Frequently Asked Questions

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.  Applicants 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.

Updated: November 8, 2022

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OFAC is aware of reports following the August 8, 2022 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 smart contracts, 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.  Persons who received a “dusting” transaction can also apply to OFAC for a specific license.

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.

Updated: November 8, 2022

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On August 8, 2022, OFAC designated the entity Tornado Cash pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, as amended, 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.  On November 8, 2022, OFAC simultaneously designated Tornado Cash pursuant to E.O. 13722 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of the Government of North Korea and redesignated Tornado Cash pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for facilitating the laundering of proceeds of cybercrimes, including those committed by the Lazarus Group, and as such the August 8, 2022 designation of Tornado Cash is no longer operative and is wholly replaced. 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.

Updated: November 8, 2022

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Not necessarily.  Under the determinations, U.S. persons are prohibited from exporting, reexporting, selling, or supplying, directly or indirectly: management consulting; trust and corporate formation services; accounting services; or quantum computing services to persons located in the Russian Federation.  Thus, U.S. persons are prohibited from providing these services to companies located in the Russian Federation (“Russian companies”) in their capacity as employees.  However, the determinations do not prohibit U.S. persons from providing other services not covered by these determinations as part of their employment by Russian companies.

In addition, please note that the determinations exclude from the scope of the aforementioned services:  (1) any service to an entity located in the Russian Federation that is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a United States person; and (2) any service in connection with the wind down or divestiture of an entity located in the Russian Federation that is not owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a Russian person.

Date Updated: September 15, 2022 

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No, provided that the provision of services is not an indirect export to a person located in the Russian Federation.  For the purposes of these determinations, OFAC interprets the “indirect” provision of the prohibited services to include when the benefit of the services is ultimately received by a “person located in the Russian Federation.”

In contrast, OFAC would not consider to be prohibited the provision of services to a non-Russian company that has a physical presence and operations outside of the Russian Federation, including such a company owned or controlled by persons located in the Russian Federation, provided that the services will not be further exported or reexported to persons located in the Russian Federation.

For example, the following scenarios describe services that would be prohibited under the determination:

  • A U.S. corporate service provider administers a trust established under the laws of a U.S. state, where the trust exists predominantly to hold, sell, or purchase assets on behalf of a settlor, trustor, or beneficiary who is an individual ordinarily resident in Russia. 
  • A U.S. corporate service provider registers a limited liability company in a third country on behalf of an individual ordinarily resident in Russia for the purpose of holding real estate assets, and this company has no other physical presence or operations in the third country. 

The following scenarios illustrate services to a non-Russian subsidiary of a Russian person that would not be prohibited under the determination:

  • A U.S. accounting firm provides tax advisory and preparation services to the U.S. subsidiary of a Russian company.  This U.S. subsidiary has an office and employees in the United States and conducts business in the United States, and the services will not be exported or reexported to the Russian parent company.
  • A U.S. management consulting firm provides strategic business advice to the subsidiary of a Russian company located in a third country.  This subsidiary has an office and employees in the third country and conducts business in this third country, and the services will not be reexported to the Russian parent company.

Date Updated: September 15, 2022 

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For the purposes of the determination of May 8, 2022 made pursuant to E.O. 14071, OFAC anticipates publishing regulations defining these terms to include the following:

  • “Accounting services” includes services related to the measurement, processing, and evaluation of financial data about economic entities.  Please note that OFAC has issued General License 35 to authorize certain transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of credit rating or auditing services to any person located in the Russian Federation through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, August 20, 2022.  See FAQ 1035.
  • “Trust and corporate formation services” – includes services related to assisting persons in forming or structuring legal persons, such as trusts and corporations; acting or arranging for other persons to act as directors, secretaries, administrative trustees, trust fiduciaries, registered agents, or nominee shareholders of legal persons; providing a registered office, business address, correspondence address, or administrative address for legal persons; and providing administrative services for trusts.  Please note that all of these activities are common activities of trust and corporate service providers (TCSPs), although they may be provided by other persons.
  • “Management consulting services” – includes services related to strategic business advice; organizational and systems planning, evaluation, and selection; development or evaluation of marketing programs or implementation; mergers, acquisitions, and organizational structure; staff augmentation and human resources policies and practices; and brand management.

This determination excludes from the scope of the aforementioned services:  (1) any service to an entity located in the Russian Federation that is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a United States person; and (2) any service in connection with the wind down or divestiture of an entity located in the Russian Federation that is not owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a Russian person.

For the purposes of the prohibitions set forth in in the determination of May 8, 2022 made pursuant to E.O. 14071, OFAC anticipates publishing regulations defining the term “person located in the Russian Federation” as set forth in FAQ 1058.  For the purposes of the exclusion set forth in the determination of May 8, 2022 made pursuant to E.O. 14071, OFAC anticipates publishing regulations defining the term “Russian person” to mean an individual who is a citizen or national of the Russian Federation, or an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation.

Date Updated: September 15, 2022

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On May 8, 2022, the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Department of State, issued a determination pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14071, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Accounting, Trust and Corporate Formation, and Management Consulting Services,” prohibiting the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of certain accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting services to any person located in the Russian Federation.  This determination takes effect June 7, 2022.  For more information, please see FAQ 1034.

On May 8, 2022, the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Department of State, also issued a sectoral determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes the imposition of economic sanctions on individuals and entities that operate or have operated in the accounting, trust and corporate formation services, or management consulting sectors of the Russian Federation economy.  This determination takes effect on May 8, 2022.  For further information, please see FAQ 1037.  

Date Updated: September 15, 2022

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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

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Yes, the respective E.O.s prohibit U.S. persons from purchasing both new and existing debt and equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation.  However, the new investment prohibitions of the respective E.O.s do not prohibit U.S. persons from selling or divesting debt or equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation to a non-U.S. person (see FAQ 1049), including purchases of such debt or equity securities if ordinarily incident and necessary to the divestment or transfer of the debt or equity securities to a non-U.S. person.  U.S. financial institutions may clear and settle, or otherwise serve as market intermediaries in, divestment transactions on the secondary market—including transactions between non-U.S. persons.  

Please note that U.S. persons are not required to divest such securities and may continue to hold such previously acquired securities.  Moreover, the conversion of depositary receipts to underlying local shares of non-sanctioned Russian issuers would not be considered a prohibited “new investment” in the Russian Federation under the respective E.O.s.  

Additionally, the purchase of shares in a U.S. fund that contains debt or equity securities issued by entities in the Russian Federation generally would not be considered a prohibited “new investment,” under the respective E.O.s, so long as these holdings represent less than a predominant share by value of debt or equity securities issued by entities in the Russian Federation.  As a result, U.S. persons may continue to invest in the fund, and the fund may continue to operate.  Generally, the fund may also divest itself of these prohibited holdings.  

OFAC has also issued General License (GL) 45, authorizing transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of financial contracts entered into on or before June 6, 2022 that involve, or are linked to, debt or equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation, until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, October 20, 2022.  The purpose of GL 45 is to authorize the close out of financial contracts entered into on or before June 6, 2022 that might not otherwise be considered a divestment of debt or equity securities issued by entities in the Russian Federation.  For further information, please see FAQ 1071.  

Please note that transactions to divest debt or equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation to a non-U.S. person, or transactions to wind down pre-existing financial contracts pursuant to GL 45, must not involve blocked persons or other prohibited transactions unless exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC.

Updated: July 22, 2022

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Yes.  Transactions related to the divestment or the facilitation of divestment of a pre-existing investment in a project or operation in the Russian Federation are not prohibited by the new investment prohibitions of the respective E.O.s.  Such transactions may not involve a blocked person or otherwise prohibited transactions unless exempt or authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The respective E.O.s prohibit any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited if performed by a United States person or within the United States.  Such provisions do not prohibit U.S. persons from facilitating the wind down or divestment of an existing investment  in a project or operation in the Russian Federation.  For example, a U.S. financial institution is not prohibited from advising a client that seeks to divest from a project or operation in the Russian Federation (i.e., the seller in a transaction).  However, a U.S. person is prohibited from providing any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee to a non-U.S. person that seeks to invest in a project or operation in the Russian Federation (i.e., the buyer in such a transaction).  

Such provisions also do not prohibit U.S. persons from advising on the requirements of U.S. sanctions laws consistent with OFAC’s Guidance on the Provision of Certain Services Relating to the Requirements of U.S. Sanctions Laws.

For guidance related to divestment transactions in the secondary market involving debt or equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation, please see FAQ 1054.

Updated: July 22, 2022

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GL 25C authorizes certain transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the receipt or transmission of telecommunications involving the Russian Federation that are prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587 (RuHSR).  In addition, GL 25C authorizes certain transactions from the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located, to the Russian Federation that are incident to the exchange of communications over the internet and that are prohibited by the RuHSR.  However, GL 25C explicitly excludes from the authorization any transactions involving Joint Stock Company Channel One Russia, Television Station Russia-1, Joint Stock Company NTV Broadcasting Company, Limited Liability Company Algoritm, New Eastern Outlook, or Oriental Review, which are designated pursuant to Executive Order 14024

For further information on relevant authorizations, exemptions, and public guidance, please review OFAC’s Fact Sheet, “Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine.” 

Date Updated July 14, 2022

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Yes.  On May 8, 2022, OFAC designated Agropromyshlennyi Kompleks Voronezhskii OOO, Anninskii Elevator OOO, and Azovskaya Zernovaya Kompaniya OOO pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Joint Stock Company Moscow Industrial Bank (MIB), which was also designated on May 8, 2022 pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy.  Russia-related General License (GL) 6B authorizes, among other activities, certain transactions prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587 (RuHSR), that are related to the sale, or transport of agricultural commodities, which includes transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities to, from, or transiting the Russian Federation.  For additional information, please see the text of GL 6B.

For further information on relevant authorizations, exemptions, and public guidance, please review OFAC’s Fact Sheets, “Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine ” and “Russia Sanctions and Agricultural Trade”.

Date Updated: July 14, 2022

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The Russia-related CAPTA Directive prohibits U.S. financial institutions from:  (i) the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account or payable-through account for or on behalf of foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive; and (ii) the processing of transactions involving foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  Please see the Russia-related CAPTA Directive for the definition of the terms “U.S. financial institution” and “foreign financial institution” for purposes of this directive.  Please see FAQ 969 regarding the applicability of OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule with respect to this directive.

Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive lists the foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions as of March 26, 2022.  Foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, including the foreign financial institutions listed in Annex 1, can be found on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA List).  Relevant entries on the CAPTA List will denote when a foreign financial institution became subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, as well as when the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive come into effect with respect to that foreign financial institution.

The below table identifies the dates the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive take effect for (i) foreign financial institutions listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, and (ii) foreign financial institutions otherwise determined to be subject to its prohibitions and added to the CAPTA List.  

 

Foreign Financial Institution Type Relevant Sanctions Effective Date
Foreign financial institutions listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 26, 2022
Foreign financial institution otherwise determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive 12:01 a.m. eastern time on the date that is 30 days after the date of such determination

 

U.S. financial institutions must close any correspondent or payable-through account maintained for or on behalf of foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, or their property or interests in property, by the relevant effective date.  Separately, as of the relevant effective date, U.S. financial institutions may not process transactions involving foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, or their property or interests in property, and must reject such transactions unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.

Accordingly, after the relevant effective date, U.S. financial institutions must reject any transaction involving a foreign financial institution determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive or involving that foreign financial institution’s property or interests in property.  This includes rejecting transactions related to any securities (including depositary receipts) issued by a foreign financial institution determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, including secondary market trading. For certain authorized securities-related transactions, see GL 9C and FAQ 981.  By virtue of the prohibition on the processing of transactions for or on behalf of foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, U.S. financial institutions are also prohibited from engaging in transactions with a covered foreign financial institution in connection with the foreign financial institution’s role as a local custodian for depositary receipt issuances.

The Russia-related CAPTA Directive does not impose blocking sanctions and, thus, does not require U.S. financial institutions (or other U.S. persons) to block the assets of foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of this directive.  However, U.S. persons should be aware that foreign financial institutions subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive may also be subject to additional prohibitions under other sanctions authorities, such as additional directives under E.O. 14024  or E.O. 13662.

OFAC issued several Russia-related general licenses (GLs) authorizing certain transactions involving the foreign financial institutions subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, including: 

  • GL 6B: authorizing transactions related to (1) the production, manufacturing, sale, or transport of agricultural commodities, agricultural equipment, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices; (2) the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 (including research or clinical studies relating to COVID-19); or (3) ongoing clinical trials and other medical research activities; 
  • GL 7A: authorizing overflight payments, emergency landings, and air ambulance services;
  • GL 8C: authorizing transactions related to energy; and
  • GL 27: authorizing transactions in support of nongovernmental organizations’ activities
     

On March 1, 2022, OFAC issued the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587 (RuHSR), which incorporate GL 5 in section 587.510 of the RuHSR.

For additional information, please see FAQs 976, 977, 978, 979981, 982 and 990.

Date Updated: July 14, 2022

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Gold-related transactions involving the Russian Federation may be sanctionable under E.O. 14024 or other Russia-related sanctions authorities.  For example, E.O. 14024 authorizes sanctions against:

  • Persons determined to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent U.S. sanctions, including through the use of assets such as gold or other precious metals;  
  • Persons determined to operate or to have operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy, which could include those engaging in gold-related transactions involving the Russian Federation; and 
  • Persons that have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, persons blocked under E.O. 14024.  This could include transactions in gold or other precious metals that involve such blocked persons.

In addition, gold-related transactions involving Russia or the Russian Federation may be prohibited under E.O. 14024 or other Russia-related sanctions authorities.  For example:

Sanctioned Russian persons are known to employ a wide variety of measures in their efforts to evade U.S. and international sanctions.  As such, U.S. persons, wherever located, including persons that process or facilitate gold-related transactions, must be vigilant against attempts to circumvent OFAC regulations and must take risk-based steps to ensure they do not engage in prohibited transactions. 

Violations of OFAC regulations may result in criminal or civil penalties.  OFAC is closely monitoring any efforts to circumvent or violate Russia-related sanctions, including through the use of gold or other precious metals, and is committed to using its authorities to act against sanctions evaders, and promote compliance.
 

Date Updated: June 28, 2022

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Yes.  GL 8C, which authorizes certain transactions “related to energy” involving specified Russian financial institutions, remains in effect until 12:01 eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, unless renewed.  However, GL 8C does not authorize any transactions prohibited by E.O. 14066 (see FAQs 976-978 and 1,010-1,012).

Updated: June 14, 2022

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GL 8C authorizes energy-related transactions through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, unless renewed.  In the event that GL 8C is not renewed, OFAC intends to issue a general license authorizing the orderly wind down of activities covered by GL 8C.

Updated: June 14, 2022

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The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) encourages persons to connect with their financial institution regarding the status of any payment.  In addition, persons with questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to GL 8C 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. 

Updated: June 14, 2022

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The energy sector of the Russian Federation economy itself is not subject to comprehensive sanctions.  However, prohibitions or restrictions may apply to certain energy-related transactions under several sanctions authorities, including prohibitions issued pursuant to E.O. 13662, E.O. 14024, E.O. 14066, E.O. 14071, and E.O. 14068.

Pursuant to E.O. 14066, the import into the United States of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin is prohibited; and U.S. persons, wherever located, are prohibited from new investment in the energy sector in the Russian Federation, among other things. 

E.O. 14066 does not prohibit transactions such as the unwinding of contracts or other business-related activities by U.S. persons to comply with the import ban imposed under E.O. 14066.  Likewise, E.O. 14066 does not prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions to sell or re-direct shipments that were laden on or after March 8, 2022 and previously destined for the United States.  The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has also authorized until April 22, 2022 certain transactions prohibited by E.O. 14066 (see FAQs 1013 – 1020).

In addition, pursuant to E.O. 14024, OFAC has imposed expansive sanctions on persons that operate or have operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy (see FAQ 966).  To limit the degree to which these financial services sector sanctions may inhibit energy-related transactions, OFAC has issued Russia-related General License (GL) 8C authorizing U.S. persons to process energy-related transactions involving the sanctioned Russian financial institutions identified in GL 8C.  GL 8C expires at 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, unless renewed (see FAQs 976, 977, 978,  1011, and 1012).

Energy-related transactions authorized in GL 8C include payments connected with a variety of upstream and downstream activities, including the extraction, production, refinement, liquefaction, gasification, regasification, conversion, enrichment, fabrication, transport, or purchase of energy for import from the Russian Federation to countries other than the United States or for export to the Russian Federation, as well as financing, loading, or unloading related to such processes (see FAQ 977).  However, transactions related to new investment in the energy sector in the Russian Federation are not authorized pursuant to GL 8C.

Updated: June 14, 2022

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GLs 6A, 7A, and 8C do not authorize a U.S. financial institution to maintain (or open) a correspondent account or payable-through account for or on behalf of entities subject to the prohibitions of Directive 2 under E.O.  14024 , “Prohibitions Related to Correspondent or Payable-Through Accounts and Processing of Transactions Involving Certain Foreign Financial Institutions” (Russia-related CAPTA Directive).  Consequently, in order for a U.S. financial institution to engage in transactions authorized under these GLs (e.g., a funds transfer related to energy), all such funds transfers must be processed indirectly through a non-sanctioned, non-U.S. financial institution.  

Examples of authorized and prohibited funds transfers under GLs 6A, 7A, and 8C include:

 

Payment from third-country originator

Authorized payment from third-country originator to beneficiary with an account at a sanctioned institution:

Prohibited payment from third-country originator to beneficiary with an account at a sanctioned institution: 

 

Payment from U.S. originator

Authorized payment from U.S. originator to beneficiary with an account at a sanctioned institution:

Prohibited payment from U.S. originator to beneficiary with an account at a sanctioned institution: 

In each of the above examples, the underlying funds transfer must be authorized under the applicable GL.
 

Updated: June 14, 2022

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For the purposes of GL 8C,  the term “related to energy” means the extraction, production, refinement, liquefaction, gasification, regasification, conversion, enrichment, fabrication, transport, or purchase of petroleum, including crude oil, lease condensates, unfinished oils, natural gas liquids, petroleum products, natural gas, or other products capable of producing energy, such as coal, wood, or agricultural products used to manufacture biofuels, or uranium in any form, as well as the development, production, generation, transmission, or exchange of power, through any means, including nuclear, thermal, and renewable energy sources. This definition remains unchanged from GL 8.

Updated: June 14, 2022

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General License (GL) 8C authorizes certain transactions “related to energy” (as defined in the GL; see also FAQ 977) involving the following entities (collectively, “Covered Entities”):

  • State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB);
  • Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie;
  • Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company;
  • Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia;
  • VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company; 
  • Any entity owned 50 percent or more, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one of the above entities; and
  • The Central Bank of the Russian Federation.

GL 8C does not authorize any transaction prohibited by Directive 1A under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Sovereign Debt of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive).  In addition, GL 8C does not authorize any debit to an account on the books of a U.S. financial institution of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.  Further, GL 8C does not authorize a U.S. financial institution to maintain (or open) a correspondent account or payable-through account for or on behalf of foreign financial institutions subject to the prohibitions of Directive 2 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Correspondent or Payable-Through Accounts and Processing of Transactions Involving Certain Foreign Financial Institutions” (the “Russia-related CAPTA Directive”).  Consequently, in order for a U.S. financial institution to engage in transactions authorized by GL 8C, all funds transfers related to energy involving one or more Covered Entities must be processed indirectly through a non-sanctioned, non-U.S. financial institution.  Please see FAQ 978 for examples of authorized and prohibited transactions flows under certain GLs, including GL 8C.

For purposes of assessing whether certain transactions are authorized under GL 8C, U.S. persons may rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business, including reasonable reliance on information about the underlying transaction provided by the parties thereto.  

GL 8C is valid until 12:01 eastern standard time, December 5, 2022 unless renewed.  Persons unable to wind down prohibited transactions with the Covered Entities by December 5, 2022 are encouraged to approach the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which may consider renewing GL 8C.  Please see FAQs 977, 978, 1010, 1111, and 1012 for additional guidance related to GL 8C.

GL 8C provides authorization solely under E.O. 14024.  Therefore, U.S. financial institutions that rely on the authorization provided in GL 8C to process transactions related to energy must also comply with the prohibitions of E.O. 14066, E.O. 14068, and E.O. 14071 (see FAQs 1013, FAQ 1014 and FAQ 1015).

Updated: June 14, 2022

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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

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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

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For the purposes of Venezuela GL 39A, transactions and activities related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 in Venezuela include, for example:  the export or import of goods and services, and transactions and activities related thereto, in each case that would otherwise be prohibited due to the involvement of the Government of Venezuela, certain blocked financial institutions as described in Venezuela GL 39A, or both, provided all conditions and limitations in the GL are satisfied.

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; vaccines and vaccine ingredients or components required for the production of vaccines; equipment, supplies, and containers for transporting, storing, and administering vaccines; personal protective equipment; COVID-19 testing kits and equipment, 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 medicals units, provided that all conditions and limitations of Venezuela GL 39A are satisfied.  

COVID-19-related services include, for example:  treatment of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19; training necessary to the safe and effective use of goods for use in connection with the prevention, diagnosis, 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; disposal of medical waste in connection with 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; provided all conditions and limitations in Venezuela GL 39A are satisfied. 

Other transactions and activities related to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 in Venezuela include, for example, when in connection with COVID-19-related goods, technology, or services:  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; shipping of goods; delivery of services; receipt of payment; and entry into contracts (including executory contracts), provided all conditions and limitations in Venezuela GL 39A are satisfied.

As noted in Venezuela GL 39A, 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 Venezuela or certain specified blocked financial institutions listed in Venezuela GL 39A. 

Updated: June 10, 2022

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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For the purposes of E.O. 14066, the Office of Foreign Assets Control anticipates publishing regulations defining the term “Russian Federation origin” to include goods produced, manufactured, extracted, or processed in the Russian Federation, excluding any Russian Federation origin good that has been incorporated or substantially transformed into a foreign-made product.

For information on prohibitions related to new investment pursuant to Russia-related E.O. 14066, E.O. 14068, and E.O. 14071, please see FAQs 1049-1055.

Updated: June 06, 2022

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No, the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive does not prohibit trading in the secondary markets for debt or equity of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (collectively, “Directive 4 entities”), provided that no Directive 4 entity is a counterparty to such a transaction.  Please note, however, that Directive 1A under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Sovereign Debt of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive), prohibits U.S. financial institutions from participation in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by the Directive 4 entities.  Moreover, the “new investment” prohibitions of E.O. 14066, E.O. 14068, and E.O. 14071 prohibit U.S. persons from purchasing debt and equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation.  Please see FAQ 1054.

With respect to the receipt of interest, dividend, or maturity payments made in connection with debt or equity of the Directive 4 entities, please see General License 9A and FAQ 981.

Updated: June 06, 2022

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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

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For the purposes of the determination of May 8, 2022 made pursuant to E.O. 14024, OFAC interprets the following terms to include activities related to products and services in or involving the Russian Federation in the following:

  • “Accounting sector” – includes the measurement, processing, and evaluation of financial data about economic entities.  
  • “Trust and corporate formation services sector” – includes assisting persons in forming or structuring legal persons, such as trusts and corporations; acting or arranging for another person to act as directors, secretaries, administrative trustees, trust fiduciaries, registered agents, or nominee shareholders of legal persons; providing a registered office, business address, correspondence address, or administrative address for legal persons; and providing administrative services for trusts.
  • “Management consulting sector” – includes strategic business advice; organizational and systems planning, evaluation, and selection; development or evaluation of marketing programs or implementation; mergers, acquisitions, and organizational structure; staff augmentation and human resources policies and practices; and brand management.

The determination regarding these sectors pursuant to E.O. 14024 takes effect immediately.

Updated: May 11, 2022

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The term “credit rating services” means services related to assessments of a borrower’s ability to meet financial commitments, including analysis of general creditworthiness or with respect to a specific debt or financial obligation.

