Home » Are Mail-Order Brides Illegal in the UK?

Are Mail-Order Brides Legal in the UK in 2024?

Are Mail-Order Brides Legal in the UK in 2024?

In 2022, over 240,000 family migrants crossed the UK borders to stay in the country with their spouses. A lot of them were foreign women. A lot of them found their British fiances online. 

So, are mail-order spouses illegal in the UK? Considering the statistics, no, they are not. Moreover, in the eyes of the law, mail-order brides are just foreign citizens who want to start families with UK citizens. Basically, you meet a woman and apply for a foreign partner visa—and here you are, getting married and starting a family with a foreign bride. 

Nonetheless, you should definitely learn how this system works to avoid problems and disappointments in the future. Read on! 

3 best mail-order bride sites & international dating sites

Men can meet legit mail-order brides on reputable and legal websites. Our experts have chosen sites that meet all the quality and safety criteria and have good sets of features. Learn more about each and make your choice.


Meet cute Asian ladies online. Your ideal Asian match is waiting for you.

Average Girls Age
Our Score
Read Review »

Meet a Latin woman of your dreams on LatiDate mail order bride site.

Average Girls Age
Our Score
Read Review »

Mail-order bride regulations in the UK

Are mail-order brides legal? Yes, they are, and we need to start with the definition of a mail-order wife to see why.

A legit mail-order bride is a foreign woman looking for love in foreign countries, including the UK. She is motivated solely by her desire to start a family, and her decision to search for love overseas is usually explained by the combination of different socio-economic, cultural, and personal reasons. She’s not compensated for her choice. She plans to build a genuine emotional connection with her potential partner and meet him offline a few times before she agrees to marry him and migrate to his country.

Is it legal to mail-order a bride? No, you can’t literally order a future wife.

Is it legal to date and marry someone from another country you’ve met online? Absolutely. Considering that in the modern version of the mail-order bride world, people do build genuine relationships, the government doesn’t have any special restrictions that would prevent British men from marrying Asian, European, and Latin brides. 

In the eyes of the law, foreign brides are just family migrants, and just like all other family migrants, they need to apply for visas to the UK. 

Visa policies 

So, all mail-order brides need to apply for family visas, no matter where they come from. Here are the most important things that all applicants should consider: 

  1. Applicants outside the UK can apply for a visa if they want to get married or form a civil partnership. 
  2. The Home Office will ask the applicant multiple questions about their relationship with a British citizen, and the request can be approved or denied. 
  3. An applicant must be 18+ years old and single and have a good knowledge of English.
  4. You’ll be able to prove that you’ll get married or enter into a civil partnership within six months after you arrive in the UK. 
  5. You can prove that your relationship is real and has lasted two years by providing evidence that you communicate regularly, financially support one another, and spend time together as a couple. 

Basically, a couple will need to prove that they have a real relationship, that they are going to get married within six months (after that, the bride will be able to apply for permanent residence), and provide all the documents from birth certificates to divorce certificates. 

How to marry a mail-order bride 

marry a mail-order bride 

What makes a mail-order bride legal? It’s an authentic relationship with a UK citizen. But what is the dating process like for a man from the UK and Ireland? How do you make the right choices? Here’s the step-by-step algorithm:

1. Choose the destination country or region

Know what you want. Learn more about top mail-order bride countries and national cultures. See what your chances of meeting a dream partner are in a certain region and then make a choice.

2. Find the right website to meet women from the chosen region.

There are sites with Eastern European brides, Latin brides, and Asian brides. However, the location of your potential partner isn’t the only thing you should consider. There are many more criteria to take into account, in particular, prices, quality of profiles, sets of features, etc. We’re going to discuss the most important of them in more detail below. 

3. Use search and matching features to find potential partners

Focus on people who really meet your expectations. Ignore users who seem suspicious, have low-effort profiles, or just have other views on life and relationships. Contact those who may really turn out to be your best matches ever. 

4. Communicate online and start a relationship with one of the women

The idea is to find a girlfriend, and you can really do it online focusing on the best potential partners, choosing one of them, and then building a deep emotional connection with this person. On top sites, there are a lot more features than just messaging, so that won’t be so difficult. 

5. Meet a woman in real life

Meet your long-distance girlfriend offline—the sooner the better. That’s the final stage. If everything goes right, just enjoy your relationship until you feel ready to take the next step. If it doesn’t, move on and keep searching for the right person. 

Mail-order brides are real, and so is the opportunity to find love overseas. You only need a good strategy in order to succeed. 

How do you differentiate a legitimate mail-order bride site from a scam site?

Choosing the right dating website or mail-order bride website is crucially important. There are places where you’ll just waste your time and money, as well as sites where you can succeed, and here’s how you can distinguish them from each other: 

  1. Registration must always be free. Join the community to see what the site really offers. There must be bonuses or free trials as well, so you can at least test premium services before you decide whether to stay or leave. 
  2. Profiles must be real. Once you set up an account, browse at least a few dozen profiles. Again, access to them must be free. See how detailed bios are and check photos using Google search by image. 
  3. Pricing must be transparent. There must be no hidden fees. If you can’t see costs next to every paid feature and there’s no transparent and comprehensive information on costs, that’s a red flag. 
  4. There must be no spam, bots, or requests for money. If you see that you receive the same messages from different people, if you’re way more popular on the site than you should be, or if a few women ask you for money, just leave the platform. That’s not going to work and can result in money loss. 
  5. There must be advanced communication features. On top sites with real brides, there is more than just messaging. If you can only use swiping and a very basic messenger and can’t watch videos, make calls, send gifts, etc., that’s also a good reason to consider choosing another platform. 

These are the basics. Don’t rush into online dating. See the offers, analyze, and compare them. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to admit it in the early stages. It’s a much better approach than the refusal to see the problem. 

Bonus tip

Mari Kovanen

Are mail-order spouses illegal? No, they aren’t. But I want to emphasize that a relationship with a mail-order bride should still be a genuine romantic relationship. Not only does it help to get a visa when you are ready to take your relationship to a new level but it also improves the chance that your marriage will last. 


You can still marry a person you barely know—the chance that the Home Office will miss something is low, but it still exists. But you need to make sure you’ve found the right person to make it work, and in the modern world, you can do it rather easily. So why miss it? 

Mari Kovanen
Dating Expert
Hi, I'm Dr. Mari Kovanen, a therapist, dating expert, and chief author at Mail-order-bride.co.uk. I write most dating guides for Mail-order-bride.co.uk and I'm also responsible for giving online dating advice to singles who are planning to use international dating websites to find love overseas.