Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

Economic Sanctions Regulations

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted countries for particular foreign policy and national security reasons.  The scope of the sanctions applicable to these countries varies significantly, but may include restrictions on imports, exports, investment, facilitation of foreign transactions and travel.

OFAC currently administers sanctions against the following countries: Balkans, Belarus, Burma, Cote d’Ivorie, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.  (Sanctions against Iraq and Libya recently have been lifted.)  The list is subject to change at any time.  A current list of OFAC sanctions programs and additional guidance regarding prohibited transactions is available at

In addition, OFAC administers sanctions against designated entities and individuals found by the U.S. government to be agents of the sanctioned countries, terrorism sponsoring organizations, international narcotics traffickers, weapons proliferators or otherwise engaged in activities that threaten the security of the United States.  These entities and individuals generally are identified on the List of Specially Designated Nationals (the “SDN List”).  Virtually all transactions with these entities and individuals are prohibited.  You can search the SDN List at

In some circumstances, transactions involving “information” or “informational materials” may be exempt from the OFAC sanctions.  For example, the economic sanctions regulations generally authorize U.S. persons to collaborate with academic and research institutions in the sanctioned countries in the creation, enhancement and marketing of written publications.  However, this type of travel is closely regulated and subject to several restrictions.

Please contact the USC Office of Ethics and Compliance before traveling to or engaging in any activity involving the sanctioned countries, entities or individuals referenced above.