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The Legality of Mail Order Brides in 2024

The Legality of Mail Order Brides in 2024

One of the perks of living in the 2020s is that you can find a bride from almost every country very easily and bring a bride to your country by following a simple sequence of steps. However, the concept of a foreign mail order bride has always been surrounded by many debates, as not many people know about the legal side of mail order marriages.

So, are mail order brides illegal? Can you legally marry a mail order wife? And which laws and regulations impact international brides and their future spouses? Our guide will give you all the information you need to get a mail order bride safely and legally.

Best international dating sitesSofiaDate, SakuraDate, LaDate, UkraineBride4you, GoldenBride
Top 5 countries with mail order bridesUkraine, Philippines, Colombia, Russia, China
Average mail order bride cost$4,000-$8,000
What’s included in the priceOnline dating, meeting in real life, K-1 visa
Mail order bride laws in the USIMBRA and VAWA

Legitimate Avenues to Meet Mail Order Bride

When talking about mail order bride law and what laws apply to brides entering the United States or other Western countries, we first need to understand the difference between a modern foreign bride and traditional mail order bride agencies that used to provide you with a chance to mail order a bride.

These agencies used to work as a genuine mail order bride service, creating a catalog of women who wanted to marry a foreign guy. Foreign guys would then review the catalog, picking one or more women to exchange letters with. With a bit of luck, the man could eventually meet foreign mail order brides in person and get married. However, the agency would be heavily involved in every step of the process. These services are legal in most cases, but they gained a mostly negative reputation because of how they treated women. For example, there is the Anti Mail-Order Spouse Act in the Philippines, prohibiting the work of such agencies in the country.

The modern mail order bride industry is completely different. They are not represented by any agencies, and all the decisions they make, from signing up for a mail order bride site to meeting someone in real life, are not influenced by anyone. Therefore, from the legal standpoint, she is not a mail order bride — she is just a woman who wants to change her life by marrying a foreign guy.

Still, the legitimacy and safety of foreign brides in the US are regulated by a few important laws. The two most important ones are IMBRA, or the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, and VAWA, or the Violence Against Women Act. The first one requires strict background checks for all Americans who want to marry foreign women, and the second one protects the right of a foreign wife even if the marriage goes awry.

Legality of Mail Order Brides

The number of mail order brides who marry American men grows steadily by the year. But if mail order bride agencies are no longer the most ideal way to meet the best legit mail order bride, does this mean you are out of options?

Not, and the reason for that is the existence of mail order bride websites. A legitimate mail order bride site is now the best way to find a bride online, and here is why:

  • The best legit mail order bride sites have been around for at least several years, and some have operated for more than a decade. These sites value their reputation and are not going to compromise it.
  • These sites closely follow all applicable laws when it comes to online dating and mail order relationships. They are aware of all local regulations and ensure complete compliance to avoid fines or legal trouble.
  • When using legit mail order bride sites, you can fully expect them to have profile verification systems. It means that to have a verified profile, the bride has to provide an official government ID, which eliminates the risk of scams and fake profiles.

In essence, a typical mail order bride site works like a typical dating site: you meet one or more women, get in touch with them, and develop a relationship. The site only provides you with a platform for communication and a wide range of verified female profiles, and the rest is up to you. And the best thing about it is that it’s fully legal.

We are not going to claim that online dating is the only way to find a foreign girlfriend or wife. After all, people used to date and marry internationally long before the internet became widely available. During those times, the two most popular ways to find a bride abroad were to travel abroad and to visit special events for singles. Here is more about those methods.

Traveling Abroad to Meet Mail Order Brides

If you’re an adventurous person who doesn’t mind taking a risk, you can buy a one-way ticket to the foreign country of your choice and try to meet local women there. The benefit of this method is that you get to meet women in real life, see what they are like, and instantly know if there is a spark. However, it also has several disadvantages that need to be considered:

  • Traveling abroad is expensive. You probably won’t spend a lot of money on visiting a foreign country for a week or two, but that is also not enough time to develop a real relationship.
  • It’s a major change in your life. Going to a foreign country to date women means you need to temporarily abandon your old life, whether it’s work, family obligations, location-dependent hobbies, or friends.
  • There is a language barrier. With a few exceptions, women in foreign countries don’t always know English well. While many dating sites offer translation services, employing a full-time translator in real life can be expensive.
  • Relationships don’t always work out. When meeting foreign women in their home country, you will likely get a warm welcome. However, these women often have a hard time seeing a foreign tourist as a long-term partner, so it may turn out that you are on different pages about your plans and expectations.

Participating in Mail Order Brides Tours

Romance tours used to be another popular way to find someone special abroad, although they lost a lot of their popularity when dating sites became more and more in demand. A romance tour involves visiting a series of events in a foreign country, where you get to meet several single local women. These women are represented by mail order bride agencies, so you can at least know they are looking for marriage partners.

