The Gates Have Opened For Iranian Funds!

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has once again revised its regulations and issued an amended General License on Monday, October 22, 2012.   It can be found here. In addition to changing the name of the Iranian Transaction Regulations to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations OFAC did the following to ease the transfer of funds (hold your hat on – you aren’t going to believe all of this).

  • EB5 and E2 Funds: According to the amended General License, any pending E-2 or EB-5 applications are now considered approved under the General License and the pending applications will be administratively closed out with a Return Without Action letter referencing the amended General License.  In other words,  specific licenses are no longer required to facilitate the transfer of funds for E-2 or EB-5 investment projects, unless the activities are outside the scope of the amended General License.  Any specific requests for a “No License Required” Letter for USCIS purposes or for documentation purposes will receive a Return without Action letter stating no specific license is required and will be deferred to the amended General License.

CAVEAT REMAINS:  Although this is great news, U.S. persons receiving funds from Iran in relation to an E-2 or EB-5 investment project, must be certain they are not accepting funds from sanctioned Iranian financial institutions (or more informally known as “bad banks”) or individuals on the Specifically Designated Lists (SDN).  It is imperative to confirm that both the individuals and banks are cleared on all governmental watch lists prior to accepting funds or initiating the transfer of funds. And document your research.

Now, you may be asking – what about specific licenses for selling property or personal remittances?

  • Personal Funds Transfers:  No specific license is now required for U.S. persons selling property in Iran and transferring funds to the United States.  This transaction also is covered under the General License, provided that such real property was either acquired before the individual became a U.S. person, or inherited from persons in Iran.  Additionally, no specific license is needed for personal remittances transactions, as certain noncommercial, personal remittances to or from Iran are authorized under the General License.  However, sanctioned Iranian financial institutions cannot be used throughout these transaction processes and again, it is critical to confirm you are using an OFAC approved bank prior to engaging in such transactions.  Pending applications will be returned without action and the funds may be transferred.

This happy news is brought to you by OFAC!