This website uses cookies ...Read more
Top Legal Questions About Online Dating

Are Mail Order Brides Legal?

Table of content

As the internet helps love to have no borders, non-traditional ways of meeting partners such as mail order brides websites have become more and more popular. Modern technologies open the doors to international romance in the form of mail order brides. Such kind of meeting a partner is very similar to regular online dating. Still, the difference is that on mail order bride sites, people usually have serious intentions to build a family and become legally married. But how does a long-distance family work? And are mail order spouse illegal?

Any legal aspects should not be neglected as they are very important and may differ depending on your country and your mail order bride's origin. Stay with us to explore what laws affect such brides and find answers to the most common questions on the legal side of this business. 


Even though the marriage and mail order bride industry is booming today, there are still a lot of misconceptions about overseas brides. The industry is transnational and involves many cultures and people, bringing a lot of nationality stereotypes.

Girls want to marry to get the green card or citizenship

Marital status, of course, affects the ability to get spousal preference and immigration in most countries. However, it doesn't mean that mail order brides want to get a husband only for that. Just think about it — you need to make a significant change by moving to another country and start everything from the very beginning. Such a change is not easy and usually done only out of love. Besides, there are strict fraud policies that make marriage for citizenship motives a crime legally. Also, some mail order brides prefer to create a union in their country of origin, which makes the whole process of a family reuniting very different and complicated.

Is it illegal to marry a mail order bride?

Some people think that marrying a bride online is something forbidden, but in reality, it is not. You can get married in a church or at a notary, and both options are legal in the US, UK, Canada, and a bunch of other countries. You can marry your foreign bride in both countries of your citizenship. But we recommend checking if your countries recognize such marriage and peculiarities of the legal confirmation process. We will cover that later on, so keep on reading. But the short answer to ‘are mail order brides illegal?’ — no, they are not.

Mail order brides are gold-diggers

Saying that all women online want only money is a vast exaggeration. Even though the reasoning behind each mail order bride on dating platforms may be different, the majority of modern mail order brides are interested only in serious relationships. They are looking for true feelings, an opportunity to build a happy family. But remember that being cautious about scamming and choosing a reliable mail order bride sites is a key to staying safe and having a positive experience online.

What do you need to create a family with a mail order bride from another country legally?

Most likely, you already understand that the process of transnational marriage is not easy. It will require careful planning, as meeting all legal peculiarities is quite a complicated task. To marry and bring your mail order bride to your country, you will need to get a visa for mail order bride and all related documents. Additionally, the majority of countries have such requirements as:

  • Not being currently married
  • Both of you should be of legal age
  • Mutual consent

Note that your mail order wife or fiancé and/or her children aren’t guaranteed an immigration visa based on marriage. But you may be qualified to apply for some sort of spouse visa to reside legally with your mail order bride.

What options do you have when it comes to international marriage?

If you are both sure in your decision to marry and create a family, there are two main options available:

  • Getting one of the marriage visas and becoming official in your country. Depending on what country you are from, the process may vary. For example, in the US, it is obtaining a K-1 or K-3 visa and then applying for adjusting its status.
  • Getting married overseas and applying for residence (your partner can not be in the country until the visa is issued).

When you decide on the most suitable option, you need to consider many factors like do your countries recognize marriage in another country, how long the process will take, what documents you need to prepare, are there any children involved, etc. Taking the process seriously will help you decide on the option that suits your situation the most.


The international alliance has its legal peculiarities. Depending on your country, the laws may differ. But all of them are generally aimed to protect both parties of the union and avoid fraud.

Yes, of course, foreign brides and transnational marriage are legal in the USA. And actually, such unions are really common these days. The whole process is covered by The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA), family, and immigration laws. But note that you can only bring a foreign mail order bride to the USA if you are an official citizen. Generally, there are two options available: you can sponsor your mail order wife's green card, or you can obtain a K-3 visa. However, if you aren’t married yet, you will need a K-1 visa — commonly called a fiancé visa. It will allow you to make it official and, after that, apply for permanent residency.

Are mail order spouses illegal in Canada?

Such mail order brides are also legal in Canada, as they are in the USA. Their laws are even based on the United States’ IMBRA regulations, but they are slightly less restrictive. For instance, there isn't an obligatory requirement for the minimum earnings of the visa sponsor, but the person must provide proof of sufficient income. Note that marriage doesn’t provide Canadian residence! But you can become a sponsor of your spouse’s visa through the Family Sponsorship Program. But to do that, you will need to be officially married in your or your mail order bride’s country. Also note that the online ceremony doesn’t count as an actual legal alliance according to the laws of Canada. A religious ceremony in an online church isn’t recognized.

