What Is Mail Order Bride: Do Mail Order Brides Still Exist?
Thousands of mail order marriages are registered every single year, and the number of American men interested in mail order wives is increasing constantly.
Why? What countries to pay attention to? What laws affect brides and mail order brides websites? And what is the best way to meet a foreign bride? This page is your one-stop shop for answers.
3 Best Mail Order Bride & Dating Sites
Who are mail order brides?—The evolution of this term
First, let’s talk about the mail order bride phenomenon. Who are “mail order women” today, and how did they evolve?
Mail order bride in the 19th century
First of all, the mail order bride phenomenon didn’t begin in the 19th century. The first “mail order brides” were British women who moved to the US in the 17th century. It wasn’t the United States of America back then, of course—these women moved to the Jamestown Colony of Virginia. The program was established by one of the founders of the Virginia Company with the purpose of stopping colonists from deserting and improving the female-to-male balance there (most settlers were male before that). They were called “tobacco brides” because they were actually being traded for 150 pounds of tobacco. Well, such were the times.
Later, the image of mail order brides changed. In fact, that’s what we call them today, but they were actually “picture” brides—this term came from the Japanese language where it meant “photo marriage”. Asian women went to the United States to get married to Asians who worked in the gold mines, European singles and widows migrated to the US during the California gold rush (and after it), Black women escaped from racial restrictions in the South, etc. They all were called “mail order brides” because single men wrote letters to churches and published advertisements in newspapers, and courtships were typically conducted by means of correspondence.
Mail order bride nowadays
Alright, the concept of women from a foreign country moving to the US with the purpose of finding a husband there is not new, as we see. But do mail order brides still exist? Yes, they do, and this concept is even more popular than it’s been before. Today, it’s all about online communication: marriage agencies, international dating sites, and mail order bride services. In 2021, for example, more than 19,000 foreigners got a K-1 fiance(e) visa and got married to American citizens, and according to some sources, more than 55% of K-1 visa applicants first met their partners online.
The top list of popular mail order bride countries looks different today, too. It’s not about the United Kingdom anymore, obviously: the most popular brides today are Ukrainian women, Filipina mail order brides, and ladies from Mexico. We’ll cover this topic a bit later.
But who is an average modern mail order bride? The table below will help you understand that.
|Average age of mail order brides||20-27 years old|
|Geography of mail order brides||Eastern Europe, Asia, South America|
|Education||Higher education (college or university)|
|Values||Traditional, family-oriented, marriage-minded|
|Purpose of being on mail order bride sites||Meeting a potential husband from a Western country|
Mail order bride laws
Now, let’s talk about the legality of mail order brides and mail order bride services. Can a Western man from the US, UK, Canada, or Australia marry a foreign lady? What laws affect this industry? Let’s be more detailed.
What laws affect the mail order bride industry?
It’s completely legal to marry a foreign bride in the US and in all the other Western countries. However, the mail order bride industry is not as unregulated today as it was a few decades ago. In the United States, for example, this industry is regulated by several major acts such as IMBRA and VAWA. Let’s talk about those in more detail:
- IMBRA, or the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, provides rules for men who want to marry foreign women using a registered international marriage broker (not a dating site). Under this act, the potential bride gets the personal information of a potential groom, including criminal arrest records, the number of previous marriages, etc.
- VAWA, or the Violence Against Women Act, protects foreign brides who suffer from abuse. In short, this act allows a mail order bride to apply for a green card independently of the abusive partner and protects foreign women from domestic violence.
These are the main two laws everyone who wants to find a foreign bride should know.
Mail order bride legality by country
Of course, the legality of mail order brides varies from country to country. So let’s talk about the laws in countries where a lot of men seek foreign women.
- United States. Foreign brides can enter the country legally and get a K-1 (fiancé(e) or a CR-1 (spouse) visa. Your foreign bride will get a green card in about a year after the marriage, and in about 2-5 years after that, she’ll be able to become a US citizen. The requirements for a K-1 and CR-1 visa are pretty similar—the main difference is that with a K-1 visa, it’s your bride who gets it (you’ll need to marry after that), and with a CR-1 visa, it’s your wife who gets it (you need to get married before that).
- United Kingdom. In this country, there are two different types of visa, too—Marriage Visitor Visa and Family Visa. The main difference is that although the Marriage Visitor visa is cheaper, it’s only granted for 6 months, and after this period of time, the holder (bride) must return to her country and apply for a Spouse visa to return to the United Kingdom. The Spouse visa is, in turn, valid for 2.5 years and can be extended, which means a foreign bride naturalizes as a British citizen when this visa comes to an end (5 years).
- Canada. There’s no “fiancé(e)” visa in Canada, but there are certainly other options, of course. Thus, if a couple is engaged or married, they qualify for Spousal Sponsorship, and if the couple has cohabitated for more than 12 months, the bride gets her visa as a common-law partner.
Certainly, there are many more countries with different laws concerning international marriages, so some sort of research is necessary before marrying a foreign partner.
Mail order brides in different cultures
What regions to pay attention to? What is the best country to find a wife in right now? Here are some options for you.
Asian countries are well known for their awesome ladies. In fact, Asian women are incredibly caring and calm, they are probably shyer than other ladies, and they are very intelligent and well-mannered. Such countries as the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and China are certainly worth taking a look at if you’re into Asian beauty!
As for South American countries, it’s simple: Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina are the must-visit countries for every man interested in Latinas. These women are definitely worth dating: they are extremely hot, passionate, fun, interesting to talk to, and romantic.
What about European countries? Well, it’s always about Slavic countries when it comes to Europe. Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Russia. Not all these countries are 100% safe to visit at the time of writing, but they are certainly worth paying attention to. Slavic ladies are very attractive, they make perfect wives, they are loving and loyal, and they are generally more old-fashioned than Western ladies when it comes to their views on family roles.