The term “auditing services” means examination or inspection of business records by an auditor, including checking and verifying accounts, statements, or other representation of the financial position or regulatory compliance of the auditee.

General License 35 authorizes certain transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of credit rating or auditing services to any person located in the Russian Federation through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, August 20, 2022. 

Updated: May 11, 2022

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No.  E.O. 14065 targets the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic regions of Ukraine or such other regions of Ukraine as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State (collectively, the “Covered Regions”).  In determining whether a location is within the regions subject to sanctions, U.S. persons may reasonably rely on vetted information from reliable third parties, such as postal codes and maps.

U.S. persons engaging in activity that does not involve the Covered Regions are not subject to the prohibitions in E.O. 14065.  Please see FAQ 1006 for what prohibitions apply to the Covered Regions. 

Date Updated: May 05, 2022

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For purposes of section 10(a)(2)(A) of SSIDES and § 589.201(a)(6)(vii)(B)(1) of the URSR, OFAC will interpret the phrase “subject to sanctions imposed by the United States with respect to the Russian Federation” to be persons subject to sanctions under SSIDES, as amended, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act (UFSA), as amended, provisions of CAATSA with respect to the Russian Federation, and any covered Executive order as defined in § 589.305 and section 10(f)(1) of SSIDES.  Section 10(f)(1) of SSIDES and § 589.305 define the term “covered executive order” to mean any of the following:   Executive Order (E.O.) 13660E.O. 13661E.O. 13662, E.O. 13685, E.O. 13694, relating to the Russian Federation, or E.O. 13757, relating to the Russian Federation.  Persons “subject to sanctions imposed by the United States with respect to the Russian Federation” includes persons who are listed on the SDN List, SSI List, or NS-MBS List pursuant to the authorities listed above, and associated persons subject to sanctions pursuant to OFAC’s 50 percent rule.

Date Updated: April 29, 2022

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“foreign person” – As stated in § 589.317 of the Ukraine-/Russia-Related Sanctions Regulations (URSR), the term foreign person for purposes of the SSIDES section 10 provisions in §§ 589.201(a)(6) and 589.413 means any citizen or national of a foreign state (including any such individual who is also a citizen or national of the United States), or any entity not organized solely under the laws of the United States or existing solely in the United States, but does not include a foreign state.  This definition is consistent with section 10(f)(2) of SSIDES.

“knowingly” – section 589.322 states that 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.  This definition is consistent with section 221(4) of CAATSA.

“materially violate” – For purposes of section 10(a)(1) of SSIDES, OFAC will interpret the term “materially violate” to refer to an “egregious” violation.  A determination about whether a violation is egregious will be based on an analysis of the applicable General Factors as described in OFAC’s Economic Sanctions Enforcement Guidelines, located in subsection (B)(1), section V of Appendix A to 31 C.F.R. part 501.

“facilitate[ion] . . . for or on behalf of” – For purposes of section 10(a)(2) of SSIDES, facilitating a significant transaction for or on behalf of a person will be interpreted to mean providing assistance for a transaction from which the person in question derives a particular benefit of any kind (as opposed to a generalized benefit conferred upon undifferentiated persons in aggregate).  Assistance may include the provision or transmission of currency, financial instruments, securities, or any other value; purchasing, selling, transporting, swapping, brokering, financing, approving, or guaranteeing; the provision of other services of any kind; the provision of personnel; or the provision of software, technology, or goods of any kind.

“significant transaction” – section 589.413 states that for purposes of the SSIDES prohibitions in § 589.201(a)(6)(vii), the Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary’s designee will consider the totality of the facts and circumstances when determining whether transactions are “significant.”  As a general matter, some or all of the following factors may be considered: (1) the size, number, and frequency of the transaction(s); (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 the person subject to sanctions imposed by the United States with respect to the Russian Federation, as defined in SSIDES, or any child, spouse, parent, or sibling of such an individual; (5) the impact of the transaction(s) on the objectives of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act, SSIDES, CAATSA, Executive Order (E.O.) 13660, E.O. 13661, E.O. 13662, E.O. 13685, or any other Executive order issued pursuant to the national emergency declared in E.O. 13660; (6) whether the transaction(s) involve deceptive practices; and (7) such other factors that the Secretary of the Treasury or the Secretary’s designee deems relevant on a case-by-case basis.  

Furthermore, § 589.413(i) states a transaction is not significant if U.S. persons would not require specific licenses from OFAC to participate in it.  A transaction in which the person subject to sanctions is identified on the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications (SSI) List or the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions (NS-MBS) List will only be potentially considered significant if:  1) the transaction involves deceptive practices (i.e., attempts to obscure or conceal the actual parties or true nature of the transaction(s), or to evade sanctions); and 2) such person is “subject to sanctions imposed by the United States with respect to the Russian Federation” or a child, spouse, parent, or sibling of such an individual, as described in § 589.413(d)(1) (see also FAQ 546).  

A transaction involving an entity solely on the SSI List or NS-MBS List is not automatically significant simply because a U.S. person would require a specific license from OFAC to participate in it and it involves deceptive practices.  In all cases, the totality of the circumstances, including the other factors listed above, will shape the final determination of significance.

“Deceptive or structured transaction” – the term structured, with respect to a transaction, has the meaning given the term “structure” in 31 CFR 1010.100 (xx) (or any corresponding similar regulation or ruling).  See 31 C.F.R. § 589.336.

Structured transactions are a type of deceptive transaction.  A “deceptive transaction” is one that involves deceptive practices.  As described in 31 C.F.R. § 589.413(f), “deceptive practices” are attempts to obscure or conceal the actual parties or true nature of a transaction, or to evade sanctions. 

Date Updated: April 29, 2022

 

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If, pursuant to § 589.209 of the URSR, Treasury decides to impose strict condition(s) 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 to the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA List) on OFAC’s website and publish the name of the FFI in the Federal Register along with the applicable prohibition or strict condition(s).  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. 

Date Updated: April 29, 2022

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Significant transaction” and “significant financial transaction”– section 589.413 of the URSR states that for purposes of the UFSA prohibitions in § 589.209, the Secretary of the Treasury will consider the totality of the facts and circumstances when determining whether transactions or financial transactions are “significant.”  As a general matter, some or all of the following factors may be considered:  (1) the size, number, and frequency of the transaction(s); (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 person subject to sanctions imposed by the United States with respect to the Russian Federation as described in § 589.413(d)(2)–(3); (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 of the Treasury deems relevant on a case-by-case basis.  
For purposes of section 5 of UFSA as implemented by § 589.209, a transaction is not significant if U.S. persons would not require a specific license from OFAC to participate in it.  
For purposes of § 589.209(b), a transaction in which the person subject to sanctions is identified on the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications (SSI) List or the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions (NS-MBS) List will only be potentially considered significant if:  1) the transaction involves deceptive practices (i.e., attempts to obscure or conceal the actual parties or true nature of the transaction(s), or to evade sanctions); and 2) such person is subject to sanctions pursuant to section of UFSA, as described in § 589.413(d)(2).
OFAC will generally interpret the term “financial transaction” broadly to encompass any transfer of value involving a financial institution.  For example, the following is a non-exhaustive list of activities that OFAC would consider to be a “financial transaction”:

  • The receipt or origination of wire transfers;
  • The acceptance of commercial paper (both retail and wholesale), and the clearance of such paper (including checks and similar drafts);
  • The receipt or origination of ACH or ATM transactions;
  • The holding of nostro, vostro, or loro accounts;
  • The provision of trade finance or letter of credit services;
  • The provision of guarantees or similar instruments;
  • The provision of investment products or instruments or participation in investments; and
  • Any other transactions for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, a person serving as a correspondent, respondent, or beneficiary.

Facilitated” – For purposes of implementing section 5 of UFSA, OFAC will generally interpret the term “facilitated” broadly.  “Facilitated” refers to the provision of assistance for certain efforts, activities, or transactions, including the provision of currency, financial instruments, securities, or any other transmission of value; purchasing; selling; transporting; swapping; brokering; financing; approving; guaranteeing; the provision of other services of any kind; the provision of personnel; or the provision of software, technology, or goods of any kind.

Date Updated: April 29, 2022

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Section 226 of CAATSA amended section 5 of UFSA to make the sanctions in that section, which were previously discretionary, mandatory.  This section is implemented in § 589.209 of the URSR.  Under § 589.209, FFIs face sanctions if the Secretary of the Treasury determines that they knowingly engage in significant transactions involving certain defense- and energy-related activities or knowingly facilitate significant financial transactions on behalf of any Russian person added to OFAC’s SDN List pursuant to UFSA, Executive Order (E.O.) 13660, E.O. 13661, E.O. 13662, E.O. 13865, or any other E.O. addressing the crisis in Ukraine.  FFIs will not be subject to sanctions under § 589.209 solely on the basis of knowingly facilitating significant financial transactions on behalf of persons listed on OFAC’s Sectoral Sanctions Identification List pursuant to § 589.202, 589.203, 589.204, or 589.205, or any earlier version of Directives 1-4 of E.O. 13662.

Unless the Secretary of State makes a determination that it is not in the national interest of the United States to do so, the Secretary of the Treasury shall prohibit the opening and prohibit or impose strict conditions on the maintaining in the United States of correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts for any FFI that the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, determines has engaged in sanctionable activity.

Date Updated: April 29, 2022

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The term "shale projects," as defined in § 589.334 of the URSR, includes projects that have the potential to produce oil from resources located in shale formations as well as projects that have the potential to produce oil from resources located in fine-grained sedimentary rock formations including shale, limestone, dolomites, sandstones, and clay. 

Date Updated: April 29, 2022

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Yes, GL 15L authorizes U.S. persons to receive regularly scheduled payments of principal and interest from GAZ Group (or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest) only to the extent such transactions are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving GAZ Group (or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest) through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022, and provided the other terms and conditions of GL 15L are met.  As a general matter, GL 15L also would authorize U.S. persons to receive accelerated payments or voluntary prepayments from GAZ Group (or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest) so long as such accelerated payments or voluntary prepayments were ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions as authorized by GL 15L.  However, GL 15K does not authorize U.S. persons to send accelerated payments or voluntary prepayments to GAZ Group (or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest).  If you are unsure about whether GL 15L authorizes such accelerated payments or voluntary prepayments, you may contact OFAC.

Date Updated: April 25, 2022

 

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GL 15L authorizes transactions and activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving GAZ Group (or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest), including exports.  Any exports to GAZ Group must be consistent with GL 15L and must also be consistent with the requirements of other U.S. federal agencies.  After the expiration of GL 15L, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in any transactions (including those related to wind down and exports) involving GAZ Group, or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and must block property or interests in property of such persons that are in, or come within, the United States, or the possession or control of a U.S. person.

Date Updated: April 25, 2022

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No.  U.S. persons may engage in activities authorized by GL 15L that occur on or after May 22, 2018, except for activities involving blocked persons other than GAZ Group (or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest) without making associated payments into a blocked account.  Similarly, foreign persons may engage in activities that would be authorized by GL 15L if engaged in by a U.S. person without making associated payments into a blocked account.

Date Updated: April 25, 2022

 

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As described in FAQs 542, 545, 574, and 579, a transaction will not be considered “significant” for the purposes of a sanctions determination under section 10 of SSIDES, as amended by section 228 of CAATSA, and section 5 of UFSA, as amended by section 226 of CAATSA, if a U.S. person would not require a specific license from OFAC to participate in such a transaction.  Therefore, activity authorized by General License (GL) 15L, and occurring within the time period authorized by GL 15L, would not be considered “significant” for the purposes of a sanctions determination under section 10 of SSIDES, as amended by section 228 of CAATSA, or section 5 of UFSA, as amended by section 226 of CAATSA.

Date Updated: April 25, 2022

 

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GL 15L superseded GL 15K on April 25, 2022.  While GL 15K authorized certain transactions and activities that were ordinarily incident and necessary to the maintenance or wind down of operations, contracts, or other agreements involving GAZ Group, or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and that were in effect prior to April 6, 2018, GL 15L only authorizes certain transactions and activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving GAZ Group and any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022.

All funds blocked prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 22, 2018, remain blocked.  Unlike its predecessors, this general license no longer authorizes the use of these blocked funds for the activities it authorizes.  In addition, U.S. persons have not been required to block transactions authorized by GL 15L or its predecessors that occurred on or after May 22, 2018; however, transactions involving blocked persons other than GAZ Group or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, must be blocked.  For information regarding the relationship between GL 15L and foreign persons, please see FAQs 589 and 590.

After the expiration of GL 15L, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions involving GAZ Group, or any entity in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and must block property or interests in property of such persons that are in, or come within, the United States, or the possession or control of a U.S. person.

Date Updated: April 25, 2022

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No.  Until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022, GL 13R authorizes certain divestment and transfer activities related to debt, equity, or other holdings in GAZ Group, or in entities in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, that were issued by GAZ Auto Plant (“Other Issuer Holdings”), subject to certain conditions and exceptions.  It does not authorize U.S. persons to sell debt, equity, or other holdings to; to purchase or invest in debt, equity, or other holdings in; or to facilitate such transactions with, directly or indirectly, GAZ Group or any other blocked person, other than transactions and activities involving GAZ Group, or entities in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the divestment or transfer of debt, equity, or other holdings in these entities.

GL 13R superseded GL 13Q on April 25, 2022.  After the expiration of GL 13Q, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in any divestment or transfer activities on behalf of U.S. persons or non-U.S. persons related to debt, equity, or other holdings that previously were authorized by GL 13Q.

Date Updated: April 25, 2022

 

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Until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022, General License (GL) 13R authorizes certain divestment and transfer activities related to debt, equity, or other holdings in GAZ Group, or in entities in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, that were issued by GAZ Auto Plant (“Other Issuer Holdings”), subject to certain conditions and exceptions.  Specifically, GL 13R authorizes U.S. persons to divest or transfer to a non-U.S. person, or to facilitate the transfer by a non-U.S. person to another non-U.S. person, debt, equity, or other holdings in GAZ Group or Other Issuer Holdings as described in GL13R.  However, such divestment, transfer, or facilitation must not result in U.S. persons selling debt, equity, or other holdings to; purchasing or investing in debt, equity, or other holdings in; or facilitating such transactions with, directly or indirectly, any blocked person, including GAZ Group, other than transactions and activities involving GAZ Group, or entities in which GAZ Group owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the divestment or transfer of debt, equity, or other holdings in the entities identified in GL 13R.  Please see GL 13R for further details.

GL 13R superseded GL 13Q on April 25, 2022.  After the expiration of GL 13R, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in any divestment or transfer activities on behalf of U.S. persons or non-U.S. persons related to debt, equity, or other holdings that previously were authorized in GL 13R.

Date Updated: April 25, 2022

 

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You need to discuss this with your state authorities and with OFAC.

Updated on April 20, 2022

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

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

(Updated March 24, 2022)

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

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

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

(Updated March 24, 2022)

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No.  The importation prohibition of E.O. 14066 applies to the import of certain products of Russian Federation origin to the United States and excludes imports that are not of Russian Federation origin, even if such items transit through or depart from the Russian Federation.  The CPC transports crude oil through the CPC pipeline that is predominantly of Kazakh origin and that is marketed and loaded with a certificate of origin verifying that the crude is of Kazakh origin.  Any crude oil that is primarily of Russian Federation origin is marketed and loaded separately and certified as Russian origin.  For purposes of assessing whether crude oil marketed by the CPC is of Russian origin, U.S. persons may reasonably rely upon a certificate of origin, but should exercise caution if they have a reason to believe such certificate has been falsified.

Date Updated: 03/18/2022

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U.S. persons are authorized through a variety of Ukraine-related general licenses (GLs) to support certain humanitarian efforts and other activity in the Covered Regions, including transactions related to the export of food or medicine, the response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the official business of an international organization, or the activities of nongovernmental organizations, as well as personal remittances, telecommunications, internet services, and mail.

  • GL 18 authorizes certain transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to:  (1)  the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to the Covered Regions, or to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to the Covered Regions; or (2) the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 (including research or clinical studies relating to COVID-19).
  • GL 19 authorizes certain transactions related to telecommunications that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the receipt or transmission of telecommunications in the Covered Regions, as well as certain transactions of common carriers involving the Covered Regions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the receipt or transmission of mail and packages.
  • GL 20 authorizes transactions for the conduct of the official business of certain international organizations and entities.  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 GL 19, see the following page on the United Nations website: https://www.un.org/en/pdfs/un_system_chart.pdf.
  • GL 21 authorizes certain transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the transfer of noncommercial, personal remittances to or from the Covered Regions or for or on behalf of an individual ordinarily resident in the Covered Regions.  Further, GL 21 authorizes certain transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to maintaining, operating, or closing an account of an individual ordinarily resident in the Covered Regions.  U.S. depository institutions, U.S.-registered brokers or dealers in securities, and U.S.-registered money transmitters are authorized to process noncommercial, personal remittances pursuant to GL 21 regardless of whether the originator or beneficiary is an individual who is a U.S. person.  GL 21 is not limited to a specific method of payment.
  • GL 22 authorizes certain transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located, to persons in the Covered Regions, of services incident to the exchange of personal communications over the internet as well as the export of software to enable such services.  However, GL 22 does not authorize the exportation or reexportation, directly or indirectly, of services or software with knowledge or reason to know that such services or software are intended for any person whose property and interests in property are blocked. 
  • GL 23 authorizes certain transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the support of nongovernmental organizations’ activities in the Covered Regions, including activities related humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs, democracy building, education, non-commercial developments projects, and environmental and natural resource protection.  Such transactions may include the processing and transfer of funds, payment of taxes, fees, and import duties, and purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services

Date Updated: 03/11/2022

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Except as authorized under General License (GL) 9A (see FAQ 981), U.S. persons may not buy or sell debt or equity of the Russian financial institutions blocked in February 2022 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14024.  Accordingly, a U.S. fund may not buy, sell, or otherwise engage in transactions related to debt or equity of the blocked Russian financial institutions and must block such holdings, unless exempt, authorized under GL 9A or separately authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  However, a U.S. fund that contains such blocked holdings generally is not itself considered a blocked entity as long as the blocked holdings represent less than a predominant share by value of debt or equity of blocked persons.  As a result, U.S. persons may continue to invest in the fund and the fund may continue to operate.  The fund may divest itself of blocked holdings as authorized under GL 9A or separately authorized by OFAC.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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General License (GL) 9A authorizes U.S. persons, until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time May 25, 2022, to engage in transactions prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to dealings in debt or equity issued prior to February 24, 2022 of one or more of the following entities (“covered debt or equity”), provided that any divestment or transfer of, or facilitation of divestment or transfer of, covered debt or equity must be to a non-U.S. person:

  • State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB);
  • Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie; 
  • Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company;
  • Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia;
  • VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company;
  • Any entity owned 50 percent or more, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one of the above entities.

This authorization includes the facilitation, clearing, and settling of transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to divest covered debt or equity to a non-U.S. person, including on behalf of U.S. persons.  Also, as part of a divestment transaction to a non-U.S. person, U.S. persons may engage in purchases of or investment in covered debt or equity if ordinarily incident and necessary to buy to cover a short position in such holdings.

To allow the closing of trades initiated before February 24, 2022, paragraph (b) of GL 9A authorizes all transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to facilitating, clearing, and settling trades of covered debt or equity through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time May 25, 2022, provided such trades were placed prior to 4:00 p.m. eastern standard time on February 24, 2022, including debits to accounts on the books of U.S. financial institutions of certain blocked entities.  

GL 9A also authorizes U.S. persons to receive interest, dividend, or maturity payments on debt or equity of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on May 25, 2022.  After May 25, 2022, U.S. persons would require a specific license to continue to receive such payments.  

Certain transactions otherwise prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587, are not authorized by GL 9A.  Please see GL 9A for additional details.  Please also see GL 10A with respect to authorizations related to certain derivative contracts. 

For purposes of assessing whether certain transactions are authorized under GL 9A or GL 10A, U.S. persons—including financial institutions, registered broker-dealers in securities, securities exchanges, and other market intermediaries and participants—may rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business, including reasonable reliance on information about the underlying transaction provided by the parties thereto.  However, U.S. persons should also exercise caution in engaging in foreign exchange transactions on the Moscow Exchange given the current heightened risk that the Central Bank of the Russia Federation could be a counterparty to such transactions (see FAQ 1002). 

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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On February 22, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated specified Russian financial institutions pursuant to E.O. 14024 , including the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB), Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company, and many of their subsidiaries.  OFAC designated additional Russian financial institutions on February 24, 2022, including VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie (Otkritie), Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company (Sovcombank), Joint Stock Commercial Bank Novikombank, and many of these financial institutions’ subsidiaries.  As a result, all property and interests in property of these entities in the possession or control of U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, or within U.S. jurisdiction, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  In addition, all property and interests in property of any entity that is owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  Accordingly, U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, are prohibited from transacting with these entities unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.  

OFAC issued several Russia-related general licenses (GLs) authorizing transactions involving specified blocked Russian financial institutions, including:
•    GL 2 : authorizing certain transactions involving VEB related to servicing obligations of certain Russian sovereign debt; 
•    GL  3: authorizing the wind down of certain transactions involving VEB until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 24, 2022;
•    GL  11: authorizing the wind down of certain transactions involving VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Otkritie, and Sovcombank until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 26, 2022; and
•    GL  12: authorizing the rejection (rather than blocking) of certain transactions involving VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Otkritie, and Sovcombank until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 26, 2022.

Note that these GLs do not authorize certain activities with all blocked Russian financial institutions; nor does each GL authorize certain activities with the same group of blocked Russian financial institutions.  For example, the GLs listed above do not authorize any transactions involving Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company or Joint Stock Commercial Bank Novikombank, and GLs 2 and 3  relate only to VEB.  

Other GLs that may be applicable to one or more of the Russian financial institutions blocked in February 2022 include:

•    GL  5: authorizing transactions related to the official business of certain international organizations and other entities; 
•    GL  6: authorizing certain transactions related to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components, or software updates, or the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19; 
•    GL  7: authorizing overflight payments, emergency landings, and air ambulance services;

•    GL  8A: authorizing transactions related to energy; 
•    GL  9A: authorizing transactions related to dealings in certain debt and equity until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022; and
•    GL  10A: authorizing certain transactions related to derivative contracts until 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022. 

Please consult each GL for further information regarding its scope.  

On March 1, 2022, OFAC issued the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 587 (RuHSR), which incorporate GL 5 in section 587.510 of the RuHSR.

Additionally, consistent with section 9 of E.O. 14024, transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government or the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programs, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, and contractors thereof are exempt from the sanctions prohibitions of E.O. 14024.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Treasury took expansive sanctions actions related to Russia’s financial services sector in February 2022 as detailed below.

  • Financial services sector determination.  On February 22, 2022, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, issued a determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes sanctions against persons determined to operate or to have operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy (see FAQ 964).  
  • Correspondent or payable-through account and payment processing prohibitions.  On February 24, 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Directive 2 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Correspondent or Payable-Through Accounts and Processing of Transactions Involving Certain Foreign Financial Institutions” (Russia-related CAPTA Directive), which prohibits U.S. financial institutions from:  (i) the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account or payable-through account for or on behalf of foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive; and (ii) the processing of transactions involving foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive identifies Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia and other foreign financial institutions owned 50 percent or more by this bank as subject to these prohibitions, which become effective on March 26, 2022 (see FAQs 964, 967, 968, 969, 970, 971, 972 and 973).
  • Blocking certain Russian financial institutions.  OFAC designated specified Russian financial institutions pursuant to E.O. 14024, including the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB), VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie, Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company, Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company, Joint Stock Commercial Bank Novikombank, and several of these financial institutions’ subsidiaries.  As a result, all property and interests in property of these entities in the possession or control of U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, or within U.S. jurisdiction, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  In addition, all property and interests in property of any entity that is owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  Accordingly, U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, are prohibited from transacting with these entities unless exempt or authorized by OFAC (see FAQs 974, 975, 976, 977, 978, 979, 980, 981, and 982).  
  • Expanding sovereign debt prohibitions to include the secondary market.  On February 22, 2022, OFAC issued Directive 1A under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Sovereign Debt of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive), replacing and superseding Directive 1 under E.O. 14024 of April 15, 2021, to extend existing sovereign debt prohibitions to cover participation in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (see FAQs 888, 889, 890, 891, 965, and 983).  
  • New debt and equity restrictions involving certain Russia-related entities.  On February 24, 2022, OFAC imposed additional debt and equity restrictions involving Russia-related entities by issuing Directive 3 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to New Debt and Equity of Certain Russia-related Entities” (Russia-related Entities Directive), to prohibit certain dealings by U.S. persons, or within the United States, in new debt of longer than 14 days maturity or new equity of Russia-related entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive.  OFAC determined on February 24, 2022 that the entities listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related Entities Directive, which include certain major Russian state-owned enterprises and large privately owned financial institutions, are subject to the prohibitions of this directive for new debt or equity issued on or after March 26, 2022 (see 983, 984, 985, 986, 987, 988 and 989). 

