Reviewed By: Maria Elizabeth
22 min read

The number of marriages with mail order brides in the United States has increased from 6,000 in 1999 to about 15,000 marriages in 2010. In 2020, the number dropped because of COVID, but the fact is foreign brides still marry more and more Americans, and mail order bride services are becoming increasingly popular.

Though marrying foreign women is pretty common, men who consider the idea of finding a wife abroad have a lot of questions about the costs, legal aspects, ladies’ motivation, the history of mail order brides, etc.

We’ll discuss all this in our in-depth guide.

Top mail-order brides & dating websites

There are no bride catalogs, but the websites where one can legally find a foreign bride are real. Most such websites connect men with women from a particular region or country, and all you have to do is choose.

Our dating site expert, Erika Hartman, has already selected the best international platforms that can help you meet foreign singles from any part of the world, so take a look and decide which is likely to work best for you. 

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Who is a mail order bride? Mail order bride meaning explained

A mail order bride is a woman looking for a foreign husband and is 100% ready to start a family in the near future, no more and no less than that.

According to studies, the main thing that distinguishes mail order brides from women who are just looking for a man is that they want to expand their pool of potential partners across the borders—so, as you can see, their main motivation has nothing to do with money or immigration alone.

So, there are no mail order brides for sale—the modern online dating industry, as well as its mail order bride segment, rather works for people seeking a soulmate than connecting men looking for a girl from a less developed country who’d agree to marry them and women seeking a better life.

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What are mail order brides services?

Let’s talk about the mail order bride services in a bit more detail. In most cases, these are online dating services provided by niche mail order brides websites or regular online dating sites that accept female members from top mail order bride countries and men from Western countries.

Again, it has nothing to do with any kind of financial compensation—the only thing a man pays for is his communication, i.e., messaging, video calls, phone calls, etc. They are aimed at helping singles get closer online and start authentic relationships.

The rest depends on the couple, and though some companies arrange meetings in real life, in most cases, a mail order bride and her future husband arrange independent trips to meet offline and decide whether they are ready to take the next step and get married.

How do mail order brides services work?

How can a man get started and meet his final goal? Here’s the scheme that works for most men looking for mail order brides:

Doing research about mail order brides from different countries

Know what you want, and you’ll get exactly what you were dreaming of. Girls from Asian countries are not like Russian women, and Latin ladies are different from ladies from Eastern European countries. Learn more about the cultures and national characteristics to find out where you can meet the right woman.

Joining a mail order bride website

Choosing a mail order bride service or a dating site is crucially important. It must have at least a few thousand women looking for marriage with a foreign man (real women, of course), a good selection of features, and a robust security system. It must meet all your requirements and expectations—that’s how you can have a good online dating experience and meet your mail order bride.

Communication with foreign mail order brides, and then choosing one girlfriend

A man looking for a future wife usually approaches many ladies using various features (mails, chat, video chat, call service, etc.) to find a special woman. Usually, guys who believe they’ve already found their future mail order spouses stay on the website at least for a few months to get closer and move on to the next step.

Meeting in real life and marriage

Online dating can’t last forever, and a guy and his foreign mail order bride usually schedule a real date at a certain stage and meet in person to make sure they both made the right choice. If everything goes right, a couple meets a few more times and gets married (in most cases, couples prefer to get married in the US after the mail order bride gets a K-1 visa).

History of mail order brides

Everyone going to find a bride online should learn more about the mail order bride history—that’s just the easiest way to get rid of stereotypical thoughts and misconceptions.

So, here is a brief overview of significant changes in the mail order bride industry that can help you understand how it started, how it evolved, and how it is going.

