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Getting a bride online is a very popular service nowadays, as people are used to getting anything they want as quickly as possible. But can love also be something you can order online? There are many sites for that but still, people question mail order bride legality. To make the concept clear for you, we created an ultimate guide on brides online that will stop you from wondering “are mail order spouse illegal?” and be sure of every aspect of this issue.

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History of mail order brides

To start our sneak peek at the history of legitimate mail order brides, we need to clarify who a mail order bride is. The expression might seem a little cringy to you, just because it’s an old-fashioned name and the result of biased opinions about international relationships. 

legitimate mail order brides

Tobacco wives

The history of the first legit mail order bride dates back to 1620, a period of “tobacco wives”. That was a time when the first English settlement in America had lots of men, tobacco, land, but were lacking women. To prevent the Englishmen from marrying Indians, they chose to ‘ship’ English wives. Women were almost literally bought for 150 pounds of tobacco each (payment to the shipping company). And all the 90 women that arrived in America indeed became wives.

King’s daughters and Casket girls

From that moment the tradition only developed and later on, we saw King’s daughters, Casket Girls, and the 19th-century American frontier. Some may even argue that mail-order brides originate from European kings that had a long-lived tradition of marrying their daughters to foreign men to strengthen their political support. The princesses left home to marry a prince in a foreign country and as a rule, had no chance to see each other before marriage. But regardless of where the term actually originates from, the concept of mail order brides is still popular even in the 21st century.

In modern society, you won’t surprise anyone with an international marriage as they are legal and quite common. But to understand how and how it’s possible that they are legally allowed you need to understand what makes it so. And we are here to explain!

The first thing we want to discuss is the fact that international marriages have their legal peculiarities, and depending on the laws of your home country and your bride’s the situation may vary. But generally, all of the laws aim to protect both parties of the union and avoid immigration fraud. Almost all developed countries have some type of visa and supporting laws to allow legal marriage. That makes marriage happen and answers your question are mail order brides legal.

are mail order spouse illegal

But are mail order spouse illegal sometimes? And the answer to that is yes. Here are the cases when your marriage can be illegal:

  • You or your fiancee is currently married
  • Any of you are not yet of legal age
  • There is no mutual consent for marriage
  • Your bride comes to your country not to marry you but to get a green card

These are the most common things that can make mail order brides illegal. But also note that in most cases if both in the couple are really in love and have the intention to marry they can do it almost anywhere in the world. But you should also note that a spouse and/or her children aren’t guaranteed an immigration visa or residence based on marriage. They may be qualified to apply for them but you need to check the particular laws of your countries.

Firstly, mail-order brides are legal because love should not have boundaries and we mustn’t be forbidden to be with a person we love. And the Hague Marriage Convention is the one that regulates all the international marriage laws. Regardless of where you decide to get married, you’ll need to obey the marriage laws of that country. Article 9 of the Convention states that a valid marriage that was created lawfully in one country subsequently becomes valid in other countries that sign the Convention. Each country has a process of recognition of marriage but generally, almost all countries in the world recognize international unions that were entered willingly and according to the law.

are mail order brides legal

Are mail order brides illegal in the USA?

If you wonder are mail order brides illegal particularly in the US, we can instantly assure you that they aren’t. Mail order brides and international/intercultural marriage are legal in the United States. It’s not only legal but really common, no wonder why the country is sometimes referred to as ‘Melting Pot’. 

The whole process is covered by The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA), family, and immigration laws. You can marry a foreign bride in the US if:

  • You are a citizen
  • You obtain a K1 fiance visa

Or you can also get a K-3 visa if you are already married in your wife’s country and you want to sponsor her green card.

are mail order wives legal

Are legitimate mail order brides safe?

The safety of getting a bride overseas is one of the biggest concerns when people are looking for a reliable mail order brides site. But safety concerns are not only a worry of Western men looking for a wife abroad, but also foreign women are at risk traveling from home country to unknown environment and people. Each country cares about its citizens and guarantees protection under the law for both parts of the union. For example, in the  US there are several federal laws:

  1. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  2. The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)

Under these laws, the couple undergoes marriage brokers checks and gathering other important personal information, to avoid scamming, catfishing and protect legally from any sort of abuse and home violence. The process may appear invasive, as even women that are citizens in the US marrying the fellow citizen won’t get access to such information.

In what countries are mail order spouse illegal?

Even though we live in the 21st century, you still can’t marry a person from some parts of the world: some countries don’t allow or recognize an international marriage. The reason for that is mainly strict religious beliefs that don’t allow interfaith unions. And as in these countries laws and religion are intertwined, you can’t legally marry a woman from one of them. For example, Israeli Jews oppose mixed relationships, and Islamic law in the Muslim countries states almost the same. But there is an exception to Islamic law if your fiance is in the People of the Book, meaning Christian or Jew, such union is allowed. And a Jew can also marry a non-Jew but only outside Israel or if a partner agrees to convert. 

mail order bride legality

Websites with legit mail order brides

Being protected by law is great, but all will agree that it’s best not to get into the situations where you need to use it. Which makes the choice of the dating site extremely important. A variety of international and specialized sites offer to connect to beautiful foreign women that are looking for a husband abroad. But you need to pay attention to the reliability of the platform you choose. Let’s see how you can do it.

How to check if a site and a mail order bride is legit?

You should only become a member of the dating site if you are sure that it’s secured and legit. Here are the ways you can check it:

  1. Read professional reviews made by the dating experts and analysts
  2. Check out trusted sites’ recommendations
  3. Look for real user feedback
  4. See if the site is well-developed and not bugging
  5. Check out if there is some sort of verification for members
  6. Analyze membership base and quality of profiles and if there are any repetitions
  7. Check if a person’s photos are used anywhere else
  8. Explore member safety policies
  9. See if there are refunds in case of a scam
  10.  Check out if the payment gateways are secured and if billing is clear

These are the main things you can do to increase your chances of picking a safe and comfortable place for dating.


Now the answer is clear—marriage to mail order brides is legal in all Western countries! It might not be the easiest thing and involves a lot of documentation, but the marriage can happen lawfully. Real love and family life get tough sometimes, but finding your soulmate and building a happy family together is definitely worth it. Use modern technologies to your advantage and get a foreign bride legally.


Can you still buy mail order brides?

No, you can’t buy an actual woman. But as by buying a bride many understand getting a foreign bride, then yes, you absolutely can!

In the earliest days of the US, when did the legality of mail-order brides become legal?

Mail order bride marriages occurred in the US in the 1880s and were legal. But IMBRA as a part of VAWA was signed only in 2006.

Are Russian mail order brides legal?

Yes. You can legally marry a Russian bride in the US with a K1 visa. Or you can marry in Russia and apply for a K3 visa.

Are mail order bride sites legal?

Yes, the majority of the mail order bride sites are legal. They just offer a safe and interesting place for dating and various related services.

How legal are mail order brides?

Mail order brides are completely legal, as single women are just looking for a partner abroad. And you can marry legally in almost all countries in the world.

Barrett Connell
I'm Barrett Connell and I know everything about building a successful relationship with a perfect woman. I started as a journalist but a little later I became a dating coach. I've helped thousands of single men find their soulmates online and in real life. My book, posts, and reviews assist guys in their romantic journeys.