  • General Licenses (GLs).  OFAC issued several Russia-related GLs authorizing certain transactions otherwise prohibited by E.O. 14024 (see FAQs 974, 975, 976, 977, 978, 979981982, and 990).

  • New restrictions on sovereign transactions.  On February 28, 2022, OFAC issued Directive 4 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Transactions Involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive) to prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, including any transfer of assets to such entities or any foreign exchange transaction for or on behalf of such entities (see FAQs 998 – 1003).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Directive 1 under E.O. 14024 of April 15, 2021 imposed prohibitions on participation in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by, or the lending of ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.  The Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive replaces and supersedes Directive 1 under E.O. 14024 of April 15, 2021.  It expands upon the existing prohibitions to also prohibit, as of March 1, 2022 , participation in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by these entities after March 1, 2022.  Please see FAQ 888 for additional details on the effective dates of these prohibitions.

The Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive also includes technical revisions to the definition of “U.S. financial institution” to expand the definition.

Independent of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related entities subject to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under E.O. 13883 and E.O. 14024.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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The prohibitions announced by the State Department on August 20, 2021 related to U.S. bank loans have the same scope as those imposed by OFAC in August 2019 under the CBW Act Directive.  Please see FAQs 675678 for additional information.

Independent of the CBW Act Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related sovereign entities subject to the CBW Act Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 (see FAQ 1000).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Even prior to June 14, 2021, “U.S. banks” were prohibited from participating in the primary market for non-ruble denominated bonds issued by the Russian sovereign (including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation), and from lending non-ruble denominated funds to the Russian sovereign pursuant to the Russia-related Directive under Executive Order 13883 (“CBW Act Directive”), which was issued on August 2, 2019 and went into effect on August 26, 2019.  However, the CBW Act Directive does not prohibit “U.S. banks” (as defined in the CBW Act Directive) from participating in the primary market for ruble denominated bonds issued by the Russian sovereign, or the lending of ruble denominated funds to the Russian sovereign.

Pursuant to Directive 1A under (E.O.) 14024 , “Prohibitions Related to Certain Sovereign Debt of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive), after June 14, 2021, U.S. financial institutions (as defined in the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive) are prohibited from participating in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued by, or the lending of ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, unless otherwise authorized by OFAC or exempt.  Pursuant to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, as of March 1, 2022, U.S. financial institutions are also prohibited from participating in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by these entities. 

Note that the prohibitions found in the CBW Act Directive remain in effect and are separate from the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, or other directives under E.O. 14024.  For more information on the CBW Act Directive, please see FAQs 673 - 678.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Pursuant to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, the following activities by a U.S. financial institution are prohibited:

  1. As of June 14, 2021, participation in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation; 
  2. As of June 14, 2021, lending ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation; and
  3. As of March 1, 2022, participation in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

Further, except to the extent otherwise provided by law or unless authorized by OFAC or exempt, the following are also prohibited pursuant to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive:  (1) any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive; and (2) any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive. 

Independent of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related entities subject to the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under Executive Order (E.O.) 13883 and E.O. 14024.

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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No, the CBW Act Directive does not prohibit U.S. banks from participating in the secondary market for Russian sovereign debt.  However, independent of the CBW Act Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related sovereign entities subject to the CBW Act Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 (see FAQ 1000).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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The CBW Act Directive defines the term “U.S. banks.”  This definition is consistent with section 4(c) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13883, and with the definition of “U.S. financial institution” at 31 CFR § 544.311.  The CBW Act Directive defines the term “Russian sovereign” as any ministry, agency, or sovereign fund of the Russian Federation, including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.   This term does not include state-owned enterprises of the Russian Federation.

Independent of the CBW Act Directive, OFAC has imposed prohibitions on certain Russia-related sovereign entities subject to the CBW Act Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under E.O. 14024 (see FAQ 1000).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.). 13883, 31 CFR § 544.802, and the CBW Act, on August 2, 2019, OFAC issued a Russia-Related Directive (the “CBW Act Directive”), which prohibits U.S. banks from participating in the primary market for non-ruble denominated bonds issued by the Russian sovereign and also prohibits U.S. banks from lending non-ruble denominated funds to the Russian sovereign.  The prohibitions under the CBW Act Directive do not apply to bonds or loans denominated in rubles.  The prohibitions in the CBW Act Directive only apply to “U.S. banks,” as that term is defined in the CBW Act Directive and consistent with section 4(c) of E.O. 13883 and consistent with the definition of U.S. financial institution at 31 CFR § 544.311.  The CBW Act Directive includes a definition of the term “Russian sovereign.”  The CBW Act Directive is effective as of August 26, 2019.

Independent of the CBW Act Directive, OFAC has imposed additional prohibitions on certain Russia-related sovereign entities subject to the CBW Act Directive, pursuant to Russia-related directives under E.O. 14024 (see FAQ 1000).

Date Updated: March 02, 2022

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Yes, cash shipments to Afghanistan may be authorized under General Licenses (GL) 14, GL 18GL 19, or GL 20  provided that they are ordinarily incident and necessary to effectuate the activities authorized by the GLs.  

As with all OFAC GLs, GLs 14, 18, 19, and 20 are “self-executing,” meaning that persons who determine that such activities are ordinarily incident and necessary to their authorized activities within the scope of the GLs may proceed without further assurances from OFAC.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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Yes.  Transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in General Licenses (GL) 14, GL 15, GL 16, GL 17, GL 18, GL 19, or GL 20, including clearing, settlement, and transfers through, to, or otherwise involving privately owned and state-owned Afghan depository institutions, are authorized pursuant to these GLs. 

In addition, foreign financial institutions may engage in or facilitate transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 without exposure to sanctions under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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Yes.  Support to municipal water systems by NGOs for projects that directly benefit the Afghan people or otherwise relieve human suffering that would otherwise be prohibited under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, because of transactions with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network would be covered by General Licenses (GLs) 14 and 19.  GL 18 authorizes all transactions and activities with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network otherwise prohibited under the GTSR or FTOSR that are for the conduct of the official business of certain IOs.  Thus, if support to municipal water systems is part of these IOs’ official business, then it would not be prohibited. 

For example, this could include providing technical support to a project related to clean drinking water or making improvements to water systems for the benefit of the Afghan people. 

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20, which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the GTSR, the FTOSR, or E.O. 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore also covers support to municipal water systems by NGOs, IOs, or other persons.   

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20  may overlap with the authorizations in Afghanistan-related GLs 14, 18, and 19. Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorizations in GLs 14, 18, and 19.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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Yes.  Even to the extent doing so would involve transacting with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network, NGOs can make salary support or stipend payments directly to healthcare workers, such as doctors at public hospitals or healthcare workers at community clinics, under General License (GL) 14 and GL 19.  Similarly, even to the extent doing so would involve transacting with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network, NGOs can make such salary support or stipend payments directly to teachers, including teachers at Afghan public and private schools, under GL 19.  Under GL 18, certain IOs can provide such salary support payments directly to healthcare workers and teachers.  

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20 , which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore also covers salary support or stipend payments directly to teachers, including teachers at Afghan public and private schools, and healthcare workers by NGOs or other persons.   

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorizations in Afghanistan-related GLs 14, 15, and 19.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorizations in GLs 14, 15, and 19.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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Yes.  Providing support to public hospitals, such as provision of health services, technical support, and institutional deliveries, as well as payments directly to healthcare workers, that would otherwise be prohibited under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, because of transactions with the Taliban and/or Haqqani Network are authorized under General Licenses (GLs) 14, 15, and 19

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20 , which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the GTSR, the FTOSR, or E.O. 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore also covers support to public hospitals in Afghanistan (e.g., health services, facilities maintenance, and health worker salaries) by NGOs or other persons.   

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorizations in Afghanistan-related GLs 14, 15, and 19.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorizations in GLs 14, 15, and 19.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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As one example, if a non-governmental organization is providing support directly to Afghan hospitals or healthcare workers but needs to sign a memorandum of understanding that involves the Taliban in order to provide such support directly to the Afghan people, this engagement would be authorized under General Licenses (GLs) 14 and 19.

Other examples of engagement with the Taliban and the Haqqani Network that are authorized under GLs 14 and 19 if they are ordinarily incident and necessary to activities authorized by these GLs include: (i) general coordination on delivery and provision of humanitarian aid or shipments; (ii) administrative issues involving importation of goods; (iii) attendance at donor coordination meetings; (iv) sharing descriptions of projects; (v) coordination with regard to travel or project locations; (vi) participation in technical working groups; and (vii) sharing of office space.

In addition, payments of taxes, fees, or import duties to, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services from, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, are authorized under GLs 14 and 19, if ordinarily incident and necessary to activities authorized by the GLs.  

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20 , which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore also covers transactions involving the Taliban or the Haqqani Network that are authorized under GLs 14 and 19.  

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorizations in Afghanistan-related GLs 14 and 19.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorizations in GLs 14 and 19. 

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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Yes.  Both U.S. and non-U.S. companies can ship food to Afghanistan, and banks can process financial transfers and other transactions associated with food shipments to Afghanistan.

As described in FAQ 930, U.S. sanctions do not specifically prohibit the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Afghanistan.

OFAC has also issued Afghanistan-related General License (GL) 15, which authorizes U.S. persons to engage in all transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts, and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to Afghanistan, as those terms are defined in GL 15, as well as to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to Afghanistan, and that may involve the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest subject to certain conditions.  FAQ 931 provides further guidance that non-U.S. persons may engage in or facilitate transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons under GL 15.

GL 15 also authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions or activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to authorized exports or reexports, including the processing of financial transactions and related clearing and settlement involving privately-owned and state-owned banks in Afghanistan.  

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20 , which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore also covers shipments of food and agricultural products to Afghanistan and banks’ processing of these transactions.

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 15.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorization in GL 15. 

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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Yes. GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 1819and 20  help implement recently adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2615 (2021), which authorizes humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs as those terms are understood by the UN Security Council, as well as the processing and payment of funds, other financial assets or economic resources, and the provision of goods and services necessary to ensure the timely delivery of such assistance or to support such activities.  Specifically, UNSCR 2615 was intended to cover activities contemplated in the United Nations’ Transitional Engagement Framework (TEF) for Afghanistan, such as providing life-saving assistance; sustaining essential services; and preserving social investments and community-level systems essential to meeting basic human needs.

These GLs do not relieve any person from compliance with other U.S. federal laws or requirements of other federal agencies, or from applicable international obligations.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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The purchases of fuel, payment for telecommunications services, payment for security services, payment of rent, and payment of utilities may be authorized under 14, 15, and 19 provided that they are ordinarily incident and necessary to effectuate the activities authorized by the GLs.  As with all OFAC GLs, GLs 14, 15, and 19 are “self-executing,” meaning that persons who determine that such activities are ordinarily incident and necessary to their authorized activity within the scope of the GL may proceed without further assurance from OFAC.  

OFAC has also issued Afghanistan-related GL 17 to authorize all transactions that are for the conduct of the official business of the United States Government by employees, grantees, or contractors and that involve the Taliban or the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest.  OFAC also issued GL 18 to authorize all transactions that are for the conduct of official business by employees, grantees, or contractors of certain international organizations (IOs) and that involve the Taliban or the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest.

In  addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20, which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore covers purchases of fuel, payment for telecommunications services, payment for security services, payment of rent, and payment of utilities by NGOs or other persons.   

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorizations in Afghanistan-related GLs 14, 15, and 19.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorizations in GLs 14, 15, and 19.  In all cases, authorized transactions and activities must comply with the terms and conditions set forth in GLs 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, and 20.  Notably, these GLs explicitly do not authorize financial transfers to the Taliban or the Haqqani Network, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services related to the authorized activities as described in the respective GLs.  In addition, these GLs do not relieve any person from compliance with other U.S. federal laws or requirements of other federal agencies, or from applicable international obligations.

If individuals, entities, international organizations, 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 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.  OFAC prioritizes license applications, compliance questions, and other requests that are related to humanitarian support.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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No.  U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network do not prohibit the movement of funds into or out of Afghanistan, provided that the transactions do not involve blocked individuals or entities, or property in which a blocked person has an interest.  

In addition, OFAC has issued General Licenses (GLs) 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), and Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.  For a consolidated list of all relevant General Licenses and FAQs, please see OFAC’s humanitarian Fact Sheet, “Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan and Support for the Afghan People,” that provides an overview of the relevant authorizations and guidance related to U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. 

U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network do not prohibit — and GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 do not require — any particular method for moving or sending money into or out of Afghanistan.  When selecting a method of payment — including electronic transfer or hand carrying of funds — OFAC urges due diligence tailored to the particular sanctions risks to ensure that payments do not involve individuals or entities identified on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) or whose property and interests in property are otherwise blocked, unless exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.  For more information on OFAC due diligence expectations and compliance programs, please see FAQs 25, 27-31 and A Framework for OFAC Compliance Commitments.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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A number of members of the Taliban and/or the Haqqani Network are explicitly included on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).  Persons operating in Afghanistan can use OFAC’s SDN List Search Tool to identify such members of the Taliban or the Haqqani Networks 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.  

OFAC would encourage any person operating in Afghanistan 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.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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No.  In contrast to sanctions programs administered and enforced by OFAC with regard to North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Syria, and the Crimea and so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic regions  of Ukraine, there are no comprehensive sanctions on Afghanistan.  Therefore, there are no OFAC-administered sanctions that prohibit the export or reexport of goods or services to Afghanistan, moving or sending money into and out of Afghanistan, or activities in Afghanistan, provided that such transactions or activities do not involve sanctioned individuals, entities, or property in which sanctioned individuals and entities have an interest.

Certain Afghanistan-related individuals and entities are included on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List), most notably the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.  The Taliban are designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.  The Haqqani Network is designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224 and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Transactions or activities by U.S. persons that involve these entities are generally prohibited.  

In addition, OFAC has issued GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 1819, and 20  under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), and E.O. 13224, as amended.  For a consolidated list of all relevant General Licenses and FAQs, please see OFAC’s humanitarian Fact Sheet, “Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan and Support for the Afghan People,” that provides an overview of the relevant authorizations and guidance related to U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. 

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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No.  The Taliban are designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.  The Haqqani Network is designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224, as amended, and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  These sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from exporting or reexporting goods or services (including noncommercial, personal remittances) to Afghanistan, provided that the transactions do not involve sanctioned individuals or entities, or property in which a blocked person has an interest, unless exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.  For example, U.S. sanctions do not prohibit the hand-carrying of noncommercial, personal remittances to an individual in Afghanistan or ordinarily resident in Afghanistan, other than a blocked individual.

OFAC has also issued Afghanistan-related General License (GL) 16 to facilitate the transfer of noncommercial, personal remittances to individuals in Afghanistan.  GL 16 authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the transfer of noncommercial, personal remittances, including through Afghan depository institutions, and that may involve the Taliban or the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, that are prohibited by the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or E.O. 13224, as amended.

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20, which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the GTSR, the FTOSR, or E.O. 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore also covers the sending of personal remittances to Afghanistan.

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 16.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorizations in GL 16.  However, GLs 16 and 20 do not authorize any debit to a blocked account of the Taliban or the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, on the books of a U.S. financial institution.  In addition, GLs 16 and 20 do not authorize financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of reasonable and customary taxes, fees, or other duties as described in the respective GLs.  Transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in GLs 16 and 20, including clearing, settlement, and transfers through, to, or otherwise involving privately-owned and state-owned Afghan depository institutions, are also authorized pursuant to GLs 16 and 20.  GL 20 also does not authorize transfers of luxury items or services to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, or any blocked individual who is in a leadership role of a governing institution in Afghanistan.  

For activity outside the scope of GLs 16 or 20, OFAC may issue specific licenses on a case-by-case basis 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. 

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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No.  Non-U.S. persons may engage in or facilitate transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons under Afghanistan-related GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 1819 or 20without exposure to sanctions under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. 

For example, activity that would be authorized by GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 if engaged in by a U.S. person would not be considered “significant” for the purposes of a secondary sanctions determination under E.O. 13224, as amended.  Accordingly, foreign financial institutions do not risk exposure to correspondent and payable-through account sanctions under E.O. 13224, as amended, if they knowingly conduct or facilitate a significant transaction on behalf of persons blocked under E.O. 13224, as amended, that would be authorized under GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 if engaged in by a U.S. person. 

For more information on relevant authorizations and guidance for providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, please see OFAC’s humanitarian Fact Sheet, “Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan and Support for the Afghan People,” which provides an overview of the relevant authorizations and guidance related to U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. 
If individuals, entities, international organizations, 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 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.  OFAC prioritizes license applications, compliance questions and other requests that are related to humanitarian support. 
Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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No.  The Taliban are designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.  The Haqqani Network is designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224 and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  These sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from exporting or reexporting goods or services to Afghanistan, provided that the transactions do not involve other sanctioned individuals or entities, or property in which a blocked person has an interest unless exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

OFAC has also issued Afghanistan-related General License No. 15 (GL 15) under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), and E.O. 13224, as amended.  GL 15 authorizes U.S. persons to engage in all transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts, and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to Afghanistan, as those terms are defined in GL 15, as well as to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to Afghanistan, and that may involve the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, subject to certain conditions.  GL 15 also authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions or activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to authorized export or reexports, including the processing of financial transactions and related clearing and settlement involving banks in Afghanistan.  

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20, which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the GTSR, the FTOSR, or E.O. 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore also covers the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to Afghanistan, as well as transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to such export or reexports.   

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 15.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorization in GL 15.

However, GLs 15 and 20 do not authorize any debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution.  In addition, GLs 15 and 20 do not authorize financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services as described in the respective GLs.  For purposes of clarity, transfers of funds to or from Afghanistan that are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to the activities authorized in GLs 15 and 20, including clearing and settlement involving banks in Afghanistan, are authorized under GLs 15 and 20.  GL 20 also does not authorize transfers of luxury items or services to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, any blocked individual who is in a leadership role of a governing institution in Afghanistan.  GL 20 also does not authorize any transaction involving any other persons blocked pursuant to the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, outside of the entities and individuals mentioned above. 

Where not covered by GLs 15 and 20, or any other relevant authorizations issued by OFAC, OFAC may also 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.

If individuals, entities, 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 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. 

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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For the purposes of Afghanistan-related GL 14, humanitarian assistance includes the provision of relief services related to natural and man-made disasters, the provision of healthcare and health-related services, protection and assistance for vulnerable or displaced populations (including women, individuals with disabilities, the elderly, survivors of violence, those incarcerated or detained, and the drug dependent), operation of orphanages, the distribution of articles (such as food, clothing, and medicine) intended to be used to relieve human suffering in Afghanistan, and training or other services related to any of the foregoing activities.  Other activities that support basic human needs include activities to support non-commercial development projects in Afghanistan that primarily benefit poor or at-risk populations or otherwise relieve human suffering, including activities related to shelter and settlement assistance, food security, livelihoods support, water, sanitation, health, hygiene, and COVID-19-related assistance, among others, and training or other services related to any of the foregoing activities.  However, in all cases, authorized humanitarian assistance and other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan must not entail financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, and import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services described in GL 14 and FAQ 928.

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related GL 20, which, to the extent authorization is required, authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  GL 20 therefore also covers humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan or other activities that support basic human needs in Afghanistan.

As noted in FAQ 996, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 14.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorization in GL 14.

For more information on relevant authorizations and guidance for providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, please see OFAC’s humanitarian Fact Sheet, “Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan and Support for the Afghan People,” which provides an overview of the relevant authorizations and guidance related to U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. If individuals, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, 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 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.  OFAC prioritizes license applications, compliance questions and other requests that are related to humanitarian support.

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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No.  The Taliban are designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGTs) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.  The Haqqani Network is designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224 and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  These sanctions do not prohibit U.S. persons from exporting or reexporting goods or services to Afghanistan, provided that the transactions do not involve sanctioned individuals or entities, or property in which a blocked person has an interest unless exempt from regulation or authorized by OFAC.

In addition, OFAC has issued Afghanistan-related General Licenses (GLs) 14, 15, 16, 17, 1819, and 20 under the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 331 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), and E.O. 13224, as amended.  For a consolidated list of all relevant GLs and FAQs, please see OFAC’s humanitarian Fact Sheet, “Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan and Support for the Afghan People,” which provides an overview of the relevant authorizations and guidance related to U.S. sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. 

The GLs mentioned above do not authorize any debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution and restrict certain financial or other transfers to specified blocked persons, including the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, or any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest.  

For activity outside the scope of these GLs, OFAC may issue specific licenses on a case-by-case basis 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.

If individuals, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, companies, or financial institutions have questions about engaging in or processing transactions related to these authorizations, they may 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.  OFAC prioritizes license applications, compliance questions and other requests that are related to humanitarian support.  

Date Updated: February 25, 2022

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No.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has issued a determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes sanctions against persons that operate or have operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy.  The technology sector and defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy were identified in E.O. 14024 when it was issued on April 15, 2021. 

A sector determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 exposes persons who operate or have operated in an identified sector to sanctions risk; however, a sector determination does not automatically impose sanctions on all persons who operate or have operated in the sector.  Only persons determined, pursuant to E.O. 14024, by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State, or by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to operate or have operated in the above-identified sectors are subject to sanctions.

Persons sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in an identified sector are added to one or more OFAC sanctions lists based on the type of sanction, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA List), and the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List).

Date Updated: February 24, 2022

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In July 2017, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced the “future cessation and loss of representativeness” of the ICE Benchmark Administration’s 35 global reference rates, the LIBOR rates.  In light of the discontinuation of LIBOR as a benchmark reference rate, OFAC is issuing additional guidance.   

The Belarus, Russia, Ukraine-/Russia-related, and Venezuela-related sanctions programs prohibit U.S. persons from dealing in certain new debt of persons identified as subject to these prohibitions.  In FAQ 944 (Belarus), FAQ 986 (Russia-related)FAQ 371 (Ukraine-/Russia-related), and FAQ 511 (Venezuela-related), OFAC provides examples of new debt, such as “bonds, loans, extensions of credit, loan guarantees, letters of credit, drafts, bankers acceptances, discount notes or bills, or commercial paper” issued on or after various specified dates.  For more information on the effective dates and relevant debt maturities for each of these sanctions programs, please see FAQ 947 (Belarus), FAQ 984 (Russia-related)FAQ 370 (Ukraine-/Russia-related), and FAQ 553 (Venezuela-related).

For the Belarus, Russia, Ukraine-/Russia-related, and Venezuela-related sanctions programs, OFAC has indicated that certain changes to contractual terms of loans, contracts, or other agreements that were entered into prior to the effective date of the relevant sanctions prohibitions could convert pre-existing debt that was not subject to the sanctions prohibitions into new debt that is subject to the sanctions prohibitions.  (See FAQ 947 (Belarus), FAQs 987 and 989 (Russia-related) FAQ 394 (Ukraine-/Russia-related), and FAQ 553 (Venezuela-related).

Loans, contracts, or other agreements that use LIBOR as a reference rate that are modified to replace such benchmark reference rate will not be treated as new debt for OFAC sanctions purposes, so long as no other material terms of the loan, contract, or agreement are modified.

