Mail Order Bride Legality: Find Out Are Mail Order Spouse Illegal?


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Are mail order spouses illegal or is it legal to use mail order bride services? Are mail order brides legal in the USA/Canada/UK? What laws regulate the mail order bride industry in your country? And are there any legit mail order bride websites?

The answers to these questions are right here—let’s start with the list of legit mail order bride sites:

Rank Dating Website Editorial`s notes
1 BravoDate One of the biggest international dating sites with thousands of women from Eastern Europe
2 EasternHoneys One of the most popular Asian dating website with tens of thousands of Filipina, Korean, and Japanese women
3 JollyRomance Visit this large Eastern European dating platform today, get 20 free credits after the registration, and chat with Slavic local women!
4 UkraineBride4you One of the best international marriage agencies with Ukrainian and Russian women
5 LaDate A legit, trusted, and very popular online dating platform for those interested in ladies from Latin America
6 CuteAsianWoman A trusted, popular, and legitimate mail order bride platform with video chat, free search tools, and thousands of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean women
7 TheLuckyDate A very simple online dating platform with easy-to-use interface, convenient live chat, and free credits for new users
8 AmourFactory One of the most popular international dating websites for Westerners who want to meet Ukrainian and Russian singles
9 FindAsianBeauty Tens of thousands of mail brides, video chat, and lots of communication methods make FindAsianBeauty one of the best Asian mail order brides sites


Where to find legal mail order brides?

The first mail order brides married abroad long before the twenty-first century. This industry was established even before the twentieth century—technically, the first known mail brides moved from Europe to Jamestown (Virginia) at the beginning of the 17th century! Men wrote letters to English women and persuaded them to move to Jamestown, ladies saw marital immigration as an alternative to domestic service—that’s how the first foreign brides entered the US, 150 years before the Declaration of Independence.

Of course, everything has changed since that time—but the core is the same: a mail order bride (typically a young woman from Europe, Asia, or Latin America) finds a foreign husband (typically an older man from the US, UK, or Canada), gets married, and moves to another country (typically richer and more developed than her home country.

The good news is that you do not need to send letters to United States marriage agencies anymore. With online mail brides platforms, all you need to do is visit a site like BravoDate, create an account, buy some credits, and start chatting with mail order brides from all over the world.

However, such a way is not the only way to find a mail order bride—you can still go offline if you want. Here, we’ll talk briefly about these two options.

Mail order bride services


Mail order bride sites look like typical dating sites—you visit a site like UkraineBride4you, chat with women, and ask them on a date. There are only a few differences and here they are:

  • Mail order bride platforms are usually not free to use and cost around $50-$150 per month
  • Mail order bride platforms typically have more features and services than dating sites (voice calls, video chat, real and virtual gifts, etc)
  • Mail order bride platforms typically verify their female members one way or another (from email verification to ID verification)

So, are mail order brides legal if you meet them on mail order websites? The answer is yes—the law doesn’t care about the platform you’ve met your foreign wife on. Meeting international brides on mail order bride platforms is as legal as meeting a foreign bride in her own country.

However, it’s not that simple. Here’s a very important thing every man interested in foreign brides must understand: your foreign mail order bride shall NOT get a K-1 (fiancée) visa in case you two have never met in person. You can’t just visit site, chat, and invite your bride to the US. We’ll talk about this legal aspect later—just keep in mind, please, that it’s impossible to get your foreign bride to the US without meeting her in person.

But it doesn’t mean you need to ignore mail order bride websites and meet foreign women offline. The point is, mail order brides platforms are more convenient and affordable than offline dating—and they work much better. Let’s be more detailed.

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Offline dating


If you don’t want to visit the site, chat with women, and arrange the date without seeing a bride, you can go another way.

Offline dating had been the only way to meet foreign women before mail order bride services—and it has certain advantages, we can’t deny that.

It’s always better to see a woman you’re chatting with because, well, that’s how you can be sure she is real—and offline dating is a much better option in this regard. What’s more, meeting foreign women offline allows you to understand whether it’s the right person for you much faster and easier than when you’re doing it online.

But other than that, mail order brides websites are a much better choice. Online dating is more comfortable, less time-consuming, and it works better because when you visit site with foreign mail order brides, you can be sure that most of them have serious intentions and want to find foreign husbands. Offline dating is also much more expensive than an average mail order bride service—you’ll need to spend around 1-2 weeks and around $1,500-$2,500 on a trip to a mail order bride country.

When we say “a mail order bride country”, we mean “a country where there are a lot of mail order brides”. There are three most popular regions for mail order spouses: Asia, South America, and Europe.

