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205. I want to support non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that help the Syrian people.  How can I do this while staying in compliance with sanctions?  


U.S. persons may donate funds to and raise funds on behalf of U.S. and third-country NGOs that engage in authorized activities in Syria (please see § 542.516 of the Syrian Sanctions Regulations for the full list of authorized activities).  U.S. persons can also donate humanitarian goods like food and medicine to the Syrian people.  

Please note that the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has jurisdiction over the export or reexport to Syria of items (commodities, software, and technology) subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), 15 CFR parts 730-774, including items that are located in the United States and certain foreign-origin items located abroad that contain a certain de minimis level of U.S.-origin content that require a license for export to Syria.  BIS maintains comprehensive restrictions on the export or reexport to Syria of items subject to the EAR. These restrictions apply to all items subject to the EAR apart from food and medicine that are designated as “EAR99.”  These EAR restrictions apply to both U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons. As a general matter, we recommend that both U.S. and non-U.S. persons contact BIS directly with any questions relating to Syria restrictions under the EAR.  

U.S. person individuals are not authorized to transfer funds directly to Syria for the purpose of charitable donations, absent a specific license from OFAC. 

U.S. financial institutions, as defined in 31 CFR 542.321, are authorized to process transfers of funds to or from Syria on behalf of U.S. and third-country nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), in support of the authorized activities described in the NGO General License (GL) at § 542.516 of the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR).  

The SySR NGO GL does not authorize funds transfers with knowledge or reason to know the intended beneficiary is a blocked person other than the Government of Syria as defined in § 542.308(a), except for limited transactions ordinarily incident and necessary to the authorized activities described in § 542.516

If you have specific questions about donating funds to Syria, please contact OFAC

Updated: June 05, 2024

Date Released
June 22, 2012