Process and criteria for becoming a FATF member

Step 1 – Engaging with the country and granting observership

a) The country should provide a written commitment at the political/Ministerial level:

(i)   Endorsing and supporting the 2012 FATF Recommendations and the FATF AML/CFT Methodology 2013 (as amended from time to time).
(ii)  Agreeing to undergo a mutual evaluation during the membership process for the purposes of assessing compliance with FATF membership criteria, using the AML/CFT Methodology applicable at the time of the evaluation, as well as agreeing to submit subsequent follow-up reports.
(iii) Agreeing to participate actively in the FATF and to meet all the other commitments of FATF membership, including supporting the role and work of the FATF in all relevant fora.

b) The Plenary decides that a high level visit to the country should be arranged in order to verify with the relevant Ministers, representatives of the Parliament and competent authorities the written commitment, as well as to determine whether the country will be in a position to undergo a successful Mutual Evaluation and achieve a satisfactory level of technical compliance, including with the Recommendations essential for the establishment of a robust AML/CFT regime, such as Recommendations 3, 5, 10, 11 and 20 within three years. Consideration should also be given to the country's level of implementation of the essential Recommendations and its progress toward assessing and addressing its ML/TF risks, as called for in Recommendation 1. The high level visit should include the President of the FATF, selected members of the Steering Group and heads of delegations. It is accompanied by the FATF Secretariat. The report of the high level visit is presented at the following Plenary meeting.

c) Based on the outcomes of the report of the high level visit, the Plenary may decide to invite the country to participate in the FATF as an observer starting from the next Plenary meeting.  If the Plenary decides not to invite the country to attend FATF meetings as an observer, it may decide to appoint a Contact Group to advise as to the appropriate time to extend such an invitation to the country.  Then the Contact Group should engage with the competent authorities of the country to determine when the country will be in a position to undergo a successful Mutual Evaluation as mentioned in Step 2.  The Contact Group is open to all FATF members and associate members and should include at least one member of the Steering Group. It is assisted by the FATF Secretariat. It will meet regularly and reports on the progress made by the country at each Plenary meeting.

Step 2 – Carrying out a mutual evaluation, agreeing an action plan and granting membership

Within a maximum of three years after being invited to participate in the FATF as an observer, the mutual evaluation process for the country should be launched.  During this period, a new Contact Group may assist the country to ensure that it is ready for its Mutual Evaluation.

Membership is granted if the mutual evaluation is satisfactory. A mutual evaluation is not satisfactory if the country:

If the mutual evaluation is not satisfactory, but close to being satisfactory, then the country should provide a clear commitment at political/Ministerial level to reach the expected results within a reasonable timeframe (i.e., a maximum of four years). A detailed action plan setting out the steps to be taken and the timeframe for taking them is prepared by the country and reviewed by the second Contact Group before its adoption by the FATF Plenary.

At each FATF meeting the Plenary closely monitors the implementation of the country’s action plan:

 FATF Membership Policy