 of the ITSR, which implemented section 4 of 13628, and licenses issued pursuant to E.O. 13628 that were valid as of the date of E.O. 13846 remain in effect, subject to their existing terms and conditions. Such terms and conditions include the expiration date of the license

To the extent a transaction is exempt from the prohibitions of the ITSR, E.O. 13599, or section 1 or 15 of E.O. 13846, or is authorized by a general license issued pursuant to these authorities if engaged in by a U.S. person, it would not be prohibited for a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity (as defined above) to engage in the transaction, provided that it satisfies all the conditions and requirements of the exemption or general license. Similarly, if the transaction is one for which a U.S. person might apply for a specific license — for example, under OFAC’s statement of licensing policy for certain targeted educational, cultural, and sports exchange programs that are designed to directly benefit the Iranian people set forth at section 560.545 of the ITSR — a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity or the U.S. person that owns or controls the entity may apply for a specific license for the U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity to engage in the transaction. Note: whether a U.S. parent company’s specific license covers transactions by its owned or controlled foreign entity that are otherwise prohibited by section 8 of E.O. 13846 will depend on the terms of that license and the scope of the authorized activities.

Pursuant to subsection 20(c) of E.O. 13846, section 560.556 of the ITSR, which extends general licenses available under the ITSR to U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities, remains in effect.

No. Section 8 of E.O. 13846 continues in effect the prohibition previously contained in section 4 of E.O. 13628, which — consistent with subsection 218(d) of the TRA — provided that civil penalties would not apply if a U.S. person that owns or controls the foreign entity divested or terminated its business with the U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity not later than February 6, 2013. Because the relevant prohibition came into effect more than five years ago and a wind-down period was provided at that time, Section 8 of E.O. 13846 does not include such a wind-down authorization.

Please note, however, that section 560.537 of the ITSR authorizes — through 11:59 p.m. EST on November 4, 2018 — all transactions and activities ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of activities that had been authorized under the now-revoked Iran General License H. To the extent a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity or a U.S. person is engaging in wind-down activities pursuant to section 560.537 of the ITSR, those activities should be completed prior to the general license’s expiration at 11:59 p.m. EST on November 4, 2018.

Subsection 1(a)(iii) of E.O. 13846 provides authority to block the property and interests in property of persons determined, on or after November 5, 2018, to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of: (A) Iranian persons included on the SDN List or (B) any other persons included on the SDN List whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13599 or subsection 1(a) of E.O. 13846 (in both cases excluding Iranian depository institutions whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599). Certain activities relating to the pipeline project to supply natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe and Turkey are excepted from this provision.

In implementing this provision, the United States Government will take appropriate steps to avoid, among other things, undue impacts on the access of the people of Iran to humanitarian items, telecommunications, and other basic services.

The wind-down period has ended and the United States intends to fully enforce the sanctions that have come back into effect. The provision or delivery of goods or services and/or the extension of additional loans or credits to an Iranian counterparty after November 4, 2018 — even pursuant to written contracts or written agreements entered into prior to May 8, 2018 — may result in the imposition of U.S. sanctions unless such activities are exempt from regulation, authorized by OFAC, or otherwise not sanctionable.

The United States maintains authorizations and exceptions under U.S. sanctions that allow for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran by U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons. However, these authorizations and exceptions do not apply to transactions involving persons on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) that have been designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including designated Iranian financial institutions or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), or activity that is subject to other sanctions (see FAQ 637).

In the event that a non-U.S., non-Iranian person is owed payment after the conclusion of the wind-down period on August 6, 2018, or November 4, 2018, as applicable, for goods or services fully provided or delivered to an Iranian counterparty prior to August 6, 2018, or November 4, 2018, as applicable, pursuant to a written contract or written agreement entered into prior to May 8, 2018, and such activities were consistent with U.S. sanctions in effect at the time of delivery or provision, the U.S. government would allow the non-U.S., non-Iranian person to receive payment for those goods or services according to the terms of the written contract or written agreement. Similarly, if a non-U.S., non-Iranian person is owed repayment after August 6, 2018, or November 4, 2018, as applicable, for loans or credits extended to an Iranian counterparty prior to the end of the 90-day or 180- day wind-down period, as applicable, provided that such loans or credits were extended pursuant to a written contract or written agreement entered into prior to May 8, 2018, and such activities were consistent with U.S. sanctions in effect at the time the loans or credits were extended, the U.S. government would allow the non-U.S., non-Iranian person to receive repayment of the related debt or obligation according to the terms of the written contract or written agreement. This allowance is designed for non-U.S., non-Iranian parties to be made whole for debts and obligations owed or due to them for goods or services fully provided or delivered or loans or credit extended to an Iranian party prior to the end of the 90-day or 180-day wind-down period, as applicable. Any payments would need to be consistent with U.S. sanctions, including that payments could not involve U.S. persons or the U.S. financial system, unless the transactions are exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC (see FAQ 634 and FAQ 636).

The U.S. government would evaluate matters falling outside the above parameters on a case-by-case basis.

OFAC encourages non-U.S., non-Iranian persons to rely on the guidance provided in FAQs 631 and 634. Non-U.S., non-Iranian persons can seek guidance from OFAC or the State Department, as appropriate, prior to the receipt of payment, if they would like to confirm that the payments would meet the criteria set forth in FAQ 631 and FAQ 634 and would not be subject to U.S. sanctions.

OFAC looks to the industry standard to determine whether particular goods or services are considered fully provided or delivered prior to the expiration of the relevant wind-down period. As a general matter, goods or services will be considered fully provided or delivered when the party providing or delivering the goods or services has performed all the actions and satisfied all the obligations necessary to be eligible for payment or other agreed-to compensation. With respect to goods exported to or from Iran, at a minimum, title to the goods must have transferred to the relevant party

Yes, subject to the conditions set out below and in FAQ 631 above, non-U.S., non-Iranian persons may receive payment after the end of the relevant wind-down period for goods or services fully provided or delivered to an Iranian counterparty prior to expiration of the relevant wind-down period (see FAQ 633 above). In particular, the goods or services must have been fully provided or delivered prior to the end of the applicable wind-down period pursuant to a written contract or written agreement entered into prior to May 8, 2018; the relevant activities must have been consistent with U.S. sanctions in effect at the time of delivery or provision, including that the activities did not involve persons on the SDN List at the time of the transaction; and any payments must be consistent with U.S. sanctions, including that payments can not involve U.S. persons or the U.S. financial system, unless the transactions are exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC (see FAQ 631 and FAQ 636).

The wind-down authorizations allow U.S. persons and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities to receive payments for activities conducted pursuant to such wind-down authorizations only during their validity periods. For example, a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity may receive payment through 11:59 p.m. eastern standard time on November 4, 2018 for Iran-related activities undertaken pursuant to section 560.537 of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) (winding down of transactions relating to U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities).
Any payment following the end of the relevant wind-down period for activities undertaken pursuant to a wind-down authorization, including from an Iranian counterparty, would require specific authorization from OFAC. OFAC will evaluate such requests for specific licenses on a case-by-case basis.
Any request for a specific license should provide sufficient details for OFAC to evaluate the application, including: whether the relevant transactions complied with U.S. sanctions as in effect at the time of the transactions; whether the activities were performed under a written contract or written agreement entered into prior to May 8, 2018; and why the applicant was unable to receive the payment for which authorization is sought prior to the end of the relevant wind-down period. OFAC will generally deny requests to receive payment for activities that were not authorized under the relevant wind-down authorizations or that were not undertaken pursuant to a written contract or written agreement entered into prior to May 8, 2018.
As required by 31 C.F.R. section 501.801(b), applicants should identify the names of all parties who are concerned with or interested in the proposed transaction. To facilitate OFAC’s review, the request should also include a description of the efforts that were undertaken to collect the payment during the relevant wind-down period and be accompanied by supporting documentation, including relevant contracts, invoices, and shipping documents. OFAC encourages applicants to submit applications online using OFAC's licensing application portal.

The United States intends to fully enforce the sanctions that apply to persons that were previously on the E.O. 13599 List but that are now designated under another authority.
U.S. persons and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities generally would require an OFAC authorization to receive any payment involving an SDN, regardless of whether they were previously on the E.O.13599 List. OFAC will evaluate requests for such authorization on a case-by-case basis, including whether payments are for goods or services fully provided or delivered during the wind-down period pursuant to an OFAC wind-down authorization (see FAQ 635).
Non-U.S. persons, including foreign financial institutions, could be subject to sanctions for knowingly engaging in certain significant transactions involving an Iranian person on the SDN List – other than a non-designated Iranian financial institution – or a person designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including a person that was previously on the E.O. 13599 List but is now designated under another authority. Such persons will have a notation of “Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions” in their SDN List entry in addition to the tag for the other sanctions program(s) (e.g., the “[SDGT]” tag, the “[IRAN-HR]” tag, or the “[NPWMD]” tag for persons designated under E.O. 13224, E.O. 13553, or E.O. 13382).
Non-U.S., non-Iranian persons seeking to receive payment for activities undertaken during the wind-down period that involves a person added to the SDN List should seek guidance from OFAC or the State Department, as appropriate (see FAQ 634).

The United States maintains broad authorizations and exceptions under U.S. sanctions that allow for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran from the United States or by U.S. persons or U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities. U.S. sanctions laws provide similar allowances for sales of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Iran by non-U.S. persons. Broadly speaking, transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran are not sanctionable unless they involve persons on the SDN List that have been designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including designated Iranian financial institutions or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), or activity that is subject to other sanctions. Additional guidance relating to these authorizations and exceptions can be found in the following OFAC publications: Guidance on the Sale of Food, Agricultural Commodities, Medicine, and Medical Devices by Non-U.S. Persons to Iran and Humanitarian Assistance and Related Exports to the Iranian People.

Transactions by non-U.S. persons related to the export to Iran of consumer goods that do not fall within these exceptions, but are not expressly targeted by U.S. sanctions, should not involve certain persons on the SDN List, including the Central Bank of Iran or a designated Iranian financial institution, unless an exception under Section 1245(d)(4)(D) of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA 2012) applies, or the IRGC. In addition, such transactions should not involve U.S. persons or transit the U.S. financial system, unless the activities and/or transactions are exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

The E.O. 13599 List was created to clarify that, regardless of their removal from the SDN List on January 16, 2016, persons that OFAC had previously identified as meeting the definition of the terms “Government of Iran” or “Iranian financial institution” still met those definitions and continued to be persons whose property and interests in property were blocked pursuant to E.O. 13599 and section 560.211 of the ITSR. On November 5, 2018, OFAC moved persons identified on the E.O. 13599 List to the SDN List and removed the E.O. 13599 List from its website.
Beginning on November 5, 2018, significant transactions with persons moved from the E.O. 13599 List to the SDN List, other than non-designated Iranian financial institutions, could be subject to secondary sanctions, unless an exception applies, such as the exception relating to transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran; or the significant reduction exception under Section 1245(d)(4)(D) of the NDAA 2012. Persons subject to secondary sanctions will have a notation of “Additional Sanctions Information – Subject to Secondary Sanctions” in the SDN List entry. In addition, effective November 5, 2018, OFAC has amended the ITSR to replace references to the E.O. 13599 List with references to the SDN List.
Some persons moved to the SDN List from the E.O. 13599 List also have been designated under additional authorities and, therefore, have received new unique identification numbers (UIDs) when added to the SDN List. Users of OFAC’s sanctions list data may wish to reference the following mapping table to see how these specific records were added back onto the SDN list.

OFAC designated multiple Iranian financial institutions and other persons previously blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 under E.O. 13224 (relating to counterterrorism), E.O. 13382 (relating to WMD proliferation), and E.O. 13553 (relating to serious human rights abuses by the Government of Iran) on October 16, 2018, and November 5, 2018. These included persons that had been removed from the SDN List on January 16, 2016. As new information became available, OFAC determined that these persons met one or more of the criteria for designation under OFAC’s other designation authorities. Relatedly, a number of persons that were previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 and were removed from the SDN List on January 16, 2016 were relisted on the SDN List on November 5, 2018 as persons identified as meeting the definitions of the “Government of Iran” or an “Iranian financial institution” pursuant to E.O. 13599.

This regulatory amendment does two things. First, it amends the ITSR to reflect the re-imposition of ITSR-related sanctions lifted under the JCPOA, including sanctions pursuant to certain sections of E.O. 13846 and the relisting on the SDN List of persons included on the E.O. 13599 List. More specifically, this rule reinstates the regulatory provisions implementing the blocking authorities that were previously in sections 5 and 6 of E.O. 13622 and now are in sections 1 and 10 of E.O. 13846. Section 560.211(c) of the ITSR will now implement blocking of the property and interests in property of any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to have (i) on or after August 7, 2018, materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, the purchase or acquisition of U.S. bank notes or precious metals by the Government of Iran, or (ii) on or after November 5, 2018, materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO), or the Central Bank of Iran. Additionally, this rule removes references to the E.O. 13599 List to reflect OFAC’s separate action removing the E.O. 13599 List from its website and relisting on the SDN List the persons that were previously listed on the E.O. 13599 List.
Second, the rule amends an existing general license in the ITSR to allow individual U.S. persons to engage in transactions necessary to sell certain personal property in Iran (which was acquired before becoming a U.S. person or which was inherited from persons in Iran) and to transfer the proceeds of those sales to the United States. Section 560.543 of the ITSR currently authorizes individual U.S. persons to engage in transactions necessary for the sale of real property in Iran and the transfer of related proceeds to the United States, subject to a number of conditions and limitations. Authorized transactions include engaging the services of any persons in Iran necessary for the sale, such as an attorney, funds agent, or real estate broker, provided such person is not a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to any part of 31 CFR chapter V, other than persons whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to Executive Order 13599 as the Government of Iran. OFAC is amending section 560.543 of the ITSR to authorize the sale of personal property in Iran and the transfer of related proceeds to the United States, subject to the same conditions and limitations applicable to sales of real property.
Section 560.543 of the ITSR, as amended, does not authorize transactions that would be prohibited by a different sanctions program administered by OFAC, such as transactions with SDNs designated under E.O. 13224 or E.O. 13382 (OFAC’s counterterrorism or counterproliferation authorities).

Yes. Transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran involving the Central Bank of Iran are excepted from the relevant sanctions under section 1245(d)(2) of the NDAA 2012 and sections 561.203 and 561.204 of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 561) (IFSR), regardless of whether the country has received an SRE. In addition, funds held on behalf of a non-designated Iranian financial institution at a foreign financial institution generally would not be subject to U.S. secondary sanctions and could be used to facilitate humanitarian trade.

Many U.S. sanctions related to Iran include an exception for countries that have received a SRE under section 1245(d)(4)(D) of the NDAA 2012 (see https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/topic/1551 for additional information regarding the implementation of the SRE and sanctionable transactions). To the extent the purchase of petroleum or petroleum products from Iran and the processing of the related financial transactions meet the requirements set out in section 1245(d)(4)(D) of the NDAA 2012, the services used to import the petroleum from Iran including services provided by the shipping sector of Iran and Iranian port operators would not be sanctionable pursuant to the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA), provided that Iranian entities that are involved in such transactions are not designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism, or its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery. (Additional information on IFCA).

