Are Mail Order Brides Legal?

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Nowadays we can order anything on the Internet. From a new smartphone to a mail bride. However, when your rights are abundantly clear with any merchandise, it is rather sophisticated when it comes to the latter. You might find yourself in a situation wondering whether there is any customer protection policy or requirements to be fulfilled if you want to return the damaged good or any other legal aspects entwined with this topic. No to mention the morality of ordering an alive human being that some might consider having parallels with having a slave. Yet like any other topic, it surrounded with various stereotypes and superstitions.

Let’s take a closer look at what serves to muddy the water when it comes to ordering mail brides and unravel the mystery once and for all.

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Who are the Legal Mail Order Wives?

Lots of breathtakingly beautiful girls in far-off areas of the world who desire western men. Their reasons for such desires are as varied as the girls themselves. Some do not like the insensitive attitude of men in their culture towards wives and seek a husband who has a liberal view of marriage. Others happen to find western men handsome and wealthy. A few ladies are just looking for a sugar daddy to cover their lavish style of living and the western world has more of those. The ‘bride’ part comes in because as a rule the girls came from conservative areas and were looking for life-long marriage.

Where Does it All Come From?

A long time ago in a kingdom far, far away there was no Internet and people didn’t have a pool of options at their fingertips to find a spouse. Mostly, folks were limited to their social circle of friends and colleagues, which didn’t provide many options for finding a future bride. That created a demand that was satisfied by some agile suppliers. Namely, the dating agencies who provide those match-making services. Such services were usually paid and involved some sort of a meeting with a facilitator who would set you up with dates based on the data they collected on the guys, and your/their specific criteria (income, hobbies, drinking habits, looks…). Technically, it resembles the services provided by any other dating site but only in real time involving a facilitator in flesh without any automatization.

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Well, Isn’t is Just a Scam?

The girls from remote areas like the Philippines, Ukraine, and Russia just want to have a happy life by marrying a guy from the Western world. There are indeed some stories involving a cold-blooded woman looking for a wealthy yet naive man to rip him off but there are not ubiquitous. However, in traditional cultures happiness is closely connected with a contented marriage with kids, separate house and all the household chores. That is why the majority of women calling themselves mail order wives desperately want it all because they tend to believe that money doesn’t bring happiness but the family does.

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Do You Actually Order a Bride Like Merchandise?

Even though the name implies that you order yourself a wife, the reality is way different.

For the guy, the function of finding the mail order bride is hardly different from any other contemporary dating site where lonely hearts register in the hopes that they find love and live happily ever after. You would look into the profiles that sound cool to you. You can find out more about her age, lifestyle, hobbies, drinking habits, etc. After some chatting, you maybe go for a visit, if you like her and have the cash to do so. In no way where a man buys himself a wife or pays for someone to come marry him without some kind of long-distance dating first.

Thus, there is nothing immoral because a guy doesn’t order an alive human being to satisfy his sexual needs. On the contrary, it is just about finding a spouse who happens to be a lonely girl stuck in some small town in a small country wants, for whatever reason, to meet a cool dude from Texas or Los Angeles or wherever. It’s just the name that used to resemble the method of meeting up that has not changed. Thus, no one is actually buying anything. The girls are free to respond or not, depending on their own wants and needs. It’s just that the old name has persistently stuck despite the changes that took place.

What’s About the Legal Background?

The major statute governing mail-order brides is the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, more often called IMBRA. Passed in 2005, IMBRA regulates dating services between U.S. and foreign citizens with two main requirements:

  • Background checks for all marriage visa sponsors;
  • Background checks for U.S. citizens using international marriage brokerage services.

Simply put, U.S. men looking for foreign brides must disclose their criminal background to brokerage services, as well as financial and credit information along with their previous marital history. All of this information must be turned over to the prospective bride before her consent to the marriage can be obtained. So that the mail bride can be sure that her husband is not a con man who tells lies about his solvency.

Moreover, IMBRA also requires brokers to provide legal information to foreign fiancées regarding their legal rights and the legal resources available to them. This includes information on the visa immigration process, laws protecting victims of domestic violence, and legal obligations regarding child and spousal support. So that the mail order wife is equally empowered in a foreign country that I native to her husband.

The other major piece of legislation that provides protection for foreign brides is the Violence Against Women Act aka VAWA. VAWA allows undocumented immigrants who are the victims of domestic violence to apply for a green card independently of their abuser. Subsequently, the rights of a mail wife are indeed protected and in no way belittled comparing to their not-mail-order counterparts.

In a nutshell, mail order brides emerged way before the internet dating websites but are hardly different from them, although they entail a bit of derogatory sense of girls in a kingdom far, far away from the western world. In no way the men ‘buying’ the wife, or paying for someone to come marry them without some kind of long-distance dating type thing first. It’s just the old name that has stuck. The legislation treats mail order wives as absolutely legal partners and ensures the protection of their rights like any other married couple.

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