The UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation recently announced that it changed its sanctions-related licensing process. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, OFSI had temporarily changed its licensing process in response to the high demand for new license applications and license amendments following the most severe package of economic sanctions ever imposed upon Russia. In an effort to help mitigate the impact of the invasion upon applicants, OFSI had been accomodating applicants with incomplete applications by continuing to work with them until sufficient details and evidence had been gathered for a decision to be made. However, according to paragraph 6.9 of its General Guidance, OFSI should not consider incomplete applications but should return them to the applicant for re-submission. Therefore, in order to reduce delays and ensure timely service to all applicants, OFSI is ending this temporary practice and will begin returning applications that are not complete at the time of receipt. According to OFSI, all returned applications can be resubmitted; however, resubmitted applications will be treated as new applications and will not be prioritized solely because they are resubmitted.
OFSI also emphasizes that it only issues licenses that relate to financial sanctions and suggests that license applications for other types of sanctions be redirected to the relevant Department. In addition, OFSI recommends that applicants take the following steps to prevent applications from being returned:
- Fully complete the application form
- Read OFSI’s Introduction to Licensing Blog
- Read OFSI’s Reasonableness in Licensing Blog
- Determine if there are any applicable General Licenses
- Consult the relevant regime specific guidance and determine which prohibition and licensing purpose applies to the applicant’s case
- Seek independent legal advice.