<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=5835994&amp;fmt=gif">
Skip to content

Are you based in Latin America and interested in applying for a Specific License with OFAC?

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) specific licenses are authorizations issued by OFAC that allow individuals or entities to engage in activities that would otherwise be prohibited under U.S. sanctions regulations. Unlike general licenses, which provide automatic authorization for certain categories of transactions, specific licenses are tailored to individual requests. Each application for a specific license is reviewed by OFAC based on its merits and compliance with U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives. To learn about OFAC’s general licenses, you can read Brown Rudnick’s article on that topic by clicking here.

Specific licenses are typically required when there is an interest in engaging in activities or transactions with sanctioned entities, individuals listed on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, or in sanctioned countries, that are not covered by general licenses, in areas such as:

  • Business transactions, such as importing or exporting goods, providing services, or entering into various contracts. 
  • Financial transactions, such as transferring funds or engaging in investment activities, that involve sanctioned entities or countries.
  • Humanitarian initiatives.
  • Travel and educational exchanges.
  • Rendering legal services.

Some key features of OFAC specific licenses include:

  1. Authorization: Specific licenses are issued on a case-by-case basis in response to individual applications. They authorize concrete transactions or activities that are not covered by general licenses.
  2. Application: Applicants must submit a detailed application to OFAC, providing comprehensive information about the proposed transaction or activity, including the parties involved, the nature and purpose of the transaction, and any relevant documentation.
  3. Conditions: Each license is tailored to the particular circumstances of the application and typically includes specific conditions.
  4. Compliance: Entities and individuals using a specific license must ensure compliance with the terms of the license and the relevant sanctions regulations. 

The application process for specific licenses typically includes:

  1. Application: Applicants must submit a detailed application to OFAC including detailed information about the parties involved, the nature of the transaction, the amount of funds or value of goods involved, and any relevant contracts or agreements.
  2. Review: OFAC reviews the application to ensure that the proposed transaction is consistent with U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives. This review process may involve consultations with other U.S. government agencies.
  3. Decision: OFAC may approve or deny the application. If approved, OFAC issues a specific license that outlines the authorized activities and any conditions or limitations that apply. If the application is denied, OFAC typically informs the applicant the reasons for the denial. OFAC does not generally make specific licenses publicly available. The details of individual licenses, including the identities of the applicants and the specific permissions granted, are typically kept confidential.
  4. Compliance and reporting: Licensees are required to adhere to the terms and conditions of the specific license and to keep detailed records of activities they conduct pursuant to the specific license. 

Some examples of specific licenses that are relevant in Latin America include: 

  1. Cuba:

   - Travel involving educational activities, religious missions, or humanitarian projects.

   - Exporting agricultural products, medication, or medical devices to Cuba.

   - Facilitating certain types of remittances or financial transactions involving Cuban nationals.

  1. Nicaragua:

   - Engaging in transactions with Nicaraguan government officials or entities/individuals subject to U.S. sanctions.

   - Providing support for humanitarian projects in Nicaragua.

  1. Venezuela:

   - U.S. entities seeking to engage in transactions related to the Venezuelan oil and gas sector, including purchasing and selling oil or oil-related products.

   - Transactions involving the Venezuelan government or entities controlled by it, as well as those listed on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

   - Organizations giving humanitarian assistance to Venezuelan citizens, such as food, medicine, and medical supplies.

To learn about how OFAC sanctions apply in the region, you can read Brown Rudnick’s article on that topic by clicking here.

OFAC specific licenses provide flexibility within the U.S. sanctions framework, allowing for activities not broadly authorized by general licenses. If you are interested in applying for a specific license from OFAC, please let us know. Our team of international lawyers can help create a tailor-made strategy to ensure compliance with OFAC regulations.