Payment of Iran-related insurance or reinsurance claims arising from incidents that occurred prior to November 5, 2018 could create sanctions exposure for non-U.S. persons to the extent such payment involves a person designated in connection with Iran’s proliferation of WMD or support for international terrorism, or an Iranian person on the SDN List, other than a non-designated Iranian financial institution, or if the underlying activity involved such persons or was otherwise sanctionable at the time it occurred.

U.S. persons continue to be generally prohibited under the ITSR from exporting goods, services, or technology directly or indirectly to Iran, including participating in the payment of claims to or for the benefit of Iran or any persons blocked under the ITSR, or for the transportation of Iranian-origin oil, unless exempt or specifically authorized by OFAC. In addition, after November 4, 2018, to the extent a claim payment involves a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity, the payment of such claim would be prohibited and would require an authorization from OFAC prior to payment.

See FAQ 102 and FAQ 103 for additional information relating to U.S. person involvement in global insurance policies and FAQ 303 and FAQ 304 for additional information on secondary sanctions, and exceptions to these sanctions, such as the humanitarian exception, relating to insurance, reinsurance, or underwriting activities relating to Iran.

Yes. Under section 560.215 of the ITSR, U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities are prohibited from knowingly engaging in any transaction, directly or indirectly, with the Government of Iran or any person subject to the jurisdiction of the Government of Iran that would be prohibited by the ITSR if engaged in by a U.S. person or in the United States. Section 560.211 of the ITSR separately prohibits transferring, paying, exporting, withdrawing, and dealing in any property and interests in property of the Government of Iran, any Iranian financial institution, and any other persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the ITSR, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.
In light of these prohibitions, U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities are required to apply restrictions akin to blocking on any property or interests in property of persons subject to section 560.211 of the ITSR to ensure that such property and interests in property are not transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in. This requirement applies both with respect to a person whose property and interests in property are blocked solely pursuant to the ITSR and a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the ITSR and another authority (e.g., when a person is included on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons with the “[IRAN]” tag, as well as a tag for another sanctions program, such as the terrorism tag (“[SDGT]”), nuclear proliferation tag (“[NPWMD]”), or human rights tag (“[IRAN-TRA]” or “[IRAN-HR]”)).
Section 560.215(b)(1) of the ITSR deems an entity to be “owned or controlled” by a U.S. person if the U.S. person holds a 50 percent or greater equity interest by vote or value in the entity; holds a majority of seats on the board of directors of the entity; or otherwise controls the actions, policies, or personnel decisions of the entity.

Following the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on November 5, 2018, sanctions that had previously been lifted or waived as part of U.S. commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will come back into effect in their entirety, including sanctions on the provision of specialized financial messaging services to certain Iranian financial institutions.
As of November 5, 2018, sanctions on the provision of specialized financial messaging services set forth in section 220 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (TRA) snap back in full. This authority provides for sanctions on specialized financial messaging services to the Central Bank of Iran or Iranian financial institutions designated in connection with Iran’s support for terrorism or its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and WMD delivery systems, as set out in subsection 104(c)(2)(E)(ii) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) (see section 220 of the TRA). Such Iranian financial institutions are listed on the SDN List and carry the “[IFSR]” tag.
Furthermore, knowingly providing significant financial, material, technological, or other support to Iranian persons on the SDN List, other than Iranian financial institutions blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and listed on the SDN List with only the “[IRAN]” tag, is sanctionable for persons in countries that have not received a significant reduction exception (see subsection 1244(c)(1) of IFCA).
To avoid potential sanctions exposure, providers of specialized financial messaging services should discontinue the provision of such services to the Central Bank of Iran and any Iranian financial institutions designated in connection with Iran’s WMD proliferation, support for terrorism, or human rights abuses. The Central Bank of Iran and such designated Iranian financial institutions will have “Subject to Secondary Sanctions” listed in the “Identifications” feature in their entry on the SDN List.
Given that the U.S. government will continue to apply maximum financial pressure on the Iranian regime, including potential additional designations of Iranian financial institutions, the SDN List should be consulted regularly to determine which Iranian financial institutions have been designated.

E.O. 13871authorizes sanctions with respect to the iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors of Iran.

Section 1 of E.O. 13871 authorizes blocking sanctions on any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(i) to be operating in the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sector of Iran, or to be a person that owns, controls, or operates an entity that is part of the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sector of Iran;

(ii) to have knowingly engaged, on or after the effective date of the order, in a significant transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sectors of Iran;

(iii) to have knowingly engaged, on or after the effective date of the order, in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of iron, iron products, aluminum, aluminum products, steel, steel products, copper, or copper products from Iran;

(iv) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1; or

(v) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1.

Section 2 of E.O. 13871 authorizes correspondent and payable-through account sanctions on foreign financial institutions (FFIs) determined to have knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant financial transaction:

(i) for the sale, supply, or transfer to Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the iron, steel, aluminum, or copper sectors of Iran;

(ii) for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of iron, iron products, aluminum, aluminum products, steel, steel products, copper, or copper products from Iran; or

(iii) for or on behalf of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order.

Sections 3-13 of E.O. 13871 contain exceptions, definitions, and other implementing provisions related to the sanctions.

Persons engaged in transactions that could be sanctioned under E.O. 13871 had a 90-day period after the issuance of E.O. 13871 to wind down those transactions without exposure to sanctions under E.O. 13871. Those persons were advised to take the necessary steps to wind down transactions by the end of the 90-day wind-down period to avoid exposure to sanctions, and that entering into new business that would be sanctionable under the E.O. on or after May 8, 2019 will not be considered wind-down activity and could be sanctioned even during the wind-down period. The wind-down period expires on August 6, 2019.

Yes. E.O. 13871 expands upon existing sanctions under section 1245 of IFCA on the sale, supply, or transfer, directly or indirectly, to or from Iran of certain materials, including raw and semi-finished metals such as aluminum and steel, as described in subsections 1245(a)(l)(B) or (C) of IFCA.

In addition, E.O. 13871 explicitly targets the iron and copper sectors of Iran.

Yes. The sanctions authorized under E.O. 13871 do not apply to transactions for the conduct of the official business of the United States Government or the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programmes, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.

The interpretation of “significant transaction or transactions; significant financial services; significant financial transaction,” as described in the correspondent account sanctions in the IFSR, provides that the Department of the Treasury may consider the totality of the facts and circumstances and sets forth a list of broad factors that can play a role in the determination whether transactions, financial services, and financial transactions are significant, including: (a) the size, number, and frequency of the transactions, financial services, or financial transactions; (b) the nature of the transactions, financial services, or financial transactions, including their type, complexity, and commercial purpose; (c) the level of awareness of management and whether the transactions are part of a pattern of conduct; (d) the nexus of the transactions, financial services, and financial transactions and blocked persons; (e) the impact of the transactions, financial services, and financial transactions on statutory objectives; (f) whether the transactions, financial services, and financial transactions involve deceptive practices; (g) whether the transactions solely involve the passive holdings of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) reserves or repayment by the CBI of official development assistance or the transfer of funds required as a condition of Iran’s membership in an international financial institution; and (h) other relevant factors that the Secretary of the Treasury deems relevant. (31 C.F.R. § 561.404).

he regulatory amendment: (i) implements the correspondent or payable-through account sanctions set forth in section 2 of E.O. 13871 by incorporating those provisions in the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 561 (IFSR); (ii) renames the Iranian Human Rights Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 562, as the Iranian Sector and Human Rights Abuses Sanctions Regulations (ISHR); and (iii) implements the blocking sanctions set forth in section 1 of E.O. 13871 by incorporating those provisions in the ISHR.

The interpretation of “significant transaction or transactions,” as described in the ISHR provides that the Department of the Treasury may consider the totality of the facts and circumstances and sets forth a list of broad factors that can play a role in the determination whether transactions are significant, including: (a) the size, number, and frequency of the transactions; (b) the nature of the transactions, or the goods or services for sale, supply, or transfer, including their type, complexity, and commercial purpose; (c) the level of awareness of management and whether the transactions are part of a pattern of conduct; (d) the nexus of the person that engaged in the transactions and the prohibited activities in sections 1(a)(ii) and 1(a)(iii) of E.O. 13871; (e) the impact of the transactions on the objectives of E.O. 13871; (f) whether the transactions attempt to obscure or conceal the actual parties or true nature of the transactions, or evade sanctions; and (g) other relevant factors that the Secretary of the Treasury deems relevant. (31 C.F.R. § 562.407).

The term iron sector of Iran means the mining, refining, processing, or manufacturing of iron or iron products in Iran. (31 C.F.R. § 561.336; 31 C.F.R. § 561.317).

The term steel sector of Iran means the iron-ore smelting, ferrous-scrap melting, refining, processing, or manufacturing of steel or steel products in Iran. (31 C.F.R. § 561.337; 31 C.F.R. § 562.318).

The terms iron, iron products, steel, and steel products mean any raw, semi-fabricated, fabricated, or finished form of iron, iron alloy, alloy steel, non-alloy steel, ferroalloys, pig iron, and spiegeleisen of all grades, sizes, and thicknesses, whether or not clad, plated, or coated, including in the following forms: iron ores and concentrates, including roasted iron pyrites; pigs and blocks; ferrous products obtained by direct reduction of iron ore and other spongy ferrous products, in lumps or pellets; granules and powders; ingots, blooms billets, slabs, and beam blanks; flat-rolled products (plates, sheets, strips, and foils) either cut-to-length or in coils; bars and rods; structural profiles (beams, channels, angles, and other shapes); sheet piling; railway or tramway track construction materials; tubes, pipes, and hollow profiles; tube or pipe fittings; reservoirs, tanks, vats, and similar containers; wire, stranded wire, ropes, cables, and plaited band; castings, stampings, and forgings; and ferrous waste and scrap, including slag. (31 C.F.R. § 561.335; 31 C.F.R. § 562.316).

The term aluminum sector of Iran means the mining, refining, processing, or manufacturing of aluminum or aluminum products in Iran. (31 C.F.R. § 561.332; 31 C.F.R. § 562.313).

The terms aluminum and aluminum products mean any raw, semi-fabricated, fabricated, or finished form of aluminum or aluminum alloy of all grades, sizes, and thicknesses, including in the following forms: ores and concentrates (e.g., bauxite and alumina); unwrought aluminum including ingots, slabs, and billets; powders and flakes; wrought aluminum including bars, rods, profiles, plates, sheets, strip, foil, tubes, and pipes; tube or pipe fittings; reservoirs, tanks, vats, and similar containers; wire, stranded wire, ropes, cables, and plaited band; castings, stampings, and forgings; waste and scrap, including slag, and any aluminum and aluminum products produced from the melting or recycling of aluminum scrap. (31 C.F.R. § 561.331; 31 C.F.R. § 562.312).

The term copper sector of Iran means the mining, refining, processing, or manufacturing of copper or copper products in Iran. (31 C.F.R. § 561.334; 31 C.F.R. § 562.314).

The terms copper and copper products mean any raw, semi-fabricated, fabricated, or finished form of copper or copper alloy of all grades, sizes, and thicknesses, including in the following forms: ores and concentrates; copper mattes; cement copper (precipitated copper); refined, unrefined, wrought, or unwrought copper; billets; cathodes; bars, rods, profiles, plates, sheets, strips, foil, tubes, and pipes; tube and pipe fittings; powders and flakes; reservoirs, tanks, vats, and similar containers; wire, stranded wire, ropes, cables, and plaited band; castings, stampings, and forgings; and waste and scrap, including slag. (31 C.F.R. § 561.333; 31 C.F.R. § 562.314).

If a non-Iranian vessel is transporting sanctionable goods to or from Iran (including, but not limited to, petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemical products from Iran; goods used in connection with the automotive sector of Iran; or iron, iron products, aluminum, aluminum products, steel, steel products, copper, or copper products from Iran), bunkering of that non-Iranian vessel in a country other than Iran — and related payments for these bunkering services — risk being subject to sanctions unless an applicable waiver or exception applies. For example, persons providing bunkering services to a non-Iranian vessel transporting petroleum or petroleum products from Iran could be designated under subsection 1(a)(ii) of E.O. 13846 if such activities involve the provision of material support for, or goods or services to or in support of, NIOC or NICO. Persons that knowingly provide bunkering services to a non-Iranian vessel carrying only petroleum or petroleum products from Iran could likewise be sanctioned under section 3(a)(ii) of E.O. 13846 if that transaction is determined to be a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of those items.

Section 1244(d)(1) of IFCA makes sanctionable knowingly selling, supplying, or transferring to or from Iran significant goods or services used in connection with Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors. (See FAQ 289 above for an interpretation of “significant.”) The provision of bunkering services to a vessel flying the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or owned, controlled, chartered, or operated directly or indirectly by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Iran (GOI) or an Iranian person, could be sanctionable under this authority, regardless of whether the transaction involves persons that have been determined to be part of Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors pursuant to Section 1244(c) of IFCA. Likewise, pursuant to section 1244(d)(2) of IFCA, a foreign financial institution could be exposed to sanctions if it knowingly conducts or facilitates a significant financial transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of goods or services used in connection with Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors. Payments for the provision of bunkering services to a vessel flying the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran or owned, controlled, chartered, or operated directly or indirectly by, for, or on behalf of the GOI or an Iranian person could be sanctionable under this authority, regardless of whether the transaction involves persons that have been determined to be part of Iran’s energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors pursuant to Section 1244(c) of IFCA. (See FAQ 295).

In addition, non-U.S. persons that provide bunkering services for an Iranian vessel that has been identified as blocked property of an Iranian person on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons — or that make related payments for these bunkering services — risk being designated themselves​

However, the provision of bunkering services for an Iranian vessel transporting goods subject to an exception, such as agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices, to Iran, or subject to an applicable waiver — and the making of related payments for these bunkering services — will not be exposed to sanctions, unless the transactions involve persons on the SDN List that have been designated under E.O. 13224 or E.O. 13382 in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including certain designated Iranian financial institutions or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as described in section 104(c)(2)(E) of CISADA, or activity that is subject to other sanctions authorities.

COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management Co. was determined by the Secretary of State on September 25, 2019, to meet the criteria for the imposition of sanctions under Executive Order (E.O.) 13846, and the Secretary of State imposed certain sanctions, including blocking, on this entity. The blocking sanctions apply only to this listed entity and any entities in which it owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest. Sanctions do not apply to this entity’s ultimate parent, COSCO Shipping Corporation Ltd. (COSCO). Similarly, sanctions do not apply to COSCO’s other subsidiaries or affiliates (e.g., COSCO Shipping Holdings), provided that such entities are not owned 50 percent or more in the aggregate by one or more blocked persons. U.S. persons, therefore, are not prohibited from dealing with COSCO, its non-blocked subsidiaries, or non-blocked affiliates to the extent the proposed dealings do not involve any blocked person, or any other activities prohibited pursuant to any OFAC sanctions authorities.

With respect to transactions involving non U.S. persons outside of U.S. jurisdiction, please see FAQ 805.

No, non-U.S. persons are generally not exposed to sanctions for providing goods or services to, or engaging in other transactions with, a non-Iranian person sanctioned under section 3 of E.O. 13846.

