Important information on U.S. Prohibitions on Iran and Crimea

Updated: May 8, 2018

We at the SCA care deeply about supporting and providing high quality coffee education, events, and research to local coffee communities around the world. As an international association, we have an obligation to our members to ensure our organization operates within the law.

Current U.S. law requires us to comply with a variety of U.S. sanctions and regulations which prohibit the SCA and anyone representing the SCA or our products from providing member services, such as benefits, news updates, competitions, events, and education courses or certifications to people or businesses operating within certain countries and regions. This currently includes Iran and Crimea.

The SCA is a US-based nonprofit organization, exempt from tax under IRC 501(c)(6) and organized under the laws of California as a mutual benefit corporation, and therefore subject to the laws of the United States Government.

This means that the SCA, World Coffee Events (WCE), Authorized SCA Trainers (ASTs), and other SCA representatives cannot provide any services— including events, competitions, training, and membership— to someone who usually lives in Iran or Crimea. It also means that SCA staff and anyone representing the SCA cannot travel to Iran or Crimea to provide SCA services. However, if a customer is of Iranian or Crimean origin but usually resides in another country, then they are able to receive SCA services, like SCA courses and certificates.

Status of Exemption Request

The leadership of the SCA and WCE submitted an application for exemptions to the sanctions from the relevant government agencies, and those requests were unfortunately denied. We will continue to seek opportunities for licensure and sanction exemptions, as the environment is constantly evolving. There are serious legal consequences for companies and organizations that break this law that include fines and incarceration so we must take these prohibitions very seriously.

Has the SCA Banned People from Iran and Crimea? 

We want to be very clear: The SCA has not banned anyone from Iran or Crimea. The SCA is a nonprofit association registered in the United States and has an obligation to its members to adhere to the law. The SCA's mission is to support specialty coffee communities in every corner of the world and we stand firmly against any laws that seek to divide us.

What Does This Mean for ASTs?

All ASTs are advised to request a residential address from all students prior to teaching a course. If the student’s residential address is in Iran or Crimea, the AST cannot provide SCA education courses to that student.

Additionally, we have made changes to the Education Certificate Request Form to make it simple to collect residential address information from students. This information will be required for all students in order for SCA staff to process invoices and certificate requests.

ASTs with questions about these prohibitions may email Susan Hollins, SCA's Chief Education Officer, at

What Does This Mean for Competitions?

WCE is a company owned by the SCA and must also comply with US regulations preventing persons living in Iran or Crimea from participating in our events. However, if a competitor of Iranian or Crimean origin resides in another country, they are able to participate in events as normal.

Are Iranian and Crimean Competitors Covered by the Deferred Candidacy Policy?

Due to current restrictions, the Deferred Candidacy (DC) Policy does not apply in cases where U.S. law prohibits engagement. The DC policy is designed to preserve a competitor's hard-earned opportunity to participate in the world coffee championships when faced with circumstances beyond their control. Unfortunately, while U.S. legal prohibitions remain in place, it is not possible to preserve the possibility of competing in WCE events for competitors from these regions. For more information on situations in which the Deferred Candidacy Policy does apply, please visit: 

Get in Touch

We stand firmly against any laws that seek to divide us, and are constantly monitoring the status of these sanctions, to look for opportunities to include all regions and valued members of our global coffee community.

If you have general questions about the U.S. prohibitions, email SCA staff at For questions related to the Deferred Candidacy policy or the effects of U.S. prohibitions on world competitions, please contact