Bring Madeline's Love to the US

My name is Madeline and Alhen is my fiance. We have been together for more than 2 years now, the problem is he lives in Cuba. The last time I saw him was December 31, 2017, over 8 months ago. We are applying for a K-1 Fiance Visa, which will allow Alhen to enter the US upon the condition that we get married within 90 days. Once we are married, he will be able to apply for residency. As if emigration from the island wasn't hard enough, they have recently moved the US Embassy in Cuba to Georgetown, Guyana, making the whole visa process much more difficult and expensive. Now, we finally have the opportunity to be together and I need your help. 

The story…

Here is what I had to submit to US Immigration and Citizenship Services when asked to “Describe the circumstances of your in-person meeting” (aka convince them that Alhen is not my mail-order groom).

“In 2012 and 2013, I studied abroad in Havana, Cuba through Tulane University. During that time, I made many friends in the country, and since graduating from Tulane in 2014, I have travelled back to Cuba many times to visit them.

During one of these trips to Havana, a friend took me to a get-together at a house on the Malecón. It was there, on May 31st, 2016, that I met Alhen Sánchez Vega for the first time. The next day, on the 1st of June, we ran into each other again and spent more time together. Within days, we had fallen deeply in love and had become inseparable. He ended up living with me in my apartment in Vedado for all of June, until I left the country on July 1, 2016. We realized by the end of my stay that we were truly in love and had something special, and so I promised to come back to visit him.

On October 8, 2016, I flew into Santa Clara, Cuba, where Alhen and two of our friends met me and accompanied me to Havana. Once there, I stayed with him in his house with his family for ten days and celebrated my 24th birthday with them. I returned again on the 17th of December, 2016 to spend Christmas and New Years with Alhen. This time I flew directly into Havana, and again stayed with him in his house. Between my trips to Cuba, we maintained contact via his mom's phone, email, and Facebook, and over the course of many conversations, decided that we want to get married and have the opportunity to begin a life together.

On December 25, 2016, we rented an apartment next to the beach in Guanabo and during sunset, sat on the sand together and traded engagement rings we had bought a few days before. I returned to the US on January 1, 2017 and immediately began the visa application process, not wanting to waste another moment without him by my side.”

Since first beginning this visa process in February 2017, our petition was returned THREE times before I finally got it right in May. In the fall of 2017, American diplomats in Havana reported “sonic attacks” that were making them sick. The US quickly evacuated the US embassy in Havana and expelled two Cuban diplomats from Washington DC. Six months later, on March 21, 2018 they officially and permanently closed the US Embassy in Havana. US embassy operations were temporarily transferred to Colombia, before being permanently transferred to Georgetown, Guyana because it is one of the few countries Cuban citizens can travel to without a visa.

On May 11, 2018 I received notice saying our petition was approved and being sent to the National Visa Center where they would send it to the embassy in Guyana.

On August 17, 2018 we submitted Alhen’s visa application and are currently waiting for instructions on how to pay our interview fee and then schedule our interview.

Why I need your help…

The US Embassy's move to Guyana has greatly increased the cost of this process. On top of buying extra plane tickets and travelling to a country completely foreign to both of us, the embassy doesn't accept online payments and I will have to trust a friend of a friend to deposit the money for me.

In order to get Alhen to the US, I need to pay…

$300 for interview fee
$150 for his medical exam and vaccinations
$1000 round trip for me to go to Guyana 
$400 for Alhen's one-way ticket  to get to Guyana 
$500 for a one-way ticket for Alhen from Guyana to NOLA
$400 for housing for 10 days in Guyana 

This all comes to about $2,750 total. And that doesn't include the $1,000+ fee we will need to pay after we get married and apply for his Green Card.

I am asking for y'alls help to cross this giant hurdle of getting Alhen to the US and by my side. I know that once he is here, we will have a whole new set of hurdles and paperwork, but at least we will be together, and after a few months he will be able to contribute financially. 

I hesitated about asking for help, after all, y'all are not responsible for my relationship and this is not an emergency, per se; my house didn't burn down and my health is fine. But, I am currently working paycheck to paycheck at my library job, and all the money I inherited after dad died, I used to buy a house with my mom. So yes, I do have money, but no access to cash. Once Alhen is here, I am prepared to get a second job on the weekends to supplement my income, but I can't get a job before the interview because what business would let a new employee leave with little notice for 10 days. I promise that we will not be asking for or accepting wedding presents, all we want is to be together and have a big party on the bayou celebrating our love. Other ways y'all could help would be donating airline miles or Airbnb credit for my trip, and once Alhen is here I will need help clothing him, helping him learn English, and finding him a job. 

All this is to say, I met the love of my life but he lives in a country that is near-impossible to emigrate from and I need your help to get him here so we can begin a life together. 

Eternally grateful to y'all, my community, for supporting me, emotionally and otherwise. Let love rule!!!! xoxo Madeline
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Madefine Blanca 
New Orleans, LA

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