Are International Mail Order Brides Illegal? Regulations In The UK, US & Canada
The online dating industry is growing, and the mail order bride business remains one of the most popular and therefore the most profitable segments of the market. However, some aspects related to this business are a bit confusing. In particular, it is not clear if governments regulate it, and if so, how they do it. So, are mail order brides legal or illegal in the US, UK, and Canada? If they are illegal, why do governments allow citizens to marry these women? Are there any restrictions? You’ll find all the answers below.
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Why are international mail order brides legal?
Obviously, they are legal in most countries of the world. But why? Isn’t it offensive, immoral, just wrong? No, it’s not. The thing is calling a foreign wife a mail order bride is just a stretch. People used to use this term to describe girls who were literally bought and delivered to a man’s doorstep (yes, this really happened a few decades ago) and they keep using it despite the meaning has drastically changed.
Nowadays, it is nothing but an overseas matchmaking service. There is nothing unlawful about dating and getting married, and that’s exactly what we have here. A girl somewhere abroad is looking for a husband. A guy is looking for a foreign bride. They meet on a dating site, get closer, talk, keep in touch, start a long-distant relationship and then they can decide to get married. As you can see, no one buys anyone, no one has sex for money or privileges or green card, which is why it is legal.
Are international mail order brides illegal in the U.S.?
Are you about to use an online dating site but have a question: are mail order spouses illegal? The short answer is: they are entirely legal. The mail order brides industry is currently on its rise, and there are many regulations that ensure the safety of all people engaged in it. For example, IMBRA and VAWA are the regulations on which all reliable mail order brides sites should be based. They protect women who arrive in the US as mail order brides and require that men to whom the ladies arrive are verified to make sure they won’t hurt foreign wives.
Is mail order bride legal, and can I safely communicate with women online? Yes, you can because they’re completely legal in the US. Foreign brides aren’t women for sale, and this industry has nothing to do with human trafficking. Buying a mail order bride actually means paying the dating agency for its services. Besides, there’s a number of laws and rules regulating the mail order brides industry in the US.
Further, we’ll explain the mail order bride legality more in-depth, tell you about the documents required to bring your fiance to the US, and explain the steps you need to take to get a foreign woman for marriage.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
A few decades ago, brides faced a serious problem. Their future husbands seemed well-mannered, kind, and just charming before girls married them. After they found out that a man was not that good, they couldn’t even return home or stay in the US because they couldn’t apply for a green card without their husbands. That was a dead end. That’s why the government created this act — it was supposed to turn the trap into new opportunities for women.
Now ladies who turned out to be victims of domestic violence can apply for green cards independently. This actually had a positive impact on the industry — now ladies are protected, and more and more foreign women start looking for a foreign husband without fear or hesitation.
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)
However, VAWA is not the only act that protects brides. There is also IMBRA that forces men to provide truthful information about them, including their marital status, info on finances and credit, criminal records, information about kids, and so on and so forth. Simply put, marriage service providers have no right to hide any important data from the bride. Otherwise, all the actions they take are considered illegal.
How can brides obtain citizenship?
If you choose the right service providers and then meet the right woman, you can get married and live in the US. In this case, the process of obtaining citizenship will be exactly the same as for any other foreign citizen. Note that you’ll have to prove that you were really dating, that you met in person, so we’d not recommend throwing away your tickets and deleting your photos from your bride’s country. If you want to avoid mistakes and any surprises, just hire the attorney — they will tell you which form to fill in, what to do, and what are scenarios to avoid.
Are international mail order brides illegal in the UK?
No, they are legal, too. However, there are a few things you should know about visas. Generally speaking, a foreign bride can obtain a Family visa or a Marriage visitor visa. How are they different? Let’s take a look.
- Marriage visitor visa. Works for those who want to get married or register a civil partnership in the UK. A foreign citizen can stay in the UK for 6 months but cannot live in the UK for extended periods, in particular, through frequent visits.
- Family visa. Allows a foreign citizen to live with a family member in the UK for more than 6 months. However, you will need to prove that you are in a long-term relationship with your bride: in particular, you’ll need to prove that you met in person and preferably lived together for a long period of time. Foreign citizens with this visa can live in the UK for 2,5 years.
Yes, bringing someone to the UK for more than 6 months is likely to be tough, but it’s absolutely possible. Check the official website (you can find the links above) to learn more details.
Are international mail order brides illegal in Canada?
Canada is the most “hospitable” country on our list. This industry is not regulated in Canada, which, however, doesn’t mean that anyone can come to this country and marry a Canadian citizen. Local laws are just less restrictive than laws in the United Kingdom and the United States. Still, just like in the UK and US, a sponsor must provide evidence of income, and you should provide evidence of having a relationship for at least a year. Now the authorities even encourage cross-national couples to get married before a non-Canadian spouse moves to Canada. Nevertheless, it’s pretty easy to bring a partner to this country.
Are mail order spouses illegal in Australia?