However, please note that non-U.S. persons should ensure that the provision of goods or services to, or other transactions with such non-Iranian persons do not involve: (1) prohibited transactions by U.S. persons (including U.S. financial institutions) or U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities, unless the transaction is exempt from regulation, or authorized by OFAC; (2) the knowing provision of significant support to an Iranian person on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List); or (3) the knowing facilitation of a significant transaction for a person on the SDN List that has been designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including designated Iranian financial institutions or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), or other activity for which sanctions have been imposed with respect to Iran (e.g., knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the purchase of petroleum from Iran).

For information about persons sanctioned by State Department pursuant to Section 3 of E.O. 13846, please see the relevant State press statement or Federal Register Notice.

On November 5, 2018, OFAC identified IRISL and E-Sail on the SDN List with the [IRAN] tag to indicate that they are entities meeting the definition of the Government of Iran whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13599.

Following their designation by the State Department under E.O. 13382, on June 8, 2020 OFAC will add the [NPWMD] and [IFSR] tags to the entries for IRISL and E-Sail on the SDN List. As a result, transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States involving IRISL and E-Sail will be subject to the prohibitions in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 544 (WMDPSR), in addition to the prohibitions in E.O. 13599 implemented through the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). Non-U.S. persons that knowingly engage in certain transactions with IRISL or E-Sail risk exposure to sanctions under additional authorities.

The United States maintains broad authorizations and exceptions under U.S. sanctions that allow for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran by U.S. and non-U.S. persons (see, e.g., FAQ 637). However, these authorizations and exceptions generally do not apply to transactions with persons designated pursuant to E.O. 13382.

Following the designations of IRISL and E-Sail under E.O. 13382 on June 8, 2020, transactions by U.S. persons involving IRISL or E-Sail will be subject to the prohibitions in the WMDPSR, in addition to the prohibitions in the ITSR. This means that, effective June 8, 2020, unless authorized under the WMDPSR or exempt, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions involving IRISL or E-Sail, including transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices by U.S. persons or from the United States that are authorized under the general licenses set forth in, or specifically licensed pursuant to, sections 560.530, 560.532, or 560.533 of the ITSR.

In addition, non-U.S. persons that knowingly engage in certain transactions with IRISL or E-Sail, even for the sale to Iran of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices, risk exposure to sanctions under additional authorities.

To avoid sanctions risks, U.S. and non-U.S. persons should ensure that transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices involving IRISL or E-Sail are concluded no later than June 8, 2020, when the designations of IRISL and E-Sail pursuant to E.O. 13382 come into effect.

Persons engaged in transactions that could be sanctioned under E.O. 13902 with respect to the construction, mining, manufacturing, and textiles sectors of the Iranian economy have a 90-day period after the issuance of E.O. 13902 to wind down those transactions without exposure to sanctions under E.O. 13902. Such persons should take the necessary steps to wind down transactions by the end of the 90-day wind-down period to avoid exposure to sanctions, and be aware that entering into new business that would be sanctionable under the E.O. on or after January 10, 2020 will not be considered wind-down activity and could be sanctioned even during the wind-down period. The wind-down period with respect to the construction, mining, manufacturing, and textiles sectors expires on April 9, 2020.

As a result of the CBI and NIOC’s designations pursuant to  Executive Order 13224, as amended (E.O. 13224), U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transaction or dealing in the property or interests in property of the CBI or NIOC under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), unless exempt or authorized by OFAC. In addition, U.S. persons and U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities are subject to broad prohibitions on transactions or dealings involving the CBI or NIOC under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 560 (ITSR), unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.

GL 8A authorizes certain humanitarian-related transactions and activities involving the CBI, NIOC, or any entity in which NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest, that would be prohibited by the GTSR or by the ITSR as a result of the CBI and NIOC’s designations under E.O. 13224 but that would have been authorized under the ITSR prior to the relevant designation under E.O. 13224. For example, if a U.S. person could have relied on general or specific licenses pursuant to sections 560.530(a) or (b), 560.532, or 560.533 of the ITSR to engage in certain activities prior to the CBI or NIOC’s designations under E.O. 13224, GL 8A provides the additional authorization needed to engage in such activities.

Please note that GL 8A does not authorize humanitarian-related transactions involving Iranian financial institutions designated under E.O. 13224 other than the CBI. Please further note that the authorizations at sections 560.530, 560.532, and 560.533 remain otherwise applicable according to their terms.

No. As detailed in  FAQ 821, GL 8A authorizes certain humanitarian-related transactions and activities involving the CBI, NIOC, or any entity in which NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest, that would be prohibited by the GTSR or by the ITSR due to the exclusion at section 560.530(d)(5) of the ITSR. Further authorization from OFAC, beyond GL 8A, is not required for such transactions and activities involving the CBI, NIOC, or any entity in which NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest, that would have been authorized pursuant to a general license in sections 560.530(a) or (b), 560.532, or 560.533 of the ITSR prior to CBI and NIOC’s designations under E.O. 13224, as amended. Additionally, transactions and activities authorized under specific licenses issued pursuant to sections 560.530, 560.532, or 560.533 of the ITSR involving the CBI, NIOC, or any entity in which NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest, are also authorized pursuant to GL 8A.

Any transactions otherwise prohibited by the ITSR or GTSR must be separately licensed pursuant to the ITSR or GTSR, as appropriate.

No. Non-U.S. persons generally do not risk exposure under U.S. secondary sanctions relating to Iran for engaging in the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran, as such transactions are generally subject to exceptions in otherwise applicable authorities, provided the transactions do not involve persons designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation. Non-U.S. persons do not risk exposure under U.S. secondary sanctions for engaging in humanitarian-related transactions or activities involving the CBI, NIOC, or any entity in which NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest, that would be authorized under GL 8A if engaged in by a U.S. person, provided such transactions and activities do not involve any person designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or WMD proliferation, other than the CBI, NIOC, or any entity in which NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest.

On October 25, 2019, the U.S. Departments of State and the Treasury announced a new humanitarian framework to assist foreign governments and foreign financial institutions in establishing payment mechanisms to facilitate humanitarian exports to Iran that are subject to enhanced due diligence. While the United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations for the conduct of humanitarian trade with Iran, this humanitarian framework presents an additional, voluntary option for facilitating payment for exports of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran. The SHTA is the first operational channel to be established under this humanitarian framework, in partnership with the Swiss government. Initial pilot transactions were successfully conducted in late January 2020, and the SHTA was formally established on 27 February 2020. Under the SHTA, participating financial institutions commit to conducting enhanced due diligence to ensure that humanitarian goods reach the people of Iran and are not misused by the Iranian regime.

For more information on the humanitarian mechanism as announced by the U.S. government, please refer to the guidance published on the Treasury’s website on October 25, 2019. Additional guidance for companies and financial institutions interested in participating in the SHTA can be found in the Treasury SHTA fact sheet and OFAC FAQs 825 and 826.

The SHTA is overseen by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and intended for use by U.S. and non-U.S. persons domiciled in Switzerland. Exporters within Swiss jurisdiction may reach out to SECO at SHTA@seco.admin.ch for further details on requirements and instructions for participating in the SHTA. In addition to any due diligence imposed under the SHTA, U.S. persons and their owned or controlled foreign entities must continue to comply with the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR), when conducting exports of humanitarian goods to Iran. Certain exports and sales of humanitarian goods to Iran are authorized pursuant to sections 560.530, 560.532, and 560.533 of the ITSR. In addition, General License 8A provides additional authorizations that may be necessary for such humanitarian-related transactions due to the designations of the Central Bank of Iran and the National Iranian Oil Company under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. For further information regarding General License 8A, please see associated FAQs  821, 822, and 823General License L also extends the authorizations, exemptions, and activity that would otherwise be excluded from prohibition under the ITSR to apply to Iranian financial institutions blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902, including those authorizations and exemptions for exports of humanitarian goods to Iran.  For further information regarding General License L, please see associated FAQs 842, 843, and 844.  

Transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices are not required to be processed through the SHTA. See FAQ 637 for guidance setting out existing exceptions to U.S. sanctions for the export of humanitarian goods to Iran.

Foreign governments and foreign financial institutions interested in establishing a humanitarian mechanism consistent with the guidance published on October 25, 2019, should reach out to the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for more information or to provide a proposed framework for evaluation. Such proposals should demonstrate careful consideration of the illustrative list of enhanced due diligence and reporting expectations described in the October 25, 2019 guidance.

There are a number of ways to provide humanitarian goods or assistance to the Iranian people in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran, consistent with U.S. sanctions.

The making of humanitarian donations to recipients in Iran from the United States or by U.S. persons, including the donation of medicine intended to relieve human suffering, are generally exempt from U.S. sanctions on Iran under section 560.210(b) of the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 560 (ITSR), provided that such donations are not being made to the Government of Iran or other persons blocked pursuant to section 560.211 of the ITSR, or to any individual or entity listed on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

In addition, the United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations that allow for the commercial sale and export of humanitarian goods, including medicine and medical devices, to Iran or the Government of Iran from the United States or by U.S. persons or U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities, subject to certain conditions. U.S. sanctions laws provide similar allowances for sales of humanitarian goods, including medicine and medical devices, to Iran by non-U.S. persons. These exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations generally do not apply to transactions involving persons on OFAC’s SDN List that have been designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). For humanitarian transactions involving the Central Bank of Iran or the National Iranian Oil Company, which were each designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 as amended, please see General License 8A issued pursuant to the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations (GTSR) and the ITSR, as well as OFAC Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 821, 822, and 823.

Furthermore, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are authorized under General License E to export or re-export services to or related to Iran in support of certain not-for-profit activities designed to directly benefit the Iranian people, including the provision of donated health-related services and distribution of donated articles such as medicine intended to be used to relieve human suffering, in Iran.

Persons interested in providing humanitarian assistance to Iran related to the COVID-19 outbreak should review sections 560.210(b), 560.530, 560.532, and 560.533 and General License E of the ITSR, General License L issued pursuant to E.O. 13902, and General License 8A issued pursuant to the GTSR and the ITSR, the guidance provided in FAQs  549, 637, 821, 822, 823, 826​, 842, 843, and 844, and the guidance provided in the COVID-19 Fact Sheet“Guidance on the Sale of Food, Agricultural Commodities, Medicine, and Medical Devices by Non-U.S. Persons to Iran” and “Clarifying Guidance on Humanitarian Assistance and Related Exports to the Iranian People.” Other types of humanitarian activities or exports by U.S. persons may be authorized pursuant to a specific license from OFAC.

Please note any transfers of funds in support of activities authorized by General License E must be made by the NGOs themselves, and not directly by U.S. individuals, in accordance with the conditions of General License E.

Yes.  Persons engaged in activities currently permitted by the Department of State’s nuclear-related waivers associated with the Arak reactor modernization redesign, the transfer into Iran of enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor, and the transfer out of Iran of certain nuclear fuel scrap and of spent research reactor fuel will have a final, 60-day wind-down period in which to cease these activities without risking exposure to covered sanctions.  The 60-day wind-down period ends on July 27, 2020.  Persons engaged in such activities should take the steps necessary to wind down those activities by July 27, 2020 to avoid potential exposure to sanctions under U.S. law. Persons engaged in such activities after that date may be exposed to certain sanctions under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act (IFCA) absent a waiver or exception.  IFCA provides for sanctions on persons determined to knowingly provide significant financial, material, technological, or other support to, or goods or services in support of any activity or transaction on behalf of or for the benefit of, an Iranian person on OFAC’s SDN List, such as the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).  IFCA also provides for sanctions on persons determined to knowingly sell, supply, or transfer, directly or indirectly, to or from Iran certain materials, including raw and semi-finished metals, if the materials are provided to or from an Iranian person on OFAC’s SDN List, such as AEOI.  For more information, please see the Department of State's Website.  [05-27-2020]   

No.  For the purposes of evaluating sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13902, persons in Iran manufacturing medicines, medical devices, or products used for sanitation, hygiene, medical care, medical safety, and manufacturing safety, including soap, hand sanitizer, ventilators, respirators, personal hygiene products, diapers, infant and childcare items, personal protective equipment, and manufacturing safety systems, solely for use in Iran and not for export from Iran, will not be considered to be operating in the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy. Note that persons conducting or facilitating transactions for the provision, including any sale, of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran will not be subject to sanctions under E.O. 13902.  (See FAQs 844 and 847 for more information.)

E.O. 13902 imposes sanctions with respect to any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to operate in the construction, mining, manufacturing, and textiles sectors of the Iranian economy, and any additional sectors of the Iranian economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State.  On October 8, 2020, the Secretary of the Treasury identified the financial sector of the Iranian economy for additional sanctions under E.O. 13902.  Iranian and non-Iranian persons operating in these sectors could be subject to sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13902.

The United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations that allow for the commercial sale and export of humanitarian goods, including medicine and medical devices, to Iran or the Government of Iran from the United States or by U.S. persons or U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entities.  Similar exceptions apply to the export of such humanitarian goods to Iran or the Government of Iran by non-U.S. persons.  However, these authorizations and exceptions do not apply to transactions involving persons on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) that have been designated in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (including certain designated Iranian financial institutions and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), or in connection with activity that is subject to other sanctions not specific to Iran, unless exempt or otherwise permitted, such as certain transactions or activities involving the Central Bank of Iran, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), or any entity in which NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest, that are consistent with GL 8A. For further guidance related to humanitarian trade with Iran and the provision of humanitarian assistance to Iran, please see FAQ 828
 

E.O. 13902 imposes sanctions with respect to any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury to operate in the construction, mining, manufacturing, and textiles sectors of the Iranian economy, and any additional sectors of the Iranian economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State.  On October 8, 2020, the Secretary of the Treasury identified the financial sector of the Iranian economy for additional sanctions under E.O. 13902. Iranian and non-Iranian persons operating in these sectors of the Iranian economy or sectors of the Iranian economy identified in the future could be subject to sanctions.

OFAC expects to promulgate regulations that define the terms construction sector of the Iranian economy, mining sector of the Iranian economy, manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy, textiles sector of the Iranian economy, and financial sector of the Iranian economy consistent with the following:

Construction sector of the Iranian economy: The term construction sector of the Iranian economy means the production, procurement, devising, framing, or arranging in Iran of parts or materials to fabricate, shape, or form buildings or structures, including the on-site development, assembly, or construction of residential, commercial, or institutional buildings in Iran. The term applies to engaging in new work, additions, alterations, maintenance, and repairs of residential, commercial, or institutional buildings. Persons such as for-sale builders, design-build firms, and project construction management firms in Iran may be considered as operating in this sector.

Mining sector of the Iranian economy: The term mining sector of the Iranian economy means any act, process, or industry of extracting, at the surface or underground, ores, coal, precious stones, or any other minerals or geological materials from the Earth in Iran.

Manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy: The term manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy means the creation in Iran of goods by manual labor or machinery that are for export from Iran or for sale within Iran. For the purposes of evaluating sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13902, persons in Iran manufacturing medicines, medical devices, or products used for sanitation, hygiene, medical care, medical safety, and manufacturing safety, including soap, hand sanitizer, ventilators, respirators, personal hygiene products, diapers, infant and childcare items, personal protective equipment, and manufacturing safety systems, solely for use in Iran and not for export from Iran, will not be considered to be operating in the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy. Note that persons conducting or facilitating transactions for the provision, including any sale, of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran will not be subject to sanctions under E.O. 13902.