Date Updated: February 24, 2022

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E.O . 14024 establishes a new national emergency under which sanctions may be imposed against individuals and entities furthering specified harmful foreign activities of the Russian Federation.  This national emergency is separate from the national emergency relating to the crisis in Ukraine, declared in E.O. 13660 and further addressed in E.O.s 13661, 13662, 13685, and 13849.   E.O. 14024 addresses national security threats posed by specified harmful foreign activities of the Russian Federation, including:  its efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners; engaging in and facilitating malicious cyber-enabled activities against the United States and its allies and partners; fostering and using transnational corruption to influence foreign governments; pursuing extraterritorial activities targeting dissidents or journalists; undermining security in countries and regions important to United States national security; and violating well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states. 

Like any other blocking Executive order, E.O. 14024 permits the United States to impose blocking and short-of-blocking sanctions.  The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued several directives under E.O. 14024 specifying certain prohibitions relating to persons determined to be subject to the applicable directive.  OFAC recommends reviewing the sanctions lists maintained by OFAC, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA List), and the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List), to determine which sanctions are applicable.

Date Updated: February 24, 2022

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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

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No.  The prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive apply only to bonds issued by, or loans made to, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.  The prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive do not apply to the property or interests in property of those three entities.

Date Updated: February 22, 2022

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The President issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13835 on May 21, 2018.  Subsection 1(a)(iii) of E.O. 13835 prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions related to the sale, transfer, assignment, or pledging as collateral by the Government of Venezuela (GOV) of any equity interest in an entity owned 50 percent or more by the GOV.  One effect of subsection 1(a)(iii) is to require authorization before U.S. persons may engage in certain transactions regarding any equity interest in an entity owned 50 percent or more by the GOV.  Subsequent to the issuance of E.O. 13835, OFAC received inquiries about how and whether subsection 1(a)(iii) of E.O. 13835 could affect the ability to enforce bondholder rights to the CITGO shares serving as collateral for the Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) 2020 8.5 percent bond.  OFAC issued General License 5 on July 19, 2018, which removed E.O. 13835 as an obstacle to holders of the PdVSA 2020 8.5 percent bond gaining access to their collateral.

General License 5 was replaced and superseded by General License 5A on October 24, 2019 with a delay in the effectiveness of the authorization in the general license.  Since that date, OFAC has extended the delay in effectiveness a number of times.  Most recently, OFAC issued General License 5I on January 20, 2022, which further delays the effectiveness of the authorization in GL 5 until January 20, 2023.  Between October 24, 2019 and January 20, 2023 (the date the authorization in General License 5I becomes effective), there is no authorization in effect that licenses against subsection 1(a)(iii) of E.O. 13835 applicable to the holders of the PdVSA 2020 8.5 percent bond.  As a result, during such period, transactions related to the sale or transfer of CITGO shares in connection with the PdVSA 2020 8.5 percent bond are prohibited, unless specifically authorized by OFAC.

To the extent an agreement may be reached on proposals to restructure or refinance payments due to the holders of the PdVSA 2020 8.5 percent bond, additional licensing requirements may apply.  OFAC would encourage parties to apply for a specific license and would have a favorable licensing policy toward such an agreement. 

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No.  Non-U.S. persons, including foreign financial institutions, generally do not risk exposure to U.S. sanctions for facilitating transactions or payments for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Chevron, its subsidiaries, joint ventures, or contractors that are authorized pursuant to Venezuela GL 41.  Non-U.S. persons generally do not risk exposure to U.S. blocking sanctions under the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 591, for engaging in transactions with blocked persons, where those transactions would not require a specific license if engaged in by a U.S. person.  

Yes, provided that such goods and services are for certain activities related to the operation and management of Chevron’s joint ventures in Venezuela, as specified in GL 41.  Such activities include, among others, the production and lifting of petroleum or petroleum products produced by the Chevron’s JVs; related maintenance, repair, or servicing of the Chevron JVs; sale of petroleum or petroleum products to the United States produced by the Chevron JVs , provided that the petroleum and petroleum products produced by the Chevron JVs are first sold to Chevron; the procurement and import into Venezuela of goods or other inputs for authorized activities; and the processing of payments by U.S. financial institutions related to the foregoing activities.  Please see GL 41 for a complete list of authorized activities and associated conditions.

GL 21 authorizes all activities otherwise prohibited by the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations (GTSR), 31 CFR part 594, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the limited safety and environmental activities described in paragraph (a) of GL 21 involving certain blocked persons and vessels through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 15, 2022.  GL 21 does not authorize the offloading of any cargo onboard any of the blocked vessels listed in GL 21, and any payment of claims to or for the benefit of any blocked persons or vessels would require a specific license from OFAC.  

After the expiration of GL 21, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the blocked persons or vessels listed in GL 21, unless otherwise exempt or authorized by OFAC.  U.S. persons unable to conclude transactions authorized by GL 21 before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 15, 2022, are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC. 

Non-U.S. persons, including foreign financial institutions, generally do not risk exposure to sanctions for engaging in transactions with blocked persons where those transactions would not require a specific license if engaged in by a U.S. person.  Non-U.S. persons unable to conclude transactions authorized by GL 21 before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 15, 2022, are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC.

OFAC issued Russia-related General License (GL) 53 to authorize U.S. persons to engage in all transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the official business of diplomatic or consular missions of the Government of the Russian Federation (“Russian missions”), where the transactions are prohibited by Directive 4 under Executive Order (E.O.) 14024, Prohibitions Related to Transactions Involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.  This authorization applies to transactions related to Russian missions located in or outside the United States.  For example, GL 53 authorizes the payment of salaries to employees of Russian missions that may otherwise be prohibited by Directive 4, such as a payment originated by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation from a non-blocked Russian bank.  Importantly, GL 53 does not authorize any transactions involving blocked persons, including blocked Russian financial institutions; nor does it authorize debits to the accounts on the books of U.S. financial institutions of entities subject to Directive 4.  Non-U.S. persons may engage in transactions that are authorized for U.S. persons under this GL without risk of sanctions under E.O. 14024.

A “person” subject to designation under E.O. 13722 or E.O. 13694, as amended, includes an individual or an entity, defined as “a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization.”  Once OFAC has determined that a person is subject to sanctions, OFAC adds that person to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.

OFAC designated the entity known as Tornado Cash, which is a “partnership, association, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization” that may be designated pursuant to IEEPA.  Tornado Cash’s organizational structure consists of: (1) its founders and other associated developers, who together launched the Tornado Cash mixing service, developed new Tornado Cash mixing service features, created the Tornado Cash Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), and actively promoted the platform’s popularity in an attempt to increase its user base; and (2) the Tornado Cash DAO, which is responsible for voting on and implementing new features created by the developers.  Tornado Cash uses computer code known as “smart contracts” to implement its governance structure, provide mixing services, offer financial incentives for users, increase its user base, and facilitate the financial gain of its users and developers.  OFAC has not designated Tornado Cash’s individual founders, developers, members of the DAO, or users, or other persons involved in supporting Tornado Cash at this time.  However, all Tornado Cash property and interests in property are blocked, and U.S. persons cannot transact with Tornado Cash or deal in its property and interests in property, absent authorization from OFAC.  See FAQs 1077 and 1078.

No, provided the oil is unloaded at the port of destination prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, January 19, 2023.  Crude oil of Russian Federation origin that is loaded onto a vessel at the port of loading prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, and unloaded at the port of destination prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, January 19, 2023, is not subject to the price cap (also known as the “maritime services policy”).  U.S. service providers can continue to provide services related to the maritime transport of crude oil of Russian Federation origin purchased at a price above the price cap, provided that the crude oil is loaded onto a vessel at the port of loading for maritime transport prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, and unloaded at the port of destination prior to 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, January 19, 2023. 


The following is an example of a permissible transaction in line with the maritime services policy:

  • A U.S. commodities trader signs a contract on November 1, 2022, to purchase crude oil of Russian Federation origin for shipment to a jurisdiction that has not prohibited the import of such crude oil.  The U.S. commodities trader arranges for the oil to be loaded onto a vessel at the port of loading.  The vessel is loaded on December 1, 2022, and a bill of lading is issued.  The oil is shipped and discharged at the port of destination on December 15, 2022.  U.S. insurance companies provide cover for this shipment/voyage and pay out any related claims, as appropriate.

 

As noted in OFAC’s preliminary guidance, OFAC anticipates implementing the maritime services policy by publishing a determination pursuant to Executive Order 14071 that (i) permits the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of services related to the maritime transport of crude oil or petroleum products of Russian Federation origin, where the price of such crude oil or petroleum products of Russian Federation origin does not exceed the price cap and (ii) prohibits such services if the crude oil or petroleum products of Russian Federation origin are purchased above the price cap.  This determination would take effect at 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, December 5, 2022, with respect to maritime transport of crude oil of Russian Federation origin loaded on or after 12:01 a.m., eastern standard time, December 5, 2022.

Nicaragua GL 4  authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions prohibited by the Nicaragua Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 582 (the NSR), that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of any transaction involving the Directorate General of Mines (DGM) of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Energy and Mines, or any entity in which DGM owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest (collectively, “Blocked DGM Entities”), through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, November 23, 2022, provided that any payment to a blocked person must be made into a blocked account in accordance with the NSR.

After the expiration of this authorization, unless exempt or authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions with the Blocked DGM Entities and must block property or interests in property of any Blocked DGM Entities that are in, or thereafter come within, the United States, or the possession or control of a U.S. person.

Non-U.S. persons generally do not risk exposure to U.S. blocking sanctions under the NSR for engaging in transactions with blocked persons where those transactions would not require a specific license if engaged in by a U.S. person. 

Yes.  Multiple Russia-related sanctions authorities authorize sanctions against non-U.S. persons that provide goods, services, or other support for Russia’s military-industrial complex.  For example, OFAC may block any person determined to operate or have operated in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14024 of April 15, 2021, “Blocking Property With Respect To Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.”  In addition, pursuant to E.O. 14024, OFAC may block persons determined to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of certain sanctionable activities enumerated in E.O. 14024 or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024.  OFAC also has robust targeting authorities pursuant to the Ukraine-/Russia-Related Sanctions Regulations (URSR), 31 C.F.R. part 589, which implement multiple authorities that could provide for the blocking of persons who engage in the provision of ammunition or other military goods to the Russian Federation, including persons determined to operate or have operated in the arms or related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, or those who have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of persons blocked pursuant to the URSR. 

OFAC is prepared to use its broad targeting authorities against non-U.S. persons that provide ammunition or other support to the Russian Federation’s military-industrial complex, as well as private military companies (PMCs) or paramilitary groups participating in or otherwise supporting the Russian Federation’s unlawful and unjustified attack on Ukraine.  OFAC will continue to target Russia’s efforts to resupply its weapons and sustain its war of aggression against Ukraine, including any foreign persons who assist the Russian Federation in those efforts. 

OFAC and the Department of State have imposed numerous targeted sanctions on the Russian Federation’s military-industrial complex, including on State Corporation Rostec, the cornerstone of Russia’s defense-industrial base, and multiple other key firms.  In addition, the Department of State has identified persons that are part of, or operate for or on behalf of, the defense and intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation pursuant to Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) (CAATSA 231 List of Specified Persons).  Persons determined to knowingly engage in a significant transaction with those identified on the CAATSA 231 List of Specified Persons are subject to five or more sanctions described in Section 235 of CAATSA.  The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has also imposed highly restrictive controls on the export and reexport of U.S.-origin and certain foreign-produced commodities, software, and technologies to the Russian Federation to cut off its access to inputs and products needed to sustain its military capabilities.  For more information on the impact of sanctions and export controls on Russia’s military-industrial complex, please see “OFAC-BIS Alert: Impact of Sanctions and Export Controls on Russia’s Military-Industrial Complex,” published on October 14, 2022. 
 

Yes.  On September 23, G7 Leaders issued a statement condemning Russia’s sham referenda and noting their collective readiness to impose further economic costs on Russia, and on individuals and entities both inside and outside of Russia that provide political or economic support for Russia’s illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory.  

The United States is prepared to more aggressively use its authorities under existing U.S. sanctions programs to target such persons whose activities may constitute material assistance, sponsorship, financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, or in support of (together “material support”), sanctioned persons or sanctionable activity.  Particular areas of targeting focus include entities and individuals in jurisdictions outside Russia that provide political or economic support for Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Ukrainian sovereign territory.  Examples of activities that could be targeted include those related to:

  • Providing material support for the organization of Russia’s sham referenda or annexation, as well as economic or other activity that seeks to legitimize Russia’s sham referenda or annexation;
  • Providing material support to Russia’s military and defense industrial base, including significant transactions by entities in third countries that provide material support to Russia’s military, defense industrial base, and designated entities and persons operating in Russia’s defense industrial base;
  • Attempting to circumvent or evade U.S. sanctions on Russia and Belarus; and
  • Providing material support to Russian entities or individuals subject to certain blocking sanctions.

Multiple Executive Orders (E.O.) — including E.O.s 13660, 14024, and 14065 — authorize the imposition of blocking sanctions on categories of persons — inside or outside Russia — who provide material support for Russia following its sham referenda, purported annexation, and continued occupation of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. 

U.S. sanctions are not designed to target Ukraine or the Ukrainian people, including those living in areas occupied or purportedly annexed by Russia.  In addition, as noted in OFAC’s Fact Sheet: Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine and Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 1007, OFAC sanctions do not target transactions related to the export of food or medicine, the response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the official business of an international organization, or the activities of nongovernmental organizations, as well as personal remittances, telecommunications, internet services, or mail.  

Finally, OFAC sanctions do not prohibit transactions related to the sale of or transport of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin, aside from the importation of such products into the United States.  OFAC will generally not impose sanctions on non-U.S. persons that engage in transactions that would be authorized for U.S. persons.  For additional information, please see Russia-related General License (GL) 8C, FAQ 980, and FAQ 1018.  OFAC has issued preliminary guidance on the planned maritime services policy and related price exception for seaborne Russian oil and intends to issue additional guidance in coming weeks. 
 

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.
 

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. 

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.  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. 

For the purposes of the determination of September 15, 2022 made pursuant to E.O. 14024, OFAC interprets the term “quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy” to include activities related to products and services in or involving the Russian Federation in research, development, manufacturing, assembling, maintenance, repair, sale, or supply of quantum computing, quantum computers, electronic assemblies thereof, or cryogenic refrigeration systems related to quantum computing.  OFAC also interprets the term “quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy” to include any of the following services when related to quantum computing:  infrastructure, web hosting or data processing services; custom computer programming services; computer systems integration design services; computer systems and data processing facilities management services; computing infrastructure, data processing services, web hosting services, and related services; repairing computer, computer peripherals, and communication equipment; other computer-related services; as well as the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of quantum computing, quantum computers, electronic assemblies thereof, or cryogenic refrigeration systems related to quantum computing to or from the Russian Federation.

The determination regarding this sector pursuant to E.O. 14024 takes effect immediately.
 

No.  The Director of OFAC, in consultation with the State Department, has issued a determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes the imposition of economic sanctions against persons that operate or have operated in the quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy.

A sector determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 exposes persons that operate or have operated in an identified sector to sanctions risk; however, a sector determination does not automatically impose sanctions on all persons who operate or have operated in the sector.  Only persons determined, pursuant to E.O. 14024, by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State, or by the Secretary of State in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, or their delegates, to operate or have operated in the above-identified sectors are subject to sanctions.

Persons sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in an identified sector are added to one or more OFAC sanctions lists based on the type of sanction, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA List), and the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List).
 

For the purposes of the determination, OFAC anticipates publishing regulations defining this term to include any of the following services when related to quantum computing, quantum computers, electronic assemblies thereof, or cryogenic refrigeration systems related to quantum computing:  infrastructure, web hosting, or data processing services; custom computer programming services; computer systems integration design services; computer systems and data processing facilities management services; computing infrastructure, data processing services, web hosting services, and related services; repairing computer, computer peripherals, or communication equipment; other computer-related services; as well as services related to the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of quantum computing, quantum computers, electronic assemblies thereof, or cryogenic refrigeration systems related to quantum computing to any person located in the Russian Federation.  

For the purposes of the determination, OFAC also anticipates publishing regulations defining the term “person located in the Russian Federation” as set forth in FAQ 1058, as well as regulations defining the term “Russian person” to mean an individual who is a citizen or national of the Russian Federation, or an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation. 
 

On September 15, 2022, the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Department of State, issued a determination pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14071, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Quantum Computing Services,” prohibiting the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of certain quantum computing services to any person located in the Russian Federation.  This determination takes effect on October 15, 2022.  This determination excludes from the scope of the prohibited services: (1) any service to an entity located in the Russian Federation that is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a United States person; and (2) any service in connection with the wind down or divestiture of an entity located in the Russian Federation that is not owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a Russian person.  For more information, please see FAQ 1084.  

On September 15, 2022, the Director of OFAC, in consultation with the Department of State, also issued a sectoral determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes the imposition of economic sanctions on individuals and entities that are determined to operate or have operated in the quantum computing sector of the Russian Federation economy.  The determination regarding this sector pursuant to E.O. 14024 takes effect immediately.
 

NSPK is the operator of Russia’s MIR National Payment System, which clears and settles payments between consumers, merchants, and banks for debit and credit card payments, primarily in the Russian Federation.  NSPK and the MIR National Payment System process transactions for designated Russian banks and may be used to process transactions involving other sanctioned persons or activity under the RuHSR.  Accordingly, those non-U.S. financial institutions that enter into new or expanded agreements with NSPK risk supporting Russia’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions through the expanded use of the MIR National Payment System outside the territory of the Russian Federation.

The RuHSR authorizes OFAC to impose blocking sanctions on persons determined to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of (i) any activity sanctionable under the RuHSR, including deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent any United States sanctions or (ii) any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the RuHSR.  OFAC is prepared to use these targeting authorities in response to supporters of Russia’s sanctions evasion, including Russia’s efforts to expand the use of NSPK or the MIR National Payment System outside of the territory of the Russian Federation.  

No. GL 50 authorizes individuals with accounts at Russian financial institutions blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024 to unblock and lump sum transfer funds to an account at a non-designated financial institution.  Individuals do not need to provide official documentation proving they have closed their account at the blocked Russian financial institution when utilizing the GL.

Individuals who have filed a blocking report with OFAC and are availing themselves of GL 50 must file an unblocking report with OFAC within 10 business days of the unblocking in accordance with 31 CFR § 501.603(b)(3).  For guidance related to filing an initial report of blocked property, an annual report of blocked property, and an unblocking report, 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.

Since Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine beginning in February 2022, OFAC has blocked a number of Russian financial institutions pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy (see FAQ 966).  In addition, all property and interests in property of any financial institution that is owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  Accordingly, U.S. persons are prohibited from transacting with these financial institutions unless the activity is exempt or authorized by OFAC.  

In practice, this means that accounts held by U.S. persons at any blocked Russian financial institutions generally are themselves considered blocked property, unless exempt.  This includes, for example, checking and savings accounts, credit cards, CDs, loans, and mortgages.  U.S. persons must stop utilizing such accounts and treat them as blocked, even if the designated Russian financial institution does not.  Additionally, within 10 business days of the blocking of the account or other property, U.S. persons are required to file a blocking report with OFAC describing any property or interests in property (e.g., accounts, etc.).  Information on the requirement to report blocked property, including accounts, and on filing initial and annual reports of blocked property with OFAC can be found at FAQs 49, 50, and 646, respectively, and 31 CFR § 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.

On August 19, 2022, OFAC issued Russia-related General License (GL) 50 authorizing individuals, wherever located, to engage in all transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to close their individual accounts held at a financial institution blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024.  GL 50 also authorizes the unblocking and lump sum transfer to the account holder of all remaining funds and other assets in the account at the blocked financial institution, including to an account held at a non-blocked financial institution.  Individuals may avail themselves of GL 50 to terminate their accounts with Russian financial institutions blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024 and repatriate the proceeds of any account closures.  Individuals who have filed a blocking report with OFAC and are availing themselves of GL 50 must file an unblocking report with OFAC within 10 business days of the unblocking in accordance with 31 CFR § 501.603(b)(3).

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.

No.  OFAC has not designated PhosAgro PJSC and, based on information available to OFAC, PhosAgro PJSC is not owned 50% or more by blocked persons or otherwise considered the blocked property of Andrey Grigoryevich Guryev and Andrey Andreevich Guryev. 

As a general matter, agricultural and medical trade are not the target of sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia in response to its unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine, and OFAC has issued General License 6B to authorize certain transactions prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations (RuHSR) related to agricultural commodities (including fertilizer), agricultural equipment, medicine, and medical devices, among other things.  For information on exemptions and authorizations pursuant to the RuHSR related to fertilizer and other agricultural commodities, please see “OFAC Food Security Fact Sheet: Russia Sanctions and Agricultural Trade” and “Fact Sheet: Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine.”  
 

No.  OFAC has not designated EuroChem Group AG and, based on information available to OFAC, EuroChem Group AG is not owned 50% or more by blocked persons or otherwise considered the blocked property of Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko. 

As a general matter, agricultural and medical trade are not the target of sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia in response to its unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine, and OFAC has issued General License 6B to authorize certain transactions prohibited by the Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations (RuHSR) related to agricultural commodities (including fertilizer), agricultural equipment, medicine, and medical devices, among other things.  For information on exemptions and authorizations pursuant to the RuHSR related to fertilizer and other agricultural commodities, please see “OFAC Food Security Fact Sheet: Russia Sanctions and Agricultural Trade” and “Fact Sheet: Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine.
 

No.  OFAC has not designated Sheremetyevo International Airport and, based on information available to OFAC, Sheremetyevo International Airport is not owned 50% or more by blocked persons or otherwise considered the blocked property of Alexander Anatolevich Ponomarenko.

Russia-related GL 46 authorizes transactions otherwise prohibited by section (1)(a)(i) of Executive Order (E.O.) 14071 related to the establishment, administration, participation in, and execution of an auction process, as announced by the EMEA Credit Derivatives Determination Committee, to settle credit derivative transactions with a reference entity of “the Russian Federation” (“the auction”).  

Examples of transactions that may be related to the auction include the submission and acceptance of bids and offers and physical settlement requests by auction participants and their customers, or the delivery and acceptance of the Russian Federation debt obligations and corresponding settlement amounts.

To promote the proper functioning of such auction, GL 46 also authorizes U.S. persons to purchase or receive Russian Federation debt obligations for the period beginning two business days prior to the announced date of the auction and ending eight business days after the conclusion of the auction. 

GL 46 also authorizes financial institutions, among others, to facilitate, clear, and settle transactions authorized by GL 46, including the transfer to, or purchase or receipt by, U.S. persons of Russian Federation debt obligations.  GL 46 does not require the clearance and settlement of such transactions to be completed within eight business days after the conclusion of the auction.  For example, a purchase by a U.S. person of Russian Federation debt obligations made on the seventh business day after the conclusion of the auction does not have to be settled or cleared by the eighth business day.  Accordingly, U.S. financial institutions may continue settling or clearing such transactions after the eighth business day following the conclusion of the auction. 

Financial institutions processing transactions pursuant to GL 46 may reasonably rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business for the purposes of assessing whether a transaction is authorized by GL 46, provided that the financial institution does not know or have reason to know that a transaction is not in compliance with GL 46.  

Through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, October 20, 2022, Russia-related General License (GL) 45 authorizes all transactions prohibited by section (1)(a)(i) of E.O. 14071 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of financial contracts or other agreements that were entered into on or before June 6, 2022 and involve, or are linked to, debt or equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation.

The authorized transactions include the purchase, or facilitating the purchase, by U.S. persons of debt or equity securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation, if that purchase is ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of a financial contract or agreement entered into on or before June 6, 2022.  For example, U.S. persons may purchase securities issued by an entity in the Russian Federation in order to cover or close out a short position, per a securities lending agreement, if such agreement was entered into on or before June 6, 2022.  Please see FAQ 1054 for additional information on the scope of the prohibition in section 1(a)(i) of E.O. 14071, including permissible transactions related to the divestment or transfer of debt or equity securities to a non-U.S. person. 

