UK sanctions

Information on UK sanctions currently in place and how to apply for a licence.

Overview of UK sanctions

The UK uses sanctions to fulfil a range of purposes, including supporting foreign policy and national security objectives, as well as maintaining international peace and security. The UK does this through its membership of the EU and UN.

Find out more about UK sanctions regimes if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Types of sanctions and licences

The main types of sanctions the UK imposes are:

  • trade sanctions, including arms embargoes and restrictions on dual-use items
  • financial sanctions, including asset freezes
  • immigration sanctions, known as travel bans

You may need to have a licence to comply with UK sanctions. Find out more on applying for a licence:

Trade sanctions

The Department for International Trade (DIT) implements and enforces trade sanctions and other trade restrictions.

Trade restrictions are controls on:

  • the import, export and movement of goods and technology
  • the provision and supply of services
  • the involvement of UK people in these activities

There may be specific exceptions under which it is possible to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited. It may also be possible to get a licence that would permit you to engage in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited. DIT’s Export Control Joint Unit administers the UK’s system of export controls and licensing for military and dual-use items. The Import Licensing Branch implements trade sanctions relating to imports.

Find out:

Financial sanctions

HM Treasury implements and enforces financial sanctions. The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury, helps to ensure that financial sanctions are properly understood, implemented and enforced in the UK.

Financial sanctions include restrictions on designated persons, such as freezing their financial assets.

OFSI helps companies understand their financial sanctions obligations, monitors compliance and assesses suspected breaches. There may be specific exceptions under which it is possible to engage in financial transactions that would otherwise be prohibited. OFSI can also issue licences to allow otherwise prohibited financial transactions to take place under certain circumstances.

Find out:

Immigration sanctions

The Home Office implements and enforces immigration sanctions. Immigration sanctions are restrictions on specific people, banning entry into, or transit through, the UK. If they are already in the UK any permission to stay will also be cancelled and they must leave.

Find out:

Contact information

For further information on export controls, contact the Export Control Joint Unit Helpline on +44 (0) 20 7215 4594 or email or subscribe to the Export Control Joint Unit’s Notices to Exporters.

For further information on financial sanctions, contact the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation at or subscribe to OFSI’s e-alerts.

For general information on sanctions, contact the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s sanctions enquiry line on +44 (0)20 7008 2747 or email the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Sanctions Unit on

Published 28 August 2019