Textiles sector of the Iranian economy: The term textiles sector of the Iranian economy means the fiber synthesis, dyeing, weaving, knitting, or felting in Iran of textiles, including apparel, carpets, cloths, fabric, or related goods, that are for export from Iran.

Financial sector of the Iranian economy: The term financial sector of the Iranian economy includes all Iranian financial institutions as defined in Section 561.320 of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations, meaning any entity (including foreign branches), wherever located, organized under the laws of Iran or any jurisdiction within Iran, or owned or controlled by the Government of Iran, or in Iran, or owned or controlled by any of the foregoing, that is engaged in the business of accepting deposits, making, granting, transferring, holding, or brokering loans or credits, or purchasing or selling foreign exchange, securities, commodity futures or options, or procuring purchasers and sellers thereof, as principal or agent.  Iranian financial institutions include but are not limited to depository institutions, banks, savings banks, money service businesses, trust companies, insurance companies, securities brokers and dealers, commodity futures and options brokers and dealers, forward contract and foreign exchange merchants, securities and commodities exchanges, clearing corporations, investment companies, employee benefit plans, dealers in precious metals, stones, or jewels, and holding companies, affiliates, or subsidiaries of any of the foregoing.

Persons who knowingly engage in a significant transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the above-named sectors of the Iranian economy risk exposure to blocking sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13902. In addition, persons that have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, persons designated pursuant to E.O. 13902 could themselves be designated. Furthermore, foreign financial institutions that have knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant financial transaction for such designated persons risk exposure to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through account sanctions. 

Persons who have knowingly engaged in a significant transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the construction, mining, manufacturing, textiles, and financial sectors of the Iranian economy as described in FAQ 831 risk exposure to blocking sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13902. Further, foreign financial institutions that have knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant financial transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with those sectors of the Iranian economy risk exposure to U.S. correspondent account or payable-through account sanctions.

OFAC expects to promulgate regulations defining goods and services used in connection with the construction, mining, manufacturing, textiles, and financial sectors of the Iranian economy consistent with the following (See FAQ 833 for an interpretation of the term “significant.”):

Goods or services used in connection with the construction sector of the Iranian economy:

The term goods used in connection with the construction sector of the Iranian economy means equipment or materials that enable the services described below or the activities described in FAQ 831 with respect to the construction sector of the Iranian economy, including: building supplies, concrete, scaffolding, lifts, hoists, cranes, conveyors, and mechanized equipment for material handling. Goods that ensure the protection of life and prevention of injuries to persons operating in the construction sector of the Iranian economy are excluded from this definition, including personal protective equipment, safety devices, and alarm systems.

The term services used in connection with the construction sector of the Iranian economy include: blasting, demolition, dredging, electrical work, excavating, masonry, plumbing, rigging, welding, for-sale building, design-build consultations, and construction management. Services that ensure the protection of life and prevention of injuries to persons operating in the construction sector of the Iranian economy are excluded from this definition, including cleaning, safety inspections, and services necessary for use of protective goods described above.

Goods or services used in connection with the mining sector of the Iranian economy:

The term goods used in connection with the mining sector of the Iranian economy means equipment or materials that enable the services described below or the activities described in FAQ 831 with respect to the mining sector of the Iranian economy, including: boring equipment, conveyor belts, directional digging technology, haul trucks, hydraulic excavators, explosives, and power shovels. Goods that ensure the protection of life and prevention of injuries to persons operating in mines in Iran are excluded from this definition, including personal protective equipment, safety devices, ventilation systems, and alarm systems.

The term services used in connection with the mining sector of the Iranian economy includes: auguring, boring, backfilling, combusting, crushing, exploration, grinding, grading, irrigating, impounding, magnetic separation, mineral processing, geophysical surveying, mapping services, operating mines or quarries, site preparation, and related construction activities. Services that ensure the protection of life and prevention of injuries to persons operating in the mining sector of the Iranian economy are excluded from this definition, including rescue and accident response services, cleaning, safety inspections, and services necessary for use of protective goods described above.

Goods or services used in connection with the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy:

The term goods used in connection with the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy means equipment or materials, including raw materials, tooling machinery, and components of finished products, that enable the services described below. Goods that ensure the protection of life and prevention of injuries to persons operating in the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy are excluded from this definition, including personal protective equipment, safety devices, and alarm systems.

The term services used in connection with the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy includes: new installment, additions, alteration, maintenance, and repair of manufacturing equipment; procurement or supply of raw materials for the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy; and distribution services to persons operating in the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy. Services that ensure the protection of life and prevention of injuries to persons operating in the manufacturing sector of the Iranian economy are excluded from this definition, including cleaning services, safety inspections, and services necessary for use of protective goods described above.

Goods or services used in connection with the textiles sector of the Iranian economy:

The term goods used in connection with the textiles sector of the Iranian economy means equipment, machines, materials, and items used in the textiles sector of the Iranian economy or that enable the services described below or the activities described in FAQ 831 with respect to the textiles sector of the Iranian economy, including: looms, industrial sewing machines, industrial washers and dryers, and industrial embroidery machinery. Goods that ensure the protection of life and prevention of injuries to persons operating in the textiles sector of the Iranian economy are excluded from this definition, including personal protective equipment, safety devices, and alarm systems.

The term services used in connection with the textiles sector of the Iranian economy includes: procurement or supply of raw materials for textiles production, and design of textiles products. Services that ensure the protection of life and prevention of injuries to persons operating in the textiles sector of the Iranian economy are excluded from this definition, including cleaning services, safety inspections, and services necessary for use of protective goods described above.

Goods or services used in connection with the financial sector of the Iranian economy:
On or after November 22, 2020, persons who have knowingly engaged in a significant transaction for the sale, supply, or transfer to or from Iran of significant goods or services used in connection with the financial sector of the Iranian economy risk exposure to blocking or other sanctions under E.O. 13902, unless the transaction is for a permitted transaction, such as humanitarian trade or a transaction or activity authorized for U.S. persons or otherwise described in FAQs 844, 847, 855, or 856.

The term goods or services used in connection with the financial sector of the Iranian economy includes new hardware or software, or upgrades to existing hardware or software, and related services, for use by Iranian financial institutions sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13902 or the Iranian financial sector. It also includes financial services for transactions other than permitted transactions (e.g., humanitarian trade or transactions or activities authorized for U.S. persons or otherwise described in FAQs 844, 847, 855, or 856.  The term does not include goods or services ordinarily incident and necessary to:

  • The wind down of accounts, transactions, operations, contracts, or other agreements involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian financial institution sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13902 that were in effect prior to October 8, 2020.  
  • The maintenance of accounts, transactions, operations, contracts, and other agreements involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian financial institution sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13902 that were in effect prior to October 8, 2020 and: (i) are used in connection with permitted transactions, such as humanitarian trade or transactions or activities authorized for U.S. persons or otherwise described in FAQs 844, 847, 855, or 856 or (ii) are otherwise necessary for the continued processing of such permitted transactions. 

The Department of the Treasury continues to analyze goods and services used in connection with the financial sector of the Iranian economy and may issue additional guidance about the types of goods and services that are considered sanctionable for purposes of E.O. 13902.  We urge caution in any dealings involving the Iranian financial sector or with an Iranian financial institution sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13902.

As a general matter, the Department of the Treasury intends to rely, where applicable, on definitions of terms previously included in Treasury regulations.

For purposes of E.O. 13902, OFAC will rely on the definition of "knowingly" included in the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations at 31 C.F.R. § 561.314 ("The term knowingly, with respect to conduct, a circumstance, or a result, means that a person has actual knowledge, or should have known, of the conduct, the circumstance, or the result.").

In determining whether goods or services used in connection with a sector of the Iranian economy identified pursuant to E.O. 13902 are “significant,” the Department of the Treasury may consider the totality of the facts and circumstances. As a general matter, the Department of the Treasury may consider some or all of the following broad factors: (a) the value and number of goods or value and frequency of services; (b) the nature of the good or services, including their type, complexity, and commercial purpose; (c) the level of awareness of management and whether the provision of goods or services is part of a pattern of conduct; (d) the involvement of designated persons in transactions involving goods and services defined in FAQ 832; (e) the impact of the provision of goods or services on the objectives of E.O. 13902; (f) whether the provision of the goods or services involved deceptive practices; and (g) other relevant factors that the Secretary of the Treasury deems relevant.

GL L authorizes under E.O. 13902 all transactions and activities involving Iranian FIs blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that are authorized, exempt, or otherwise not prohibited under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR).  E.O. 13902, which was issued on January 10, 2020, is not incorporated into the ITSR at this time.  However, GL L effectively extends the authorizations, exemptions, and activity otherwise excluded from prohibition under the ITSR to apply to those Iranian FIs blocked under E.O. 13902.  This includes, but is not limited to, (i) transactions and activities authorized by general and specific licenses issued pursuant to the ITSR and (ii) transactions and activities ordinarily incident to such transactions and activities and necessary to give effect thereto that are consistent with section 560.405 of the ITSR.  For example, if a U.S. person or a U.S.-owned or -controlled foreign entity relied on a general or specific license issued pursuant to the ITSR to engage in transactions and activities involving such Iranian FIs prior to these actions under E.O. 13902, GL L provides the additional OFAC authorization needed to continue to engage in such transactions and activities.

GL L does not authorize any transactions or activities that are otherwise prohibited by the ITSR, E.O. 13902, or any other part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V.  

Please note that the exemptions and authorizations in the ITSR remain otherwise applicable according to their terms.  In addition, pursuant to Section 11 of E.O. 13902, the prohibitions of E.O. 13902 do not apply with respect to any person for conducting or facilitating a transaction for the provision (including any sale) of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran; pursuant to Section 12 of E.O. 13902, the prohibitions of E.O. 13902 do not apply with respect to transactions for the conduct of the official business of the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programmes, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.
 

No.  General License (GL) L extends authorizations provided through specific and general licenses issued under the ITSR to apply to transactions and activities involving Iranian FIs blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902.  Further authorization from OFAC beyond GL L is not required under E.O. 13902, so long as such transactions and activities are authorized pursuant to a general license or a specific license under the ITSR, including for humanitarian-related transactions and activities authorized pursuant to the ITSR that are not covered by the exception in Section 11 of E.O. 13902.  

Any transactions otherwise prohibited by the ITSR or any other part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V must be separately licensed, as appropriate.

No.  Non-U.S. persons generally do not risk exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions for engaging in the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran, as such transactions are generally subject to exceptions in E.O. 13902 and other applicable sanctions authorities. 

However, such transactions should not involve persons designated on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) unless otherwise permitted, such as certain transactions or activities involving the Central Bank of Iran, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), or any entity in which NIOC owns a 50 percent or greater interest, that are consistent with GL 8A.

Additionally, non-U.S. persons do not risk exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions for engaging in transactions and activities involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian FI blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that would be authorized under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) and GL L if engaged in by a U.S. person, provided such transactions and activities do not involve any person designated on the SDN List in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of WMD.

Yes.  Non-U.S. persons engaged in transactions and activities involving the Iranian financial sector or any Iranian FI sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13902 that were not previously sanctionable will have 45 days to conclude these activities without risking exposure to sanctions.  The 45-day wind-down period ends on November 22, 2020.  Non-U.S. persons engaged in certain activities involving Iranian FIs sanctioned under E.O. 13902 after that date may be exposed to sanctions.  OFAC continues to analyze whether select types of transactions and activities may, nonetheless, be non-significant and, thus, not sanctionable even after the end of the wind-down period.  OFAC anticipates issuing additional guidance regarding the scope of transactions and activity by non-U.S. persons that will become sanctionable after November 22, 2020.  

Note that, even after the wind-down period, non-U.S. persons do not risk exposure to sanctions for engaging in humanitarian-related transactions or activities, including conducting or facilitating a transaction for the provision (including any sale) of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran, with Iranian FIs sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13902.  In addition, GL L authorizes under E.O. 13902 those transactions and activities involving Iranian FIs blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that are authorized, exempt, or otherwise not prohibited under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations.  For more information, please see FAQs 842 and 844.

Waivers issued by the Department of State (State) and exceptions set forth in IFCA remain valid and activities conducted under them involving Iranian FIs are not sanctionable during the wind-down period described in FAQ 845.  Persons engaged in transactions or activities involving the Iranian financial sector or Iranian FIs sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13902 that are permitted by a current State waiver or IFCA exception may continue these activities, in accordance with the conditions of those waivers or exceptions, without risking exposure to sanctions.  The State Department, in consultation with OFAC, continues to assess whether these waivers and exceptions require modification prior to the close of the wind-down period to account for actions taken pursuant to E.O. 13902 and ensure uninterrupted activity, as appropriate.  For more information, please contact the Department of State.

For purposes of E.O. 13902, OFAC would not generally view transactions or activities by non-U.S. persons to be sanctionable if they are consistent with activities that would be permissible if conducted by U.S. persons.  As noted in FAQ 842, General License (GL) L authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions and activities involving Iranian FIs blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that are authorized, exempt, or otherwise excluded from prohibition under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR).  In addition, pursuant to Sections 11 and 12 of E.O. 13902, respectively, the prohibitions of E.O. 13902 do not apply:  (i) with respect to any person for conducting or facilitating a transaction for the provision (including any sale) of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices to Iran; or (ii) to transactions for the conduct of the official business of the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programmes, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.

For purposes of secondary sanctions, as described in FAQ 844, non-U.S. persons are not exposed to sanctions for engaging in transactions and activities involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian FI blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GL L.  

In addition, OFAC would generally view as non-sanctionable any transactions or activities by foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and other non-U.S. persons that involve the Iranian financial sector or Iranian FIs sanctioned solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902, and that fall within the categories set forth below, to the extent such transactions or activities are not already exempt or otherwise excepted from sanctions:

  • The sale, supply, or transfer of goods and services to Iran – as well as intermediate goods used for manufacturing of such goods in Iran – solely for use in Iran and not for export from Iran, to ensure the protection of life, health, and safety, such as: products used for sanitation, hygiene, medical care, medical safety, and manufacturing safety, including soap, hand sanitizer, ventilators, respirators, personal hygiene products, diapers, infant and childcare items, personal protective equipment, manufacturing safety systems, safety devices, alarm systems, and ventilation systems.
  • Arrangement and facilitation of travel into, out of, and within Iran, by air, sea, or land, including travel service providers and air carrier services;
  • The provision of medical or healthcare services to persons in Iran or ordinarily resident in Iran; and
  • The provision of educational services by academic institutions outside Iran to persons in Iran or ordinarily resident in Iran.

Please note that the guidance above applies only with respect to transactions or activities involving the Iranian financial sector or Iranian FIs sanctioned solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902. These transactions and activities should not involve persons designated on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), unless exempt or otherwise permitted.

