OFAC License

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury oversees and enforces economic and trade sanctions imposed on targeted foreign countries.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury oversees and enforces economic and trade sanctions imposed on targeted foreign countries.
Sanctions against certain jurisdictions, like Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Crimea region are comprehensive which means almost all sorts of activities are prohibited when it is related to one of these jurisdictions. U.S. government also has some non-comprehensive sanctions programs.
Individuals or businesses who are planning on engaging in transactions involving sanctioned foreign countries such as Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria could apply for permission (seeking licenses) from OFAC to engage in otherwise prohibited transactions.

Whether you are coming from a country which is subject to US sanctions or you want to engage in a business or money transaction with an individual or entity from one of the sanctioned countries, you need to pay close attention to OFAC regulations, particularly if you have immigration status in the US. There are serious consequences for violations of OFAC rules and sanctions-related laws. Some of these consequences include hefty fines, freezing of assets, or even imprisonment if criminal conduct is alleged.

Regulations related to sanctions are vague, fast-changing, and complicated. We are ready to provide you with our candid advice on OFAC related matters.

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Who Must Comply with OFAC?

All U.S. persons must comply with OFAC regulations, including all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located; all persons and entities within the United States; and all U.S. incorporated entities and their foreign branches.

OFAC Country And List-based Sanctions

OFAC Country Sanctions and List-Based Sanctions, including general licenses for exceptions, related documents, and laws, rules, and regulations authorizing the sanctions are available on the OFAC Sanctions webpage.

Included in the Country Sanctions List Are:

  • The Balkans
  • Belarus
  • Burma
  • Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  • Cuba
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Liberia
  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Zimbabwe

List-Based Sanctions Programs Include:

  • Anti-Terrorism
  • Counter Narcotics Trafficking
  • Non-proliferation
  • Diamond Trading

What is an OFAC license?

  • A license is an authorization from OFAC to engage in a transaction that otherwise would be prohibited. There are two types of licenses: general licenses and specific licenses.
  • A general license authorizes a particular type of transaction for a class of persons without the need to apply for a license.
  • A specific license is a written document issued by OFAC to a particular person or entity, authorizing a particular transaction in response to a written license application.
  • Persons engaging in transactions pursuant to general or specific licenses must make sure that all conditions of the licenses are strictly observed.
  • OFAC’s regulations may contain statements of OFAC’s specific licensing policy with respect to particular types of transactions.

We Can Help You

At Sethi & Mazaheri, we have the expertise to represent you in a variety of legal matters related to sanctions compliance. We represent individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations with OFAC license applications, representation in OFAC related violations, and representation to unblock assets frozen by OFAC. We also represent clients in the following matters:

  • Transfer of funds;
  • Dealing with the banks’ requests for information;
  • Responding to government agencies;
  • Receiving an inheritance from a sanctioned country;
  • Receiving notice of account closure from your bank are common issues our clients are facing as a result of sanction regulations.

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