Note that Russia-related GL 46 separately authorizes transactions related to the settlement of credit derivative transactions referencing “the Russian Federation” via an auction process.  For further information, please see FAQ 1072.  GL 45 does not authorize any transactions involving blocked persons, unless separately authorized.

The determination of June 28, 2022 issued pursuant to section 1(a)(i) of E.O. 14068, “Prohibitions Related to Imports of Gold of Russian Federation Origin,” prohibits the importation into the United States of gold of Russian Federation origin.  Please note that per the determination, the importation into the United States of gold of Russian Federation origin that was located outside of the Russian Federation prior to June 28, 2022 is not prohibited.  For information regarding the term “Russian Federation origin,” please see FAQ 1019.

Nicaragua GL 3authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions prohibited by the Nicaragua Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 582 (the NSR), that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Empresa Nicaraguense de Minas (ENIMINAS), or any entity in which ENIMINAS owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest (collectively, “Blocked ENIMINAS Entities”), through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, July 18, 2022, provided that any payment to a blocked person must be made into a blocked account in accordance with the NSR.

After the expiration of this authorization, unless exempt or authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions with the Blocked ENIMINAS Entities and must block such entities’ property or interests in property that are in, or thereafter come within, the United States, or the possession or control of a U.S. person.

Non-U.S. persons generally do not risk exposure to U.S. blocking sanctions under the NSR for engaging in transactions with blocked persons, where those transactions would not require a specific license if engaged in by a U.S. person. 

Yes.  U.S. persons, wherever located, are prohibited from exporting, reexporting, selling, or supplying, directly or indirectly, accounting services, which would include tax preparation and filing services, to any person located in the Russian Federation, unless otherwise exempt or authorized by OFAC.  Please see FAQ 1059 for more information.  Please note the determination excludes the provision by a U.S. person of any service to an entity located in the Russian Federation that is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a United States person, and any service in connection with the wind down or divestiture of an entity located in the Russian Federation that is not owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a Russian person.

As noted in FAQ 1067, this determination does not prohibit the export, reexport, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of tax preparation-related software to the Russian Federation, as distinct from tax  preparation and filing services.  Please see FAQ 1067 for more information. 
 

The determination does not prohibit U.S. persons from exporting, reexporting, selling, or supplying, directly or indirectly, software to the Russian Federation, nor does the determination prohibit U.S. persons from providing services associated with the export of such software, such as software design and engineering, provided that such associated services do not fall within the categories of management consulting, accounting, or trust and corporate formation. 
For example, the following scenario describes activities that would not be prohibited under the determination:

  • A U.S. software company signs a contract with a company located in the Russian Federation (“Russian company”) for design, engineering, licensing, and delivery of software that the Russian company uses to perform its internal accounting.  As part of the contract, the U.S. company provides continuing updates and technical support services related to the software (setting up new users, troubleshooting errors, etc.).

The following scenarios illustrate activities that would be prohibited under the determination:

  • A U.S. management consulting company signs a contract with a Russian company to assist the Russian company in selecting a new enterprise application software.  This contract includes assessing the needs of the Russian company, providing a list of possible software choices to the company, and providing continuing advisory services on the implementation and use of the software to optimize the Russian company’s profits.  

Yes.  For the purposes of this determination, OFAC interprets management consulting services to include services related to strategic business advice; organizational and systems planning, evaluation, and selection; development or evaluation of marketing programs or implementation; mergers, acquisitions, and organizational structure; staff augmentation and human resources policies and practices; and brand management.  Please see FAQ 1034 for more information.

The prohibitions imposed by the determination do not distinguish between new and existing trusts and companies.  Under the determination, U.S. persons are prohibited from providing trust and corporate formation services to persons located in the Russian Federation, regardless of whether the services are performed as part of the formation of a new trust or company, or as part of the administration or maintenance of an existing trust or company.  Please see FAQ 1034 for more information.

In addition, please note that the determination excludes from the scope of the aforementioned services: (1) any service to an entity located in the Russian Federation that is owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a United States person; and (2) any service in connection with the wind down or divestiture of an entity located in the Russian Federation that is not owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a Russian person. 

Under the determination, U.S. persons are prohibited from exporting, reexporting, selling, or supplying, directly or indirectly, trust and corporate formation services to persons located in the Russian Federation.  This prohibition on trust and corporate formation services does not, in and of itself, prohibit U.S. persons from serving on the board of directors of a company located in the Russian Federation.   

However, this determination would prohibit U.S. persons from providing nominee officer or director services in which a U.S. person is contracted to serve as a nominee officer, director, shareholder, or signatory of a legal person on behalf of a person located in the Russian Federation. 

For the purposes of section 1(a)(ii) of E.O. 14071, OFAC interprets “person located in the Russian Federation” to include persons in the Russian Federation, individuals ordinarily resident in the Russian Federation, and entities incorporated or organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation.  

Please note that section 1(a)(ii) of E.O. 14071 prohibits the direct or indirect exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of such services determined pursuant to E.O. 14071.  For the purposes of E.O. 14071, OFAC interprets the “indirect” provision of such services to include when the benefit of the services is ultimately received by a “person located in the Russian Federation.”  Please see FAQ 1059 for more information.

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. 

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, provided that (i) such funds are not specifically intended for new projects or operations in the Russian Federation and (ii) the revenues of the entity located outside the Russian Federation are not predominantly derived from its investments in the Russian Federation.  For the purposes of assessing the foregoing, U.S. persons, including U.S. financial institutions, may reasonably rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business.

Yes, provided that the use of the funds by the subsidiary or affiliate is consistent with maintenance, as described in FAQ 1050.  “Maintenance” does not include the expansion of pre-existing projects or operations beyond those in effect prior to the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions.  Therefore, U.S. persons may not fund new or expanded projects or operations undertaken by their subsidiaries and affiliates located in the Russian Federation after the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions.

The prohibitions on “new investment” pursuant to the respective E.O.s do not prohibit the export or import of goods, services, or technology, or related sales or purchases, to or from the Russian Federation, provided that such transaction is made pursuant to ordinary commercial sales terms (e.g., a payment of an invoice for goods made within the contracted time period, where such payment does not involve ongoing participation in royalties or ongoing profits) (see FAQ 1049).  Such transactions can be supported through traditional trade finance products, including commercial letters of credit and documentary collections.  U.S. persons are not prohibited pursuant to the respective E.O.s from entering into new contracts or agreements for such transactions.

However, please note that U.S. persons are prohibited or restricted from exporting, reexporting, or importing certain goods and services involving the Russian Federation, as described by law (see, for example, section 1(a)(i) of E.O. 14068; see also FAQ 415).

For the purposes of the respective E.O. prohibitions, “new investment” generally excludes the maintenance of investments in the Russian Federation that were made prior to the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions (“pre-existing projects or operations”).  “Maintenance” of investments includes:  

  • Transactions to ensure continuity of pre-existing projects or operations located in the Russian Federation, including payments to employees, suppliers, landlords, lenders, and partners;
  • The preservation and upkeep of pre-existing tangible property in the Russian Federation; and
  • Activities associated with maintaining pre-existing capital investments or equity investments. 

As a general matter, “maintenance” includes all transactions ordinarily incident to performing under an agreement in effect prior to the effective date of the respective E.O. prohibitions (“pre-existing agreement”), provided that such transactions are consistent with previously established practices and support pre-existing projects or operations.  However, “maintenance” does not include the expansion of pre-existing projects or operations beyond those in effect prior to the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions, even if pursuant to a pre-existing agreement, where such expansion occurs on or after the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions.  Nor does “maintenance” include commitments pursuant to the exercise of rights under a pre-existing agreement where such commitment is made on or after the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions.

In connection with maintenance activity, U.S. persons also may modify or alter pre-existing agreements, or enter into new contracts or agreements, provided that any transaction under such contracts or agreements are consistent with previously established practices and support pre-existing projects or operations.  For example, a pre-existing agreement may be modified, or new contract established, to substitute suppliers, conduct maintenance or repairs, or comply with new environmental or safety standards.  In assessing whether activity is consistent with past practice, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will consider all relevant facts and circumstances, including the transaction history between contract parties prior to the effective date of the respective E.O.s.

Note that maintenance activities must not involve blocked persons or other prohibited transactions unless exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC.

For the purposes of the respective E.O.s, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) views “investment” as the commitment of capital or other assets for the purpose of generating returns or appreciation.  OFAC interprets “new” investment as such a commitment made on or after the effective date of the respective E.O. prohibitions.  As a general matter, new investment includes such commitments that are pursuant to an agreement entered on or after the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions.  New investment also includes such commitments pursuant to the exercise of rights under an agreement entered into before the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions, where such commitment is made on or after the effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions.  We note, however, that new investment does not include the maintenance of an investment made prior to the applicable effective dates of the respective E.O. prohibitions (see FAQ 1050). 

Unless exempt or otherwise authorized by OFAC, transactions that OFAC considers to be “new investment” for the purposes of the respective E.O. prohibitions include:

  • The purchase or acquisition of real estate in the Russian Federation, other than for noncommercial, personal use; 
  • Entry into an agreement requiring the commitment of capital or other assets for the establishment or expansion of projects or operations in the Russian Federation, including the formation of joint ventures or other corporate entities in the Russian Federation;
  • Entry into an agreement providing for the participation in royalties or ongoing profits in the Russian Federation;
  • The lending of funds to persons located in the Russian Federation for commercial purposes, including when such funds are intended to be used to fund a new or expanded project or operation in the Russian Federation;
  • The purchase of an equity interest in an entity located in the Russian Federation (see FAQs 1054 and 1055); and
  • The purchase or acquisition of rights to natural resources or exploitation thereof in the Russian Federation.

Examples of transactions that OFAC does not consider to be “new investment” for the purposes of the respective E.O. prohibitions include:

  • Entry into, performance of, or financing of a contract, pursuant to ordinary commercial sales terms, to sell or purchase goods, services, or technology to or from an entity in the Russian Federation (e.g., a payment of an invoice for goods, where payment is made within the contracted time period and such payment does not involve participation in royalties or ongoing profits);
  • Maintenance of an investment in the Russian Federation, where the investment was made prior to the effective date of the respective E.O. prohibitions, including maintenance of pre-existing entities, projects, or operations, including associated tangible property, in the Russian Federation (see FAQ 1050); and
  • Wind down or divestment of a pre-existing investment, such as a pre-existing investment in an entity, project, or operation, including any associated tangible property, located in the Russian Federation (see FAQs 1053 and 1054).

Even if a transaction is not a prohibited form of “new investment” pursuant to the respective E.O.s, U.S. persons engaging in the transaction must comply with all other relevant sanctions prohibitions, including those pursuant to Ukraine-/Russia-Related Sanctions Regulations and Russian Harmful Foreign Activities Sanctions Regulations (see, e.g., FAQ 415).  For example, the respective E.O.s include provisions prohibiting any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited if performed by a United States person or within the United States.  For more information, see FAQ 1053.

No.  E.O. 13959, as amended, does not require U.S. financial institutions to block transactions.  However, transactions that would be prohibited under E.O. 13959, as amended (including an attempted sale of covered securities by a U.S. person made to effect the divestment of CMIC securities after the 365-day divestment period), must be rejected and reported to OFAC within 10 business days.  Consistent with FAQ 863, U.S. financial institutions may continue to intermediate purchases or sales by or from non-U.S. persons to or for non-U.S. persons.  

U.S. persons who hold securities of CMICs identified pursuant to E.O. 13959, as amended, may continue to receive cash dividends and stock splits related to such covered securities, and U.S. financial institutions may continue to process such transactions.  However, purchases of CMIC securities effected through dividend reinvestments constitute purchases that are prohibited pursuant to E.O. 13959, as amended.  U.S. persons may, however, continue to facilitate the distribution of dividend reinvestments for non-U.S. persons after the relevant divestment period.

U.S. persons are not required to divest their holdings of CMIC securities during the relevant 365-day divestment period and may continue to hold such securities after the divestment period.  E.O. 13959, as amended, permits purchases or sales made solely to effect the divestment of CMIC securities, but only during the 365-day divestment period.  Accordingly, any such purchase or sale is prohibited after the 365-day divestment period, absent OFAC authorization.

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.
 

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.
 

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.

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 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.  The Director of OFAC, in consultation with the State Department, has issued a determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 that authorizes the imposition of economic sanctions against persons that operate or have operated in the accounting, trust and corporate formation services, or management consulting sectors of the Russian Federation economy.  

A sector determination pursuant to E.O. 14024 exposes persons that operate or have operated in an identified sector to sanctions risk; however, a sector determination does not automatically impose sanctions on all persons who operate or have operated in the sector.  Only persons determined, pursuant to E.O. 14024, by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State, or by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, or their delegates, to operate or have operated in the above-identified sectors are subject to sanctions.

Persons sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 14024 for operating or having operated in an identified sector are added to one or more OFAC sanctions lists based on the type of sanction, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA List), and the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List).

The prohibitions imposed by the determination of May 8, 2022 made pursuant to E.O. 14071take effect at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time June 7, 2022.

In addition, OFAC has issued General License 34 to authorize all transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of accounting, trust and corporate formation, and management consulting services to any person located in the Russian Federation, through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, July 7, 2022.

Yes.  The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued two general licenses (GLs) related to TKB, which allow U.S. persons to engage in certain transactions involving TKB for specified time periods.

Russia-related GL 28 authorizes U.S. persons to engage in certain transactions involving TKB, or any entity in which TKB owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, that are ultimately destined for or originating from Afghanistan through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, October 20, 2022. 

GL 28 also authorizes U.S. financial institutions to operate correspondent accounts on behalf of TKB, or any entity in which TKB owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, provided such accounts are used solely to effect transactions ultimately destined for or originating from Afghanistan that are authorized by the GL.  This means that U.S. financial institutions are authorized to debit or credit correspondent accounts maintained for TKB, provided these debits or credits are for payments that are ultimately destined for or originating from Afghanistan.

In addition, through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 20, 2022, Russia-related GL 29 authorizes certain transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving TKB, or any entity in which TKB owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, regardless of whether such transactions are related to Afghanistan.  GL 29 does not authorize debits to blocked accounts.  For more information, please see FAQ 990.

For further information on relevant authorizations, exemptions, and public guidance, please review OFAC’s Fact Sheets, “Preserving Agricultural Trade, Access to Communication, and Other Support to Those Impacted by Russia’s War Against Ukraine” and “Provision of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan and Support for the Afghan People.”
 

Throughout OFAC’s sanctions list data products, such as the XML file, each entry is assigned a unique identification number (UID) as a means to help make sorting and filtering through information easier.  

In OFAC’s files, a UID is a numeric string that is associated with a single entry within a given system. OFAC's sanctions list data products are designed to be integrated into a relational database. As such, UIDs (which are typically considered “primary” or “foreign” keys) are assigned to all primary entries on the sanctions list(s) and are used to link the primary entry to its addresses, aliases, and other identifiers.

Occasionally, OFAC may only provide a list of UIDs in a Recent Actions notice when a clerical update is made to the sanctions list(s).  The purpose of such is to underscore the fact that these types of actions are solely administrative and that there have been no new entries added to OFAC's list(s).

For more information regarding the data specification and formatting of OFAC's files or on the use of UIDs within OFAC's files, please visit the following links: 


Pursuant to the RuHSR and BSR, U.S. persons, including U.S. operators of credit card systems and U.S. acquirers, are prohibited from processing transactions involving certain sanctioned foreign financial institutions, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.  Non-U.S. operators of credit card systems whose payment cards are issued by sanctioned foreign financial institutions may also be in violation of OFAC-administered sanctions regulations if they allow those cards to be used in the United States.

OFAC encourages U.S. persons, including U.S. operators of credit card systems and U.S. acquirers, to exercise caution and due diligence in dealing with non-U.S. operators of credit card systems that are known to host payment cards issued by sanctioned foreign financial institutions and whose payment cards are accepted in the United States.  Examples of due diligence measures may include requesting Bank Identification Numbers (BINs) associated with sanctioned foreign financial institutions, disabling those BINs from operation in the United States, and requesting that non-U.S. operators of credit card systems prevent the use of payment cards issued by sanctioned foreign financial institutions in the United States at the network level.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • the importation into the United States of the following products of Russian Federation origin:  fish, seafood, and preparations thereof; alcoholic beverages; non-industrial diamonds; and any other products of Russian Federation origin as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Commerce;
  • the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of luxury goods, and any other items as may be determined by the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, to any person located in the Russian Federation;
  • new investment in any sector of the Russian Federation economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, by a United States person, wherever located;
  • the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of U.S. dollar-denominated banknotes to the Government of the Russian Federation or any person located in the Russian Federation; and
  • any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by sections 1(a)(i)-(iv) of E.O. of March 11, 2022 if performed by a United States person or within the United States.

Yes.  The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed expansive sanctions actions against certain Russian entities and individuals pursuant to E.O. 14024, in addition to other authorities.  All U.S. persons are required to comply with OFAC regulations, regardless of whether a transaction is denominated in traditional fiat currency or virtual currency (see FAQ 560).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E.O. of March 8, 2022 prohibits the importation into the United States of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin.  To the extent the import of such products of Russian Federation origin outside of the United States does not involve a sanctioned person or an otherwise prohibited transaction, non-U.S. persons are not exposed to sanctions under E.O. of March 8, 2022.  However, targeted prohibitions or restrictions may apply to certain energy-related dealings with specified Russian persons under other sanctions authorities, such as E.O. 13662 or E.O. 14024.

Yes.  E.O. of March 8, 2022 prohibits the importation into the United States of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin.  It does not prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions to sell or re-direct shipments that were previously destined for the United States.  In addition, the Office of Foreign of Assets Control (OFAC) has issued General License (GL) 16 to authorize the limited import of these items pursuant to pre-existing written contracts or written agreements through April 22, 2022 (see FAQ 1015).  Such shipments into the United States can still be imported in compliance with E.O. of March 8, 2022.  OFAC may issue specific licenses on a case-by-case basis to authorize shipments occurring after April 22, 2022 or other activity outside the scope of GL 16.

Through 12:01 eastern daylight time, April 22, 2022, Russia-related General License (GL) 16 authorizes all transactions prohibited by E.O. of March 8, 2022 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the importation of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin pursuant to written contracts or written agreements entered prior to March 8, 2022.  GL 16 does not authorize entry into new contracts.

Additionally, E.O. of March 8, 2022 does not prohibit transactions such as the unwinding of contracts or other business-related activities by U.S. persons to comply with the import ban imposed under E.O. of March 8, 2022.  Likewise, E.O. of March 8, 2022 does not prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in transactions to sell or re-direct shipments that were laden on or after March 8, 2022 and previously destined for the United States.

Note that all other prohibitions specified in E.O. of March 8, 2022 are effective immediately.

No, only imports of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin into the United States are prohibited by E.O. of March 8, 2022, “Prohibiting Certain Imports and New Investments With Respect to Continued Russian Federation Efforts to Undermine the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Ukraine.”  Imports of other forms of energy of Russian Federation origin are not prohibited by E.O. of March 8, 2022.  In addition, E.O. of March 8, 2022 does not prohibit imports of non-Russian Federation origin, even if such items transit through or depart from the Russian Federation.  However, targeted prohibitions or restrictions may apply to certain energy-related dealings with specified Russian persons under other sanctions authorities, such as E.O. 13662 or E.O. 14024.

E.O. of March 8, 2022 prohibits the following activities:

  • the importation into the United States of crude oil; petroleum; petroleum fuels, oils, and products of their distillation; liquefied natural gas; coal; and coal products of Russian Federation origin;
  • new investment in the energy sector in the Russian Federation by a United States person, wherever located; and
  • any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by E.O. of March 8, 2022, if performed by a United States person or within the United States.

Yes.  Through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 23, 2022, Ukraine-related General License 17 authorizes transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) regions of Ukraine.  Given the comprehensive nature of the sanctions on these regions, these activities include the divestiture or transfer to a non-U.S. person of a U.S. person’s share of ownership in any pre-February 21, 2022 investment located in the DNR or LNR regions of Ukraine, and the winding down of operations, contracts, or other agreements in effect prior to February 21, 2022 involving the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply of goods, services, or technology to, or importation of any goods, services, or technology from, the DNR or LNR regions of Ukraine.

E.O. 14065 prohibits the following activities with the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic regions of Ukraine and such other regions of Ukraine as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State (collectively, the “Covered Regions”):  (i) new investment in the Covered Regions by a U.S. person, wherever located; (ii) the importation into the United States, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from the Covered Regions; (iii) the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by a U.S. person, wherever located, of any goods, services, or technology to the Covered Regions; and (iv) any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a U.S. person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited if performed by a U.S. person, or within the United States.

In addition, E.O. 14065 authorizes sanctions against persons that:  operate or have operated in the Covered Regions since February 21, 2022; are or have been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors since February 21, 2022 of an entity operating in the Covered Regions; are 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 E.O. 14065; or have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14065.  All property and interests in property of persons designated pursuant to E.O. 14065 that are or come within the United States or the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.  Additionally, any entities 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. 

No.  Although the prohibitions of Directive 4 under Executive Order (E.O.) 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Transactions Involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive) effectively immobilize any assets of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (collectively, the “Directive 4 entities”) that are held in the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located, the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive does not impose blocking sanctions on the Directive 4 entities.  Rather, U.S. persons must reject transactions involving the Directive 4 entities, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.

No.  The Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, including any transfer of assets to such entities or any foreign exchange transaction for or on behalf of such entities.  Effective February 28, 2022, U.S. persons may not engage in any transactions involving these entities unless exempt or authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  This includes both direct and indirect transactions.  The Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive also prohibits:  (1) any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive; and (2) any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive.  

In light of the current economic situation in Russia, U.S. persons should be on alert for nonroutine foreign exchange transactions that may indirectly involve entities subject to the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive, including transactions that are inconsistent with activity over the 12 months prior to February 28, 2022.  For example, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation may seek to use import or export companies to engage in foreign exchange transactions on its behalf and obfuscate its involvement.  U.S. persons should also exercise caution in engaging in foreign exchange transactions on the Moscow Exchange given the current heightened risk that the Central Bank of the Russia Federation could be a counterparty to such transactions. 

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation are subject to several restrictions under the following directives:

  • Effective February 28, 2022, Directive 4 under Executive Order (E.O.) 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Transactions Involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive), prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving these entities, including any transfer of assets to such entities or any foreign exchange transaction for or on behalf of such entities (see FAQ 998).
  • Pursuant to Directive 1A under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Sovereign Debt of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive), the following activities by a U.S. financial institution are prohibited:
    • As of June 14, 2021, participation in the primary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after June 14, 2021 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation; 
    • As of June 14, 2021, lending ruble or non-ruble denominated funds to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation; and
    • As of March 1, 2022, participation in the secondary market for ruble or non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (see FAQ 888).
  • Effective August 19, 2019, the Russia-Related Directive (the “CBW Act Directive”) prohibits U.S. banks from participating in the primary market for non-ruble denominated bonds issued by the Russian sovereign and also prohibits U.S. banks from lending non-ruble denominated funds to the Russian sovereign.  The CBW Act Directive defines the term “Russian sovereign” as any ministry, agency, or sovereign fund of the Russian Federation, including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (see FAQs 675 and 676).   

The Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive includes prohibitions more expansive than the Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive and the CBW Act Directive; however, it is important to note that each directive operates independently of the others and may have different effective dates.  Transactions involving these entities must comply with all three directives described above
 

OFAC issued Russia-related General License (GL) 8A to authorize certain energy-related transactions involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation that would be prohibited by the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive (see FAQs 976 and 977). 

OFAC issued GL 13 to authorize U.S. persons to pay taxes, fees, or import duties and purchase or receive permits, licenses, registrations, or certifications, to the extent such transactions are prohibited by the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive, provided such transactions are ordinarily incident and necessary to such persons’ day-to-day operations in the Russian Federation.  GLs 8A and 13 expire at 12:01am eastern daylight time, June 24, 2022.

