The United States will no longer accept Venezuela’s crumbling currency.
Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas have been telling Venezuelans applying for U.S. visas that they will to have pay the processing fees in U.S. dollars. State Department officials said Friday that the embassy stopped accepting Venezuelan bolivars as of Thursday.
“The embassy cashier accepts cash in U.S. dollars or U.S. dollar credit card payments only,” the embassy posted on its website.
State Department officials said the Venezuelan government had blocked the embassy from being able to exchange Venezuelan bolivars for U.S. dollars. A department spokesperson said the government was required under U.S. law to recover as much of the cost of processing non-immigrant visas as possible through fees.
“It is prudent to begin collecting visa fees exclusively in U.S. dollars,” said the spokesperson, who could not be named per administration policy.
The value of Venezuela’s bolivar has been plummeting as the country has slid into a deep recession. The country is suffering from triple-digit inflation, production shortages and increasing street protests due to a combination of failed economic policies and low oil prices.
President Nicolás Maduro and his supporters contend they’re victims of an “economic war.”
Last month, Maduro extended the use of 100-bolivar notes after a plan to withdraw the bills from the economy sparked nationwide protests. The president said the notes needed to be withdrawn to combat organized crime groups and smugglers from trafficking the currency.