Are mail order spouses illegal in the UK?

No, it’s not illegal. Well, it is actually quite common, as the United Kingdom is one of the most multicultural countries on the planet. To marry your foreign mail order bride in the UK, you will need the Marriage Visitor visa, which does not entitle the recipient to an extended stay in the country, or Family (Fiancee) Visa. To be considered for the second type of visa, you must possess a marriage license recognized in Britain and be able to show proof of the true nature of your relationship online and meet the minimum income rate. You can get more detailed information here.

Laws of mail order brides around the world

International marriage is a common thing worldwide. For example, Australia decreased the level of immigration by shortening the benefits of making a relationship official. That means that you can marry a mail order bride, but it doesn’t grant a visa to your spouse. Such practice has become very common recently. In Switzerland, transnational marriage doesn't face too many legal restrictions. Both residents and non-residents in the country can get married with relative ease, and they also get access to an easier path to citizenship.

According to Swiss law, the mail order marriages may apply for citizenship after a minimum of three years of an official relationship. But in Japan, residency status is not dependent on marital status. There is a Spouse Visa recognized by the country available to those who wish to marry in Japan. Generally, almost all countries have some sort of visa and supporting laws to cover the spouse or fiance of the resident. That makes legitimate mail order bride marriage happen.

Where are mail order brides illegal?

Some countries don’t allow or recognize an international marriage, which may call into question the mail order bride legality. Mainly that is due to the religious beliefs that do not permit interfaith marriages. For example, a lot of Israeli Jews oppose mixed relationships, as their religion prohibits non-Jews from marrying Jews. Just about the same situation is in the Muslim countries, where Islamic law permits a Muslim man to marry one to four local women, preferably Muslim ones, but not mail order brides. But the exception goes to women that are in the People of the Book, meaning Christians or Jews. But even in such cases, legal marriage can happen.

Is it safe to marry a legit mail order bride?


Each country has concerns and cares about its citizens to guarantee that the law protects each part of transnational marriage. Let’s see how it goes in the example of the USA. Several federal laws cover the bride industry to protect the rights and safety of both parties willing to marry. Two main ones are:

  • The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) — provisions on mail order brides coming to the US. It also protects women legally against home violence, sexual assault, stalking, etc.
  • The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) — provides strict rules for men who wish to marry mail order brides from abroad using the services of a specialist and mail order bride agencies.

Both of the laws ensure the background and criminal check, analysis of the personal finances and credit rate, numbers of previous official relationships and children, and gathering other personal information. That allows both spouses to be safe and avoid any scamming or catfish situations. While the laws are intended to help women who would otherwise be at a very significant disadvantage, these rules may appear invasive. For instance, even women in America entering into an official relationship with an American man won’t have access to all that information. But at the same time,mail order brides have lower risks and family support in-country, which foreign brides can’t boast of.

We also think that the best protection is not the law, but common sense. You should learn everything you can about your future spouse before agreeing to marry. You should pay attention to the reliability of the mail order bride service that you meet your bride on too. We recommend choosing only from reliable and popular legit mail order bride sites.

Besides, you should do your best to arrange an IRL meeting before actually marrying. And we also recommend consulting with family and immigration law attorneys to ensure that you are protected. Such professional help will also make sure that every aspect of the marriage and immigration process flows smoothly and risk-free.

Do mail order marriages work?

According to reports from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), transnational marriages appear to have a lower rate of divorces than local ones. That is a big contributing factor to transnational marriage’s popularity. The reasoning behind it lies in the complexity of the process. Going through the challenges makes people bond on a deeper level and really test their feelings. Something that is not easy to get is as a rule valued a lot more.


Now the answer to the question ‘is mail order brides legal?’ is clear — YES! All the hardships you face, the time and money you spend don’t matter because the result is totally worth it. Opportunity to have a happy relationship and family while living with your beloved partner is worth the effort. Love is not always all peaches and roses, but thanks to modern technologies, you can build a family with a beautiful woman and bring her to your native country legally.

Similar Posts You Might Like

See all articles arrow
Mail Order Brides Success Rates

Mail Order Brides Success Rates – Myths & Facts

How To Write A Good Online Dating Profile

How To Write An Online Dating Profile To Get Dozens Of Messages

Myths and Facts About Mail Order Bride Marriages

Myths and Facts About Mail Order Bride Marriages

Mail Order Bride Guide

How To Become A Mail Order Bride And Get Successfully Married?