In addition, OFAC issued GLs 9A and 10A.  GL 9A authorizes all transactions prohibited by the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the receipt of interest, dividend, or maturity payments in connection with debt or equity of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (collectively, “Directive 4 entities”).  GL 10A authorizes all transactions prohibited by the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of derivative contracts, repurchase agreements, or reverse repurchase agreements entered into prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, March 1, 2022, that include a Directive 4 entity as a counterparty.  Note that neither GL 9A nor GL 10A authorizes any debit to an account on the books of a U.S. financial institution of a Directive 4 entity.  In addition, the prior authorizations of GLs 9 and 10 remain unchanged.  GLs 9A and 10A expire at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 25, 2022.

OFAC also issued GL 14 authorizing certain transactions involving any Directive 4 entity where the Directive 4 entity’s sole function in the transaction is to act as an operator of a clearing and settlement system.  GL 14 does not authorize any transfer of assets to or from any Directive 4 entity, or any transaction where a Directive 4 entity is either a counterparty or beneficiary to the transaction.  In addition, GL 14 does not authorize any debit to an account on the books of a U.S. financial institution of any Directive 4 entity.  (See FAQ 1003)

The Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (collectively, “Directive 4 entities”), including any transfer of assets to such entities or any foreign exchange transaction for or on behalf of such entities.  Effective February 28, 2022, U.S. persons may not engage in any transactions involving these entities unless exempt or authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  This includes both direct and indirect transactions involving any Directive 4 entity.  Prohibited transactions include trade or financial transactions and other dealings in which U.S. persons may not engage unless exempt or expressly authorized by OFAC.

The Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive also prohibits:  (1)  any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive; and (2) any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive.

This action effectively immobilizes any assets of the Directive 4 entities that are held in the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.  Effective February 28, 2022, U.S. financial institutions must reject transactions involving any Directive 4 entity, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.  OFAC issued general licenses that authorize certain limited transactions involving the Directive 4 entities (see FAQ 999).

Entities determined to be subject to the Russia-related Sovereign Transactions Directive are listed on OFAC’s Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions (NS-MBS) List.

No.  The United States has not lifted sanctions on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.  The Taliban remains designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.  The Haqqani Network remains designated as an SDGT under E.O. 13224 and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  Transactions involving the Taliban or the Haqqani Network outside the scope of GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20  remain prohibited.

To the extent authorization is required, Afghanistan-related GL 20  authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan prohibited by the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 594 (GTSR), the Foreign Terrorist Organizations Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR part 597 (FTOSR), or Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, subject to limited conditions set forth in GL 20 paragraph (b).  

Therefore, the authorization in Afghanistan-related GL 20 may overlap with the authorizations in Afghanistan-related 1415161718 and 19.  Where appropriate, U.S. persons may rely on the broader authorization in GL 20 instead of the authorizations in GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.  As with all OFAC GLs, GLs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 are “self-executing,” meaning that persons who determine that such activities are ordinarily incident and necessary to their authorized activity within the scope of the GL may proceed without further assurance from OFAC.

Yes.  To the extent authorization is required, GL 20  authorizes financial transfers to or involving all governing institutions in Afghanistan — including but not limited to the DAB, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Energy and Water, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, and Ministry of Public Health — or to or involving state-owned or -controlled companies and enterprises in Afghanistan, including Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), provided there are no financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, or any blocked individual who is in a leadership role of a governing institution in Afghanistan, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services, provided that such payments do not relate to luxury items or services.  GL 20 also authorizes receipt of payment from such governing institutions and state-owned or -controlled companies and enterprises in Afghanistan.

OFAC does not view financial transfers to governing institutions in Afghanistan or state-owned or -controlled companies and enterprises in Afghanistan as financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, or any blocked individual who is in a leadership role of a governing institution in Afghanistan.  

Nothing in GL 20 affects the property or interests in property of Da Afghanistan Bank that are protectively blocked pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14064 of February 11, 2022, “Protecting Certain Property of Da Afghanistan Bank for the Benefit of the People of Afghanistan.”
 

For purposes of GL 20 , luxury items and services are those items and services that are not linked to activities that support basic human needs as defined with reference to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2615 (2021), for instance:  yachts, furs, designer clothing, and certain entertainment activities.  Luxury items  and services would not include, for example, phones, computers, or other similar items commonly used in connection with personal communication, education, activity by international organizations and non-governmental organizations, and other activity that supports basic human needs in Afghanistan.

Generally speaking, when a designated individual has a leadership role in a governing institution, the governing institution itself is not considered blocked.  Accordingly, engaging in a routine interaction with an agency in which a blocked individual is an official, but that does not involve the blocked individual in question, is not prohibited. 

In this case, Afghanistan-related General License (GL) 20  authorizes all transactions involving Afghanistan or governing institutions in Afghanistan that would otherwise be prohibited by OFAC-administered sanctions on the Taliban or the Haqqani Network, subject to certain conditions.  GL 20 also authorizes the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase of permits, licensing, or public utility services to blocked individuals that are in leadership roles of governing institutions in Afghanistan, provided that such payments do not relate to luxury items  or services.

As an example, if an international organization (IO), nongovernmental organization (NGO), or company needs to make a customs payment to a governing institution in Afghanistan led by a blocked individual, that is authorized.  Similarly, if an IO, NGO, or company is signing a contract to provide services to or on behalf of that governing institution, and the blocked individual appointed to lead that governing institution needs to sign the contract in their official capacity on behalf of the governing institution, that is authorized.  However, if the blocked individual requests that funds be provided directly to them, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services or financial transfers, that would not be authorized by GL 20.

Transactions that are generally authorized by GL 20  to the extent authorization is required include:  

  • Commercial transactions involving Afghanistan, including imports from Afghanistan, exports to Afghanistan, and commercial transactions within or involving the geographical territory of Afghanistan; 
  • Dealings with all governing ministries and institutions in Afghanistan—including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Energy and Water, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of the Interior, and Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, and the Central Bank of Afghanistan (DAB);
  • Dealings with state-owned or -controlled companies and enterprises in Afghanistan, including the electrical utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS); 
  • Payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services, provided that such payments do not relate to luxury items or services;
  • Financial institutions’ processing of transactions to, from, or transiting Afghanistan, including clearing, settlement, and transfers through, to, or otherwise involving privately owned and state-owned Afghan banks;
  • Financial and professional services related to economic activity in Afghanistan;
  • Activities related to infrastructure maintenance or development in Afghanistan, including water, sanitation, energy, electricity, and public utilities;
  • Activities related to the development, maintenance, and operation of civilian transportation in Afghanistan, including safety and maintenance operations for civilian transportation in Afghanistan, including air traffic services, air navigation services, other transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to operations or use of airports, ground and landside operations, and rail or road construction or maintenance;
  • Transactions with respect to the receipt and transmission of telecommunications, mail, or parcels involving Afghanistan; 
  • Importation from and exportation to Afghanistan of any information or informational materials;
  • Transactions ordinarily incident to travel to or from Afghanistan; 
  • Transactions that are also authorized under Afghanistan-related GLs 1415161718 and 19 (for more information, see FAQs 928, 929, 930, 931, 949, 951, 953, 954, 957, 958, 959, 960, 961, 962, 963, and 996); and
  • Incidental contact with the Taliban or the Haqqani Network or any blocked individual who is currently in a leadership role in a governing institution in Afghanistan in connection with any of the authorized activities outlined above. 

Nothing in GL 20 relieves any person from compliance with any other federal laws or requirements of other federal agencies, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the Department of State and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the Department of Commerce, or from applicable international obligations.

GL 20 does not authorize financial transfers to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, or to any blocked individual who is in a leadership role of a governing institution in Afghanistan, other than for the purpose of effecting the payment of taxes, fees, or import duties, or the purchase or receipt of permits, licenses, or public utility services or financial transfers, provided that such payments do not relate to luxury items or services.  GL 20 also does not authorize transfers of luxury items or services to the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, any entity in which the Taliban or the Haqqani Network owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, or any blocked individual who is in a leadership role of a governing institution in Afghanistan.

The U.S. government recognizes that Afghanistan is facing a widespread humanitarian and economic crisis.  Treasury issued Afghanistan-related GL 20  to ensure that U.S. sanctions do not stand in the way of transactions and activities that support basic human needs of the people in Afghanistan.  GL 20 authorizes, to the extent authorization is required, activities necessary to support these needs, including, as established in the United Nations Transitional Engagement Framework (TEF) for Afghanistan, activities necessary to sustain essential social services such as health and education, preserve essential community systems, and promote livelihoods and social cohesion.  This GL helps provide clarity to financial institutions, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and private sector entities that they can facilitate the broad range of activities needed to mitigate further worsening of Afghanistan’s economic and humanitarian crisis.  This includes commercial activities in or involving Afghanistan.  For other specific examples of the kinds of activities authorized by General License 20, please see FAQ 992

An authorization for transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to a transaction licensed pursuant to E.O. 14024 does not implicitly authorize a debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution.  Debits to an account on the books of a U.S. financial institution of a blocked person are only authorized as transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to a licensed transaction if such license explicitly authorizes such debits.

For example, General Licenses (GLs) 9 and 10  explicitly state that debits to accounts on the books of a U.S. financial institution of the blocked entities listed in the GLs are authorized to the extent ordinarily incident and necessary to effect the specified transactions authorized therein.  By contrast, GLs 3 and 11 do not explicitly authorize debits to accounts on the books of a U.S. financial institution of the blocked entities.
 

No, so long as the terms of such debt (including the repayment period, the interest rate, and the amount) were contractually agreed to before the relevant sanctions effective date described in the Russia-related Entities Directive  and are not modified on or after the relevant sanctions effective date (FAQ 984).  As stated in FAQ 956, loans, contracts, or other agreements that use London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) as a reference rate that are modified to replace such benchmark reference rate will not be treated as new debt for OFAC sanctions purposes, so long as no other material terms of the loan, contract, or agreement are modified. 

Some entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive may also be subject to additional prohibitions under other sanctions authorities, such as additional directives under E.O. 14024 or E.O. 13662.  It is important to note that each directive operates independently of the others.  For example, if a transaction involves a person subject to two separate directives, a U.S. person engaging in that transaction must comply with both directives.  
 

No.  The Russia-related Entities Directive prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in only certain activities related to new debt of longer than 14 days maturity or new equity of the entities listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related Entities Directive, or of entities otherwise determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive, as explained in FAQ 984.  Please see FAQ 985 regarding the applicability of OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule with respect to this directive.

Some entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive may also be subject to additional prohibitions under other sanctions authorities, such as additional directives under E.O. 14024 or E.O. 13662.  It is important to note that each directive operates independently of the others.  For example, if a transaction involves a person subject to two separate directives, a U.S. person engaging in that transaction must comply with both directives.  
 

If a U.S. person entered into a long-term credit facility or loan agreement prior to the relevant sanctions effective date described in the Russia-related Entities Directive, drawdowns and disbursements with repayment terms of 14 days or less are permitted.  In addition, drawdowns and disbursements whose repayment terms exceed 14 days are not prohibited if the terms of such drawdowns and disbursements (including the length of the repayment period, the interest rate applied to the drawdown, and the maximum drawdown amount) were contractually agreed to prior to the relevant sanctions effective date and are not modified on or after the relevant sanctions effective date.  U.S. persons may not deal in a drawdown or disbursement initiated on or after the relevant sanctions effective date with a repayment term that is longer than 14 days if the terms of the drawdown or disbursement were negotiated on or after the relevant sanctions effective date.  Such a newly negotiated drawdown or disbursement would constitute a prohibited extension of credit.  

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.
 

Yes.  The prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive apply to any entity listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related Entities Directive or otherwise determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive, or their property or interests in property, which includes entities 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one or more entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive.

The Russia-related Entities Directive prohibits certain dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States in new debt of longer than 14 days maturity or new equity of Russian entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the directive or their property or interests in property.  The prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive are effective beginning on 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 26, 2022 for entities listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related Entities Directive, or their property or interests in property.  For entities subsequently determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive, the prohibitions are effective 12:01 a.m. eastern time 30 days following such determination.

Specifically, the Russia-related Entities Directive prohibits the following activities by U.S. persons or within the United States:  all transactions in, provision of financing for, and other dealings in new debt with a maturity of greater than 14 days or new equity of entities listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related Entities Directive or otherwise determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive, or their property or interests in property, where such debt or equity is issued on or after the relevant sanctions effective date.  Please see FAQ 985 regarding the applicability of OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule with respect to this directive.

 

Entity Type

Relevant Sanctions Effective Date

Entities listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related Entities Directive, or their property or interests in property

On or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on March 26, 2022

Entities otherwise determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive, or their property or interests in property

On or after 12:01 a.m. eastern time on the date that is 30 days after the date of such determination

 

These prohibitions apply to all new debt with a maturity of greater than 14 days and new equity irrespective of currency denomination.

In addition, the Russia-related Entities Directive prohibits:  (1) any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive; and (2) any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive. 

Some entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive may also be subject to prohibitions in other sanctions authorities, such as prohibitions of other directives issued under E.O. 14024, or directives issued under E.O. 13662.  It is important to note that each directive operates independently of the others.  For example, if a transaction involves a person subject to two separate directives, a U.S. person engaging in that transaction must comply with both directives.  

 

In February 2022, OFAC issued two directives under E.O. 14024 regarding restrictions related to new debt or equity involving certain Russian Federation or Russia-related entities:

  • On February 22, 2022, OFAC issued Directive 1A under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to Certain Sovereign Debt of the Russian Federation” (Russia-related Sovereign Debt Directive), replacing and superseding Directive 1 under E.O. 14024 of April 15, 2021, to extend existing sovereign debt prohibitions to cover participation in the secondary market for ruble and non-ruble denominated bonds issued after March 1, 2022 by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the National Wealth Fund of the Russian Federation, or the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation (see FAQs 888 and 965).
  • On February 24, 2022, OFAC issued Directive 3 under E.O. 14024, “Prohibitions Related to New Debt and Equity of Certain Russia-related Entities” (Russia-related Entities Directive) to prohibit all transactions in, provision of financing for, and other dealings in new debt of longer than 14 days maturity or new equity issued on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 26, 2022 by the entities listed in Annex 1 to that directive, or their property or interests in property.  These same prohibitions also apply to any entity subsequently determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related Entities Directive, or its property or interests in property, beginning on or after 12:01 a.m. eastern time on the date that is 30 days after the date of such determination (see FAQ 984).

Entities determined to be subject to the prohibitions of these directives will be listed on the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List) (in addition to any other applicable sanctions lists maintained by OFAC).  Please see FAQ 985 regarding the applicability of OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule with respect to the Russia-related Entities Directive.  Listings on the NS-MBS List will denote when an entity has been determined to be subject to prohibitions, as well as when the prohibitions come into effect with respect to each entity.
 

OFAC evaluates a range of factors when developing sanctions targets, consistent with foreign policy and national security goals.  In the context of blocking sanctions, non-U.S. persons may be exposed to sanctions risk in relation to activities with persons subject to blocking sanctions pursuant to E.O. 14024.  Under E.O. 14024, non-U.S. persons may be designated if they have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, certain activities, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024, or (in certain circumstances) a blocked government.  Please see sections 1(a)(vi) and 1(b) of E.O. 14024. 

Non-U.S. persons generally do not risk exposure to U.S. blocking sanctions under E.O. 14024 for engaging in transactions with persons subject to the prohibitions of the directives under E.O. 14024.  Moreover, non-U.S. persons generally do not risk exposure to U.S. blocking sanctions under E.O. 14024 for engaging in transactions with blocked persons, where those transactions would not require a specific license if engaged in by a U.S. person.  Note, however, that E.O. 14024 and the directives under E.O. 14024 prohibit any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions of those directives, as well as any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions of those directives.  OFAC will not view as “evading or avoiding” efforts by non-U.S. persons to comply with U.S. sanctions by replacing sanctioned suppliers or service providers (including financial institutions) with non-sanctioned persons.
 

Yes, U.S. persons supporting activities undertaken for the official business of certain international organizations or entities, certain humanitarian-related trade, or the response to the COVID-19 pandemic may continue to engage in such activity involving persons sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 14024 through a variety of OFAC authorizations or exemptions, as described below.

Consistent with section 9 of E.O. 14024, transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government or the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programs, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, and contractors thereof are exempt from the sanctions prohibitions of E.O. 14024.

Additionally, OFAC has issued General License (GL) 5, authorizing transactions for the conduct of the official business of certain international organizations and entities.  

OFAC also issued GL 6, which authorizes, subject to certain conditions, transactions that are ordinarily incident and necessary to:  (1) the exportation or reexportation of agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to, from, or transiting the Russian Federation; or (2) the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19 (including research or clinical studies relating to COVID-19).

While certain Russian financial institutions are subject to sanctions under E.O. 14024, the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy is not comprehensively sanctioned (see FAQ 964).  Accordingly, U.S. persons may also use non-sanctioned Russian financial institutions to process these transactions.

Note that the authorizations and exemptions described above do not extend to prohibitions applied to persons sanctioned pursuant to any other sanctions authorities implemented by OFAC, such as E.O. 13662.

For certain Russian financial institutions blocked in February 2022 pursuant to E.O. 14024, a short-term wind-down period is authorized.  General License (GL) 3 authorizes a wind-down period of 30 days for transactions involving State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs Vnesheconombank (VEB), and GL 11 authorizes a wind-down period of 30 days for transactions involving VTB Bank Public Joint Stock Company, Public Joint Stock Company Bank Financial Corporation Otkritie, or Sovcombank Open Joint Stock Company.  These authorizations also apply to any entity in which these financial institutions own, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest. 

GLs 3 and 11 authorize U.S. persons to engage in transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to exit operations, contracts, or other agreements that were in effect prior to the date of blocking involving the specified blocked Russian financial institutions, provided that such transactions do not involve a debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution (see FAQ 990).  For example, a U.S. financial institution may take steps necessary to collect on outstanding loans made to a blocked person, including exercising rights to any collateral related thereto, as authorized wind-down activity, provided the transaction does not involve a debit to a blocked account on the books of a U.S. financial institution (unless separately authorized).  A U.S. financial institution may also take steps necessary to pay outstanding loans, provided that, if such payment is for the benefit of a blocked person, it must be transferred into a blocked account.  Similarly, a U.S. financial institution may take steps necessary to close a correspondent account maintained for a blocked person; however, funds in the correspondent account may not be returned to the blocked person, and must remain blocked, absent separate authorization from OFAC.

GLs 3 and 11 authorize only new or continued business activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to wind-down activities.  Wind-down activities do not include the continued processing of funds transfers, securities trades, or other transactions involving a blocked person that were part of ongoing business activities prior to the imposition of sanctions, unless separately authorized (see, e.g., GLs 8, 9, and 10).  Moreover, GLs 3 and 11 do not apply to all Russian financial institutions blocked in February 2022, such as Promsvyazbank Public Joint Stock Company or Joint Stock Commercial Bank Novikombank, or transactions involving other persons blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024, other than the blocked Russian financial institutions specified in GLs 3 and 11.

In addition to GLs 3 and 11, OFAC issued GL 12 to authorize U.S. persons to reject, rather than block, prohibited transactions involving specified blocked Russian financial institutions for 30 days.  This authorizes, for example, a U.S. financial institution to reject, rather than block, an attempted unauthorized funds transfer until the expiration of GL 12.  The authorization provided in GL 3 expires at 12:01 eastern daylight time, March 24, 2022.  The authorizations provided in GLs 11 and 12 expire at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, March 26, 2022.

For more information on the prohibitions that apply to Russian financial institutions blocked pursuant to E.O. 14024 in February 2022, or related authorizations, please see FAQ 974.

For guidance regarding transactions involving securities and derivatives contracts related to the blocked persons listed above, see FAQ 982.
 

With respect to foreign financial institutions subject to the prohibitions of Directive 2 under E.O. 14024 , “Prohibitions Related to Correspondent or Payable-Through Accounts and Processing of Transactions Involving Certain Foreign Financial Institutions” (Russia-related CAPTA Directive ), including Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia, obligations under this directive apply to U.S. financial institutions only.  U.S. individuals and companies that are not “U.S. financial institutions,” as defined in the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, are not prohibited from processing transactions involving foreign financial institutions subject to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  

With respect to the Russian financial institutions blocked on February 22 and 24, 2022 pursuant to E.O. 14024, General Licenses (GLs) 3 and 11 authorize U.S. persons to engage in transactions ordinarily incident   and necessary to terminate their relationship with specified blocked Russian financial institutions, including withdrawing funds and securities, cancelling letters of credit, and amending or cancelling performance guarantees.  For additional information, please see FAQ 975.  Upon the respective expiration of GLs 3 and 11, U.S. persons are prohibited from transacting with the blocked Russian financial institutions, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC. 
 

Under the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, U.S. financial institutions are prohibited from the opening or maintaining of a correspondent account or payable-through account for or on behalf of, or from processing of a transaction involving, a foreign financial institution determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  The term “U.S. financial institution,” as defined in the directive, includes foreign branches of U.S. financial institutions, but not their foreign subsidiaries.  Note, however, that the Russia-related CAPTA Directive prohibits any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions of this directive, as well as any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions of this directive.  OFAC will not view as “evading or avoiding” efforts by non-U.S. persons to comply with U.S. sanctions by replacing sanctioned suppliers or service providers (including financial institutions) with non-sanctioned persons.

No.  The prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive apply with respect to any currency.  For example, a foreign branch of a U.S. financial institution may not open or maintain a correspondent account for or on behalf of, or process a transaction involving, a foreign financial institution determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, even if that account is denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars, such as euros.  

Yes.  The prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive apply to a U.S. financial institution’s opening or maintaining of a correspondent account or payable-through account for or on behalf of, or processing of a transaction involving, any FFI, wherever located outside of the United States, determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, or their property or interests in property—which includes FFIs 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one or more FFIs determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  This includes, for example, banking subsidiaries that are 50 percent or more owned by Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia and located outside of the United States.  

Yes.  The prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive apply to any foreign financial institution listed in Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive or otherwise determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, “or their property or interests in property,” which includes foreign financial institutions 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one or more foreign financial institutions determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  As stated in the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, the prohibitions of this directive apply only with respect to a U.S. financial institution’s opening or maintaining of a correspondent account or payable-through account for or on behalf of, or processing of a transaction involving, a “foreign financial institution,” as defined in the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  Thus, for purposes of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive, the prohibitions of this directive do not apply to non-“foreign financial institutions,” even if those non-“foreign financial institutions” are 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one or more “foreign financial institutions” determined to be subject to this directive.

Annex 1 to the Russia-related CAPTA Directive identifies Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia as well as many of its foreign financial institution subsidiaries.  The foreign financial institutions listed in Annex 1 have been determined to be subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive for operating or having operated in the financial services sector of the Russian Federation economy, or for being foreign financial institutions that are 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, by one or more foreign financial institutions subject to the prohibitions of the Russia-related CAPTA Directive.  Please see FAQ 969 regarding the applicability of OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule to these entities.

Yes.  Transactions by U.S. persons and within the United States involving derivative products whose value is linked to an underlying asset that constitutes prohibited debt issued by a person subject to Directive 1 under E.O. 14038 are prohibited, unless otherwise authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

If a U.S. person entered into a revolving credit facility or long-term loan agreement prior to December 2, 2021, drawdowns and disbursements with repayment terms of 90 days or less are permitted.  In addition, drawdowns and disbursements whose repayment terms exceed 90 days are not prohibited if the terms of such drawdowns and disbursements (including the length of the repayment period, the interest rate applied to the drawdown, and the maximum drawdown amount) were contractually agreed to prior to December 2, 2021 and are not modified on or after December 2, 2021.  U.S. persons may not deal in a drawdown or disbursement initiated on or after December 2, 2021 with a repayment term that is greater than 90 days if the terms of the drawdown or disbursement were negotiated on or after December 2, 2021.  Such a newly negotiated drawdown or disbursement would constitute a prohibited extension of credit.

