SDN List (Specially Designated Nationals List)

Organizations and Individuals Restricted

The Specially Designated Nationals list is a group of organizations and individuals who are restricted from doing business with the United States, American companies or general Americans. This includes terrorist organizations, individual terrorists and state sponsors of terrorism (such as Iran, and North Korea). The list of specially designated nationals is maintained by the U.S. Department of The Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Available for the Public

The SDN List is publicly available on the U.S Department of The Treasury website along with a Blocked Persons List (SDN) and Human Readable List. These lists are published by the OFAC on behalf of enforcement efforts and they may be viewed in data format, by OFAC sanction and are available in additional sorting options. For example, the SDN List has been sorted by sanction program and country. Full lists along with an archive of changes made to the most recently updated SDN list is available through the OFAC.

Program Codes, Tags, and Definitions

While sorting through OFAC lists, there are various program tags listed along with their definition as guidance for readers and researchers. These program tags, also known as codes, give a brief definition as to why the person or entity has been "blocked, designated or identified" regarding the sanction. The program tag [BPI-PA], for example, notes in the definition that it is "Blocked Pending Investigation" according to the Patriot Act. Another program code for [FSE-SY] says, "Foreign Sanctions Evaders Executive Order 13608 - Syria." The list of program tags and their definitions goes on including links to their reference as a resource.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are hundreds of questions asked and answered on the official OFAC website regarding The SDN List. Some interesting facts about The SDN List follow:

  • Changes to previous SDN Lists are available both in real time and prior years on the OFAC website, all the way back to 1994. 
  • The OFAC maintains several of their sanctions list files on an FTP server which can be accessed online. When it is down, there is a support hotline that may be reached.
  • Weak aliases, known as AKAs, is a generic alias that can create a big amount of fake hits when specific names are generated on a screening system through a computer. Thus, they are included on The SDN List for identifier information but are distinguished as weak due to the many false hits that are received.

Protecting Yourself

If there is false information on your credit report, the OFAC recommends contacting the credit report company involved. It is your right as a consumer to ask to get rid of any inaccurate information. Additionally, every year the OFAC takes off hundreds of people from The SDN List when they are consistent with the law and have a good change in behavior. Individuals may file a petition to be removed from the OFAC list which then undergoes an official and rigorous review. The petition can be written by hand and mailed to OFAC or it can be emailed, however it may not be requested by phone.