  1. The most popular Asian country regarding mail order brides is the Philippines—in 2019, more than 7,000 mail order spouses from this country got a K-1 (fiance) visa. Just visit this site—EasternHoneys, actually—and you’ll see that the majority of members are from the Philippines.
  2. In South America, there are two leaders—Brazil and Colombia—with more than 1,000 new K-1 visa applicants in 2019.
  3. In Europe, the leaders are obvious, too—it’s the United Kingdom (1,400 K-1 visas), Ukraine (860), and Russia (815).

Of course, not only the women from these countries enter the US on a K-1 fiancée visa—Asian brides are more popular than other brides, of course, but there were dozens of countries with 500-100 K-1 new visa holders in 2019. The most common questions American, British, and Canadian men have sound like this: are mail order spouses from any country legal? Are mail order brides legal in any Western country? And what are the rules that regulate mail order bride agencies?

The answers are as follows.

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Mail order bride regulations across the world

Mail order brides: legal or not? The answer depends on the country you live in—but basically, the absolute majority of countries have no problems with their citizens marrying people from foreign countries.

Mail order brides legality in the USA


Here’s how it works in the US: you visit a site, chat with a mail bride, arrange the date, propose to her, and bring her to the US on a K-1 visa. Then, you bring her to the US and marry her in the United States—there’s nothing difficult about it.

There are only two problems: the first one is related to the K-1 visa interview. Lots of brides are afraid of it because of some myths and stereotypes, but there’s actually nothing to worry about if your relationship is genuine and real. In this case, your bride will easily answer the questions about you and about your relationship.

The second problem is time. In 2019, it took 6-9 months for a foreigner to get a K-1 visa. In 2020 and 2021, it might take up to 15 months because of the restrictions.

Mail order brides legality in the UK


Are mail order brides illegal in the US? No, they are as legal as in the US—but with some differences.

Foreign brides are viewed as, well, foreigners, and therefore they need to apply for a visa in the UK. There are two types of visa a bride can get—a Marriage Visitor visa and a Family visa. A Marriage Visitor visa allows the applicant to stay in the UK for 2 years and 9 months. A Marriage Visitor visa is valid for six months—during this period, you should marry your fiancee or enter into a civil partnership. If the bride has lived in the UK for at least 3 years, she can apply for British citizenship by naturalization.

Mail order brides legality in Canada


Actually, Canadian laws concerning mail brides and immigration are even less restrictive than the ones in the United States. There is one huge difference from American mail bride laws in Canada—the thing is, there is no Canadian “K-1” type of visa. You can bring your foreign partner to Canada legally only if you marry before the visa is granted. Another difference is that foreign mail brides cannot get Canadian citizenship in 2 or 3 years—they have to wait for at least 5 years to apply for citizenship. Before that, they can only become permanent residents.

Is it legit to look for mail order brides in your country?

It’s pretty difficult to find a country that would consider mail order spouses illegal. The rules may be more strict or less strict, the requirements can be more or less challenging, and the time a bride needs to spend in a certain country may vary from 2 to 5 years—but after all, all foreign spouses can get a permanent residency or citizenship in almost any country in the world. “Almost any”, yes—here are the 2 exceptions you need to be aware of:

  • The Philippines. In this country, there is an “Anti-Mail-Bride Law” that prohibits the business of organizing marriages between Filipinas and men from other countries. However, this doesn’t affect mail order bride legality because the law is circumvented easily—matchmaking agencies and bride websites simply base in the destination countries e.g the US, Japan, or Korea.
  • Cambodia. In this country, foreigners who are over 50 years old and the ones who earn less than $2,550 per month, have been outlawed from marrying Cambodian ladies in 2011. This country even imposed a temporary ban on ALL foreign marriages in 2008, but it was lifted 8 months later.

The legal aspect of marrying a mail order bride in the US

It’s 100% legal to marry mail brides in the United States—your bride can get a K-1 or a CR-1 visa to enter the US (it’s the first stage). If your foreign spouse lives in the US for 3 years, she will easily become a US citizen—it’s a second stage. Before that, she’ll have a permanent resident status (green card).

If your relationship is genuine and you have at least some evidence (tickets, pictures together, emails, phone bills, etc), you have nothing to worry about at the first stage. If you are not an abuser and your family is not dysfunctional—these are the things that make mail order spouses illegal in the US—you have nothing to worry about at the second stage. Thanks to IMBRA and VAWA, your bride has nothing to worry about, too—she will always be informed about her rights and protected by the law.

Do mail order marriages still exist?