Yes.  U.S. financial institutions may continue to maintain correspondent accounts and process U.S. dollar-clearing transactions for the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, provided such activity is not otherwise prohibited pursuant to E.O. 14038, any Executive order issued pursuant to the national emergency declared in E.O. 13405, or any other sanctions program implemented by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

No.  Directive 1 under E.O. 14038 prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in only certain activities with the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, as explained in FAQ 940

All other activities with the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, or involving their property or interests in property, are permitted, provided such activities are not otherwise prohibited pursuant to E.O. 14038, any Executive order issued pursuant to the national emergency declared in E.O. 13405, or any other sanctions program implemented by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The term debt includes bonds, loans, extensions of credit, loan guarantees, letters of credit, drafts, bankers’ acceptances, discount notes or bills, or commercial paper.

No.  The prohibitions in Directive 1 do not apply to any entity that is owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, whether individually or in the aggregate.

No, so long as the terms of such debt (including the repayment period, the interest rate, and the amount) were contractually agreed to before December 2, 2021 and are not modified on or after December 2, 2021.

Pursuant to Directive 1 under E .O. 14038, the following activities by U.S. persons or within the United States are prohibited, except to the extent provided by law or unless licensed or otherwise authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control:  all transactions in, provision of financing for, and other dealings in new debt with a maturity of greater than 90 days issued on or after December 2, 2021 by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus or the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus.  These prohibitions apply to all denominations of debt.

Further, except to the extent otherwise provided by law or unless licensed or otherwise authorized by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the following are also prohibited:  (1) any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions contained in Directive 1 under E.O. 14038; and (2) any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions in Directive 1 under E.O. 14038.
 

GL 5 authorizes, through 12:01a.m. eastern standard time, April 1, 2022, all transactions and activities prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) 14038 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Open Joint Stock Company Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) or Agrorozkvit LLC, or any entity in which BPC or Agrorozkvit LLC owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, including the wind down of such transactions in which Belaruskali OAO has a property interest (e.g., certain resale transactions by BPC or Agrorozkvit LLC of product sourced from Belaruskali OAO).  

However, GL 5 does not authorize direct transactions with Belaruskali OAO, and does not extend Belarus GL 4, which expires at 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 8, 2021.  Please see FAQ 918 for further details on the scope of GL 4.  

GL 5 also does not authorize the entry into new purchase contracts, or the stockpiling of inventory, involving BPC or Agrorozkvit LLC, or any entity in which BPC or Agrorozkvit LLC owns, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, a 50 percent or greater interest, that are not ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions.  
 

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. 

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.

No.  OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule does not apply to persons blocked solely pursuant to the blocking sanctions of E.O. 14046.  Unless an entity is itself a sanctioned person (as defined in E.O. 14046) and listed separately on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), it is not blocked.  For more information, please see FAQs 923 and 924

No.  OFAC has implemented three authorizations and an exemption under Executive Order (E.O.) 14046 to ensure that humanitarian assistance can flow to the people of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the greater Horn of Africa region.  These authorizations and exemption apply to all persons sanctioned under E.O. 14046, including Hidri Trust and RSTC.

Concurrent with the issuance of E.O. 14046, OFAC issued General Licenses (GLs) 1 and 2  to ensure that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and certain International Organizations (IOs) and other international entities, respectively, may continue to engage in and facilitate humanitarian-related transactions or activity to Ethiopia, Eritrea, or the greater Horn of Africa region.  OFAC also issued GL 3 , which authorizes U.S. persons to conduct all transactions and activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the exportation or reexportation of covered agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components for medical devices, or software updates for medical devices to Ethiopia or Eritrea, or to persons in third countries purchasing specifically for resale to Ethiopia or Eritrea.  Please see FAQs 925 and 926, for additional information. 

E.O. 14046 also exempts the official business of the U.S. government by its employees, grantees, and contractors from the prohibitions, enabling continued support of development activity, life-saving humanitarian assistance, and longer-term assistance to address basic needs of at-risk populations in Ethiopia, Eritrea, or the greater Horn of Africa region.

As described in FAQ 927, non-U.S. persons, including NGOs and financial institutions, would not risk exposure to sanctions for engaging in certain humanitarian-related transactions or activity with Hidri Trust and RSTC that are otherwise exempt or authorized for U.S. persons, such as transactions involving the provision of certain humanitarian assistance or export of humanitarian goods to Ethiopia, Eritrea, or the greater Horn of Africa region.

In addition, OFAC issued GL 4 , “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Hidri Trust or Red Sea Trading Corporation.”  GL 4 authorizes, through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 14, 2021, subject to certain exceptions, all transactions and activities prohibited E.O. 14046 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Hidri Trust or RSTC.  Transactions authorized by GLs 1, 2, or 3, including transactions related to the export or reexportation of covered agricultural commodities, medicine, medical devices, replacement parts and components, or software updates, will continue to be authorized even after the expiration of GL 4.
 

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.
 

No.  The authorizations in paragraph (a) of Venezuela-related General Licenses (GLs) 7C (“Authorizing Certain Activities Involving PDV Holding, Inc. and CITGO Holding, Inc.”) and 20B (“Authorizing Official Activities of Certain International Organizations Involving the Government of Venezuela”), respectively, have not expired and remain in effect.  The activities described in paragraph (a) of GLs 7C and 20B, respectively, are authorized for an 18-month period, which renews automatically for an additional 18 months on the first day of each month, unless the respective GL is modified or revoked.

In the case of GL 7C, the authorization in paragraph (b), which relates to the purchase and importation of petroleum and petroleum products from Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., expired on April 28, 2019.  The authorization in GL 7C paragraph (b) does not automatically renew and is no longer in effect.

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
 

Non-U.S. persons, including nongovernmental organizations and foreign financial institutions, generally do not risk exposure to U.S. sanctions for engaging in, or facilitating transactions or payments for, activities that would be exempt or authorized for U.S. persons pursuant to Ethiopia GL 1, GL 2, GL 3, or GL 4

Ethiopia GL 2 authorizes certain transactions and activities involving nongovernmental organizations’ (NGOs) activities in Ethiopia or Eritrea, including:  activities to support humanitarian projects and to meet basic human needs (such as, among other examples provided in GL 2, shelter and settlements assistance, water, sanitation, hygiene activities, and COVID-19 related assistance); activities to support democracy building (such as, among other examples provided in GL 2, activities to support conflict mitigation); activities to support education; activities to support non-commercial development projects directly benefiting the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea, including those related to health, food security, water and sanitation; and activities to support environmental and natural resource protection.  Please see GL 2 for details.

No.  If a person is listed on OFAC’s Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List) as subject to only one or more of the sanctions described in section 2(a)(i)(B) – (E) of E.O. of September 17, 2021, these non-blocking sanctions do not apply to an entity owned in whole or in part, individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, by such sanctioned person, unless OFAC separately lists the entity on the NS-MBS List as subject to sanctions. 

No.  Unless an entity is itself a sanctioned person (as defined in E.O. of September 17, 2021) and listed separately on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), it is not blocked pursuant to E.O. of September 17, 2021.  OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule does not apply to persons blocked solely pursuant to section 2(a)(i)(A) of E.O. of September 17, 2021.

E.O. of September 17, 2021 provides for the imposition of menu-based sanctions on foreign persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to meet certain criteria under the order, including foreign persons determined to be responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that expand or extend the ongoing crisis in northern Ethiopia or obstruct a ceasefire or peace process.  Section 1(a) of E.O. of September 17, 2021 provides the complete list of criteria for designation under the order. 

Section 2(a) of E.O. of September 17, 2021 lists the menu of prohibitions that can be imposed by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, on a foreign person designated under the order. 

The prohibitions that may be selected include, among other things:  (1) blocking sanctions on all property and interests in property of the “sanctioned person” (as defined in E.O. of September 17, 2021), except for any entities owned, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by one or more sanctioned persons (unless the entity is itself a sanctioned person and the blocking sanctions have been selected); (2) a prohibition on any United States person investing in or purchasing significant amounts of equity or debt instruments of the sanctioned person; (3) a prohibition on any United States financial institution making loans or providing credit to the sanctioned person; (4) a prohibition on any transactions in foreign exchange that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and in which the sanctioned person has any interest; and (5) any of the above sanctions on the principal executive officer or officers of the sanctioned person, or on persons performing similar functions and with similar authorities.  Persons blocked pursuant to section 2(a)(i)(A) of E.O. of September 17, 2021 will appear on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), while persons sanctioned pursuant to section 2(a)(i)(B) – (E) of E.O. of September 17, 2021 will appear on to the Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List).

For the purposes of E.O. of September 17, 2021, the term “sanctioned person” means a foreign person (1) that has been determined by Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to meet any of the designation criteria described in section 1 of E.O. of September 17, 2021; and (2) for whom the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has selected one or more of the sanctions set forth in Section 2(a) of E.O. of September 17, 2021 to impose on that foreign person.  Please see Section 7(f) of E.O. of September 17, 2021.

E.O. of September 17, 2021 is designed to impose costs on actors contributing to the conflict in northern Ethiopia while mitigating potential undue harm to the people of Ethiopia, including by exempting the official business of the U.S. government by its employees, grantees, and contractors from the prohibitions under E.O. of September 17, 2021, enabling their continued support of development activity, life-saving humanitarian assistance, and longer-term assistance to address basic needs of at-risk populations.
 

The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019, 22 U.S.C. 9526 note, as amended (PEESA), requires the imposition of sanctions with respect to the provision of vessels engaged in specified activities for the construction of certain Russian energy export pipelines, including the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, the TurkStream pipeline project, or any project that is a successor to either such project.  E.O. of August 20, 2021, issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to further implement those sanctions and directs agencies of the United States government to take all appropriate measures within their authority to ensure the full implementation of those sanctions.

Among other things, E.O. of August 20, 2021 enables Treasury to promulgate regulations and provides for blocking of PEESA-designated persons without the exception relating to the importation of goods in Section 7503(e) of PEESA.  All property and interests in property of persons designated pursuant to E.O. of August 20, 2021 that are or come within the United States or the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.  Additionally, entities owned 50 percent or more, individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. 

The announced import restrictions related to the permanent importation of firearms and ammunition that are the growth, product, or manufacture of the Russian Federation will be implemented by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  OFAC has concurred with the Deputy Secretary of State’s determination pursuant to the CBW Act regarding the imposition of import restrictions, and with ATF’s implementation of the restrictions according to State Department guidance.  

For information about the sanctions announced by the State Department pursuant to the CBW Act on August 20, 2021, please see the relevant State Department press statement and Federal Register Notice.  For additional guidance regarding the import restrictions, please review the related Fact Sheet published by the State Department.

GL 4 authorizes, through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, December 8, 2021, all transactions and activities prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) 14038 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Belaruskali OAO, or any entity in which Belaruskali OAO owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, subject to the terms of the license.  GL 4 does not authorize the entry into new purchase contracts, or the stockpiling of inventory, involving Belaruskali OAO, or any entity in which Belaruskali OAO owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, on or after August 9, 2021 that are not ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions.  After the expiration of GL 4, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions with Belaruskali OAO, or any entity in which Belaruskali OAO owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and must block property or interests in property of such persons that are in, or come within, the United States, or the possession or control of a U.S. person. 

No.  E.O. of August 9, 2021 authorizes the imposition of blocking sanctions on persons operating in certain identified sectors of the Belarus economy, including the defense and related materiel sector, security sector, energy sector, potassium chloride (potash) sector, tobacco products sector, construction sector, transportation sector, or any other sector of the Belarus economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State.  The identification of a sector pursuant to E.O. of August 9, 2021 provides notice that persons operating in the identified sector risk exposure to sanctions; however, the identification of a sector does not automatically block all persons operating in that sector of the Belarus economy.  Only persons designated on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), and entities owned 50 percent or more, individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, by one or more such persons, are subject to blocking sanctions.

E.O. of August 9, 2021 expands the scope of the national emergency pertaining to Belarus declared in E.O. 13405, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Belarus,” to provide additional authorities under which sanctions may be imposed against individuals and entities related to the Belarusian regime’s harmful activities and longstanding abuses aimed at suppressing democracy and the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Belarus.  E.O. of August 9, 2021 also addresses national security threats posed by the Belarusian regime’s illicit and oppressive activities stemming from the August 9, 2020 fraudulent Belarusian presidential election and its aftermath, such as the elimination of political opposition and civil society organizations and the regime’s disruption and endangering of international civil air travel.

As a result of E.O. of August 9, 2021, all property and interests in property of persons designated pursuant to this E.O. that are or come within the United States or the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving such designated persons unless authorized by OFAC or otherwise exempt from regulation.  Additionally, any entities owned 50 percent or more, individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

For purposes of Venezuela GL 40, the term liquefied petroleum gas refers to the definition provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration – a group of hydrocarbon gases, primarily propane, normal butane, and isobutane, derived from crude oil refining or natural gas processing. These gases may be marketed individually or mixed. They can be liquefied through pressurization (without requiring cryogenic refrigeration) for convenience of transportation or storage. The definition excludes ethane and olefins. 

No. Non-U.S. persons would not risk exposure under U.S. sanctions for engaging in activities or facilitating transactions or payments for such activities that would be authorized for U.S. persons pursuant to Venezuela GL 40.

No.  Belarus GL 3 does not authorize the exportation, reexportation, or provision of any goods, technology, or services to the Belarusian KGB 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 Belarusian KGB or requesting certain licenses or authorizations for the importation, distribution, or use of information technology products in Belarus.

Belarus GL 3 authorizes transactions and activities with the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (the Belarusian KGB) 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 Belarus.  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 Belarusian KGB.

The GL was issued to ensure that U.S. persons engaging in certain business activities in Belarus that are not otherwise prohibited are not unduly impacted.  Belarus GL 3 only authorizes certain transactions and activities with the Belarusian KGB acting in its administrative capacity and does not authorize U.S. persons to engage in transactions and activities with the Belarusian KGB except for the limited purposes described above.

No.  The prohibitions of E.O. 13959, as amended, apply only with respect to certain purchases or sales of publicly traded securities of entities listed on the NS-CMIC List.  E.O. 13959, as amended, does not prohibit activity with entities listed on the NS-CMIC List that is unrelated to such securities, such as the purchase or sale of goods or services.  E.O. 13959, as amended, also does not prohibit the purchase or sale of goods or services with respect to subsidiaries of such entities.

Yes.  U.S. market makers, and non-U.S. market makers who employ U.S. persons, are permitted to engage in activities that are necessary to effect divestiture during the during the 365-day periods in which divestment transactions are permitted or that are not otherwise prohibited under E.O. 13959, as amended, including the conversion of American depositary receipts (ADRs) of a CMIC into underlying securities of the CMIC on the foreign exchange where the underlying securities are listed.  See FAQ 865 with respect to the permissibility of market intermediaries and other participants engaging in ancillary or intermediary activities that are necessary to effect divestiture of covered securities.

For purposes of E.O. 13959, as amended, U.S. persons employed by non-U.S. entities are not prohibited from being involved in, or otherwise facilitating, purchases or sales related to a covered security on behalf of their non-U.S. employer, provided that such activity is in the ordinary course of their employment and the underlying purchase or sale would not otherwise violate E.O. 13959, as amended, (e.g., neither the purchase nor sale of the covered security is for the ultimate benefit of a U.S. person; neither the purchase or sale is a willful attempt to evade the prohibitions of E.O. 13959, as amended, etc.).  

U.S. persons are not prohibited from providing investment advisory, investment management, or similar services to a non-U.S. person, including a foreign entity or foreign fund, in connection with the non-U.S. person’s purchase or sale of a covered security, provided that the underlying purchase or sale would not otherwise violate E.O. 13959, as amended.  For example, a U.S. individual acting as the fund manager for a non-U.S. investment fund, or a U.S. entity that is the investment adviser or investment manager for a non-U.S. investment fund, is not prohibited from advising on, authorizing, directing, or approving purchases or sales of covered securities by the non-U.S. investment fund, provided that the underlying purchase or sale would not otherwise violate E.O. 13959, as amended (e.g., neither the purchase nor sale of the covered security is for the ultimate benefit of a U.S. person, the purchase or sale is not a willful attempt to evade the prohibitions of E.O. 13959, as amended, etc.).  See FAQ 901 with respect to the due diligence expectations associated with determining whether a particular purchase or sale is permissible.  

For purposes of assessing whether certain purchases or sales are permissible under E.O. 13959, as amended, U.S. persons — including financial institutions, registered broker-dealers in securities, securities exchanges, and other market intermediaries and participants — may rely upon the information available to them in the ordinary course of business. 

Pursuant to E.O. 13959, as amended, OFAC expects to use its discretion to target, in particular, persons whose operations include or support, or have included or supported, (1) surveillance of persons by Chinese technology companies that occurs outside of the PRC; or (2) the development, marketing, sale, or export of Chinese surveillance technology that is, was, or can be used for surveillance of religious or ethnic minorities or to otherwise facilitate repression or serious human rights abuse.

OFAC has published a list on its website containing the names of entities that are subject to the prohibitions of E.O. 13959, as amended, as the Non-SDN Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies List (the “NS-CMIC List”), along with additional identifying information where possible.  Effective June 3, 2021, the NS-CMIC List replaced and superseded in its entirety the Non-SDN Communist Chinese Military Companies List (NS-CCMC List), which has been deleted from OFAC’s website.  Only entities whose names exactly match the names of the entities on the NS-CMIC List are subject to the prohibitions in E.O. 13959, as amended.  OFAC will refer to entities listed on the NS-CMIC List as “Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies” or “CMICs.”

For any entity listed in the Annex to E.O. 13959, as amended, the prohibitions go into effect beginning at 12:01 a.m. eastern time on August 2, 2021.  For any entity not listed in the Annex to E.O. 13959, as amended, the prohibitions go into effect beginning at 12:01 a.m. eastern time on the date that is 60 days after the date the entity is listed on the NS-CMIC List.

Purchases or sales of publicly traded securities of CMICs listed in or pursuant to E.O. 13959, as amended, made solely to divest, in whole or in part, such securities by a U.S. person are permitted until 12:01 a.m. eastern time on the date that is 365 days after the date the entity is listed in the Annex to E.O. 13959, as amended, or added to the NS-CMIC List.
 

E.O. of June 3, 2021 amends E.O. 13959 by replacing Sections 1 through 5 of E.O. 13959, as amended, and revokes E.O. 13974.  In particular, E.O. of June 3, 2021 amends E.O. 13959 to prohibit the purchase or sale by U.S. persons of any publicly traded securities, or any publicly traded securities that are derivative of such securities or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of any person listed in the Annex to E.O. 13959, as amended by E.O. of June 3, 2021, or of any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, and, as appropriate, the Secretary of Defense:

  • (i) to operate or have operated in the defense and related materiel sector or the surveillance technology sector of the economy of the People’s Republic of China; or
  • (ii) to own or control, or to be owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, a person who operates or has operated in any sector described in clause (i) above, or a person who is listed in the Annex to E.O. 13959, as amended by E.O. of June 3, 2021, or who has otherwise been determined to be subject to the prohibitions in Section 1(a) of E.O. 13959, as amended by E.O. of June 3, 2021.

To implement E.O. of June 3, 2021, OFAC has published a list on its website containing the names of entities identified in or pursuant to E.O. 13959, as amended by E.O. of June 3, 2021, titled the Non-SDN Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies List (the “NS-CMIC List”).  In addition, OFAC is removing and replacing all previously issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to E.O. 13959, as amended.  OFAC will refer to E.O. 13959 as amended by E.O. of June 3, 2021 as “E.O. 13959, as amended.”
 

Consistent with OFAC regulations, persons may seek to be removed from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List or Other OFAC Sanctions Lists.  For information concerning the process for seeking such removal, please refer to OFAC’s Filing a Petition for Removal from an OFAC List webpage, which references the delisting petition procedures set forth at 31 C.F.R. § 501.807.  The procedures set forth at 31 C.F.R. § 501.807 are available to any person seeking to be removed from any OFAC list, regardless of whether that person is a “blocked person” within the meaning of that rule.

Russia-related GL 1A authorizes U.S. persons to engage in certain transactions and activities otherwise prohibited by Executive Order (E.O.) of August 20, 2021, “Blocking Property with Respect to Certain Russian Energy Export Pipelines,” or the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019, 22 U.S.C. 9526 note, as amended (PEESA).  A prior version of Russia-related GL 1A was issued on May 21, 2021 (GL 1).  On August 20, 2021, GL 1 was amended and reissued as Russia-related GL 1A to ensure that the scope of activities authorized with respect to the Federal State Budgetary Institution Marine Rescue Service (MRS) includes E.O. of August 20, 2021.  Russia-related GL 1A replaces and supersedes GL 1 effective August 20, 2021.  Specifically, GL 1A authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions and activities involving MRS, or any entity in which MRS owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, that are not related to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, the TurkStream pipeline project, or any project that is a successor to either such project.  GL 1A does not, however, authorize any transactions or activities with any vessels identified on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) as blocked property of MRS, including vessels identified as blocked property of any entity in which MRS owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest.

OFAC’s Sanctions List Search application has been available to the public since 2011. Over the years the tool’s userbase grew to a point where the original infrastructure and design for the application could not keep up with demand.  In late 2020, OFAC took steps to increase the tool’s efficiency to improve its performance.  

The primary update was the addition of a new algorithm to the tool’s fuzzy logic search functionality.  The upgraded application still utilizes the original Soundex and Jaro-Winkler algorithms in addition to the new algorithm (see this link for more information on the upgrade).  As a result of this update, users may see differences in search results when compared to an earlier version of the tool.  If users had previously tested Sanctions List Search in order to determine how the tool could assist in their due diligence, it is recommended that such testing be repeated on the current version of the tool. OFAC may continue to periodically update and/or make changes to the tool.  While OFAC has no immediate plans to further upgrade the application’s fuzzy logic functionality users should watch OFAC’s website for information about future upgrades. As such, users are to advised that they are using a free service at their own risk, and that best practice dictates each user performs baseline checks to see how updates/changes to the tool may affect search results.

For more information regarding how the tool works and calculates scores, please refer to FAQs 246, 247 and 249.  For more information on who may use the tool, please see FAQ 287.

Persons identified pursuant to E.O. 13662 as subject to Directive 3 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy are not subject to prohibitions under the E.O. of April 15, 2021 unless those persons are also sanctioned pursuant to the E.O. of April 15, 2021.  For more information regarding Directive 3, please review applicable OFAC public guidance, such as FAQ 411.

The E.O. of April 15, 2021 provides for blocking sanctions on persons operating in the technology sector or the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, or any other sectors determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State.  The identification of a sector pursuant to the E.O. of April 15, 2021 provides notice that persons operating in the identified sector are exposed to sanctions risk; however, such identification does not automatically block all persons operating in the sector.  Only persons designated pursuant to the E.O. of April 15, 2021 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian economy (or any other sector identified under the E.O.) are subject to blocking sanctions and will appear on the SDN List.

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.

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.

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.

Consistent with FAQ 865, which clarifies that market intermediaries and other participants may engage in ancillary or intermediary activities that are necessary to effect divestiture during the relevant wind-down periods or that are not otherwise prohibited under E.O. 13959, as amended, transactions and activities by securities exchanges operated by U.S. persons involving the purchase or sale of publicly traded securities (or any publicly traded securities that are derivative of such securities or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities) of any entity listed on the Non-SDN Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies List (the “NS-CMIC List”) are not prohibited. 

With respect to a person on the NS-MBS List subject to section 235(a)(3) of CAATSA, as implemented by section 1(a)(i) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13849, U.S. financial institutions are prohibited from making loans or providing credits to the identified person totaling more than $10,000,000 in any 12-month period, unless the person is engaged in activities to relieve human suffering and the loans or credits are provided for such activities.  This is not a blocking sanction, but rather a limit on the total amount of loans or credits that can be provided to the identified person within the specified time period by a U.S. financial institution, excluding loans or credit provided to such identified person for activities to relieve human suffering.  

Each U.S. financial institution must limit its provision of loans or credits to the identified person to $10,000,000 in any 12-month period, regardless of whether part or all the loans or credits in question has been repaid during the period.  This sanction is not a limit on the total loans or credits from all United States financial institutions collectively in the specific time period, but rather an institution-by-institution limit.