General licenses issued under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR) authorize certain U.S. academic institutions and other U.S. persons to provide certain services and software to Iranian students.  These general licenses include:

  • General License G (GL G) authorizes accredited graduate and undergraduate degree-granting U.S. academic institutions, including their contractors, to export services to students located in Iran, or located outside of Iran but who are ordinarily resident in Iran (“Iranian students”), to sign up for and participate in certain undergraduate level online courses, notably:  (i) courses in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business that are the equivalent of courses ordinarily required for the completion of undergraduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business; and (ii) introductory undergraduate level science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses ordinarily required for the completion of undergraduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business.  In addition, under Section 560.405 of the ITSR, certain transactions ordinarily incident to a licensed transaction are also authorized.  OFAC interprets Section 560.405 of the ITSR to authorize certain transactions ordinarily incident to courses authorized by GL G, including the giving of assignments and testing and grading of Iranian students.  
  • General License M-2 (GL M-2) authorizes, on a time-limited basis, accredited graduate and undergraduate degree-granting U.S. academic institutions, including their contractors, to export additional services to those Iranian students who are eligible for non-immigrant classification under categories F (students) or M (non-academic students), and have been granted a nonimmigrant visa by the U.S. State Department, but are not physically present in the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Specifically, GL M-2 authorizes the provision of certain online educational services related to:  educational courses that are (i) the equivalent of courses ordinarily required for the completion of graduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business; and (ii) introductory science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses ordinarily required for the completion of graduate degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, law, or business.  OFAC interprets Section 560.405 of the ITSR to authorize certain transactions ordinarily incident to courses authorized by GL M-2, including the giving of assignments and testing and grading of Iranian students.  GL M-2 also authorizes the exportation of certain software to facilitate the participation of certain Iranian students in certain online educational activities, as explained further below.  GL M-2 authorizes covered activities through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, September 1, 2023. 
  • Section 560.540 of the ITSR and General License D-1 authorize the exportation to Iran of certain services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet, such as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, and blogging.  OFAC interprets these authorizations to cover video conferencing software and related services, as well as educational technology software and related services, that allow students to view courses and course materials, complete tests and assignments, receive grades, participate in discussions, and other, similar course-related online activity, provided that the software meets the additional criteria of the applicable authorization.  For more guidance on Section 560.540 of the ITSR and General License D-1, please see FAQs 337, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 434, 435, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 441, 442, and 443.  In addition, GL M-2 also authorizes the exportation of certain software in order to facilitate participation in online educational activities described in GL G and GL M-2 by Iranian students who are eligible for non-immigrant classification under categories F (students) or M (non-academic students), and have been granted a nonimmigrant visa by the U.S. State Department, but are not physically present in the United States due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

To export services to Iranian students that fall outside of these authorizations, U.S. persons may apply for a specific license through the OFAC License Application Page.  OFAC is committed to mitigating the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and prioritizes the review of specific license applications to provide online learning services to Iranian students who are not physically present in the United States because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Please note that the general licenses summarized above do not authorize the exportation of goods (including software), services, or technology to the Government of Iran or to persons blocked under any authority administered by OFAC, including OFAC’s counterterrorism or counterproliferation authorities. 

Date Updated: August 25, 2022

Pursuant to Section 12 of E.O. 13902, the prohibitions of E.O. 13902 do not apply to transactions for the conduct of the official business of the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programmes, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.  In addition, transactions and activities involving an Iranian financial institution (Iranian FI) blocked under E.O. 13902 are authorized under General License (GL) L to the extent they are authorized, exempt, or otherwise not prohibited by the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR).  Section 560.539 of the ITSR authorizes transactions for the official business of certain international organizations, including the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations, including the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Labor Organization, and the World Health Organization. 

For purposes of secondary sanctions, as described in FAQ 844, non-U.S. persons are not exposed to sanctions for engaging in transactions and activities involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian FI blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GL L.   

In addition, Treasury will generally view the following additional transactions by non-U.S. persons involving Iranian FIs blocked solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902 or the Iranian financial sector, as non-sanctionable:

  • The operating expenses or other official business of missions in Iran of international organizations in which Iran is a member or participant, or for the personal use of employees of the missions; and
  • The operating expenses or other official business associated with the Government of Iran’s missions to international organizations in which Iran is a member or participant, or for the personal use of employees of the missions, including the provision of routine goods and services to such missions or their employees by non-U.S. persons.

Please note that the guidance above applies only with respect to transactions or activities involving the Iranian financial sector or Iranian FIs sanctioned solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902.  These transactions and activities should not involve persons designated on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), unless exempt or otherwise permitted. 

Transactions and activities involving Iranian financial institutions blocked under E.O. 13902 remain authorized under General License (GL) L to the extent they are authorized, exempt, or otherwise not prohibited by the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR). This authorization includes certain transactions and activities relating to the initiation and conduct of legal proceedings authorized or otherwise permitted pursuant to section 560.510 or 560.525 of the ITSR, such as transactions or activities related to the defense of individuals in legal proceedings in Iran brought by the Government of Iran, including any arrest, investigation, prosecution, or detention. Such permissible transactions and activities may include reasonable and customary payments for the provision of legal services, bail and/or bond payments, judicial costs and fees, costs for the production of documents and appearances of witnesses, and payment of experts.  

In addition, for purposes of secondary sanctions, as described in FAQ 844, non-U.S. persons are not exposed to sanctions for engaging in transactions and activities involving the Iranian financial sector or an Iranian FI blocked pursuant to E.O. 13902 that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GL L.  

Please note that, unless permitted by GL L and FAQ 844, payments made to Iran involving blocked Iranian persons — including the Government of Iran, including any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof — in connection with awards, orders, decisions, or settlement of claims may be subject to sanctions. OFAC will assess such transactions on a case-by-case basis.

Please also note that guidance above applies only with respect to transactions or activities involving Iranian FIs sanctioned solely pursuant to E.O. 13599 and E.O. 13902 or the Iranian financial sector.  These transactions and activities should not involve persons designated on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) in connection with Iran’s support for international terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) unless exempt or otherwise permitted. 

For the purposes of Iran GL N-1, covered COVID-19-related goods or technology include, for example:  medical gowns; medical eye shields and goggles; surgical gloves; face shields; respirators and masks such as N95, N99, and N100 masks; personal hygiene products such as soap and hand sanitizer and other water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies such as: water purification supplies and hygiene promotion materials; vaccines and vaccine ingredients or components required for the production of vaccines; equipment, supplies, and containers for transporting, storing, and administering vaccines; COVID-19 testing kits and equipment, and software and technology for processing such kits; equipment, software, and technology for diagnostic imaging tests; ventilators or components thereof; oxygen tanks and supplies to deliver oxygen; supplies, medicines, or other therapies to treat COVID-19; and field hospitals or mobile medical units, provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N-1 are satisfied, including with regard to the classification of certain goods and technology set forth in paragraph (d)(1) of Iran GL N-1.  Certain COVID-19-related medical devices designated as EAR99 that would otherwise require a specific license for exportation or reexportation to Iran because they are included on OFAC’s List of Medical Devices Requiring Specific Authorization — such as High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filtration Systems and HEPA filters — would not require a specific license for exportation or reexportation to Iran, provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N-1 are satisfied.

Transactions and activities related to the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply of such goods or technology include, for example:  processing and transfer of funds; payment of taxes, fees, and import duties; purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services; making of shipping and cargo inspection arrangements; obtaining of insurance; arrangement of financing and payment; shipping and storage of the goods; receipt of payment; and entry into contracts (including executory contracts), provided that all conditions and limitations of Iran GL N-1 are satisfied.  Certain transactions and activities involving the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), or any entity in which NIOC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, are also authorized under Iran GL N-1. 

As noted in Iran GL N-1, this general license does not authorize the unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to any part of 31 CFR chapter V, including property of the Government of Iran. 

Updated: June 10, 2022

URGENT NOTE:  The U.S. Department of State cautions against any travel by U.S. persons to Iran.  The Department of State has issued a Level Four Travel Advisory (Do Not Travel) for Iran due to the risk of kidnapping, arbitrary arrest, and detention of U.S. citizens.  See additional guidance available at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/iran-travel-advisory.html

Transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Iran by U.S. persons fall within an exemption under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), 31 C.F.R. part 560, and therefore generally are not prohibited.  See, e.g., 31 CFR. § 560.210(d).  Exempt transactions include religious pilgrimages by U.S. persons to the Imam Reza Holy Shrine and the acquisition of goods or services for personal use while traveling.  Furthermore, donations of articles, such as food, clothing, and medicine, by U.S. persons to the Imam Reza Holy Shrine intended to be used to alleviate human suffering also fall within an exemption and therefore generally are not prohibited under the ITSR.

However, U.S. persons may be prohibited from engaging in certain transactions involving persons blocked under sanctions programs or authorities outside the scope of the ITSR, such as Astan Quds Razavi (AQR) and its subsidiary, the Holy Shrine Organization, which oversees the Imam Reza Holy Shrine.  AQR was designated and added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List on January 13, 2021 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13876 for being owned or controlled by the Supreme Leader of Iran.  The Holy Shrine Organization is also considered blocked under E.O. 13876 pursuant to OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule to the extent it is 50 percent or more owned by AQR.  More information about OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule is available at https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/401.  U.S. persons are advised to act with caution when considering transactions or activities involving AQR or the Holy Shrine Organization. 

Those seeking additional guidance on transactions and activities involving the Imam Reza Holy Shrine may contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division by email at:  OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov or may request a specific license or interpretive guidance from OFAC’s Licensing Division online at https://licensing.ofac.treas.gov/Apply/Introduction.aspx
 

Yes.  Paragraph (a)(1) of GL D-2 authorizes the exportation to Iran of fee-based or no-cost cloud-based services incident to the exchange of communications over the Internet.  In addition, paragraph (a)(2) of GL D-2 authorizes the exportation to Iran of cloud-based software that is incident to, or enables services incident to, communications over the Internet.  Software exported under paragraph (a)(2) of GL D-2 either: (i) must be designated as EAR99 under the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR parts 730 through 774 (EAR), or classified under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 5D992.c; or (ii) if the software is not subject to the EAR because it is of foreign origin, must be the type of software that would be designated EAR99 or classified under ECCN 5D992.c if it were located in the United States.

For purposes of GL D-2, cloud-based services and software are determined to be incident to the exchange of communications over the Internet when they are used to support transactions authorized or exempt under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), 31 CFR part 560, including the following categories of activities: 

  • instant messaging, chat, email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, blogging, social media platforms, collaboration platforms, video conferencing, e-gaming platforms, e-learning platforms, automated translation, web maps, and user authentication services; 
  • software and services listed in the categories (6) through (11) of the Annex of GL D-2, including anti-virus and anti-malware software, anti-tracking software, mobile operating systems and related software, anti-censorship tools and related software; Virtual Private Network (VPN) client software and related software; and provisioning and verification software for Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) certificates and related software, provided that the software meets the relevant conditions of GL D-2, including applicable export control classification-related criteria; 
  • transactions that are exempt from the prohibitions of the ITSR, including news outlets and media websites covered by the exemption for information or informational materials in section 560.210(c) of the ITSR; and
  • other transactions authorized under the ITSR, such as transactions necessary and ordinarily incident to publishing authorized pursuant to section 560.538, transactions for the conduct of the official business of certain international organizations pursuant to section 560.539, the sale and exportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, and certain software and services pursuant to section 560.530, and transactions authorized pursuant to any general or specific licenses issued under the ITSR. 

Please note that paragraph (a)(1) of GL D-2 does not authorize the exportation of cloud-based services or software to the Government of Iran, except as specified in paragraph (a)(6) of GL D-2. 

A cloud-based service or software provider whose non-Iranian customers provide services or software to persons in Iran via the cloud may rely upon the authorization in GL D-2 to provide access to Iran, provided that such provider conducts due diligence based on information available to it in the ordinary course of business to confirm that the non-Iranian customer: (1) is not a person whose property and interests in property are blocked, except as authorized under paragraph (a)(6) of GL D-2; and (2) provides software and services that fall within one of the categories described in FAQ 1087, or otherwise involve activity authorized or exempt under the ITSR.

In instances where cloud-based services or software are used to support the exportation of services or software to Iran authorized under GL D-2, OFAC does not generally expect a cloud-based service or software provider to evaluate the ultimate end use or end user of the authorized software or services, provided the cloud-based provider conducts due diligence based on information available to it in the ordinary course of business.  For example, if a cloud-based service or software provider supports non-Iranian customers providing access in Iran to news websites or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that fall within one of the categories described in FAQ 1087, the cloud-based service or software provider need not evaluate whether the provision of access via the cloud involving Iranian end users is related to communication.  By contrast, if a U.S. cloud-based service or software provider supports non-Iranian customers providing certain enterprise management software to Iran, such as payroll management software, the cloud-based service or software provider would be expected to evaluate whether its support of the software is a prohibited export of software or services to Iran because payroll management software is not generally considered a qualifying software incident to communications. 

Please note that GL D-2 does not authorize the importation into the United States of Iranian-origin software or the dealing in such software, including the hosting of Iranian-origin software on a mobile application store.  Persons seeking to engage in such activity may submit applications for specific licenses to OFAC that describe the nature of the software and the Iranian developers involved.  
 

Yes, persons seeking to export items to Iran or conduct other activities in support of internet freedom in Iran that are not authorized by GL D-2 or other authorizations are encouraged to submit a specific license application to OFAC. 

E.O. 13722 blocks the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea; prohibits the exportation and reexportation of goods, services (including financial services), and technology to North Korea; and prohibits new investment in North Korea. E.O. 13722 also adds new designation criteria, some of which are mandatory criteria from the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016.

Yes. E.O. 13722 implements certain U.S. obligations under UNSCR 2270 and certain provisions of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016. U.S. sanctions against North Korea are generally broader than UN sanctions.

Yes. All property and interests in property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea are blocked. U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them without authorization from OFAC and must block property or interests in property that are in, or come within, the United States or the possession of a U.S. person.

None. E.O. 13722 prohibits the exportation or reexportation, from the United States, or by a United States person, of any goods, services, or technology to North Korea. BIS maintains authority to license exports and reexports of goods and technology subject to the Export Administration Regulations to persons who are not Specially Designated National (SDNs) and involving the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea. In most instances, to export to designated individuals and entities, U.S. persons must obtain a license from both OFAC and BIS. Regulated financial entities processing a transaction in accordance with an OFAC or a BIS license are encouraged to request a copy of the license to ensure the transaction meets the terms, conditions, and criteria of the license.

No. Unless authorized pursuant to a general or specific license from OFAC and/or BIS, Executive Order (E.O.) 13722 prohibits new investment in North Korea by a U.S. person and the exportation or reexportation, from the United States, or by a U.S. person, of any goods, services, or technology to North Korea. E.O. 13810 (“Imposing Additional Sanctions with Respect to North Korea”) does not modify any of those prohibitions.

Yes. Several general licenses are incorporated into Subpart E of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations. See OFAC’s webpage on North Korea for any additional general licenses.

Yes. Section 510.511 of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations authorizes U.S. depository institutions (including banks), U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities, and U.S.-registered money transmitters to process non-commercial, personal remittances to or from North Korea, or for or on behalf of an individual ordinarily resident in North Korea, up to a maximum of $5,000 per year. Such transactions do not require further authorization from OFAC. This general license does not authorize any transactions by, to, or through a financial institution blocked pursuant to the Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 544, or the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 594, or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to any part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V other than part 510.