Yes, they do, and we’ll prove it here! It all began with mail order brides entering the US territory in the 17th century when there was no USA—and in 2021, American men continue to marry foreign women from Asia, South America, Eastern and Western Europe. The number of foreign ladies who dream of marrying foreigners is constantly increasing, as well as the number of marriage brokers, international marriage websites, and American men who dream of marrying foreign women.

The US as a country—and American men, to be fair—continue to attract women living in other countries. Every serious international marriage agency works online today, and every man interested in legitimate mail order bride services know that he doesn’t even need to leave his home—he just needs to visit a site, chat with women, find his future wife online, get a foreign woman’s address, and finally meet her in her home country.

That’s how mail order brides work in 2021—and such a relationship attracts more and more men and women every year.

How many mail order marriages end in divorce

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to marry a mail order wife tomorrow or just slightly interested in foreign spouses, you’ve surely heard a lot of stereotypes. There are both true stereotypes e.g. the ones about traditional and family-oriented women from Asia or Eastern Europe and fake ones e.g the ones about gold-diggers from Thailand or Ukraine.

But one stereotype stands out from the crowd because it’s quite difficult to verify. We’re talking about the “divorce rate in mail order marriages is lower” stereotype. Some experts say that the chances are much lower to build long-term, serious relationships with a foreign spouse, while the others say it’s not true and the chances are the same.

If you want the truth, here it is: yes, a marriage with a foreign spouse will most likely have higher chances to not end in divorce.

According to the 1997 research, such marriages have a lower divorce rate than the overall national divorce rate. What’s even more interesting, this information is confirmed by a 2012 study regarding Russian mail brides—this study says the divorce rate in mail-order marriages between American men and Russian women is around 35.8%-41.3% which is much lower than the overall US divorce rate (48%).

But it’s not that simple, actually—the point is, there are other factors that influence the divorce rate. For example, race—it’s a well-known fact that only 18% of Asian American women and 30% of Latinos experience at least 1 divorce in their lifetimes compared with 38% of White American women and 45% of Black American women.

What we want to say here is: yes, it looks like mail-order marriages work better and the marriages between American men and mail brides have a higher chance of not ending in divorce. But it’s definitely not the only factor that needs to be considered.

We also recommend to read our another articles about women for marriage:

What laws affect mail order brides?

The mail order bride industry is extremely developed in the US, and it’s not something new—so it’s pretty well regulated in the United States. Two acts that regulate mail order brides and foreign spouses are called VAWA and IMBRA.


VAWA is the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994—this act doesn’t just state that violence against women is illegal (it’s illegal even without this act), it also gives more rights to immigrants, human trafficking victims, and the victims of forced pregnancy/abortion. The act works as a funding bill to give money to various federal programs that protect and help victims of domestic abuse, rape, and other types of violence against women with a focus shifted to immigrants, both legal and illegal.

What’s more important for mail order spouses, VAWA helps victims of abuse without threatening their immigrant status—sometimes, abusers threaten to deport mail order brides, and VAWA act helps victims obtain a green card without notifying the spouse.


IMBRA is the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act and it’s more focused on mail order spouses than VAWA (which protects all victims of abuse regardless of their immigrant status).

The main IMBRA goal is to provide accurate information to immigrating mail order brides/grooms even if they do not speak English. The problem is that immigrants—mail order brides in particular—are often afraid to report abuse or domestic violence because they think they will be deported after that and because marriage brokers often don’t provide information on this topic. IMBRA was created to solve this problem.

The key provisions of IMBRA are as follows:

  • Disqualifying abusive petitioners—the ones with a record of sexual/violent crimes—from petitioning
  • Stopping serial petitioners—the ones who apply for more than 2 K-1 visas in their lifetime
  • Providing marriage broker disclosure—if a petitioner has met his/her fiance(e) through an international marriage broker (legit mail order bride dating site, agency, etc) that doesn’t meet IMBRA standards, the petition may be denied
  • Mandating background checks—the criminal record of a petitioner must be disclosed to the visa applicant

Basically, IMBRA informs foreign brides about their rights, protects them from abuse, and helps them break free of abusive relationships and abuser control. It’s extremely important for mail brides who are always very vulnerable in a new country, especially if they can’t speak English fluently.

READ ALSO: Mail Order Bride Pricing: How Much Does a Woman for Marriage Cost?


Mail brides are legal in the US, in the UK, in Canada, and in the absolute majority of Western countries. To make everything right, choose the best legit mail order bride websites, follow the guidelines, and (if you want to make everything perfect) hire an immigration lawyer who provides advice on K-1 fiancée visa. In this case, your mail order spouse will easily get a green card and will be able to become a US citizen in 3 years after arrival.

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