There are strict immigration laws in Australia, so if a man wants to lie about his relationships with a foreign woman to get her to the country, the couple will have to face negative consequences. Also, the visa obtaining process in Australia is really complicated, so you better be serious about your decision not to give up under pressure. But are mail order brides illegal in Australia? No. They’re completely legal.
If your fiance wants to live in Australia with you, she’ll have to apply for a Prospective Marriage Visa. It allows women to enter the country to marry their partners. Yet, to obtain it, you must prove that you’ve met your woman at least once and she doesn’t reside in Australia when applying for a visa.
The visa allows entering the country for up to nine months, within which you have to get married. Once married, your partner has to apply for a subclass 820 Partner Visa. Yet, she can’t have any criminal convictions or pose a risk to Australia or its citizens because she won’t get the visa if she does.
Keep in mind that a Prospective Marriage visa has a so-called “love tax” in the amount of $7,000. Also, if the Department of Immigration has some questions about the woman’s application, both of you might need to appear for an interview. Its purpose is to confirm your marriage isn’t fake, and your feelings are genuine.
Are mail order brides illegal in some countries?
You can find a legitimate mail order bride almost anywhere in the world, even in seemingly too conservative countries that only recognize a traditional approach to relationships. However, even countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Syria have rather advanced mail order brides industries, and many local women are eager to marry Western guys.
Yet, does every single country in the world accept the development of the online dating sphere? In what countries are mail order brides illegal? They’re illegal in the Philippines. Yes, we’re surprised too. It doesn’t actually make sense because Filipino women are among the most popular mail order brides who annually get some of the highest numbers of K-1 visas in the world.
Actually, there is an Anti Mail-Order Bride Law in the Philippines. Its official name is Republic Act 6955. It mentions that the businesses are prohibited from organizing mixed marriages between Philippines women and foreign men. Yet, people have managed to find some loopholes to evade the law because Filipinas want to marry American, Canadian, European, and Australian men. So, are mail order brides illegal in the Philippines? Juridically, yes, but in fact — no. This means that you can find women for marriage everywhere.
Why are men questioning mail order bride legality?
Are mail order spouse illegal? Most likely, you have this question because you’ve heard some stories about scammers who want money, not love. And thousands of other men know these stories too. Yet, the mail order brides industry is constantly developing, becoming more reliable and secure. So, those cases that took place a certain time ago aren’t likely to happen nowadays.
Also, if your questioning “is mail order bride legal,” you might be thinking that this industry has something to do with human trafficking. But it doesn’t. Mail order brides are the women who willingly register on specialized platforms, get their profiles verified, and specify some background information about themselves to find men who match their preferences.
They want to meet their soulmates as much as you do, so there’s nothing wrong with using online dating platforms. Besides, most mail order brides sites introduce various anti-spam policies to decrease the number of fraudulent activities and ensure safe and enjoyable experiences to their users.
What about the legitimate mail order bride from a moral point of view?
In case you’re thinking that even communicating with a legitimate mail order bride might be humiliating for her, you’re wrong. There are many reasons that make ladies decide to use online dating platforms but they have nothing to do with harming their dignity. The mail order brides industry isn’t about arranged marriages or advantageous relationships. It’s about finding a soulmate with whom you can build trusting relationships and establish a family. So, there’s nothing wrong with the mail order bride legality from a moral point of view because women made a conscious decision to use online dating services.
Besides, using legal mail order brides dating websites is the most convenient and cost-effective way to meet the woman who matches your preferences. You can choose the nationality, traits, features, values, hobbies, and other peculiarities you’d want your wife to obtain. It’s much easier to find a soulmate online than offline because you have various communication tools and know for sure that women are eager to communicate with you.
How to find a foreign wife and protect yourself from any threats
So, are mail order brides legal? Yes, they are. However, you should also consider that your marriage still must be a valid marriage. Keep in mind that the best thing that can protect you against any threats is your common sense. Yes, international matchmaking works. It’s increasingly popular because it works. However, it doesn’t mean that you should choose a random marriage agency or a dating website and then marry someone without knowing this person. Your safety should be your top priority, and that is why you should ensure that the marriage broker (agency, website, etc.) is legitimate. The services are supposed to be high-quality ones, and they should not be overpriced.
As for a lady herself, you need to meet her at least a few times before you get married not only because of safety reasons or because the government pays more attention to such marriages but also because you two should be sure about your decision. It is a big step to take, and nowadays, marriage brokers provide the services that allow you to get closer to your foreign wife, so why miss this opportunity?
Why is it more effective to meet a legitimate mail order bride online than offline?
When communicating with women online, you don’t have to go out with them or take them to restaurants or cinemas. You can access your profile from any device and location and chat with several ladies at once. In this way, you save time and money, increasing your chances of finding “the one.” Besides, if you aren’t sure about the nationality that attracts you the most or can’t decide on the traits you prefer over others, you have enough wiggle room at online dating sites.
You can try over and over, say “yes” or “no” to women without being afraid of hurting their feelings, and enjoy communication with various ladies at a reasonable cost.