Home » What Is a Mail-Order Bride

What Is a Mail-Order Bride? Full Guide

What Is a Mail-Order Bride? Full Guide

So, what is a mail-order bride? The definition of a mail-order bride is “a woman who’d like to meet a husband from another country.” They typically use specialized mail bride websites to find a soulmate. Typically, these sites are paid, they offer a lot of premium features, and their overall quality is higher than that of “traditional” dating sites like Tinder or Badoo.

Marrying a mail-order bride is legal in the UK. Most British men take their foreign partners to the UK on a family visa—this type of visa is required for those who want to stay in the country with a relative for more than six months and is typically used by partners, spouses, and fiances of British citizens. The number of visas issued for family reasons is very high—in June 2023, for example, 31,000 family visas were issued, so it’s not like getting a mail-order bride is something rare in the UK.

Most mail-order brides are from Asia, Hispanic countries, and Eastern Europe. The chances of finding a mail bride from Ukraine, China, the Philippines, or Colombia are much higher than from other countries, but this phenomenon is truly international and worldwide, so it’s 100% possible to find a bride from almost any other region and country. We’ll provide more numbers and facts later in the guide.

But first, take a look at some trusted, real, and legit mail-order bride platforms.

Best mail-order bride & dating sites

To meet a real mail-order bride, you need to use only the best mail-order bride sites — and we selected the most trustworthy, reputable, and popular ones for you here.


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 »

How mail-order brides work

The concept of a mail-order bride (meaning “a woman searching for a foreign husband”) has been around for centuries. From the first brides in the Jamestown colony in the 17th century and “picture brides” in the 18th century to the modern online mail-order brides, the idea is still basically the same: women post their photos, write about themselves, and wait for men to reach them. Here’s how it works in 2024:

  • Potential mail-order brides sign up on MOB websites, create nice profiles, upload photos, and (typically) verify their accounts.
  • Men sign up on these sites, too, purchase a premium subscription or credits/coins (most of these sites are not free to use), and contact mail-order brides.
  • They chat and exchange photos, videos, and gifts.
  • Then, they meet in person. 
  • They get married, the bride gets her visa, enters the country, and (in most cases) becomes a permanent resident of that country. 

Of course, each step has its own pitfalls, and it’s not actually that easy. But still, getting a mail-order bride today is easy and fast, compared to how it was even a few decades ago.

Mail-order brides: myths and realities

Mail-order bride

As people who have been working in the MOB industry for years, we know that this industry is surrounded by dozens of myths and stereotypes. Some of them are so-called “positive” stereotypes—like the one about Slavic women being perfect wives or the one about Latin ladies being emotional and passionate. The others are not so positive.

Let’s talk about the top four most popular mail-order bride myths. 

❓ Myth #1: Mail-order brides are gold-diggers

It’s one of the most enduring myths about these women, actually, and it’s very offensive.

But more importantly, it’s not true. It’s rooted in popular culture—like some popular American TV shows—and that’s why it’s so popular. But in reality, the situation is completely different, and saying “all mail-order brides are gold-diggers” is just plain wrong. 

We don’t want to say that all those tens of thousands of women have pure intentions; of course, we can’t speak for all of them. There might be some gold-diggers on mail-order bride sites, but that’s how the whole industry of dating works—not just international dating but dating in general. There will always be gold-diggers, and there will always be girls who only want money or visas—that’s how the world works.

It’s all about the ratio. From our experience, the ratio of foreign “gold-diggers” is pretty similar to the one in the United Kingdom, and it’s not like foreign girls are more spoiled or materialistic. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: women from Slavic countries, Asia, and South America are well-known for being down-to-earth and modest. That’s how traditional culture and conservative societies work, actually, so there are no surprises here.

❓Myth #2: It’s human trafficking

A lot of people believe getting a mail-order bride is like buying a slave. Obviously, it’s not true. 

Human trafficking involves three main elements: act, means, and purpose. 

  • Act. There must be a trafficker who recruits and transports a victim. 
  • Means. There must be a threat, use of force, fraud, or deception. 
  • Purpose. Exploitation of the victim. 

Getting a mail-order bride is like classic online dating: it’s all about chatting, exchanging photos, and building a real relationship. Women use MOB sites of their own free will because they want to find a decent man abroad. There’s no threat or fraud; no one forces them to marry foreigners. Men who use these sites want to find a wife, not a slave. 

What we want to say here is that the process of getting a mail-order bride doesn’t have any of the three essential elements that define human trafficking. Yes, some elements are still here, like “transportation from a foreign country,” but does it mean that any international trip is human trafficking? Obviously, no. So there’s nothing to worry about here.

❓Myth #3: It’s a scam

It might be a scam, yes. Unfortunately, the mail-order bride industry attracts all sorts of people, and you might meet scammers on these sites, too. 

You can minimize the risks, though. Choose the best and the most trusted websites, do not send money to anyone, don’t share information or/and files that can hurt your reputation—and you’ll be fine. In fact, the percentage of scammers on the best mail-order bride sites is close to zero.

❓ Myth #4: It’s too expensive

The point here is that the mail bride cost is not something set in stone. Some men spend £5,000 to find and marry a mail-order bride, while we know at least three men who needed more than £20,000 to get it done. It’s more expensive than marrying a local woman in the UK, yes, but not in 100% of cases—there are some additional fees like the visa fee (£1,000-£1,500), but the wedding somewhere in Asia or Latin America will cost you much less than an average wedding in the UK. And what’s more, there are dozens of tips and hacks that will help you save money!

Legality and regulations

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s 100% legal for a British citizen to marry a foreign person. You can not only marry your foreign bride but also bring her to the UK legally on a spouse visa—this will cost you £1,000-£1,500 and you’ll have to wait for a while (up to 12 months), but it’s definitely worth it. 

If you’re going to marry in the UK, there’s another option—it’s called a fiance visa. It’s for those who intend to get married in the US, and it will be switched to the spouse visa after the marriage. Anyway, after getting the spouse visa, your wife will be able to apply for indefinite leave and remain in the country on a permanent basis. Five years after that, she’ll be able to apply for UK citizenship.

Our editor’s conclusion

Mari Kovanen

The mail-order bride industry is definitely thriving, and this means the number of potential brides is growing constantly. This, in turn, means that your chances of meeting a real foreign bride are very high, like never before. It doesn’t matter if you’re into Asian mail-order brides, Latinas, or women from Eastern Europe—in any of these cases, you have to find a trusted MOB website in order to enjoy a pleasant and scam-free online dating experience. 

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.