Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

How can I send money to someone in a country with sanctions?

Sending money worldwide has never been easier — but what can you do when loved ones are in a country with sanctions?

Unfortunately, the world’s politics can stand in the way of your help to friends and family in sanctioned countries.

Sanctions take into consideration the political climate of a country, its human rights record and the people and organizations within it that the Canadian government wants to avoid financially supporting.

Canada currently has economic sanctions on countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria. While you may discover options to get around these sanctions to support friends and family, you should avoid pursuing them. If you send money to an intermediary to get around sanctions in Canada, you may face tough legal and financial consequences.

Sanctioned countries

Financial prohibitions prohibit persons in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from conducting financial transactions with, or on behalf of certain listed persons. Canada’s sanctions apply financial prohibition provisions on the following countries:

  • Eritrea
  • Iran
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Russia
  • South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen
  • Zimbabwe

Sending money to sanctioned countries — and the potential consequences

There are ways that people have chosen to get around these economic sanctions. But we stress that doing so is illegal and exposes you to severe legal and financial penalties.

If you choose to route your money through a country that doesn’t have sanctions against your intended destination — the UK, for example — you could be charged by Canada with money laundering.

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is any activity that illegally obtains money and attempts to conceal the source, destination or identity of those funds. In Canada, money laundering is illegal under federal and state laws. The specific laws about what constitutes money laundering and its prosecution may differ. However, if you’re convicted of money laundering crimes, you can face years in prison and significant fines.

If you hold a bank account in another country as a resident of that nation, research the rules in place for sending money to a sanctioned nation from that account.

Note that Canada has the discretion to grant you special permission to send money to family members in countries like Iran. You must be able to prove that your funds are not for commercial purposes, and how much you send could be limited.

When in doubt

If you’re in doubt as to whether you can send money to a sanctioned country, always assume that transferring funds from Canada to a sanctioned nation is illegal unless a lawyer tells you otherwise. Always assume that you can’t do something indirectly that you wouldn’t be able to do directly.

Compare money transfer services here and see supported countries.

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

  • Crypto savings accounts guide

    The average American could earn 140 times more in just one year by switching from a traditional savings account to a crypto savings account, according to analysis from Finder.

  • Wise Card Review

    Get competitive exchange rates and pay no foreign transaction fees when you spend money internationally with this fee-free Visa debit card.

  • Know Your Customer (KYC) Guide

    Find out everything you need to know about Know Your Customer (KYC) processes including what information is required, how to pass, and more in Finder’s KYC guide.

  • Auto Credit Deals review

    Auto Credit Deals is a subsidiary of Canada Drives, offering car loans for any credit score.

  • Amber Financial personal loan review

    Amber Financial offers personal loans of up to $50,000. Canadian residents with non-employment income can apply.

  • NFT statistics 2021

    Finder polled over 28,000 people in an online survey across 20 countries to compare NFT ownership and found that Canada ranks 6th last for NFT adoption.

  • eBay NFTs review and guide

    A deep dive into eBay’s foray into the NFT ecosystem, looking at everything from available categories to potential drawbacks.

  • 310-LOAN payday loan review

    Borrow up to $1,500 from 310-LOAN with no credit check.

  • E-transfer payday loans

    Find out which licensed lenders can e-transfer payday loans.

  • How to send money home for the holidays from Canada

    SPONSORED: How you can save when sending money abroad for festive occasions with Simplii Financial.

Ask an Expert

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Go to site