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Are Mail Order Brides Illegal?

The news and editorial staff of Market Research Telecast had no role in this article’s preparation.

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Paradoxically, the issue of mail-order bride legality and legitimacy is still widely discussed. Some say mail order brides are illegal, some say they’re not; so who are foreign brides really are—girls ordered through a catalog or just foreign singles?

And before we get to things that make mail order brides legal or illegal, let’s take a look at dating sites that provide excellent mail order bride service and can really help men meet a lot of real foreign women online. 

Best legitimate mail order bride and dating sites

  • BravoDate —the site with lots of validated profiles of the most beautiful Slavic singles
  • EasternHoneys —the platform with real Asian singles and a great loyalty program
  • TheLuckyDate —trusted website with the largest number of Asian mail order brides
  • UkraineBride4you —reliable service and thousands of Slavic mail order brides
  • ColombiaLady —the site with the widest variety of communication services

Each of these online platforms has its pros and cons, and most of them have their own regional niche. However, there is at least one thing they all have in common—they all give you everything you may need not only to meet potential mail order wives but also to build an authentic, close relationship with one of them.


Bravo Date is one of the platforms that look for girls for dating in a particular region—in this case, it’s Eastern Europe. 

There are no restrictions for male members who believe that they can meet their ideal women in Russia, Ukraine, or Belarus—the site accepts all adult foreign users and provides them with all the most useful communication tools like instant chat, emails, gift delivery. Members can also send files, watch videos and live shows (read more about communication features in full BravoDate review).  

There are a lot of validated profiles on the site, and the team of BravoDate emphasized that they are verified by their independent regional partners, not their agents/employees.

Visit BravoDate now and get 20 FREE credits after registration 


There were numerous cases in which guys looking for girls for dating chose the wrong platform. 

Men wrote letters and thought that they were talking to real women, but got nothing but huge bills. EasternHoneys is nothing like that—on this site, you not only get 20 free credits for registration that allow you to test the features but also get a generous discount for the first credits you buy. 

So, you visit site and use special services right after you sign up! Speaking of features, members can not only send instant messages, files, letters, and watch live shows but also request contact details (a foreign woman’s address and phone number) and a real meeting. 

Visit EasternHoneys now and get 30 FREE credits after registration and email confirmation


TheLuckyDate is not just one of the popular dating services—this is the platform that provides you with a lot of the online communication tools available on the dating market. 

Men all over the world, in the US, Canada, Western Europe, etc., can send text messages, stickers, videos and audio messages. Members have literally all they need to meet and attract women living in Thailand, the Philippines, China, and other Asian countries, including the detailed information on singles provided in their profiles.


Are mail order brides real? Well, it depends on the platform you choose. On UkraineBride4You, they are real—visit siteto make sure that nearly every registered lady has a lot of photos, profile videos and is available for phone calls/CamShare. 

Another great thing about the site is that it allows you to find the best matches easily (you can see if your answers about an ideal partner match the answers of another member) and contact them in plenty of ways (including the free ones). Other top tools like CamShare, phone calls, instant messaging are available, too.

Register at UkraineBride4you now and get 2 FREE Chat Vouchers and 2 FREE Say Hi! Vouchers 


ColombiaLady is an online dating platform designed especially for Latin brides and men who want to meet them. On this site, however, you can meet not only Colombian singles but also foreign brides from other countries of South America and the Caribbean. 

Creating an account takes some time, but it’s worth it—the system uses all the information you provide to find an ideal match for you. You can contact women in plenty of ways—say Hi, send a gift (virtual or real), send a short message or a long letter, and also have a video chat or make a phone call. 

Free vouchers to contact members, discounts and special offers are available to newly registered users as well as to regular members.

Register at ColombiaLady now and get 2 FREE Chat Vouchers and 2 FREE Say Hi! Vouchers 

Who are mail order brides?

In fact, modern mail order brides are foreign women who want to date and marry a foreign man, and who use mail order bride sites to meet him. They interact with foreign husbands, start dating one of them, meet him in person, and if everything goes right, agree to marry him and migrate. There’s a standard scheme that helps mail-order brides and their husbands get married in the US easily.

You can meet mail-order brides on niche or global dating websites (or in other countries, of course). There are regional and international platforms that provide various services to ease dating—both online and later offline.

READ ALSO: 6 Best Asian Dating Sites – Relationship Online With Asian Girls

Are mail order brides legal?