  • In the 1600s, the Virginia company sponsored the emigration of the very first mail order brides in history to meet the needs of male settlers who couldn’t start a family just because there were no women. Later, 800 women emigrated to the New France colony with the same goal—to marry an American settler. At that time, men and companies really could buy mail order brides—every woman received a reward for migration and marrying an American settler.
  • In the early 1900s, there were the so-called “picture brides“—women living in other countries whose introduction to men came through an exchange of pictures in the mail. The term itself originates from the Japanese phrase shashin kekkon—the “photo marriage.”
  • In the late 1900s, more and more marriage agencies entered the dating market and found foreign women (mostly in Asia) who wanted to meet and marry American men and men from other Western countries. There was a time when a man could really open a mail order brides catalog and choose someone he’d like to communicate with and then marry.
  • In the 2000s, agencies went online and transformed into dating websites with mail order brides. The government decided to regulate such a business activity and protect mail order brides coming to the US by developing the IMBRA Act.
  • In the 2010s, the industry finally evolved into the market we have now. Everyone who’s using a mail order brides service (whether a mail order bride agency or a website) is using the dating service as it is. People meet online, and if they have similar relationship goals and really match each other, get married.

So, though there was a time when men could buy a wife, now, it’s rather about finding love than making an arrangement. 

The newest history: Challenges and opportunities

Let’s talk about modernity in more detail. Since the 2010s, the industry has changed a lot and transformed into what it is today. Of course, a man still can’t buy a wife online, but the business must react to the global trends. 

❤️ Transformation after the pandemic

Not so long ago, a man could buy a romance tour to all the top countries with foreign brides. For example, one could order a tour to meet Ukrainian mail order brides, go to the country, and attend multiple dates (if it’s an individual tour) or events and parties (if it’s a group tour). 

The pandemic, however, changed the rules of the game. Such trips were pricey even before COVID, and in 2022 they cost a fortune if someone wanted to visit, for example, Asia (tickets to China cost around $6,000 even when the borders finally got opened again). 

A lot of countries just closed their borders or made people stay in a hotel for 2 weeks after arrival, which also didn’t make things easier. All of this created a considerable shift otwards online dating, and the mail order bride industry followed suit like all other niches.  

❤️ More personal freedom

In the beginning of the 21st century, the market was pretty much focused on the “trending” mail order bride countries. These were a few Asian countries, and a lot of men were supposed to meet Filipina mail order brides or girls from Thailand. 

Dating Eastern European women was mainstream, too, so most searched for love in Russia. In Latin America, the top countries were Brazil, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia. Now, the number of options is nearly endless. 

You can search for brides, for example, from Albania on a niche European online dating site. The same goes for using services—a member has a lot of freedom, multiple features to choose from, and the chance to develop their own dating strategy easily. 

❤️ Tinder-like websites to meet mail-order brides

Older platforms with real mail order brides worked more or less the same, and the typical platform could look like a mail order bride catalog to some extent. Modern websites are easier to use, and more and more platforms look as if they were inspired by Tinder and similar mainstream dating apps. Yes, there are more advanced communication features, but everyone who’s ever used a dating app will understand how the system works. 

Mail order bride statistics 

Mail order bride statistics

Another way to understand how this market works and who foreign brides are is to analyze statistics, and we’ve collected some figures for you: 

  1. Rapid development of IT technology took the industry to a new level and increased the total number of mail order bride marriages, which is over 16,500 yearly in the United States alone. 
  2. Around 1 in 5 new relationships and 1 in 6 marriages occurred between international partners using an online dating service in 2012, and now the number of relationships started online is likely to be even higher. 
  3. The age difference between mail order brides and their foreign husbands ranges from 2 to 10 years, and men are usually older. In general, age difference in such marriages is seen as totally acceptable. 
  4. 20% of mail order brides are aged 16-20, 41% are aged 21-25, 24% are aged 26-30, 11% are aged 31-35, while only 4% are older than 35. 
  5. The average success rate of mail order bride marriages is around 80%. Surprisingly, the divorce rate is 13% lower compared to all other marriages in the United States. 

So, these are the facts, and they show that the main reason why the mail order bride industry is still here is that it’s actually more successful than many people think.