If you want something more than Eastern Europe, pay special attention to Southern countries (hot Italian ladies or emotional Spanish girls) and Scandinavia (sexy and open-minded Swedish women as well as modern and cool Norwegian babes).
How to get a mail order bride in 2023?
Luckily, in 2023, there are many ways to meet foreign women for marriage, so let’s take a look at the most popular ones.
Mail order bride websites
The mail order bride sites are the websites where you can meet foreign brides. It’s as simple as that. They look pretty similar to international dating sites, but with one major difference: the ladies using mail order brides services are generally more marriage-minded and focused on finding a husband online. But which dating sites to use? Here are some decent options for you.
Mail order bride agencies
It’s not only about websites with mail order brides, actually. Another option you can try is mail order bride agencies.
These may look like mail order bride websites, but it’s actually a completely different thing. Thus, mail order brides agencies are (or at least they advertise themselves as) premium-level platforms with premium-level services. Mostly, it’s about safety and security—typically, such agencies do their best to protect clients’ personal and financial information, and they usually do background checks to make sure there are only real users.
Another difference is the very process. While you can chat with women to get to know them better on international dating sites, it’s not something you’re allowed to do with mail order bride agencies. With these agencies, it’s usually about choosing the women you like most from their catalogs, not about chatting with these ladies. You choose women, then you meet them, and that’s it.
Finally, there’s one more major difference: the price. Mail order brides agencies are typically much more expensive than mail order bride sites. Mostly, it’s because of the tours.
Mail order bride tours
There’s no such thing as “mail order brides tours” separated from an agency—it’s always romance/mail order bride agencies that offer such a service. However, not all agencies do it, so we decided to identify this option as a separate category.
Bride tours are tours during which you can meet several foreign women interested in international relationships. These tours are what happens after choosing the women from the catalog mentioned in the previous paragraph, actually. The tours are usually organized by the agencies which can do everything for you, from booking the hotel room to providing a translator. This, however, is not that cheap.
Tours are the main factor when it comes to the extremely high cost of the mail order brides agencies’ services. A romance tour to another country may cost you around $5,000 for a 1-week trip, which is obviously less affordable than mail order bride sites or offline dating.
Mail order brides and stereotypes
There are several stereotypes regarding Asian brides, Latin ladies, Ukrainian mail order brides, and ladies from other world countries and regions. Let’s talk about the ones that are certainly not true.
- “Uneducated.“ Some people say women who are using online dating services are not educated at all—but it’s certainly far from reality. The point is, the ladies from Eastern Europe and Asian countries are generally even more educated than women from Western countries, and the ladies from South America are at least not less educated than, say, American women. They are ambitious, intelligent, well-mannered, and smart.
- “Shy and obedient.“ This stereotype is especially common when it comes to Southeast Asian and Eastern European women—but it’s not 100% true. The point is, an average foreign woman you can meet on an online dating site would probably be a bit more traditional and shy than an average American lady from your city, but that’s it. They are well aware of gender equality, feminism, and women’s rights, but they are certainly not like American trad wives, and they surely don’t promote the 1950s lifestyle.
- “Gold-diggers.” This is probably one of the most annoying and even offensive stereotypes about mail order wives we’ve ever seen. The point is, there are obviously some gold diggers and green card diggers on any mail order brides service. That’s how it works: in every nation, there are some people whose intentions are far from pure. But we can’t say that the percentage of gold-diggers is too high on dating sites: you can meet a person interested in your money anywhere, both on Instagram, at a nightclub, or on a dating platform. What’s more, legit mail order brides websites usually have an ID verification and a professional customer service team, which lowers the chances of meeting a scammer there.
As you can see, these stereotypes are, with no exaggeration, silly, so stop believing in them.
Mail order bride success stories
The best illustration of who mail order bride wives are is the feedback from people who married those. So let’s take a look at a few success stories.
Oliver, a 45-year-old truck driver from Canada, decided to try mail order brides services in 2018 when his friend found a wife from Mexico. He, in turn, focused on European countries because he thought that women from Eastern Europe were much better when it comes to serious relationships. He met Magdalena, a 28-year-old accountant from Warsaw, Poland, in 2 weeks after the registration on the site—and in 2 months, they decided to meet in person. After that, they had a romantic vacation in Spain—and that was when Oliver proposed to her. Magdalena said yes, and they got married. Magdalena moved to Canada, and now Oliver and his wife are expecting their first child.
Benjamin had been using Latin mail order bride sites for 2 years before he met Daniela, an incredibly beautiful 22-year-old lady from Maracaibo, Venezuela. He even met several girls from Brazil and Colombia in person, but it didn’t lead anywhere. With Daniela, everything was different—from their first messages to their first date in 2021 in Rio, where they spent a fantastic weekend. A year after that, Benjamin proposed, and Daniela said “yes”—today, they’re waiting for her K-1 visa and living together in Brazil.
Ichika is a 19-year-old student from Sapporo who speaks perfect English and knows everything about Western culture. That’s why neither the cultural nor language barrier was a serious problem in her relationship with Lucas, a 34-year-old guy from San Antonio. They had been chatting on Asian Melodies for 6 months and met 3 times. Today, they continue chatting online and meeting each other every 1-2 months. They are not planning to get married yet, but it seems they’re totally satisfied with their long-distance relationship.
So, are mail order brides real, and are mail order brides legal? They surely are. There are dozens of mail order bride services where you can meet tens of thousands of foreign women interested in meeting a foreign husband—and all you need to do is choose a trusted and legit website to start chatting with them. So read the reviews, test the sites, sign up, and build your relationship with a real mail order bride online!