On the one hand, the mail order bride industry has been in existence for decades—doesn’t it mean that it works and that men can really date or marry the mail order brides they’ve met on international dating websites like BravoDate or TheLuckyDate? On the other hand, there are a lot of rumors of difficulties that men using online dating services face. So, are mail order brides legal or not? And what are the legal regulations?

Mail order bride statistics

In 2019, the Visa Office issued 41,087 for fiance(e)s of the US citizens. In 2020, this number dropped to 16,849, which can be explained by Covid restrictions. Nevertheless, it’s pretty impressive—figures confirm that American men keep marrying foreign women, and a lot of them are mail order brides. Like other foreign spouses, they can enter the US after getting a K-1f fiancé/fiancée visa or an I-130 marriage visa. 

However, there are a few important regulations—IMBRA and VAWA, which were created not to complicate the entry procedure but to protect a mail order bride. 

READ ALSO: Mail Order Bride Pricing: What is the Average Cost of a Mail Order Bride?

IMBRA—International Marriage Broker Regulation Act

The IMBRA act was created to protect foreign mail order brides from abuse—after it came into force, American husbands had to provide their criminal histories to an international marriage broker that, in turn, had to provide this information to a bride. On top of that, the US Government started to provide foreign brides with information about their legal rights and ways to protect themselves if they experienced domestic violence. 

Basically, that’s how it works—a marriage broker searches for sex offender public registries, marriage, and criminal information, and provides a foreign bride with this data, as well as about her legal rights and resources she can use in the US to protect herself. If a broker doesn’t do it, they will face penalties—5-25 thousand dollar fine and/or up to 5 years in prison. 

VAWA—Violence Against Women Act

VAWA is another act created to protect a mail order spouse. According to it, the US provides mail order brides with information on their legal rights—they get a pamphlet that outlines all their rights and related laws. More importantly, before the Act came into force, a victim of domestic violence often couldn’t file a police report because they could not get a Green Card or could be deported from the US after divorce. 

Now foreign brides who experienced violence can apply for new legal immigration status, not only for themselves but also for their children, and get lawful permanent residence. So, there is no way a husband can manipulate a woman’s immigrant status in the US to make her stay. 

Process for marrying a non-US citizen

The fact that men met their future wives on one of the mail order bride websites doesn’t make their mail order spouses illegal. A mail order bride can still enter the US and live with her husband but only if she gets a visa (which is possible only under certain conditions). 

READ ALSO: Legitimate Russian Brides: How To Find a Women For Marriage

Marrying a US citizen: the script

Here’s what the ideal script for international couples looks like: 

  1. A man uses one of the legal mail order brides sites such as ColombiaLady or marriage agencies to find a foreign bride. 
  2. He meets his future wife, they start dating online. 
  3. They decide to take their relationship to the next level and meet in real life. 
  4. A man comes to her country at least a few times to meet her in person. 
  5. After some time they decide to get married. 
  6. They decide if they want to get married in the US, collect all the documents and apply for a K-1 visa. Or they get married in a bride’s country and apply for a marriage visa. 

So, if you use mail order bride services this way, you won’t have to worry about mail order bride legality. Still, getting a visa for a mail-order bride is a complex process, and a lot depends on which visa you choose. We list and explain the marriage and fiance visa requirements, as well as their costs in more detail below. 

Fiance visa vs. marriage visa in the USA—Which one should you choose?

So, you can choose between 2 visas. Which one a mail order bride should apply for? 

A a K-1 visa for foreign fiances

This visa is issued by USCIS. An immigrant marrying a US citizen can apply for it if she is going to marry him in the United States within 90 days of entry. Otherwise, a bride will be deported from the country. Foreign citizens who have already married an American citizen can’t apply for it. The most important requirement is to have an authentic relationship and see each other within the previous two years. Mail order brides and their grooms usually prefer to get this visa to enter the US. 

A marriage visa or an I-130 visa

The marriage visa (also called an I-130 visa because an applicant must file an I-130 petition) works for those who’ve already married an American citizen outside the United States. In other words, if you’ve already married a mail order bride in her country or a third country, your wife can apply for this visa if your marriage is valid (if one or both partners were married you’ll need to provide a death or divorce certificate), prove that your relationship is authentic and if an American spouse earns 125% of federal poverty guidelines or more. 

Comparison of fiance and marriage visas

Let’s take a look at the most important visa requirements and terms for both visas. 