Yes. Section 510.512(a) of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations authorizes NGOs to export or reexport services to North Korea that would otherwise be prohibited in support of the following activities: (1) activities to support humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in North Korea, including drought, flood, and disaster relief; the distribution of food, medicine, and clothing intended to be used to relieve human suffering; the provision of shelter; the provision of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance; the provision of health-related services; assistance for individuals with disabilities; and environmental programs; (2) activities to support democracy building in North Korea, including rule of law, citizen participation, government accountability, universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to information, and civil society development projects; (3) activities to support non-commercial development projects directly benefiting the North Korean people, including preventing infectious disease and promoting maternal/child health, sustainable agriculture, and clean water assistance; and (4) activities to support environmental protection, including the preservation and protection of threatened or endangered species and the remediation of pollution or other environmental damage. Additionally, section 510.512(c) authorizes U.S. depository institutions, U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities, and U.S.-registered money transmitters to process transfers of funds on behalf of U.S. or third-country NGOs, including to or from North Korea, in support of the activities identified above.

In most instances, to export or reexport goods, services, or technology to designated individuals and entities, U.S. persons must obtain a license from both OFAC and the Bureau of Industry and Security of the Department of Commerce (BIS). A license from BIS is required to export or reexport any item subject to the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730 through 744) (EAR) to North Korea, except food and medicine classified as EAR99. Section 510.512(b) authorizes NGOs to export or reexport from a third country to North Korea food and medicine in support of the activities listed above, provided that the food and medicine are not subject to the EAR. The exportation or reexportation by a U.S. person to North Korea from a third country of items that are not subject to the EAR and that are not food or medicine requires a specific license from OFAC.

Section 510.512(d) authorizes NGOs to conduct limited transactions with the Government of North Korea that are necessary for the above-described activities, such as payment of reasonable and customary taxes and other fees. Partnerships and partnership agreements between NGOs and the Government of North Korea or other blocked persons that are necessary for NGOs to provide authorized services are not permitted without a specific license from OFAC.

*For guidance on specific questions with respect to charitable donations or NGOs, and the scope of section 510.512, please contact OFAC.

While OFAC sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from traveling to or from North Korea, as of September 1, 2017, U.S. passports are invalid for travel into, in, or through North Korea. However, in limited circumstances, applicants may be eligible for a Special Validation Passport from the State Department that will allow them to travel for specific purposes. See travel.state.gov for additional details. U.S. persons who intend to travel to North Korea via a Special Validation Passport do not require OFAC authorization to engage in activities that are exempt pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1702(b), such as travel to or from any country or the importation or exportation of informational materials. All other activities outside the scope of this exemption would require a specific license from OFAC, unless otherwise authorized by OFAC. See, for example, FAQ 558 for additional information regarding news reporting organizations and journalists.

Section 510.510 of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations authorizes the provision of goods or services in the United States to employees of the official mission of the Government of North Korea to the United Nations or employees of the United Nations, their families, or other persons forming part of their household. Persons forming part of their household could include spouses, domestic partners, and dependent children.

E.O. 13810 provides the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, additional tools to disrupt North Korea’s ability to fund its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs. Specifically, E.O. 13810: (1) establishes several new designation criteria; (2) prohibits vessels and aircraft that have called or landed at a port or place in North Korea in the previous 180 days, and vessels that engaged in a ship-to-ship transfer with such a vessel in the previous 180 days, from entering the United States; (3) provides authority to block any funds transiting accounts linked to North Korea that come within the United States or possession of a United States person; and (4) provides authority to impose sanctions on a foreign financial institution that knowingly conducted or facilitated on or after the date of the order (i) any significant transaction on behalf of certain blocked persons or (ii) any significant transaction in connection with trade with North Korea. The sanctions applicable to foreign financial institutions can be restrictions on correspondent or payable-through accounts or full blocking sanctions.

The prohibitions in E.O. 13810 are implemented in the North Korea Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 510. See particularly §§ 510.201(a) and (d), 510.208, and 510.210. Section 510.518 allows vessels in distress to call at a U.S. port and aircraft to make a nontraffic stop or an emergency landing in the United States. A nontraffic stop includes a stop for any purpose other than taking on or discharging cargo, passengers, or mail.

Section 3 of E.O. 13810, as implemented in 31 C.F.R. § 510.201(d), authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to determine that a foreign bank account is owned or controlled by a North Korean person or has been used to transfer funds in which any North Korean person has an interest, and to require the blocking of funds that originate from, are destined for, or pass through that account. OFAC will either publish notice in the Federal Register or provide notice directly to affected parties. Absent such a determination or notice from Treasury, this provision does not create any immediate compliance obligations on U.S. persons.

Foreign financial institutions have for some time been prohibited from engaging in most North Korea-related transactions that transit the U.S. financial system. In addition, as described in § 510.201(a)(3)(vi) of the NKSR, sanctionable activities of a foreign financial institution include, on or after September 21, 2017, knowingly conducting or facilitating any significant transaction:

  • On behalf of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13551, E.O. 13687, E.O. 13722, or E.O. 13810, or of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13382 in connection with North Korea-related activities; or
  • In connection with trade with North Korea.

Pursuant to E.O. 13810 and the North Korea Sanctions Regulations, a finding by the Treasury Department that a foreign financial institution knowingly engages in one or more of the sanctionable activities is necessary before the Treasury Department can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts for that foreign financial institution. Such a finding also allows the Treasury Department the option of blocking the foreign financial institution. This authority is in addition to that granted Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) under section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

If, pursuant to the NKSR, Treasury decides to impose strict conditions on maintaining U.S. correspondent accounts or U.S. payable-through accounts for an FFI, or decides to prohibit the opening or maintaining of U.S. correspondent accounts or U.S. payable-through accounts for an FFI, Treasury will add the name of the FFI, together with the actual strict condition or conditions to be imposed, to the Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA) List on OFAC’s website (www.home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/office-of-foreign-assets-control-sanctions-programs-and-information), and published in the Federal Register. (The CAPTA list will be included in the Consolidated Sanctions List Data Files, and will be available for download in all Consolidated Sanctions List data file formats.)

If the Treasury Department decides instead to block the property and interests in property of the FFI, the institution’s name will be placed on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

News reporting organizations do not require OFAC authorization to engage in activities that are exempt pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1702(b), such as travel to or from any country or the importation or exportation of informational materials. All other activities would require a specific license from OFAC. For example, it is prohibited for journalists to employ North Korean government guides or purchase North Korean-origin technology without a specific license. The exemptions contained in IEEPA, 50 U.S.C. § 1702(b), do not apply to transactions involving persons blocked by the United Nations pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolutions. As of September 1, 2017, U.S. passports are invalid for travel into, in, or through North Korea. However, in limited circumstances, applicants may be eligible for a Special Validation Passport from the State Department that will allow them to travel for specific purposes. See travel.state.gov for for additional details.

Yes, non-governmental organizations may provide humanitarian assistance in Somalia without the need for a license from OFAC. Organizations considering entering Somali territory to conduct assistance operations should be aware that areas of Somalia are extremely unstable and dangerous, and should review the State Department’s Travel Warning for Somalia. Among the most powerful armed groups operating in Somalia is al-Shabaab, a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and a Foreign Terrorist Organization under U.S. law. U.S. persons should exercise caution not to provide funds or material support to this organization or other designated groups.

Due to the dangerous and highly unstable environment combined with urgent humanitarian needs in south and central Somalia, some food and/or medicine delivered in these areas may end up in the hands of al-Shabaab members. Such incidental benefits are not a focus for OFAC sanctions enforcement.

U.S. persons should be extremely cautious in making cash payments in areas under the control of al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab has, in the past, demanded “taxes” and “access” payments from assistance organizations. To the extent that such a payment is made unintentionally by an organization in the conduct of its assistance activities, where the organization did not have reason to know that it was dealing with al-Shabaab, that activity would not be a focus for OFAC sanctions enforcement. To the extent that an organization is facing demands for large or repeated payments in al-Shabaab-controlled areas, it should consult with OFAC prior to proceeding with its operations.

Under the current extreme circumstances on the ground, the Department of State and USAID and their contractors and grantees are authorized to engage in certain transactions in the conduct of their official assistance activities in Somalia, under rigorous controls aimed at preventing diversion of assistance or cash payments to designated parties.

Humanitarian assistance organizations that wish to apply for a contract or grant with the State Department or USAID should visit USAID’s website.

Yes, you can send remittances to Somalia, as long as the transactions do not involve parties listed on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.

Additional information on can be found on OFAC’s Somalia-related sanctions program page. To request additional information from OFAC, please call the OFAC hotline at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

No. The general license at 31 C.F.R. § 538.540 authorizes all transactions prohibited under the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 538, effective January 17, 2017. As a result, NGOs are no longer required to obtain an NGO registration number to operate in or transact with Sudan.

An entity in South Sudan that is commanded or controlled by an individual designated under Executive Order 13664 is not considered blocked by operation of law. Payments, including “taxes” or “access payments,” made to non-designated individuals or entities under the command or control of an individual designated under E.O. 13664 do not, in and of themselves, constitute prohibited activity. U.S. persons should employ due diligence, however, to ensure that an SDN is not, for example, profiting from such transactions.

No. The President issued an executive order on July 11, 2017, extending the review period established by E.O. 13761 of January 13, 2017, which set forth criteria for the revocation of certain sanctions on Sudan and the Government of Sudan (GOS). The new E.O. extends until October 12, 2017 the period of review of the GOS’ actions. OFAC’s sanctions remain in place, as does the general license broadly authorizing most prohibited transactions with respect to Sudan (the “2017 Sudan Rule”), as described below.

U.S. persons are no longer prohibited from engaging in transactions with respect to Sudan or the Government of Sudan that were previously prohibited by the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 538 (SSR).  Effective October 12, 2017, sections 1 and 2 of Executive Order (E.O.) 13067 of November 3, 1997 and all of E.O. 13412 of October 13, 2006 were revoked, pursuant to E.O. 13761 of January 13, 2017, as amended by E.O. 13804 of July 11, 2017.  To reflect this revocation of authorities, OFAC removed the SSR from the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) on June 29, 2018.  

In addition, because the determination regarding Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism was rescinded on December 14, 2020, Sudan is no longer subject to prohibitions under the Terrorism List Governments Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 596 (TLGSR), or section 906(a)(1) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7205). 

However, the national emergency declared with respect to the Government of Sudan in E.O. 13067 remains in effect, as expanded upon in scope by subsequent E.O.s to include the violence in Sudan’s Darfur region.  This national emergency provides the basis for OFAC’s sanctions on individuals and entities in connection with the conflict in Darfur, which were imposed pursuant to E.O. 13400 of April 26, 2006 and in part implement sanctions with respect to the conflict in Darfur adopted by the United Nations Security Council.

Additionally, while persons designated pursuant to the blocking authorities of E.O. 13067 or E.O. 13412 were removed from OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) due to the revocation of those sanctions authorities on October 12, 2017, Sudanese persons may still be designated or blocked pursuant to other sanctions authorities.

Note that the revocation of certain sanctions with respect to Sudan and the Government of Sudan does not affect past, present, or future OFAC enforcement investigations or actions associated with any apparent violations of the SSR that occurred prior to October 12, 2017 or of the TLGSR prior to December 14, 2020. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Yes. The new Syria Executive order, Executive Order 13582, does not prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from any country, including importation of accompanied baggage for personal use, maintenance within any country including payment of living expenses and acquisition of goods or services for personal use, and arrangement or facilitation or such travel including nonscheduled air, sea, or land voyages.

For the purposes of OFAC Syria General License No. 4A, "items subject to the EAR" is defined at § 734.3 of the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR"), 15 C.F.R. Parts 730-774.The EAR are administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security ("BIS"). Note that BIS maintains authority to license exports and reexports to persons in Syria whose property and interests have been blocked pursuant to Executive Order 13606 (the “GHRAVITY E.O.”). For further guidance regarding the exportation or reexportation of items to Syria, please consult the EAR. You may also wish to review the BIS Syria Web page or contact BIS by phone at (202) 482-4252.

The export or reexport of food or medicine that is subject to the EAR to the Government of Syria, other than medicine on the Commerce Control List that has not been licensed by BIS for export or reexport to Syria, does not require a specific license from OFAC.

As set forth in the EAR, which implements the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 ("SAA") and Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, BIS does not require a license for the export or reexport of "EAR99" food and medicine; accordingly, EAR99 food and medicine can be exported or reexported to the Government of Syria on a "NLR" ("No License Required") basis, under the regulations administered by BIS.

Additionally, as set forth in the EAR, a BIS license is required for the export or reexport of medicine that is on the Commerce Control List ("CCL medicine"). If BIS has licensed the export or reexport of CCL medicine to the Government of Syria, no specific OFAC license is required.

General License No. 4A only applies to items that are subject to the EAR, as set forth in 15 C.F.R. § 734.3. If a foreign-made item located abroad is not subject to the EAR based on the regulations administered by BIS, the exportation or reexportation of such items by U.S. persons to the Government Syria and the reexportation of services incident to an exportation of such items to Syria are not authorized by General License No. 4A. Because Executive Order 13582 generally prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with the Government of Syria and separately prohibits the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, by a United States person, wherever located, of any services to Syria, such transactions remain prohibited.

U.S. depository institutions, U.S. registered brokers or dealers in securities, and U.S. registered money transmitters are authorized to process transfers of funds to or from Syria on behalf of U.S. and third-country nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), in support of the not-for-profit activities described in General License No. 11. These not-for-profit activities include: (1) activities to support humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in Syria, including, but not limited to, drought relief, assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons, and conflict victims, food and medicine distribution, and the provision of health services; (2) activities to support democracy building in Syria, including, but not limited to, rule of law, citizen participation, government accountability, and civil society development projects; (3) activities to support education in Syria, including, but not limited to, combating illiteracy, increasing access to education, and assisting education reform projects; and (4) activities to support non-commercial development projects directly benefiting the Syrian people, including, but not limited to, preventing infectious disease and promoting maternal/child health, sustainable agriculture, and clean water assistance. Except for limited transactions with the Government of Syria, General License No. 11 does not authorize the transfer of funds to the Government of Syria or other blocked persons.

No. Only U.S. depository institutions, U.S. registered brokers or dealers in securities, and U.S. registered money transmitters are authorized to process such transfers of funds, and only on behalf of U.S or third-country NGOs. Although individuals may not transfer funds directly to Syria in support of authorized NGO activities under General License No. 11, please note that, pursuant to General License No. 6, individuals may send noncommercial, personal remittances to individuals in Syria provided that, among other things, the Government of Syria is not involved. However, General License No. 6 provides that “noncommercial, personal remittances” do not include charitable donations of funds to or for the benefit of any entity or funds transfers for use in supporting or operating a business. Please see General License No. 6 for further details.

If you wish to donate funds in support of humanitarian work in Syria, you may do so by transferring funds to an NGO to support its work in Syria. If you wish to send a charitable donation directly to Syria, you must apply for specific authorization to transmit such funds.

