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.