Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)

Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.

Executive Order 13224

Executive Order 13224 gives the U.S. Government a powerful tool to impede terrorist funding and is part of our national commitment to lead the international effort to bring a halt to the evil of terrorist activity. In general terms, the Order provides a means by which to disrupt the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist organizations by authorizing the U.S. government to designate and block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.

State Sponsors of Terrorism

Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.  Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors.

Terrorist Designations

Find answers to these frequently asked questions about Terrorism Designations; and see the list of press releases detailing State Department Terrorist Designations, which includes press releases for designations announced since January 2017. For previous years’ designations, visit the archived website.

Terrorist Exclusion List

Section 411 of the USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 (8 U.S.C. § 1182) authorized the Secretary of State, in consultation with or upon the request of the Attorney General, to designate terrorist organizations for immigration purposes. This authority is known as the “Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL)” authority. A TEL designation bolsters homeland security efforts by facilitating the USG’s ability to exclude aliens associated with entities on the TEL from entering the United States.

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