Why women become mail order brides

So, a few centuries and even a few decades ago, mail order brides were driven mostly by financial concerns and the desire for stability. But what about a modern mail order wife? What are her goals? 

Of course, it would be wrong to generalize all intentions and motivations. Still, no matter if you ask Eastern European women, Asian brides, or Latin women about the things that made them look for foreign husbands, she’ll like to mention one or a few things from the list below:

  • Strong motivation to start a family in the near future. The primary reason why foreign women start looking for husbands on mail order brides websites is more than simple
  • Desire to avoid bad scenarios common in their countries. Poverty, adultery, and alcohol abuse often are mentioned as the most frequent reasons for divorce in a lot of places worldwide, including the countries of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Some women view finding a foreign husband as an opportunity to avoid common problems and have a happy marriage.
  • Seeking stability for their children. It would be wrong to claim that women don’t think about economic, social, and political stability. They want to raise children with a successful and reliable husband in a safe environment with lots of opportunities, and this desire is absolutely natural.
  • Dream of meeting another kind of man. A lot of mail order girlfriends and wives note the main reason why they started dating or married a foreigner was the intention to find a more reliable, loving, and respectful husband after a divorce or breakup.
  • Impact of Western culture. Sometimes, cultural differences aren’t seen as something bad. That’s often the case when it comes to mail order brides who like another culture or Western culture at large and want to become a part of it. 
  • Adventurousness and curiosity. Mail order marriages take place that often in part because women in many different cultures are adventurous enough to change their lives completely. Again, it’s interconnected with some or even all of the above-listed reasons. These personality characteristics help women make a decision and take the first step.

So, though the motivation of mail-order wives in different countries varies, in 90% of cases, it’s related to local social problems and previous personal relationship experiences.

What are the most popular mail order brides countries?

As we’ve noted before, the first step a man looking for a legit mail order bride should take is to choose a place where he’s likely to meet the right woman. But what are the options?

Here are the regions with the largest number of mail order wives:

  • Europe—Poland, Spain, Romania, Lithuania, Hungary
  • Asia—The Philippines, Thailand, China, Vietnam
  • Eastern Europe—Ukraine, Belarus, Russia
  • Latin countries—Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela

Most mail order bride services provide an opportunity to meet ladies from one of these regions, so the only way to make the right choice is to learn more about European, Latin, and Asian mail order brides. 

Explore main countries with mail-order brides


Europe with mail order wives
Top countries for dating Poland, Hungary, Romania
Average marriage age 30
Approximate number of visas issued yearly3,000
Divorce rate 25%
Best site to meet European womenSofiaDate

Though Eastern Europe is mostly known as the best place on the continent to meet a bride, you shouldn’t underestimate the other parts of the region. Women in different countries, from Sweden to Hungary, are also marrying foreigners.

In particular, the number of immigrants to the US alone has reached over 3,000 people, all applying for a K-1 fiance(e) visa. 

The number of online daters is growing yearly and has already reached 87 million, so considering the open-mindedness of local women, you can easily meet them on international dating sites.

Most men meet their perfect European matches in Poland, Hungary, and Romania, but some men prefer Scandinavia and Southwestern Europe, in particular, Spain.

Slavic countries 

Slavic countries bride
Top countries for dating Ukraine, Belarus, Russia
Average marriage age 27
Approximate number of visas issued yearly2,000
Divorce rate 19%
Best site to meet Slavic womenSofiaDate

When it comes to this continent, most still prefer to search for love in its Eastern parts—Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. Studies confirm that after the USSR collapsed, marriage migration that had never been possible before began to rise, and it seems that though the 90s are long gone, the trend isn’t getting any weaker. 

This is explained by particular reasons. The first thing that comes into mind is the beauty of Slavic women, but for many men, it’s also about a perfect mix of different values and personality traits.

It’s the desire to marry young, strong family values, and the ability to reconcile family life and work perfectly. Russia remains a leading country when it comes to the number of mail-order brides, but the number of immigrants from Belarus and Ukraine is also steadily high. 

