ACSS Membership Standards - Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists

ACSS Membership Standards

The Association of Certified Sanctions Specialists (“ACSS”) was formed to advance sanctions compliance by supporting the professional development of the individuals who lead those efforts.  This ACSS Membership Standards document serves to identify and define the ACSS categories of membership and to provide a code of professional conduct for ACSS members.  It is designed to assist and require ACSS members to exhibit integrity, honesty, professionalism, and other good professional practices, thereby enhancing the sanctions specialist profession.

Violations of the Membership Standards may result in sanctions imposed under the Procedures for Review of Member Conduct, which were adopted to provide “due process” to ACSS members and to protect the integrity and ensure the efficacy of the Membership Standards.

“Certified Sanctions Specialists” CSS Certification Eligibility

ACSS Certification is based on a points system.

Requirements: Applicants who apply for the exam must at least have 20 credits. (See below for how to obtain credits).  Once applied for the examination, the candidate has up to three years to sit for the exam. Once the exam is passed, the member will be promoted to a Certified member. A member does not have to report continuing education achievement until promoted to Certified Member status.

  Achievement Credits Your score
Bachelors, Masters, Ph.D, J.D. Degree, or equivalent 15
Associates Degree (2-Year) 5
Professional Certification (CFCS, CAFP, CAMS, CPA, CRCM, CFE, etc.) (please list to receive credit) 5 for each certification



Number of certifications

□ x 5 =

Membership in ACFCS, ICA, ACAMS, or related industry associations 5
Completion of formal OFAC/sanctions/trade compliance officer training (in-house) 5
Completion of basic foreign policy, trade compliance, export controls or financial investigations training 5
Attendance at formal Sanctions/OFAC Compliance or trade compliance, sanctions compliance course (CLE or CPE) /seminar/conference of 2-days or more


3 for each attendance Number of attendances

□ x 3 =


Attendance at formal Sanctions/OFAC/trade compliance course/seminar/conference of less than 2 days 2 for each attendance Number of attendances

□ x 2 =


Certification in Federal or State court as an expert witness on OFAC, sanctions, trade compliance, export controls, IEEPA, or related subject matter 5
Participation as a delegate to an international body (i.e. FATF, CFATF, UN, EU etc) on the subject of sanctions, or similar compliance and/or related fields. 5
Each year of full-time experience in OFAC, sanctions compliance, or related trade compliance/sanctions/export controls compliance experience 2 Number of years

□ x 2 =


Your Total =           Credits

Standards of Conduct

Each member of ACSS pledges to:

  • Work to maintain and enhance the integrity of the profession of sanctions specialists.
  • Maintain and exhibit the highest standards of business and professional ethics.
  • Treat fellow members, ACSS staff, and others with respect.
  • Observe and adhere to all of ACSS Bylaws, Membership Standards, policies, and other rules.
  • Obey all laws and regulations applicable to the sanctions profession.

An ACSS member shall be subject to disciplinary action if the actions of such member are determined, in accordance with the Procedures for Review of Member Conduct, to constitute one or more of the following:

  1. Conviction of a felony. (See the Procedures for Review of Member Conduct for further discussion on the issue of felony convictions.)
  2. Repeated or intentional making of false or misleading oral or written statements, in the context of the sanctions profession or ACSS, about one or more persons or entities, where such statements cause damage to professional or business reputation to such persons or entities.
  3. Intentional misrepresentation of ACSS membership qualifications or credentials to ACSS or to the public.
  4. Repeatedly or intentionally supplying false or misleading information to ACSS.
  5. Unauthorized use of ACSS property, including but not limited to ACSS name, logo, other trademarks or service marks, copyrighted information, or membership listings.
  6. Repeated intimidation or harassment of ACSS members or staff through threats or other means, including but not limited to reporting a breach of the Membership Standards by another ACSS member without having a reasonable and good faith basis for doing so.

These Membership Standards shall apply both to current members and to prospective members of ACSS.