Conducting a Medical Sanctions check is now a standard practice for most organisations which employ medical professionals. The penalties for employing sanctioned individuals are well known. As such, most people HRs conduct sanction checks without much thought.

What most organisations don’t realise is that medical sanctions aren’t the only types of sanctions out there. There are other categories of sanctions which are imposed by the US government on individuals for different reasons. This includes people involved in terrorism, drug trafficking and other crimes which threaten national security.

The penalties for employing such individuals are even more severe than those for violating medical sanctions. As such, it is important for employers (especially those who recruit foreign nationals) to ensure that they don’t hire such individuals. This requires carrying out sanctions checks.

The good news is that the names of sanctioned individuals are published in numerous lists. As such, carrying out a sanction check is a matter of looking through the different lists. The only challenge is that the actual lists to look through are quite many. Some of these lists include:

  • Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List
  • Foreign Sanctions Evaders List
  • Iran Sanctions Act List
  • Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List

These are just a few of the lists. There other lists which are targeted towards specific countries (e.g. Syria, Russia, Zimbabwe etc), and others which target specific organisations (e.g. Palestine Liberation Movement, Al Qaeda). The sheer number of lists means that conducting sanction checks can be lengthy and tedious.

Fortunately, the Office Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) – the agency charged with administering and enforcing US government sanctions – has a simple online tool which can be used to simplify conducting sanction checks.

The tool is an application called “Sanctions List Search”. This application is designed to search through the different sanction lists at a go. So, by simply running a search item, you can search through all the sanction lists at once. This makes conducting sanction checks extremely easy.

The Sanctions List Search has a simple interface which enables you to conduct a search by filling in a few text fields. It also offers a number of search parameters including name, passport number, location and nature of sanction. It is quick, precise and effective.

The application is available free of charge. There is no need to register or log into the website in order to carry out the search. Whoever wants to use it can simply visit the OFAC Sanctions List Search application web page. To go there right now, simply click here. (

Ultimately, the Sanctions List Search application makes conducting sanction checks much simpler. It has the potential to reduce the total time spent in carrying out the checks. OFAC advises that, though effective, the application should only augment other sanction checks activities. It shouldn’t be the only source of sanction check information.

This certainly makes sense. Given the gravity of US government sanctions, conducting sanction checks cannot be taken lightly. Still, the sheer number of lists which the Sanctions List Search can access makes it the perfect starting point for any sanctions check.