Seeking Help in Expediting an OFAC SDN Reconsideration?

Removing a Specially Designated National (“SDN”) designation imposed by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control can be a very difficult process. Often times when contesting such a designation it takes months, and sometimes even years, for OFAC to respond to the a petition for reconsideration, and even then they only ask more questions which could have or should have been asked earlier. In order to expedite the process of seeking an OFAC SDN reconsideration follow these three key rules:

1. Submit early: The OFAC SDN reconsideration process is long and in almost all cases takes at least a few years to resolve. As such, as soon as the circumstances warrant a reconsideration of the designation a reconsideration should be submitted. In some cases this may be upon designation if the designation was made in error, or in cases of changed circumstances, the reconsideration should be made once connections with other designated parties are severed or the conduct engaged in has ceased.

2. Provide official documentation: Although OFAC often relies upon newspaper reports, it doesn’t mean that you should. Any type of official and/or legal documentation showing ownership and assets should be provided to OFAC to show that there is no criminal background of the party requesting reconsideration and there is no shared assets or ownership by other SDNs. Any documentation can be helpful, but official and legal documentation are the most compelling to OFAC.

3. Lean on home countries to assist: OFAC has limited resources and personnel to handle reconsiderations. As such, responding to requests becomes a matter of priority, and priority is generally dicatated by who needs to be responded to. As such, a request for reconsideration is going to receive less attention coming from a private individual with no follow up by that party’s home country, then it would if the home country was requesting information on the reconsideration through diplomatic channels. Thus, once a request for reconsideration is submitted, it is useful to have officials from the designated party’s home country or their embassy communicate with OFAC regarding the reconsideration.

The author of this blog is Erich Ferrari, an attorney specializing in OFAC matters. If you have any questions please contact him at 202-280-6370 or

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