The United States has sanctioned the Syrian government, including the Central Bank of Syria, senior Syrian government officials, and individuals and entities supporting the Assad regime and/or responsible for human rights abuses in Syria, in order to reinforce the President’s call that Bashar al-Assad step down and to disrupt the Assad regime’s ability to finance its campaign of violence against the Syrian people. In addition, Treasury has sanctioned the Commercial Bank of Syria and a number of other entities under Executive Order 13382, an authority that targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters. Over the years Treasury has applied a broad range of sanctions using several different authorities and Executive orders (E.O.s), including counter-terrorism (E.O. 13224), human rights abuses (E.O. 13572), and non-proliferation (E.O. 13382). The United States has also prohibited the exportation of services to Syria, and there have long been legal restrictions on what goods U.S. persons can export to Syria.

These sanctions mean that U.S. persons are not permitted to do business with individuals or entities on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), or with any entity 50 percent or more owned by an Specially Designated National (SDN), unless exempt or authorized by OFAC through a general or specific license.

Recognizing that the Syrian people need many critical services and goods, OFAC has issued several general licenses that, among other things, allow all U.S. persons to send non-commercial, personal remittances to Syrian persons without needing to apply to OFAC for a separate or specific license. Moreover, U.S. persons may donate humanitarian goods like food and medicine to people in Syria, as long as such donations are consistent with Commerce and OFAC regulations.

Finally, OFAC has also issued a general license to allow nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to engage in not-for-profit activities in Syria in support of humanitarian projects, democracy-building, education, and non-commercial development projects directly benefitting the Syrian people. Copies of all OFAC general licenses issued for Syria can be found on OFAC's Syria Sanctions program page. For any activities that fall outside of these general licenses, specific authorization from OFAC would be required, unless the transactions fall within a small category that are exempt from regulation by statute.

As mentioned above, one of the goals of the U.S. sanctions on Syria is to reinforce the President’s call for Bashar al-Assad to step down and to disrupt the Assad regime’s ability to finance its campaign of violence against the Syrian people. OFAC can issue a specific license to authorize particular transactions that may otherwise be prohibited by the sanctions, as long as those transactions are in the foreign policy interests of the United States. For example, specific licenses may be issued on a case-by case basis to authorize charitable donations of funds that would otherwise be prohibited by the Syrian sanctions regime.

Yes. OFAC General License No. 6 authorizes U.S. depository institutions, including banks, and U.S.-registered money transmitters, to process non-commercial, personal remittances to or from Syria, or for or on behalf of an individual ordinarily resident in Syria, provided the funds transfer is not by, to, or through the Government of Syria or any other person designated or otherwise blocked by OFAC. Such transactions do not require further authorization from OFAC. If banks or other institutions have questions about processing remittances, they can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division via the OFAC hotline at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

No. General License No. 6 does not authorize any transactions involving individuals or entities designated under E.O. 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters, including the Commercial Bank of Syria, the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank, and the SIIB. On August 10, 2011, under Executive Order 13382, the Department of the Treasury designated the Commercial Bank of Syria for its involvement in proliferation activities, and also designated its subsidiary, the Syrian-Lebanese Commercial Bank. On May 30, 2012, the Department of the Treasury also designated the SIIB. Therefore, the use of these financial institutions is not authorized by General License No. 6.

No. You may send U.S.-origin food or medicine to Syria without a specific license from OFAC. The Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”), which maintains jurisdiction over the export of most items to Syria, does not require a license for the export of U.S.-origin food and most medicine to Syria. For further guidance regarding the exportation of items to Syria, including a list of such items, please review the BIS Syria Web page, or contact BIS by phone at (202) 482-4252.

Yes. U.S. persons can give a charitable donation to U.S. or third-country NGOs, but U.S. persons cannot send such a donation directly to Syria or a Syrian entity without a specific license in order to try to protect the donations from being misused. U.S. depository institutions, including banks, and U.S.-registered money transmitters, are allowed to process transfers of funds to or from Syria on behalf of U.S. NGOs and third-country NGOs in support of the not-for-profit activities described in OFAC General License No. 11.*

These not-for-profit activities include: (1) activities to support humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in Syria, including drought relief, assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons, and conflict victims, food and medicine distribution, and the provision of health services; (2) activities to support democracy building in Syria, including rule of law, citizen participation, government accountability, and civil society development projects; (3) activities to support education in Syria, including combating illiteracy, increasing access to education, and assisting education reform projects; and (4) activities to support non-commercial development projects directly benefiting the Syrian people, including preventing infectious disease and promoting maternal/child health, sustainable agriculture, and clean water assistance.

General License No. 11 does not authorize transactions with the Government of Syria or other blocked persons, except for limited transactions with the Government of Syria that are necessary for the above-described not-for-profit activities, such as payment of taxes and other fees.

*For guidance on specific questions with respect to charitable donations, NGOs, and the scope of General License No. 11, please reach out to OFAC.

Yes. U.S. NGOs may provide services to Syria in support of humanitarian projects in Syria without the need for a specific license from OFAC because this activity is covered under OFAC General License No. 11. However, other U.S. government authorities, including the BIS export requirements, may apply to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Syria. For further guidance, please review the BIS Syria Web page or contact BIS or contact BIS by phone at (202) 482-4252.

NGOs considering entering Syria to conduct assistance operations should be aware that areas of Syria are extremely unstable and dangerous, and should review the State Department’s Travel Warning for Syria http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/syria-travel-warning.html.

U.S. persons should exercise caution not to engage in prohibited transactions with the Syrian Government or any individual or entity on OFAC’s SDN list.

No. Without a specific license, U.S. persons are not permitted to transfer financial donations directly to Syria or to NGOs in Syria. Therefore, if you wish to donate funds in support of humanitarian work in Syria, you may do so by giving funds to U.S. or third-country NGOs to support not-for-profit activities in Syria, per General License No. 11 and as described above.

If you still wish to send a charitable donation directly to Syria or to a Syrian NGO, you may apply to OFAC for specific authorization to transmit such funds. You should provide as much information as possible about how the funds would be transferred, the recipients, and the end use of the funds. Although General License No. 6 does not authorize charitable donations, as mentioned above non-commercial, personal remittances can be sent to Syria under GL No. 6.

Syria General License (GL) 20 authorizes, subject to certain conditions, all transactions and activities prohibited by the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR) that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving, directly or indirectly, Emma Tel LLC or any entity in which Emma Tel LLC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 30, 2020.  Persons unable to wind down transactions prohibited by the SySR involving, directly or indirectly, Emma Tel LLC, or any entity in which Emma Tel LLC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 30, 2020, are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC.  

For the duration of GL 20, non-U.S. persons may wind down transactions involving, directly or indirectly, Emma Tel LLC, or any entity in which Emma Tel LLC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, without exposure to sanctions under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019, provided that such wind down activity is consistent with GL 20.  While GL 20 is in effect, wind down transactions involving non-U.S. persons may be processed through the U.S. financial system or involve U.S. persons, as long as the transactions comply with the terms and conditions in GL 20.  Non-U.S. persons unable to wind down transactions involving, directly or indirectly, Emma Tel LLC or any entity in which Emma Tel LLC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 30, 2020, are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC.

The Central Bank of Syria (CBoS) is blocked as part of the Government of Syria, as defined in E.O. 13582 of August 17, 2011 and the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR), 31 C.F.R. Part 542.  On December 22, 2020, OFAC identified the CBoS on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), further underscoring its blocked status.  This identification does not trigger new prohibitions on the CBoS.  All property and interests in property of the CBoS remain blocked.  

Among other things, the SySR generally prohibit U.S. persons, unless exempt or authorized, from engaging in any transaction or dealing in property and interests in property of certain blocked persons, including the CBoS.  This also includes the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked, again including the CBoS.  The SySR also prohibit the export, reexport, sale, and supply of services to Syria (unless exempt or authorized), which would include services involving the CBoS in Syria.  

Pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019, non-U.S. persons who knowingly provide significant financial, material, or technological support to, or knowingly engage in a significant transaction with the Government of Syria, including the CBoS, or certain other persons sanctioned with respect to Syria, risk exposure to sanctions. 

General and specific licenses under the SySR applicable to the CBoS continue to apply, including authorizations for the provision of humanitarian assistance and certain trade to Syria that may involve the CBoS.  For more information regarding authorizations for humanitarian assistance and other trade with Syria by U.S. and non-U.S. persons, please see FAQ 867

Yes.  The identification of the CBoS on the SDN List does not trigger new prohibitions; existing general and specific licenses under the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR), 31 C.F.R. Part 542, continue to apply as they did previously.  U.S. persons may continue engaging with the CBoS in connection with humanitarian assistance and certain other trade with Syria authorized by the SySR or exempt from regulation, including:  § 542.510 (Exports or reexports to Syria of items licensed or otherwise authorized by the Department of Commerce authorized; exports or reexports of certain services authorized); § 542.513 (Official activities of certain international organizations authorized); § 542.516 (Certain services in support of nongovernmental organizations’ activities authorized); and § 542.525 (Exportation or reexportation of services to Syria related to the exportation or reexportation of certain non-U.S.-origin goods authorized).  Of note, the export of U.S.-origin food and most medicines to Syria is not prohibited and does not require a Commerce or OFAC license (see 31 CFR § 542.510 and Syria FAQ 229), and U.S. persons can continue engaging with the CBoS in connection with these transactions.  For more information on the most relevant exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations for humanitarian assistance and trade under the Syria sanctions program, please see OFAC’s April 16, 2020 Fact Sheet: Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Trade to Combat COVID-19.   

In addition, OFAC may issue specific licenses to authorize certain transactions involving U.S. persons or the U.S. financial system that may otherwise be prohibited by OFAC sanctions, provided those transactions are in the foreign policy interests of the United States.  OFAC has a longstanding licensing policy supporting the provision of humanitarian assistance 

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 Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (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 would not risk exposure to sanctions under the Caesar Act for engaging in activity with the CBoS that is authorized for U.S. persons under a general license in the SySR, such as transactions involving the provision of humanitarian assistance or export of humanitarian goods to Syria.  Further, the Caesar Act codifies, with some exceptions, the general license in § 542.516 of the SySR that authorizes certain services in support of nongovernmental organizations, and includes a humanitarian waiver.  

OFAC remains committed to ensuring that humanitarian assistance can flow to the people of Syria.  Treasury continues to support the critical work of governments, certain international organizations, non-profit organizations, and individuals delivering food, medicine, medical supplies, and humanitarian assistance to civilians in Syria.  If individuals, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490. 

As described in FAQ 867, non-U.S. persons would not risk exposure to sanctions for engaging in humanitarian-related transactions or activity with Polymedics LLC and Letia Company that are exempt from regulation or authorized for U.S. persons by a general license in the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR), 31 C.F.R. Part 542, such as transactions involving the provision of humanitarian assistance or export of humanitarian goods to Syria.  

Additionally, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (Caesar Act) codifies, with some exceptions, the general license in § 542.516 of the SySR, which authorizes certain services in support of nongovernmental organizations and includes a humanitarian waiver. 

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.

Furthermore, non-U.S. persons do not risk exposure to sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Act for engaging in or facilitating transactions and activities authorized pursuant to Syria GL 22, or transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in Syria GL 22, or any other general license issued pursuant to 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, as amended (OFAC’s counterterrorism authority) or E.O. 13894 (OFAC’s Syria-related authority)), unless exempt or otherwise permitted by OFAC.

Updated: May 12, 2022

Yes.  The export of U.S.-origin food and most medicines to Syria is not prohibited and does not require a Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) or OFAC license (see 31 CFR § 542.510, 15 CFR § 746.9, and Syria FAQ 229), and therefore non-U.S. persons would not risk exposure to sanctions under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (Caesar Act) for engaging in such activity.  See FAQ 884.  For questions specific to transactions involving items subject to the Export Administration Regulations destined to Syria, please contact the BIS Foreign Policy Division at Foreign.Policy@bis.doc.gov.  Additionally, U.S. persons providing services ordinarily incident to the export or reexport of certain non-U.S.-origin food and most medicines to Syria is not prohibited and does not require an OFAC specific license (see 31 CFR § 542.525), and therefore non-U.S. persons would not risk exposure to sanctions under the Caesar Act for engaging in such activity.  For more information on the most relevant exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations for humanitarian assistance and trade under the Syria sanctions program, please see OFAC’s April 16, 2020 Fact Sheet: Provision of Humanitarian Assistance and Trade to Combat COVID-19.

OFAC remains committed to ensuring that humanitarian assistance can flow to the people of Syria and maintains a favorable policy supporting the provision of humanitarian assistance.  Treasury continues to support the critical work of governments, certain international organizations, NGOs, and individuals delivering food, medicine, medical supplies, and humanitarian assistance to civilians in Syria.  In an effort to ensure assistance reaches those in need, we encourage individuals, companies, or financial institutions who have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, to contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

Yes.  The Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR) § 542.513 authorize, subject to certain conditions, the United Nations, its Specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations and their employees, contractors, or grantees to engage in all transactions and activities in support of their official business in Syria, including any stabilization and early recovery-related activities and transactions in support of their official business.  This authorization applies to all employees, grantees, and contractors carrying out the official business of the United Nations, its Specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and private sector entities that are acting as grantees or contractors.  Please be aware that grantees or contractors conducting activities and transactions authorized under § 542.513 must provide a copy of their contract or grant with the United Nations, or its specialized Agencies, Programmes, Funds, and Related Organizations to any U.S. person, including U.S. financial institutions processing funds transfers in support of the authorized activities, before the U.S. person engages in or facilitates any transaction or activity.

In addition, § 542.211(d) and the general license at § 542.522 exempt and authorize, respectively, subject to certain conditions, the Federal Government and its employees, grantees, or contractors to engage in all transactions in support of their official business in Syria, including any stabilization and early recovery-related activities and transactions in support of their official business.  This exemption and authorization apply to all employees, grantees, and contractors carrying out the official business of the Federal Government, including NGOs and private sector entities that are acting as grantees or contractors.  Please be aware that grantees or contractors conducting transactions authorized under § 542.522 must provide a copy of their grant or contract with the Federal Government to any U.S. person, including U.S. financial institutions processing funds transfers in support of the authorized activities, before the U.S. person engages in or facilitates any transaction.  

For NGOs that are not acting as grantees or contractors of the aforementioned international organizations or the Federal Government, please see § 542.516 for authorizations under the SySR related to the export or reexport of certain services to Syria in support of certain NGO activities.

Separately, non-U.S. persons, including NGOs, private sector entities, and foreign financial institutions facilitating or assisting in the aforementioned activities, do not risk exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 for engaging in the above activities that are authorized or exempt for U.S. persons under the SySR.  Please see FAQ 884 for additional information.

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

The GL at § 542.516 of the SySR continues to authorize, subject to certain limitations, NGOs to engage in certain transactions and activities that would otherwise be prohibited in support of the following not-for-profit activities in Syria:

  • Humanitarian projects that meet basic human needs;
  • Democracy-building;
  • Education;
  • Non-commercial development projects directly benefitting the Syrian people; and
  • The preservation and protection of cultural heritage sites.