The downside of mail order bride tours is that you are not the only guy visiting the event. There may be a couple dozen men just like you, all competing for the attention of beautiful women. Often, the most outgoing and sociable guy ends up with the most matches, while other guys’ results are less impressive. Overall, mail order bride tours have a rather low success rate and are typically very expensive.

Legality of Mail Order Brides

With mail order bride legal services being available everywhere, you can find a bride from every corner of the world. Still, some countries are especially popular among mail order bride seekers, and we’ll specifically focus on those countries when discussing the legality of brides around the globe.

Legality in the USA

The United States is a country with the largest number of mail order brides marrying locals year after year, so let’s start with talking about whether mail order brides are illegal in the US. You’ll be relieved to know that the mail order bride industry is legal in the US, although it doesn’t classify these women as mail order brides. From a legal point of view, a mail order bride is a woman from a foreign country who wants to marry an American man. To legally move to the US, the bride will need a K-1 visa. Once she arrives in the US, you will have 90 days to tie the knot. The man is also required to prove his financial ability to support his wife until she’s allowed to work.

Legality in the UK

It’s not illegal to find a mail order bride in the UK, but you do need to complete several steps before you can legally marry your bride. The main requirement for a foreign woman to move to the UK as a mail order bride is to get the necessary visa — usually, it’s either the Marriage Visitor visa or the Family (Fiancee) visa. The first one requires the couple to already be married, and it also doesn’t allow for an extended stay in the country.

Legality in Canada

Are mail order brides illegal in Canada? The Canadian laws regarding the mail order bride legality are more relaxed than in the US. For starters, you will have two years to marry your bride compared to the 90 days in the US before your bride gets deported. Men need to sponsor mail order brides in Canada, as well as their children who immigrate with them. Moreover, you will need to prove your financial ability to support the mail-order bride for three years after she arrives in Canada.

Legality in Japan

There are no specific laws regulating marriages between Japanese nationals and people from different countries. If your future spouse is from Japan, you have the choice to get married either in Japan or in your home country. However, you should be aware of the fact that marrying a Japanese woman does not give you any preferences regarding your stay in the country, so if you plan to reside in Japan, you’ll need to undergo the usual procedure for foreign expats.

Legality in the Philippines

While mail order marriages are legal in almost all countries, The Philippines is one of the few Asian countries in the world that has strict regulations on mail order brides. Using mail order bride services in The Philippines is prohibited. This happened, in part, because many Filipino women who married foreigners became victims of domestic violence and spousal abuse. However, the law does not prohibit Filipinos from meeting foreigners online and getting married, so you can still find legal mail order brides online.

Legality in Ukraine

While the immigration law in Ukraine isn’t the most relaxed one in Europe, this doesn’t involve Ukrainian mail order brides and their potential spouses. Mail order marriages are completely legal in Ukraine, and if you want to marry a Ukrainian mail order bride in her home country, you will simply need to go through the usual steps for foreigners looking to marry a Ukrainian native. Alternatively, you can marry in a third country or the US, although you’ll need to check which laws affect mail order brides there.

Legality in Russia

Russia is one of the most popular countries to look for a mail order bride, and it’s completely understandable. What’s equally important is that the legality of mail order brides in Russia is unquestionable and you can safely and legally marry a legitimate mail order bride simply by going through the usual procedure for foreign fiances of American citizens. If you don’t want to handle all the paperwork in a foreign language, however, you can simply choose to get married to your Russian bride elsewhere.

Legality in China

Mail order brides are legal in China, as they are recognized simply as Chinese citizens who want to marry foreign citizens. You should be aware of the fact that a foreigner in China can only marry a Chinese citizen, which means your bride needs to have a permanent status there. The bride should be at least 20 years old and the groom must be at least 22. This is all applicable if you plan on getting married in China. You can always take your Chinese bride to the US and tie the knot there.

Legality in Mexico

In Mexico, it is fully legal to mail order a bride, so, if you are looking for a mail order bride in Mexico, you can use one of the many mail order bride platforms that operate there. As a foreigner, all you need to get married is your passport and your visa, and there are no special permissions you need to get from the government to get married. There is also the option to bring your bride to the US and become husband and wife in a more familiar setting.


The opportunity to find a foreign wife quickly and safely, and not just be confined to your city or country when looking for a spouse, is undoubtedly exciting. And, if you’ve always wondered about the legal status of a foreign bride in the US, now you know that there is nothing to worry about. As long as you use trusted mail order bride and international dating sites, and follow the necessary steps to help your bride legally move to be with you, you can marry a mail order bride without any concerns about the legality of it all.

What makes Ronaldo so important and valuable is the fact that he has devoted 10 years of his life to the online dating industry. Starting as a simple guy who looked for a foreign bride, Ronaldo quickly understood how effective and popular online dating can be.