Latin America

Latin America with mail order wives
Top countries for dating Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico
Average marriage age 29
Approximate number of visas issued yearly7,000
Divorce rate 21%
Best site to meet Latin womenLatiDate

Latin women are also the stars of the international dating market. The reasons why men choose them are obvious—in this part of the world, they can find everything, from natural beauty to the strongest family values. 

Local ladies, in turn, immigrate for other reasons, from the desire to avoid the negative impact of machismo culture on a relationship to natural adventurousness and curiosity. By the way, gender imbalance matters, too. 

For example, in Mexico, women outnumber men by almost 3 million. In Brazil, the gap is smaller, but it still exists. Intermarriage often becomes a win-win for both foreign men and Latin ladies, and most importantly, such marriages usually last. 


Asia with mail order wives
Top countries for dating The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
Average marriage age 27
Approximate number of visas issued yearly15,000
Divorce rate 17%
Best site to meet Asian womenSakuraDate

Asia is very diverse, and we don’t want to generalize things. In Vietnam, for instance, ladies are more friendly and sociable. In Thailand, they are caring. In the Philippines, the women are loyal. In China, both modern and traditional girls are very good at reconciling their family life and career.

These are generalizations, of course, but obviously, Asian brides have always been and will remain popular in the international online dating market. 

A lot of facts would surprise you, by the way. For example, in Thailand, there are more educated women than men, and many of them fail to find an equal partner and decide to intermarry.

For Filipinas, marriage is an important aspect of social fulfillment, and they often immigrate to get married rather than get married to immigrate.

Anyway, there are still tens of thousands of Asian brides looking for love abroad and multiple sites specializing in connecting men with women from this particular region. 

Qualities that mail order brides typically look for in a man

So, though people often call overseas girls for dating and marriage “ladies for sale,” it does not mean that a guy can buy a bride online. He still needs to attract her—having an American passport isn’t enough to make a modern mail-order bride fall in love. If so, what is?

Here are a few of the most important things overseas brides are likely to look for:

  • Respect. You should be a real gentleman—lots of these women believe that men are not good enough, so as an American man, you’ll have to be respectful and caring.
  • Reliability. Your financial situation is not too important, but it would be nice if you had a solid career and job, of course. Foreign girls are rather seeking stability and a man they can fully rely on.
  • Strong desire to start a family. Show her you’re serious about your relationship—she’ll definitely appreciate that.
  • Manners. Forget dirty talk and never act like you can buy her—show you care about her personality and be nice. That’s even more important than all the above-mentioned things.
  • Support. Asian mail order brides, as well as Latin women and girls from different parts of Europe, are ready to immigrate to get married because they believe that they can find a man who will really support them. It’s not exactly about financial support, it’s rather about maturity and readiness to be with your partner in difficult situations, too. 
  • Compatibility and shared values. That’s the important point, and it contradicts the very idea that someone can order a wife online. Women on any niche online dating site are looking for a person who shares their values and views of life. They know that only in this case, marriage will actually work. 
  • Emotional and physical security. That’s what IMBRA and VAWA acts are about. Women on mail order bride websites are searching for men they can feel safe with, and they usually don’t miss the red flags. 

Age and appearance matter less than all that we listed above. Just keep information about the priorities of a foreign bride in mind when using the mail-order bride service, and you’re likely to succeed much faster than men who don’t follow these simple unwritten rules.

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Legalities and regulations

Mail order marriages take place all over the world, which means they’re perfectly legal. However, they’re legal for a reason. As we’ve noted previously, men and modern foreign brides build authentic relationships, which aren’t prosecuted and can’t be considered illegal. Still, there are some details you should be aware of. 


First of all, there’s a big difference between marriage agencies and marriage brokers that provide other kinds of services. If you are their customer, you’ll need to provide them with information on your criminal records, and this information must be shared with foreign brides as required by the IMBRA act.


