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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

OFAC issues Covid-19 related general license and FAQs

Financial Crimes OFAC Sanctions Of Interest to Non-US Persons Department of Treasury Covid-19 Iran Syria Venezuela

Financial Crimes

On June 17, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued three general licenses, Iran GL N, Syria GL 21, and Venezuela GL 39, (referred to as the “COVID-19-related GLs”) to expand upon Treasury’s existing authorizations for Covid-19-related transactions and activities. As previously covered by InfoBytes, OFAC published a Fact Sheet providing guidance to ensure humanitarian-related trade and assistance reaches at-risk populations through legitimate and transparent channels during the global Covid-19 pandemic. The recently released COVID-19-related GLs build on longstanding humanitarian exemptions, exceptions, and authorizations to cover Covid-19-related transactions and activities, which include, among others, “transactions and activities involving the delivery of face masks, ventilators and oxygen tanks, vaccines and the production of vaccines, COVID-19 tests, air filtration systems, and COVID-19-related field hospitals.” These GLs are also part of the Biden Administration’s efforts designated in National Security Memorandum – 1, which directs certain government agencies to review existing U.S. and “multilateral financial and economic sanctions to evaluate whether they are unduly hindering responses to the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.” According to OFAC, these new authorizations will continue to support the effort by governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and private sector actors in providing Covid-19-related assistance to people in certain sanctioned jurisdictions. OFAC also published six FAQs related to the COVID-19-related GLs (see 906, 907, 908, 909, 910, and 911).

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