Economic Sanctions and Embargoes

Economic Sanctions

Economic sanctions are programs that limit access to a country or restrict the kinds of transactions or activities that may be carried out with or in that country.  These programs are administered by the U.S. Government for foreign policy or national security purposes.  Sanctions programs differ, depending on the country, and may be comprehensive as in the case of Cuba, or selective.

If you are conducting activities abroad (or with colleagues overseas), it is important that you check which countries may be the subject of a sanctions or embargo program.  The specific restrictions and targeted countries do change and some exemptions may apply, for example, to research activity and the exchange of educational information.  Visit the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions programs webpage for current information about specific country programs.  

Types of activities that may be prohibited in U.S. Government-sanctioned countries:

  • Banking and investment activities, including transfers of cash into the country using local banks
  • Payments to individuals, universities or other entities in an embargoed country
  • Transferring materials or data, or providing services to an individual, university, or other entity located in an embargoed country
  • Collaborations with individuals, universities or other entities located in an embargoed country
  • Travel to an embargoed country
  • Bringing in items that may have either military application or dual commercial and military use (e.g., computers, pathogens)

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