If you meet a bride on a dating site (any dating site, including a mail order bride website), there’ll be no specific requirements, but when a bride applies for a visa, you’ll need to prove that your relationship is authentic and that you’ve met in person within the last two years. As for the rest, the procedure is pretty standard—you collect documents, file applications, and wait until they are approved.  

How much do mail order brides cost?

As there are no such things as a mail order bride catalog, and buying a wife is no longer possible (which definitely is a positive change), every man who’s going to search for a foreign bride online needs to estimate the expenses. It’s not that easy, though. 

The thing is, there are very few agencies that would provide services on a turnkey basis, so there are no fixed costs.

The final sum of money you’ll spend on getting a bride will depend on multiple factors, the most important of which are: 

  1. Your location, the location of a bride, and the distance between you.
  2. The policy of the mail order bride site you’re going to use. 
  3. Your online dating strategy. 
  4. The place where you’re going to meet your mail order bride. 
  5. The number of trips you take before you propose. 
  6. Visa expenditures. 
  7. Your personal choices when it comes to gifts, weddings, romantic gestures, etc.

Again, it proves everything is a bit more complex than just making a decision to order a bride online. Some may argue that if so many factors must be considered, estimating the total cost is nearly impossible. It’s not exactly true.

Below, we’re going to explain how exactly all these things affect the price and provide some real figures that can be used to estimate the cost in each particular case.  

How much do mail order brides cost

Breakdown of expenses & estimated prices 

So, let’s talk about the expenditures in more detail so you can develop a good strategy and cut costs. 

💻 Online dating services

How to get a mail order bride online? Mail-order bride sites are now considered the most effective for foreign brides and men who’d like to meet, date, and marry them.

However, such platforms rarely offer premium membership plans—users buy credits that work as virtual currency, and there’s a different price for every premium feature.

In this case, a lot will depend on the user. Still, most men spend around $100 a month on such websites. Again, pay special attention to the site’s pricing policy. It must be completely transparent. Spend a month on the site, estimate the total cost, improve your strategy if necessary, and make further estimations. 

✈️ Location and trips: The cost of dates in real life

A girl will need to get a K-1 visa, and it’s possible only if you meet in real life. Most guys prefer to go to a girl’s country, and they do it at least twice and the cost largely depends on the location—for example, if you go to the Philippines, you’ll hardly spend more than $2,000 on a trip, considering that tickets will cost $1,000.

But if you go to China or South Korea (which is much more expensive), you can spend twice as much in the best-case scenario. So, to find out the actual cost, choose the country and find the prices for each in the guides on our website.

Note that a couple may also consider meeting in a third country if going to a bride’s home country is too expensive. 

📅 The time factor 

Generally speaking, the more time you need to find a bride, the longer you are dating, the more times you go to a bride’s country, the more you’ll spend. That’s why we emphasize the importance of developing a good dating strategy and making conscious choices rather than contacting random ladies on a dating site. 

If you find the right person in a short period of time, build an emotional connection online, meet in real life a few times, and then propose, you’ll spend much less than a man who is rather emotional than rational. 

📝 Visas 

Usually, it’s a man who covers such expenses, but it’s up to the couple. Most women apply for a K-1 visa (if you decide to get married in the United States; if you’re going to marry in a bride’s country, your bride will then need a foreign relative visa), and it costs around $1,200. 

❤️ Spending on romance 

In this case, it’s totally up to the man. We’re not trying to say that every mail-order bride you meet online will expect you to shower her with gifts, but it’s usually a part of any relationship. 

Also, the types of wedding matters. Some couples prefer to pay only for a wedding license, which costs around $50 on average, and a dinner at a nice restaurant, while some have a $30,000 wedding. Just consider this when planning your budget. 

Approximate costs for different regions

So, how much do mail order brides cost? As you can see, it mostly depends on the decisions you make, from the choice of country to your dating strategy. 

Buying a wife is no longer possible, but you can still estimate the costs, and here are some figures you can use. 