VisaAvailable toEssential requirementsIncome requirements for an American spouse Process timeApproximate costPros Cons
FianceForeign citizens who are going to marry an American citizen in the USForeign citizens applying for this visa must marry their American spouses within 90 days after arrival
You’ll need to prove that your relationship is authentic
At least 100% of the federal poverty guidelines 7 monthsFrom $900 (not including further green card application)1) A mail order bride can get this visa and therefore enter the US faster2) You can have a wedding in the US1) It’s a bit more expensive2) You’ll need to file green card application after you get married anyway
Marriage A foreign spouse of an American citizen (if you and a bride have already gotten married in another country)Marriage must be valid Relationship is authenticAt least 100% of the federal poverty guidelines 10-13 months$1,2001) Cheaper in the long-term perspective2) A foreign spouse becomes a permanent resident right after entering the US1) Wedding outside the US2) You’ll need to wait longer

Most mail-order brides usually apply for a K-1 visa. Why? First, it’s not so easy for an American citizen to get married in another country (requirements in different countries vary, though) and most grooms want to get married in America. On top of that, future newlyweds just don’t want to wait 3-5 months longer to enter the US.

But what are the additional requirements for a K-1 visa? Let’s find out. 

If you choose a K-1 visa: The requirements

Let’s say that you’ve already met your ideal mail-order bride on the one of top mail order bride sites, met her in person, and decided to get married in the US. You both want to have a wedding there and your future wife is going to apply for a K-1 visa. What else should you know about obtaining it? Here are the most important requirements:

  • Both partners must be eligible to get married in the US (be never married, divorced, or widowed)
  • Only the American citizen can be a sponsoring partner—people who have Green Cards can’t take a foreign partner to the US by applying for this visa.
  • If you’ve met each other on online dating sites or even in real life, you’ll need to prove that your relationship has been real by providing proof like correspondence (for example, you can visit the site and make screenshots of your messages), photos, videos, flight tickets, written testimonies of people who knew you were dating.
  • Any evidence that you and your mail order spouse are planning your wedding (invitation, booked restaurant, copy of the contract with a wedding decorator, etc.) is appreciated.
  • You must get married within 90 days after a bride’s arrival.
  • You must have met in person within the previous two years.
  • A future husband must earn 100% of federal poverty guidelines—these are fiance visa income requirements (and 125% when applying for a green card for a foreign wife after they get married).

Not meeting these requirements for fiance visa makes mail order spouse illegal in the eyes of law—simply put, a foreign mail order bride won’t be able to enter the US.  If you need more information on the visa, visit site of the US Department of State.

K1 visa cost—How much you’ll pay for a foreign wife

So, how much do Americans usually pay for mail-order marriages? How much is a K1 visa? Here are the expenses.

For a visa itself

  • USCIS filing fee (I-129F form)—$535
  • Visa Fee—$265
  • Medical Exam—$60-$300 (can be taken in a bride’s country, but there are specific requirements) Canadian citizens

So, the cost of K1 visa itself starts from about $900. However, after foreign women who get this visa get married, they need to apply for a Green Card.

For a Green Card

The costs are as follows:

  • USCIS filing fee (I-485 form)—1,140
  • Biometrics fee—$85

So, the total cost of K1 visa that allows bringing a mail order bride to the US and making her a permanent resident with a Green Card is about $2,100. Visit site of USCIS if you need a fee calculator.

The verdict—Is mail order bride legal? 

So, are mail order brides illegal or legal? Let’s sum everything up and focus on the most important points: 

  • Are mail order brides real? Yes, there are a lot of real foreign singles looking for a decent boyfriend and marriage abroad.
  • How to get a legit mail order bride? You can do it by using legal mail order bride services provided by international dating sites/legal United States marriage agencies/legitimate mail order bride dating sites personal details
  • What does a legal marriage broker have to do? What are the mail order bride regulations? An international marriage agency must provide a bride with information on your criminal records (if any) and on how she can protect herself after moving to the US
  • Why are international dating agencies’ mail order brides platforms legal? Contrary to popular belief, they don’t sell women—they just provide dating services online and sometimes in a bride’s home country. 

Immigration, as well as the fact that you’ve met your mail order bride on the online platform, doesn’t make mail-order spouses illegal.

The news and editorial staff of Market Research Telecast had no role in this article’s preparation.

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