Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Please visit USAID’s website for more information about how you can help.
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.