Online dating services (a year)2 two-week trips (accommodation, entertainment, meals & transportation included)2 round trip flightsVisaGifts & WeddingTotal average cost (not including wedding)
Eastern Europe (Slavic countries)$1,200$1,800-$3,600$1,600-$2,400$1,200$100-$30,000$5,900- $8,500
Latin America$1,200$800-$2,000$1,800-$4,000$1,200$100-$30,000$5,100-$8,500

The gap between prices is pretty large, but again, it depends on where your partner is from, for example, Poland or the United Kingdom. That will affect the price greatly, and though a man can’t find a bride to order, he can get a “cheaper” or a “more expensive” bride. 

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How much did other men spend? 

man found a mail order bride

“I’ve spent a lot before I found a mail order bride site that really works. It took $2,000 or more until I met real brides and could spend money on actual communication with them. That cost me just a few hundred bucks, and soon I met my now-wife. She’s from Vietnam, and I went there four times, spending around $10,000 in total on trips and gifts, which were optional.

Regardless of what people were saying, my wife wasn’t money-hungry. All in all, we spent around $3,000 more on visas and stuff, and her tickets cost me $2,000 more.

I believe I spent $20,000-$25,000 in total, but I didn’t just make a one-time payment. I spent this money over the course of two years until my wife finally immigrated. Btw, no money was spent on the wedding. We decided to get a mortgage instead.”

find bride from Dominican Republic

“If you’re going to intermarry, you should get ready for some serious spending. First, it’s the site. They are expensive, I know that from my own experience. At first, I spent around $200 a month until I got wiser and started watching my credits.

That helped me cut costs so I started to spend $100 monthly until I met my GF. She’s from the Dominican Republic, and so the country is just amazing and I now spend my vacations there, but trips are expensive. I’m in love, and I’m going to propose, and frankly, not only because I met my soulmate (I really did) but also because living in two countries isn’t wise.

She said she’ll immigrate if necessary, so I’m pretty sure we’ll get married in the US. It cost me around $10,000 in total, and though I have no regrets, those who’re saying getting a foreign bride is cheap are deeply wrong.”

How to find a foreign bride?

How to find a foreign bride

Everyone can find legitimate mail order brides online—there are a few simple steps to follow to succeed.

  1. Choose between multiple websites. There are lots of international dating sites, but not all of them are trustworthy. Moreover, not all of them can connect you with ladies from a particular country. For example, if you’re looking for Russian brides, you need to find at least 3 best mail order bride sites that have more singles from this very country and then learn more about their features to choose the best of the existing options.
  2. Creating a profile. Make it as detailed as possible—it improves your chances of meeting the right woman faster and for a lower price. Some men ignore this step, get less attention from ladies seeking severe relationships (they just think if a guy doesn’t have a photo and doesn’t write anything about himself, he’s not that motivated), and spend more time looking for a perfect match.
  3. Upgrading to premium. People say there are free mail order brides, and basically, that’s true. However, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan or buy some credits to be able to use special features and communicate with ladies.
  4. Using search and matching services. On most good niche mail order bride websites, members can look for the best matches by applying various filters and getting intelligent games. Such features can help narrow the search and meet your future wife much faster.
  5. Starting a long-distance relationship. If it seems you’ve already met a remarkable woman, get to know her better and enjoy the online romance (there are some special services like gift delivery, video chat, etc., that make communication more fun and a bit more romantic), but don’t delay your date in real life for too long.

People keep asking one question over and over again. Are mail order brides real? Yes, they are. You only need to know how to find them. 

Success stories

happy couple with asian wife
David, 50

“I joined one of the mail order bride sites without any serious expectations. To be honest, that seemed to be my last resort after my last relationship that turned out to be a complete disaster. Again.

I’m happy I was curious and desperate enough to give it a try—I met my future wife, she’s from Thailand, and I just couldn’t even imagine how caring and loving a woman can be.