The transactions and activities that NGOs are authorized to engage in include:

  • Transactions with persons who meet the definition of the term Government of Syria, as defined in § 542.305(a) (i.e., the state and the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of Syria), that would otherwise be prohibited by § 542.201(a)(1); 
  • New investment (i.e., a transaction that constitutes a commitment or contribution of funds or other assets, or a loan or other extension of credit) in Syria that would otherwise be prohibited by § 542.206;
  • Exportation or reexportation of services that would otherwise be prohibited by § 542.207; and
  • Purchase of refined petroleum products of Syrian origin for use in Syria that would otherwise be prohibited by § 542.209.

Early-recovery-related transactions and activities that fall within the categories of transactions and activities listed above are authorized.  For transactions and activities not otherwise authorized or exempt from sanctions, OFAC considers license requests on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, this GL authorizes U.S. financial institutions to process transfers of funds in support of the authorized transactions and activities outlined above.

Separately, non-U.S. persons, including NGOs and foreign financial institutions, do not risk exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 for engaging in or facilitating transactions and activities that are otherwise authorized or exempt for U.S. persons under the SySR.  Please see FAQ 884 for additional information.

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

The GL at § 542.516 of the SySR authorizes NGOs to engage in activities in support of certain not-for-profit activities in Syria, including:  humanitarian projects that meet basic human needs; democracy-building; education; non-commercial development projects directly benefitting the Syrian people; and the preservation and protection of cultural heritage sites.  This includes early-recovery-related transactions and activities by NGOs in support of transactions and activities that fall within the categories listed above, including:

  • the provision of healthcare and health-related services (such as the restoration of health facilities; the distribution of medical equipment, supplies, and pharmaceuticals; and technical training for and supervision of healthcare workers); 
  • the provision of educational support and training services (such as the rehabilitation of local schools, the provision of training and equipment support to local educators, training and equipment support to local officials on the operations and management of critical infrastructure, and the provision of vocational and business management training); 
  • the provision of agricultural-related services (such as the refurbishment of mills, silos, and bakeries to improve food security; the provision of veterinary health services and pharmaceuticals to promote the health of livestock; and training and distribution of agricultural related items); and
  • activities related to shelter and settlement assistance, and clean water assistance (such as the rehabilitation and restoration of conflict-damaged water systems, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure; supplying associated spare parts, training, and support for maintenance of equipment; and rehabilitation of irrigation pumps and canals). 

For transactions and activities not otherwise authorized or exempt from sanctions, OFAC considers license requests on a case-by-case basis.  Individuals, NGOs, companies, or financial institutions with questions about engaging in or processing transactions or activities related to this authorization can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov. Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490. 

Syria GL 22 is intended to improve the economic conditions in non-regime held areas of northeast and northwest Syria and support ongoing stabilization efforts in the region.  This new authorization also builds upon the Administration’s strategy to defeat ISIS in the region. 

No.  Syria GL 22 does not remove any sanctions on the Assad regime and excludes transactions involving any person, including the Government of Syria, whose property or interests in property are blocked pursuant to the Syrian Sanctions Regulations or the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 from the scope of the authorization.  Additional information on activities authorized pursuant to Syria GL 22 can be found in FAQ 1043.

Syria GL 22 authorizes certain activities in non-regime held areas of northeast and northwest Syria in the following economic sectors:  agriculture; information and telecommunications; power grid infrastructure; construction; finance; clean energy; transportation and warehousing; water and waste management; health services; education; manufacturing; and trade.  This includes activities in the areas of northeast and northwest Syria identified in the Annex in Syria GL 22, in support of transactions and activities that fall within the categories listed above, including:

  • the provision of agricultural-related services (such as the production of agricultural inputs, agricultural processing facilities, and the distribution of equipment and spare parts for machinery used in crop and livestock production); 
  • the provision of information and telecommunications-related services (such as reestablishment of telecommunications infrastructure, the promotion of internet connectivity for the Syrian people, and support for media and journalists);
  • the provision of power grid infrastructure and clean energy-related services (such as rehabilitation of distribution grids and lines, transformers or substations; and maintenance of power stations); 
  • activities to support construction-related services (such as repairs to residential buildings; rehabilitation of health facilities, schools, bakeries, irrigation pumps, and canals; and supplying associated spare parts, training, and support for maintenance of equipment);
  • the provision of financial-related services in support of the sectors outlined in Syria GL 22 (such as the provision of grants and loans, and entry into contracts to support private capital investments and trade);
  • the provision of transportation and warehousing-related services (such as rehabilitation of roads, bridges, waterways, and pipelines; and supplying associated technologies for alternative energy for transportation);
  • the provision of water and waste management-related services (such as rehabilitation of solid waste and medical disposal sites; and treatment of sewage and irrigation systems); 
  • the provision of healthcare and health-related services (such as the distribution of medical equipment, supplies, and pharmaceuticals; and technical training for and supervision of healthcare workers); 
  • the provision of educational-related services (such as the rehabilitation of schools; the provision of training and equipment support to local educators; training and equipment support to local officials on the operations and management of critical infrastructure; the provision of vocational and business management training; and the preservation and protection of cultural heritage sites); and
  • activities to support trade, including manufacturing of civilian-use goods directly benefiting the people in non-regime held areas of northeast and northwest Syria.

Additionally, Syria GL 22 authorizes U.S. financial institutions to process transfers of funds in support of the authorized transactions and activities outlined above.  

Separately, non-U.S. persons, including foreign financial institutions, do not risk exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 for engaging in or facilitating transactions and activities that are otherwise authorized or exempt for U.S. persons under the SySR.  Please see FAQ 884 for additional information. 

Please note that this guidance does not apply to transactions and activities that may be subject to prohibitions under other sanctions programs administered by OFAC (e.g., transactions with persons blocked under OFAC’s counterterrorism authority (E.O. 13224, as amended) or OFAC’s Syria-related authority (E.O. 13894)), unless exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC.  Any persons seeking to operate in non-regime held areas of northeast and northwest Syria must ensure their in-country activities do not involve prohibited transactions and activities or blocked persons, such as the Government of Syria or designated terrorist organizations.

For transactions and activities not otherwise authorized or exempt from sanctions, OFAC will consider license requests on a case-by-case basis.  Individuals, companies, or financial institutions with questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to this authorization can contact OFAC’s Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation Division most efficiently via email at OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov.  Sanctions Compliance and Evaluation may also be reached via phone at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.

Additionally, U.S. and non-U.S. persons may need to obtain a license from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) for the export or reexport or certain items subject to Export Administration Regulations (EAR).  For further guidance regarding the exportation or reexportation of items to Syria, please contact BIS at (202) 482-4252.

Yes.  Transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in Syria GL 22 are authorized.  Additionally, Syria GL 22 authorizes U.S. financial institutions to process transfers of funds related to authorized transactions and activities.  Such financial institutions may reasonably rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business with regard to compliance with Syria GL 22, provided that the financial institution does not know or have reason to know that the funds transfer is not in compliance with the provisions of the GL.

In addition, foreign financial institutions do not risk exposure to U.S. secondary sanctions pursuant to the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 for engaging in or facilitating transactions and activities that are otherwise authorized or exempt for U.S. persons under the Syrian Sanctions Regulations.  Please see FAQ 884 for additional information.
 

For the purposes of Syria GL 22, the Annex in GL 22 identifies areas of northeast and northwest Syria in which activities described in GL 22 are authorized as of May 12, 2022.

Syria GL 22 does not authorize activities involving persons blocked pursuant to the Syrian Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 542, including the Government of Syria, or persons 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, as amended (OFAC’s counterterrorism authority), or E.O. 13894 (OFAC’s Syria-related authority)), unless exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC.

Persons conducting activities in certain non-regime held areas in northeast and northwest Syria pursuant to Syria GL 22 can use OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) Search Tool to identify organizations and individuals explicitly included on the SDN List, as well as other individuals or entities explicitly subject to U.S. sanctions.  For more information on using OFAC’s SDN List Search Tool and assessing OFAC Name Matches, please see OFAC FAQs 5, 82, 246-253, 287, 369, 467, and 892

In addition, according to OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule entities are considered blocked if they are owned 50 percent or more, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one or more blocked persons. 

OFAC would encourage any persons operating in certain non-regime held areas of northeast and northwest Syria pursuant to Syria GL 22 to use all information at their disposal when assessing their risk for sanctions exposure.  Supplementing internal due diligence information with an array of open-source material can be an effective compliance practice to aid in identifying risky counterparties involved in any in-country activity.  For more information on OFAC due diligence expectations and compliance programs, please see FAQs 25, 27-31 and A Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments.
 

The sectoral sanctions imposed on specified persons operating in sectors of the Russian economy identified by the Secretary of the Treasury were done under Executive Order 13662 through Directives issued by OFAC pursuant to its delegated authorities. Directive 1, as amended on September 29, 2017 in accordance with section 223(b) of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) (Pub. L. 115-44), prohibits transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in debt of specified tenors or equity if that debt or equity was or is issued on or after the relevant sanctions effective date ("new debt" or "new equity") by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of the persons operating in Russia’s financial sector named under Directive 1, their property, or their interests in property.

There were two prior (and now superseded) versions of Directive 1, which were issued on July 16, 2014 and September 12, 2014. The prior versions of Directive 1 prohibited the same activities, but involving debt of longer than 90 days maturity (July 16, 2014 version) and 30 days maturity (September 12, 2014 version) or equity if that debt or equity was issued on or after the date a person was determined to be subject to Directive 1.

The relevant tenors of prohibited debt under Directive 1 are noted in the table below.

Directive 1


Period when the debt was issued

Applicable tenor of prohibited debt

On or after July 16, 2014 and before September 12, 2014

Longer than 90 days maturity

On or after September 12, 2014 and before November 28, 2017

Longer than 30 days maturity

On or after November 28, 2017

Longer than 14 days maturity

Directive 2, as amended on September 29, 2017 in accordance with section 223(c) of CAATSA, prohibits transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in new debt of specified tenors by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of the persons operating in Russia’s energy sector named under Directive 2, their property, or their interests in property.

There were two prior (and now superseded) versions of Directive 2, which were issued on July 16, 2014 and September 12, 2014. The prior versions of Directive 2 prohibited the same activities, but involving debt of longer than 90 days maturity if that debt was issued on or after the date a person was determined to be subject to Directive 2.

The relevant tenors of prohibited debt under Directive 2 are noted in the table below.


Directive 2


Period when the debt was issued

Applicable tenor of prohibited debt

On or after July 16, 2014 and before November 28, 2017

Longer than 90 days maturity

On or after November 28, 2017

Longer than 60 days maturity

Directives 1 and 2 prohibit transactions by U.S. persons as defined in E.O. 13662, wherever they are located, and transactions within the United States. Directives 1 and 2 do not require U.S. persons to block the property or interests in property of the entities identified in the Directives, nor will persons identified in Directives 1 and 2 automatically be added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List. U.S. persons should reject transactions or dealings that are prohibited by Directives 1 or 2, and to the extent required by section 501.604 of the Reporting, Procedures and Penalties Regulations (31 C.F.R. part 501), U.S. persons must report to OFAC any rejected transactions within 10 business days.

The term debt includes bonds, loans, extensions of credit, loan guarantees, letters of credit, drafts, bankers acceptances, discount notes or bills, or commercial paper.  The term equity includes stocks, share issuances, depositary receipts, or any other evidence of title or ownership.

The prohibitions of Directive 1 apply to all transactions involving new debt of specified tenors (see FAQ 370) or new equity; all financing in support of such new debt or new equity; and any dealing in, including provision of services in support of, such new debt or new equity.  For example, for debt that is issued on or after November 28, 2017, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 1, the maturity of such instrument must be 14 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.

For debt that is issued on or after September 12, 2014 but before November 28, 2017, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 1, the maturity of such instrument must be 30 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.  If the terms of the agreement do not subsequently change as described in FAQ 394, then a U.S. person may deal in such debt even after the 14-day debt limit came into effect on November 28, 2017, because such debt would not constitute “new debt” for purposes of the sanctions applicable on or after November 28, 2017.

Likewise, for debt that is issued on or after July 16, 2014 but before September 12, 2014, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 1, the maturity of such instrument must be 90 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.  If the terms of the agreement do not subsequently change as described in FAQ 394, then a U.S. person may deal in such debt even after the revised tenors came into effect on September 12, 2014 or November 28, 2017, because such debt would not constitute “new debt” for purposes of the sanctions applicable on those dates.

The prohibitions of Directive 2 apply to all transactions involving new debt of specified tenors (see FAQ 370); all financing in support of such new debt; and any dealing in, including provision of services in support of, such new debt.

For example, for debt that is issued on or after November 28, 2017, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 2, the maturity of such instrument must be 60 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.

For debt that is issued on or after July 16, 2014 but before November 28, 2017, on behalf of or for the benefit of a person subject to Directive 2, the maturity of such instrument must be 90 days or less in order for a U.S. person to transact in, to provide financing for, or to otherwise deal in such debt.  If the terms of the agreement do not subsequently change as described in FAQ 394, then a U.S. person may deal in such debt even after the 60-day debt limit comes into effect on November 28, 2017 because such debt would not constitute “new debt” for purposes of the sanctions applicable on or after November 28, 2017.

The prohibitions of Directive 3 apply to all transactions involving new debt with a maturity of longer than 30 days; all financing in support of such new debt; and any dealing in, including provision of services in support of, such new debt.

All the prohibitions of these Directives extend to rollover of existing debt, if such rollover results in the creation of new debt with a maturity of longer than the applicable tenor specified in the relevant Directive (see FAQ 394).

Transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in any debt issued by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of persons subject to Directives 1, 2, or 3, or equity issued by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of persons subject to Directive 1, is permissible if the debt or equity was issued prior to the date on which the person became subject to the relevant Directive.  In addition, transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in debt instruments with tenors shorter than the specified tenors, even if they are issued after the sanctions effective date, is permissible.  Transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in new equity instruments of persons subject to Directives 2 and 3 is permissible.  U.S. financial institutions may continue to maintain correspondent accounts and process U.S. dollar-clearing transactions for the persons subject to the Directives, so long as those activities:  (i) do not involve transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in transaction types prohibited by these Directives; and (ii) are not prohibited by other sanctions authorities (see, e.g., FAQS 964 and FAQs 967 - 973).

In the case of Directive 1, transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in debt with a maturity of 90 days or less (if issued on or after July 16, 2014 but prior to September 12, 2014) or 30 days or less (if issued on or after September 12, 2014 but prior to November 28, 2017) that was issued by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of the persons subject to Directive 1 is not prohibited if the terms of such instruments do not change subsequently (see FAQ 394 for additional detail on what constitutes the changing of terms).  Similarly, in the case of Directive 2, transacting in, providing financing for, or otherwise dealing in debt with a maturity of 90 days or less (if issued on or after July 16, 2014 but prior to November 28, 2017) that was issued by, on behalf of, or for the benefit of the persons subject to Directive 2 is not prohibited if the terms of such instruments do not change subsequently.  Rollovers of such instruments must comply with the new Directive 1 and 2 maturity limits that came into effect on November 28, 2017.

Date Updated: February 24, 2022

On November 28, 2017, OFAC issued General License 1B, which continues to authorize certain transactions involving derivative products that would otherwise be prohibited pursuant to Directives 1, 2, or 3. General License 1B replaced and superseded General License No. 1A, dated September 12, 2014.