No.  If a person is listed on OFAC’s Non-SDN Menu-Based Sanctions List (NS-MBS List) as subject to only a combination of the sanctions described in section 235(a)(1-8) and (10-11) of CAATSA, as implemented by Executive Order (E.O.) 13849, these non-blocking sanctions do not apply to an entity owned 50 percent or more, individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, by such sanctioned person or persons, unless OFAC separately lists the owned entity on the NS-MBS List as subject to the same sanctions.  

However, section 235(a)(9) of CAATSA, as implemented by section 1(a)(iv) of E.O. 13849, blocks the property and interests in property of the sanctioned person, and a person subject to that sanction will be added to OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List).  The property and interests in property of persons on the SDN List are blocked, and any entity owned 50 percent or more, individually or in the aggregate, directly or indirectly, by blocked persons is itself blocked, as described in OFAC’s 50 Percent Rule.  

Individuals sanctioned under section 235(a)(12) of CAATSA (Sanctions on Principal Executive Officers), as implemented by section 1(a)(vi) of E.O. 13849, may be subject to any of the sanctions described in section 235(a).  To the extent that the sanctions selected are solely non-blocking sanctions, such person will be listed on the NS-MBS List.  Conversely, if the sanctioned individual is subject to the sanction described in section 235(a)(9), the individual is blocked and placed on the SDN List, and the 50 Percent Rule applies.

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. 

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. 

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.  Market intermediaries, including market makers, and other participants may engage in ancillary or intermediary activities that are necessary to effect divestiture during the relevant wind-down periods or that are not otherwise prohibited under E.O. 13959, as amended.  Purchases or sales by U.S. persons (including investors and intermediaries) involving investment funds that are seeking to divest during the relevant wind-down periods are permitted.  See FAQ 901 with respect to the due diligence expectations associated with determining whether a particular purchase or sale is permissible. 

 

For purposes of E.O. 13959, as amended, activity by U.S. persons related to the following services are considered permissible, to the extent that such support services are not provided to U.S. persons in connection with prohibited purchases or sales: clearing, execution, settlement, custody, transfer agency, back-end services, as well as other such support services. 

Yes.  Under E.O. 13959, as amended, any purchase or sale of publicly traded securities, or any publicly traded securities that are derivative of such securities or are designed to provide investment exposure to such securities, of any CMIC listed on the NS-CMIC List is prohibited, regardless of such securities' share of the underlying index fund, ETF, or derivative thereof.

Examples of financial instruments covered by this provision include, but are not limited to, derivatives (e.g., futures, options, swaps), warrants, American depositary receipts (ADRs), global depositary receipts (GDRs), exchange-traded funds (ETFs), index funds, and mutual funds, to the extent such instruments also meet the definition of "publicly traded security" as defined in section 3(c) of E.O. 13959, as amended.

For purposes of E.O. 13959, as amended, the term “publicly traded securities” includes any “security,” as defined in section 3(a)(10) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Public Law 73–291 (as codified as amended at 15 U.S.C. 78c(a)(10)), denominated in any currency that trades on a securities exchange or through the method of trading that is commonly referred to as “over-the-counter,” in any jurisdiction.

The prohibitions in E.O. 13959, as amended, apply to a subsidiary of a Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Company (CMIC) listed on the NS-CMIC List only if such subsidiary itself is publicly listed on the NS-CMIC List by Treasury pursuant to E.O. 13959, as amended, or identified in the Annex of E.O. 13959, as amended.  OFAC’s 50 percent rule does not apply to entities listed solely pursuant to E.O. 13959, as amended.  Accordingly, the prohibitions on any subsidiaries listed on the NS-CMIC List would go into effect beginning 12:01 a.m. eastern time on the date that is 60 days after such subsidiary is added to the NS-CMIC List.  

 

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. 

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. 

On November 30, 2020, OFAC designated CEIEC pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13692 for its role in undermining democracy in Venezuela.  Concurrent with this action, OFAC issued Venezuela General License (GL) 38 (“Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving CEIEC”).  GL 38 authorizes U.S. persons to engage in all transactions and activities prohibited by E.O. 13692 that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions and activities involving CEIEC, or any entity in which CEIEC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest (collectively, Blocked CEIEC Entities), through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, January 14 , 2021.

After the expiration of this authorization, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions with the Blocked CEIEC Entities, and must block property or interests in property of such entities that are in, or come within, the United States, or the possession or control of a U.S. person.

Non-U.S. persons may wind down transactions and activities with the Blocked CEIEC Entities without exposure to sanctions under E.O. 13692, provided that such wind-down activity is: (i) consistent with GL 38; and (ii) completed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, January 14, 2021.  Entering into new business involving the Blocked CEIEC Entities will not be considered wind-down activity.  Non-U.S. persons unable to wind down activities with the Blocked CEIEC Entities before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, January 14, 2021, may seek guidance from OFAC.

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. 

Section 2 of HKAA defines these terms as follows, which OFAC intends to incorporate into relevant regulations:

“financial institution” – the term “financial institution” is defined to have the same meaning as a financial institution specified in section 5312(a)(2) of title 31, United States Code.  

“knowingly” – the term “knowingly”, with respect to conduct, a circumstance, or a result, means that a person has actual knowledge of the conduct, the circumstance, or the result.
 

For purposes of implementing section 5(b) of the HKAA, the Secretary of the Treasury may consider the totality of the facts and circumstances when determining whether transactions are “significant.”  As a general matter, the Treasury Department may consider some or all of the following factors in determining whether a transaction is “significant”:  (1) the size, number, and frequency of the transaction(s); (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 foreign person identified in a report submitted by the Secretary of State under section 5(a) of the HKAA or in updates to that report; (5) the impact of the transaction(s) on statutory objectives, including whether the transaction(s) (A) have a significant and lasting negative effect that contravenes the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, (B) are likely to be repeated in the future, and (C) have been reversed or otherwise mitigated through positive countermeasures taken by that FFI; (6) whether the transaction(s) involve deceptive practices; and (7) such other factors that the Secretary of the Treasury deems relevant on a case-by-case basis.  For purposes of section 5(b) of HKAA, a transaction will not be considered significant if a U.S. person would not require a specific license from OFAC to conduct or participate in the transaction.

Pursuant to section 5(d)(2) of the HKAA, an FFI may be excluded from the Section 5(b) Report or an update to that report under section 5(e) of the HKAA, or may be removed from the Section 5(b) Report or an update to that report prior to the imposition of sanctions under section 7(a), if the significant transaction or transactions of the FFI that merited inclusion in that report:  (A) does not have a significant and lasting negative effect that contravenes the obligations of China under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law; (B) is not likely to be repeated in the future; and (C) has been reversed or otherwise mitigated through positive countermeasures taken by that FFI.

Pursuant to section 5(a) of the HKAA, the Secretary of State submitted a report (“Section 5(a) Report”) on October 14, 2020 to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership identifying foreign persons that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, determined are materially contributing to, have materially contributed to, or attempt to materially contribute to the failure of the Government of China to meet its obligations under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law.  

Section 6 of the HKAA requires blocking sanctions to be imposed on each foreign person identified in the Section 5(a) Report, or in an update to that report under section 5(e) of the HKAA.  The individuals identified in the October 14, 2020 Section 5(a) Report were designated by OFAC on August 7, 2020 pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13936, and the property and interests in property of those individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked.

Further, section 5(b) of the HKAA requires the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to submit a report to Congress 30–60 days after the Section 5(a) Report is submitted, identifying any foreign financial institution (FFI) that knowingly conducts a significant transaction with a foreign person identified in the Section 5(a) Report.  For the purposes of the report under section 5(b) (“Section 5(b) Report”), the Treasury Department will only identify FFIs that knowingly conduct a significant transaction with a foreign person identified in the Section 5(a) Report or any update to that report following the person’s listing in the Section 5(a) Report.  As a general matter, transactions with persons identified in the Section 5(a) Report that constitute a good-faith wind down within 30 days of a person’s identification on such report will not be considered “significant” for purposes of the Section 5(b) Report.  In addition, the Treasury Department will reach out to an FFI to inquire about its conduct before identifying it in a Section 5(b) Report.

Pursuant to section 7(a) of the HKAA, within one year of an FFI’s inclusion in the Section 5(b) Report, five out of 10 of the sanctions set out in section 7(b) of the HKAA must be imposed on that FFI.  Not later than two years after an FFI has been included in the Section 5(b) Report, all 10 sanctions set out in section 7(b) must be imposed on that FFI.  

Any FFI that knowingly conducts a significant transaction with a foreign person named in the Section 5(a) Report or an update to that report is potentially subject to mandatory secondary sanctions under the HKAA.  Accordingly, with respect to foreign persons in the Section 5(a) Report that also appear on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List), OFAC has updated the SDN List to include the language, “Secondary sanctions risk: pursuant to the Hong Kong Autonomy Act of 2020 – Public Law 116–149.”
 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
 

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 designation of an official of the Government of the HKSAR does not itself block the HKSAR government or any government agency where the SDN is an official or otherwise exercises control.  Accordingly, engaging in a routine interaction with an agency in which an SDN is an official, but which does not involve the SDN directly or indirectly, is not prohibited. 

U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with, and dealing in the property or interests in property of, designated HKSAR government officials, including any entities that are directly or indirectly owned 50 percent or more in the aggregate by one or more blocked persons.  U.S. persons should be cautious in dealings with HKSAR government agencies in which an SDN is an official to ensure that they are not engaged in transactions or dealings, directly or indirectly, with an SDN (e.g., by entering into contracts that are signed by an SDN, entering into negotiations with an SDN, or processing transactions, directly or indirectly, on behalf of the SDN), absent authorization from OFAC or an applicable exemption.  However, U.S. persons may, for example, enter into HKSAR government contracts signed by a non-SDN official of the HKSAR to whom the HKSAR government has delegated the authority to enter such contracts.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

On July 31, 2020, OFAC designated, pursuant to E.O. 13818, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) for its connection to serious human rights abuse in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).  Concurrent with this action, OFAC issued Global Magnitsky General License (GL) 2.  GL 2 was replaced and superseded by Global Magnitksy General License 2A on September 25, 2020.  GL 2A does not authorize any transactions involving the XPCC itself; however, GL 2A does authorize, subject to certain conditions, U.S. persons to engage in transactions and activities prohibited by the Global Magnitsky Sanctions Regulations (GSMR) that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving any entity in which the XPCC owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest (Blocked XPCC Subsidiary), through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, November 30, 2020.

GL 2A also authorizes, subject to certain conditions, transactions and activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to (1) divest or transfer debt, equity, or other holdings of any Blocked XPCC Subsidiary to a non-U.S. person, or (2) facilitate the transfer of debt, equity, or other holdings in any Blocked XPCC Subsidiary by a non-U.S. person to another non-U.S. person, through 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, November 30, 2020.  GL 2 does not authorize divestment activities involving the XPCC itself, nor does it authorize U.S. persons to sell to, purchase or invest in, or facilitate such transactions with any blocked person — including Blocked XPCC Subsidiaries, except for such purchases of or investments in Blocked XPCC Subsidiaries that are ordinarily incident and necessary to effectuate authorized divestment transactions.  Further, GL 2A does not authorize any debit to the account of any Blocked XPCC Subsidiary on the books of a U.S. financial institution.

After the expiration of this general authorization, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in or facilitating transactions with Blocked XPCC Subsidiaries unless exempt or authorized by OFAC.  U.S. persons unable to wind down transactions with, or divest from, any Blocked XPCC Subsidiary before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, November 30, 2020, are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC.

Non-U.S. persons may wind down transactions with, or divest from, a Blocked XPCC Subsidiary without exposure to sanctions under E.O. 13818, provided that such wind-down activity is consistent with GL 2A.  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 2A.  Non-U.S. persons unable to wind down transactions with, or divest from, a Blocked XPCC Subsidiary before 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time, November 30, 2020, are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC.

The unblocking of any property blocked pursuant to any other part of 31 C.F.R. chapter V is not authorized under GL 2A. 

On June 18, 2020, OFAC designated pursuant to E.O. 13850, among other entities and individuals, two entities for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy and identified two vessels owned by these entities as blocked property. Concurrent with this action, OFAC issued General License (GL) 37​, which authorizes U.S. persons to engage in transactions and activities prohibited by E.O. 13850, as amended by E.O. 13857​ and incorporated into the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations, that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of transactions involving the blocked persons or vessels listed in paragraph (b) of GL 37 through 12:01 am eastern daylight time, July 21, 2020.

The wind-down authorization in GL 37 includes, for example, completion of ongoing voyages, including discharge of cargo aboard such vessels as of June 18, 2020; docking or anchoring of the vessels at third-country, non-sanctioned ports; transactions related to the safety and maintenance of the vessels, such as entering into contracts and paying for insurance coverage, flagging, and safety and compliance inspections; and transactions related to the health and safety of any crew, including the provision and processing of wages or other employee benefits, or other provision of crewing services.

After the expiration of this authorization U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in all transactions with the persons or vessels listed in paragraph (b) of GL 37 that are not exempt or authorized by OFAC. U.S. persons unable to wind down transactions with the persons or vessels listed in paragraph (b) of GL 37 before 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, July 21, 2020, are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC.

Non-U.S. persons may wind down transactions with the persons or vessels listed in paragraph (b) of GL 37 without exposure to sanctions under E.O. 13850, provided that such wind-down activity is consistent with GL 37. Entering into new contracts involving the persons or vessels listed in paragraph (b) of GL 37 is not authorized under GL 37, unless such contracts are for wind-down activity authorized in paragraph (a). Non-U.S. persons unable to wind down transactions with the persons or vessels listed in paragraph (b) of GL 37 before 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, July 21, 2020, are encouraged to seek guidance from OFAC.
 

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.

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.

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. 

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
 

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]   

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.

GL 2 authorizes the wind down of transactions involving the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP), including the processing of salary payments from the NNP to its employees, so long as no other blocked persons are involved in the transaction, through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 6, 2020. This authorization also covers wind down transactions involving any entity in which NNP owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest. 

OFAC’s designation of the NNP is directed at the NNP as an institution for the violent abuses carried out against the people of Nicaragua. The blocking sanctions apply to the NNP, as well as to the three named NNP commissioners who were designated on the same day, and not to individual, non-designated NNP police officers
 

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

OFAC expects U.S. persons and persons otherwise subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide all information required by Section 501.604(b) of the RPPR​ that is in the filer’s possession in a rejected transaction report, and generally does not expect reporters to seek further information from their counterparty solely to obtain additional information required to be reported under Section 501.604(b). However, OFAC would expect at a minimum that all rejected transaction reports include required information that is applicable in all reject scenarios (e.g., information regarding the submitter of the report, the date the transaction was rejected, the legal authority or authorities under which the transaction was rejected, and any relevant documentation received in connection with the transaction).

Yes, effective June 21, 2019, OFAC amended the Reporting, Procedures and Penalties Regulations, 31 CFR part 501 (RPPR), to provide updated instructions and incorporate new requirements for parties filing reports on blocked property, unblocked property, or rejected transactions. In addition, this rule includes information regarding OFAC’s electronic license application procedures and provides additional instructions regarding applications for the release of blocked funds.

OFAC expects all U.S. persons and persons otherwise subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including parties that are not U.S. financial institutions, to comply fully with all requirements of this rule, including the expanded requirement in Section 501.604 of the RPPR to provide reports to OFAC regarding rejected transactions within 10 business days of the rejected transaction. (Previously, only U.S. financial institutions were required to submit reports to OFAC for rejected funds transfers.) Reports on rejected transactions are to be submitted to OFAC, preferably electronically, as specified by OFAC’s Reporting and License Application Forms webpage.​

OFAC accepted comments from the public on this rule, which it continues to review. In addition, OFAC welcomes further feedback as we assess whether any clarification or modification to the rule is appropriate, including: additional information regarding the business impact of this rule; examples of rejected transactions that are proving challenging to report; the quantity of rejected transactions; and the types of information in the filer’s possession for a rejected transaction report. Feedback and questions regarding the rule should be submitted to OFAC’s Compliance Division by email at: OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov

OFAC issued General License(GL) 36A, which authorizes U.S. persons to engage in certain activities prohibited by E.O. 13850​ necessary for the wind down of transactions involving Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A., or any entity in which Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A., owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 20, 2020 (a prior version of this GL, GL 36, was issued concurrently with the designation of Rosneft Trading S.A. and authorized certain wind-down activities as well). After the expiration of this authorization, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions with Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A., or any entity in which Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A. owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and must block property or interests in property of Rosneft Trading S.A. and TNK Trading International S.A. that are in, or come within, the United States, or the possession or control of a U.S. person.

Non-U.S. persons may wind down transactions with Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A. without exposure to sanctions under E.O. 13850, provided that such wind-down activity is: (i) consistent with General License 36A; and (ii) completed prior to 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 20, 2020. Entering into new business involving Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A. will not be considered wind-down activity. Non-U.S. persons unable to wind down activities with Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A. before 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 20, 2020, may seek guidance from OFAC.

On February 18, 2020, OFAC designated Rosneft Trading S.A. pursuant to E.O. 13850 for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. Likewise, on March 12, 2020, OFAC designated TNK Trading International S.A. pursuant to E.O. 13850 for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy.

General License 36Aauthorizes U.S. persons to engage in certain activities prohibited by E.O. 13850 necessary for the wind down of transactions involving Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A., or any entity in which Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A. owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time, May 20, 2020. After the expiration of this authorization, unless exempt or authorized by OFAC, U.S. persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions with Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A., or any entity in which Rosneft Trading, S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A. owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and must block property or interests in property of Rosneft Trading S.A. and TNK Trading International S.A. that are in, or come within, the United States, or the possession or control of a U.S. person. As Rosneft Trading S.A. and TNK Trading International S.A. are also identified on the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List (SSI List) pursuant to Directives 2 and 4 to E.O. 13662 under the Ukraine-/Russia-related sanctions program, those winding down transactions with Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A. should ensure that all activities comply with any applicable Directive 2 and 4 prohibitions, because General License 36A only authorizes certain activities necessary to the wind down of transactions prohibited by E.O. 13850.

The E.O. 13850 blocking sanctions apply only to Rosneft Trading S.A. and TNK Trading International S.A., or any entity in which Rosneft Trading S.A. or TNK Trading International S.A. owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest. Blocking sanctions do not apply to these entities’ ultimate parent, Rosneft Oil Company. Similarly, blocking sanctions do not apply to Rosneft Oil Company or other subsidiaries or affiliates, provided that such entities are not owned 50 percent or more in the aggregate by one or more blocked persons or otherwise explicitly designated or identified by OFAC.

U.S. persons, therefore, are not prohibited under E.O. 13850 from dealing with Rosneft Oil Company, its non-blocked subsidiaries, or non-blocked affiliates to the extent the proposed dealings do not involve any blocked persons or any other activities prohibited pursuant to any OFAC sanctions authorities. As Rosneft Oil Company, Rosneft Trading S.A., and TNK Trading International S.A. have been listed on the SSI List since July 2014, July 2015, and March 2020 respectively, they are subject to Ukraine-/Russia-related Directives 2 and 4. U.S. persons should be mindful of the relevant Ukraine-/Russia-related prohibitions that would be applicable as a result of dealings with both Rosneft Oil Company, Rosneft Trading S.A., and TNK Trading International S.A. See, generally,FAQs 370-373, 391-396, 405-410, 412-421, and 536-538 for prohibitions on U.S. persons dealing with entities listed on the SSI List. See alsoFAQs 398 and 400 for information regarding dealings with blocked persons representing non-blocked entities.

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.

Once it has been determined that you or your institution is holding or is in possession of artwork that is the property of an SDGT or a person otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, or in which such a person has an interest, you or your institution must ensure that access to that artwork is denied to the SDGT or blocked person and that your institution complies with OFAC regulations related to blocked assets, including restrictions on the sale or transfer of the artwork to third parties. Pursuant to 31 CFR section 501.603, blocked property, physical or financial, must be reported to OFAC within 10 business days; U.S. persons must also comply with all other applicable reporting obligations. See FAQs 49 and 50. Questions about whether a transaction should be blocked should be directed to OFAC at 202-622-2490 or ofac_feedback@treasury.gov.

U.S. persons (including galleries, museums, private art collectors, auction companies, and others that conduct or facilitate transactions involving artwork) must ensure that they do not engage in transactions with persons listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) on OFAC’s SDN List or with persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224, unless authorized by OFAC. U.S. persons 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. For purposes of these requirements, U.S. persons include all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, and all U.S.-incorporated entities and their foreign branches. U.S. persons who engage in prohibited transactions may be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Non-U.S. persons who engage in prohibited transactions subject to U.S. jurisdiction with SDGTs or persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224 may be subject to civil or criminal penalties, and also risk being sanctioned by OFAC. Foreign financial institutions may be subject to correspondent and payable through account sanctions if they knowingly facilitate significant transactions for or on behalf of a SDGT. 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.

Yes. In general, any transaction or dealing by a U.S. person in any property or interests in property of persons designated as SDGTs under or otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224 is prohibited. Such property includes artwork and other information and information materials. 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 SDGTs or persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224.

For purposes of these prohibitions, U.S. persons include all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, and all U.S.-incorporated entities and their foreign branches. U.S. persons who engage in prohibited transactions with SDGTs or with persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224 may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.

Non-U.S. persons who engage in prohibited transactions or dealings subject to U.S. jurisdiction with SDGTs or with persons otherwise blocked pursuant to E.O. 13224 may be subject to civil or criminal penalties, and may also risk being sanctioned by OFAC. Foreign financial institutions may also be subject to correspondent and payable through account sanctions if they knowingly facilitate significant transactions for or on behalf of an SDGT.

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.

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.

No. Parties who have attached shares of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 591) must obtain a specific license from OFAC prior to conducting an auction or other sale, including a contingent auction or other sale, or taking other concrete steps in furtherance of an auction or sale. More generally, OFAC urges caution in proceeding with any step in furtherance of measures which might alter or affect blocked property or interests in blocked property. OFAC would consider license applications seeking to authorize such activities on a case-by-case basis. For additional information, see 31 C.F.R. §§ 591.309, 591.310, 591.407 and 591.506.

No. A specific license from OFAC is not ordinarily required to initiate or continue U.S. legal proceedings against a person designated or blocked pursuant to OFAC’s Venezuela sanctions program, or for a U.S. court, or its personnel, to hear such a case. However, a specific license from OFAC is required for the entry into a settlement agreement or the enforcement of any lien, judgment, or other order through execution, garnishment, or other judicial process purporting to transfer or otherwise alter or affect property or interests in property blocked pursuant to the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 591). This includes the purported creation or perfection of any legal or equitable interests (including contingent or inchoate interests) in blocked property. While terminology may vary in different jurisdictions and proceedings, a specific license from OFAC would be required for measures such as:

Taking Possession (Actual or Constructive)

• Seizing

• Levying Upon

• Attaching

• Encumbering

• Pledging

• Conveying

• Selling (Final or Contingent)

• Freezing

• Assuming or Maintaining Custody

• Sequestering

For additional information, see 31 C.F.R. §§ 591.309, 591.310, 591.407 and 591.506.

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.

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.

U.S. persons are authorized to engage in certain administrative transactions with the Government of Venezuela that are prohibited by E.O. 13884 of August 5, 2019, where such transactions are necessary and ordinarily incident to such persons’ day-to-day operations. General License 35 authorizes U.S. persons to pay taxes, fees, and import duties to the Government of Venezuela, and to purchase or receive permits, licenses, registrations, certifications, and public utility services from the Government of Venezuela, so long as these transactions are necessary and ordinarily incident to such persons’ day-to-day operations.

U.S. persons should remain cautious when engaging in authorized activity with blocked persons to ensure all criteria for use of the general license are met. The illegitimate former Maduro regime has a long history of corruption, and we encourage U.S. persons who rely on the authorization in General License 35 to exercise appropriate due diligence to ensure compliance with the terms of the authorization. The U.S. government will continue to target corruption by the illegitimate former Maduro regime. As with any general or specific license, OFAC is prepared to revoke this authorization if appropriate to support U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

 

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 515.590 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

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.

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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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. 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. 

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. 

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.

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. 
 

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.

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.

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. 
 

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. 

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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