People warned me about cultural differences and said she was too hot for me. Well, we’ve been married for more than 7 years, the happiest 7 years of my life.”

happy couple with latina wife
George, 41

“I met a girl from Colombia recently, and I think it will finally become my first successful relationship case. She’s incredibly smart and beautiful, and we spend all evenings chatting.

No awkward pauses, no stupid conversations about things that don’t matter—I really believe I found the right woman.

I saw her only in video chat, but we’ve already scheduled a date, and I’m going to Colombia next month. Great country to visit, and I hope it’s also a great country to propose to a woman! I think I won’t hesitate, I just need to see her, make sure she’s the one, and well, why wait?”

Alternatives to mail order brides and mail order bride sites

Finding beautiful mail order brides is an option for many men, but not for all. If you still have doubts or just would like to know the alternatives, here are some other ways to meet foreign women, not through niche international dating sites: 

  • Mainstream sites & apps. If you’d like to find a perfect Internet bride on the web but don’t want to pay for messaging and other communication features, you can join one of the platforms where interaction with others is free and unlimited. Finding a foreign girl who’d agree to start a long-distance relationship first will be harder, but if you’re lucky, you’ll succeed. 
  • National events in your country. You can search for single women from a chosen country right in your home city, especially if it’s large and diverse. There are multiple national events taking place from time to time, and some are free to visit. 
  • Social media & networking platforms. A single man can also search for matches on Instagram or Facebook. After all, there are some search filters, and you can really learn a lot about a person before you even say hi. 

These are the most effective and not-too-expensive solutions. Immigration or long-term trips are always an option, but obviously, they will work only for a small group of people. 

Criticism and controversies surrounding mail-order brides

The mail-order bride industry is considered to be at least controversial, and there is a reason for that. Criticism and concerns surrounding this business are mostly related to safety reasons, and the dangers are different for men using mail-order bride services and mail-order brides themselves.

Potential risks and challenges for men

The main danger for men is the risk of getting scammed. The good news is that there are a few common scenarios—scammers don’t change their schemes that frequently, and if you are aware of how they work, you’ll have a better chance to protect yourself. 

Mail-order bride scams that go nowhere but to disappointment ✍🏽

The first type of scam is the scam where a groom never sees his bride in real life. The U.S. State Department categorizes it as a “Boris and Natasha” scam. The scheme is simple—a man believes he’s met a beautiful woman, and they start “dating” online, but “Natasha” needs money to buy a plane ticket and finally come to see her foreign groom. 

Once the money is sent, the bride disappears, and the victim goes to the police station. Police then discover that “Natasha” is non-existent, and in the best-case scenario, they find “Boris” who pretended to be her. Unfortunately, there are a lot of such stories, and victims rarely get any kind of compensation because the scammer is outside the United States. 

Sometimes, it’s even simpler. The dating site itself may be fake. In this case, a man just pays for multiple conversations that go nowhere, buys gifts, and, in the end, hears nothing but excuses not to meet in real life. Such conversations can even be auto-generated, or there may be another “Boris” communicating with you. He’ll want things to move fast, as he needs you to get emotionally attached to keep paying. 

Mail-order bride scams that result in a real marriage & then a heartbreak ✍🏽

This is an even more dangerous type of fraud. A scammer who is a real woman can get much more money from a man, and the trauma will be more serious. 

The thing is, some women still date men for green cards and money. There’s a story of a Maryland professor who’d been courting a Russian woman for three years, and her behavior changed two weeks after the wedding. They separated soon, as everything she cared about was money. 

The marriage of another man, 69-year-old Jerry Mentzel, lasted just two weeks, and “dating” his 24-year-old Moroccan girlfriend cost him $100,000. The bride just left when she got what she needed and moved to another country. 

In both cases, men trusted the wrong people. No one is safe in this case, and the only thing that a man can do is to use a more rational approach. Marrying someone, even if it’s a mail-order bride, makes sense only if you’re really sure you two are emotionally close and that your relationship isn’t based on the gifts you give. 

Potential risks and challenges for mail-order brides

Foreign women who are looking for husbands overseas face risks, too. They are mostly related to physical and emotional abuse. The thing is, a foreign woman who migrates to another country often becomes fully dependent on her husband, and that may result in violent behavior. 

That’s why the government has passed IMBRA and VAWA acts. Now, international marriage brokers can’t hide any important information from the bride who’s going to enter the country to get married, in particular, the groom’s criminal records.

Moreover, she’ll be able to stay in the country even if she divorces her husband because of his behavior and attitude. 

Common signs of mail-order bride scams

In 2022, singles lost over $1.3 billion to romance scams. You can never be too cautious even if you’re looking for local matches on a mainstream app, let alone international dating sites and mail-order bride platforms.

The good news is there are certain red flags, and if you spot them at the right moment, you’ll be able to avoid negative consequences, both financial and emotional. 

  • Profiles with unrealistic photos & low-effort profiles. There must be enough information, and it must look authentic. We’d recommend checking photos using free tools, in particular, Google Search by Image, to check photos. Overly attractive pictures aren’t a good sign, but there are some agencies that pay for professional photos of their female members. 
  • Any requests for money. We’ve already mentioned how such stories end. If you think that, in your case, it’s clearly an exception to the rule, it isn’t. Don’t pay for anything for a bride, even if it’s English classes, and if you want to meet her, come to her country. 
  • Inconsistent or evasive communication. Don’t ignore weirdnesses and contradictions; pay a lot of attention to how a person communicates with you, and even if a tiny thing seems wrong, move on. 
  • Refusal to provide personal information. A real woman doesn’t need to hide it from her boyfriend, so it’s definitely a red flag. 
  • Pressure to make quick decisions. Scammers want things to move really fast. They don’t want you to think about what’s going on carefully. They say words of love much sooner than any real woman would say them. That’s a bad sign.
  • Overwhelming similar messages from women. If you receive lots of messages from women right after you sign up, and if they seem weird or auto-generated, that’s actually a good reason to leave this website.

Remember these simple rules and follow them no matter what. In this case, you’ll be able to avoid all the dangers that online daters usually face. 


Erika Hartman
Erika Hartman

All in all, the mail order bride industry is still going strong, and it doesn’t seem that the trend of searching for an online bride will decrease in the near future. Mail order marriages happen and last, and surprisingly, people from different parts of the world often find a perfect match who’s everything they were looking for. 


Generally speaking, mail order brides are a great option for those looking for a foreign wife. They can be a great way to meet someone new. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before choosing this route.


First, be sure to research the mail order bride industry thoroughly. There are a lot of scams out there, in particular, if you see a site that offers you to buy a bride, it’s definitely a fraud. Second, make sure that you are comfortable with the process. Mail order brides can take a while to get to you, so be patient.


Remember that there are rules to follow and that it will work if you’re dedicated enough and always keep in mind that online brides are not who they were centuries ago. They’re looking for someone compatible, and though the search takes some time and effort, if they succeed, it’s beneficial for both partners. 


Why you should try

Because you are looking for real mail order bride sites we have the best of them here. Our experts do their best to find and test websites that will never disappoint you.

Taking into account the fact that they are real professionals who spend hours testing and reviewing each of them, we believe that 100% of the legit bride sites you’ll find here are worth your attention. We don’t add bad and scam websites, and we are very good at sorting the good from the bad—these are the two main reasons why you should work with us.

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Now, it’s easier than ever before—so you don’t have to waste your time anymore. Choose the site, sign up, and find a gorgeous foreign lady!

Erika Hartman
Meet Erika Hartman—our chief author, successful mindset & life coach, and an international dating enthusiast. She specializes in developing effective strategies that help cope with problematic behaviors in daily life and intercultural relationships.

Erika believes that opening horizons to something new is what we all should strive for, and she uses her deep expertise, statistics, and recent study results to help our website visitors do it easily.
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