While many look down on the term “mail order bride,” it has been in practice for a few hundred years. Dating back to the origins of America and the first colonists, women have been seeking to come to the United States, and there have been men who have wanted them to come here. As the practice was started by correspondence through letters, the “mail order bride” title was originated, but it has since become much more than that. These days, some of the more popular international marriage agencies specialize in women from Russia and Ukraine, where women generally make about 43% of what men make, and where men outnumber women. Several American men are attracted to the idea of “ordering” a mail order bride from a romantic, exotic land, but the endeavor can be more complex than they may realize. With over 150,000 women signing up to become mail order brides every year, there are a number of options for the bachelor who has his heart set on a svelte Eastern European woman, yet there are also many concerns that should be considered beforehand. There are quite a few things one should know before trying to marry someone from overseas, and we hope this helps you understand what it entails.
15. It’s Been Happening For Centuries
When America was first colonized, there was a desperate lack of women. In 1620, English women were recruited to move to the New World to become wives for the colonists. Though it was challenging to deal with transportation on ships and horseback, the invention of the steam engine in the 1840’s made it much simpler. As photographic technology improved by the 1870’s, picture books were published to give colonists a better look at their choices. Once a man found a woman, he would like, the courtship would happen through handwritten letters until the woman decided to join her suitor out West. Early on, women were coming from a more well-developed area, but in the twentieth century, men started reaching out to women in developing countries looking for a better life in America.
14. You Cannot “Buy” A Bride
Many are critical of the mail order bride movement, thinking that men are buying brides. That is not the case. Mail order brides are real, flesh and blood people, and they are not for sale. While it’s true that the endeavor can be costly, considering the travel and bureaucracy involved, the costs are not a purchase price. Courting a mail order bride means establishing a relationship you can build on, not buying another human being. International marriage agencies and online dating sites do collect fees for their services, and some cultures still ask for a dowry for the family, but essentially, the marriage is simply a marriage of two consenting adults and not a financial transaction. Nevertheless, for most of the men who pursue a mail order bride, the investment is worth it.
13. Russia Leads the Way
The First World War caused a number of immigration restrictions, putting a damper on the practice of men courting mail order brides. In the seventies, the practice started to gain more popularity in the Philippines and other Asian countries. When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Russian women started looking for other options. These days, roughly a quarter of women seeking to become a mail order bride are Russian, with some also being from the Ukraine. Asian countries like the Philippines and Thailand are the second most popular, and Latin American countries are rising in popularity as well, with Brazil and Columbia being the top among them. Russian mail order brides are often called “Natashas,” and there are a number of agencies that help them find eligible bachelors around the globe.
12. Russian Women Aren’t Just Trying To Escape From Russia
Although Russia does have its problems, the country’s instability isn’t what causes Russian women to seek husbands from other countries. While many report that the United States of America, and other democratic countries like Australia and Canada, offer them more opportunities and freedoms, many of the women are simply seeking adventure and something different than what their mothers had. Also, the fact that there are only 8 men for every 10 women in Russia limits their choices. Since Russia is very marriage-oriented, and most women are expected to marry in their twenties, there is a lot of pressure to find a husband. With so many men in other developed countries seeking adventure and something different as well, the mail order bride business offers many people more options.
11. There Are Different Types of International Marriage Agencies
For men who are interested in courting a mail order bride, there are a few options. First, there are agencies that sell the female clients’ contact information to men, allowing them to correspond as they choose. Second, there are agencies that provide group tours, which allow men to meet a variety of women in one trip, giving them the opportunity to get to know each one a little better before continuing on with the courtship. These days, most people use the third option, an online dating site which offers men a whole menu of women to choose from and chat with. Just like any other dating site, the online forums allow male and female users to share photos, videos, bios, and likes and dislikes. Most reputable agencies do involve a screening process.
10. Women Of All Ages Participate
Even more so than in the United States, women in Russia are expected to marry early. That being the case, the majority of Russian mail order brides are between the ages of 21 and 30. However, other women of all ages participate as well, with their ages ranging from as young as 18 year-olds to women in their fifties. Some of the more mature women have been married before, often becoming widows or divorcees. Becoming a mail order bride gives them the opportunity to get a second lease on life and start a new beginning for themselves after a loss. While some mail order bride scenarios are May/December romances, with the male being much older than the female, that is not always the case, and there are quite a number of younger men who also seek out mail order brides.
9. International Marriages Generally Succeed More Than Other Marriages
Many men are worried that their international mail order bride will only use them to get citizenship and then divorce them. While that does happen, the majority of international marriages last longer than traditional marriages. Although over fifty percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, eighty percent of international marriages last for the rest of their lives. Some of this may have to do with the more involved correspondence that occurs during the courtship, and some of this may have to do with their husband being the only relationship they have when they arrive in America, a connection that tends to forge stronger bonds. International marriages offer no guarantees, but compared to the nation as a whole, they seem to produce very healthy marriages.
8. It Can Be Expensive
As would be expected, courting a woman from another country is considerably more costly than dating someone in your hometown. The three main costs are communication, travel expenses, and the bureaucratic charges, such as a passport and a visa. Costs can range depending upon how much traveling either of them does, but it’s estimated that the courtship could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 when all is said and done. Of course, that doesn’t include the wedding. If your mail order bride has strong ties to her family, the costs can increase much more to help them be present for the ceremony. While there are many ways to cut down on the costs, arranging an international marriage is a costly endeavor and should not be treated lightly.
7. Meeting First Is The Norm
It is very rare for a mail order bride to accept a marriage proposal without first meeting her suitor face to face. While letter writing and online correspondence do help them know each other better, there is nothing like getting to know someone up close and personal. In many instances, the male will arrange trips to go meet his hopeful bride-to-be in her country of origin. However, often, they will first meet when he flies her to the United States. Whether he goes to meet her first or just flies her over with high hopes, they can obtain a K-I visa, often called a “finacee visa,” which gives her the ability to come to the United States for ninety days before she gets married. If she is not married within that time, she could face deportation.
6. Not All Russian Brides Speak English
While many Russian women speak more than one language, few of them speak English. During the courtship phase, translators can be hired to help with communicating, either over the phone, on Skype, by email, or on some of the online dating sites. Many Russian mail order brides will come to America without knowing any English at all, some will know a few phrases, and some will already be fluent. Being immersed in American culture, they find it easier to learn the English language, and most will take classes once they get here. Many men who seek mail order brides from Russia will also take classes in Russian, or take a course like the Rosetta Stone program, to help with their communication. Fortunately, many are fluent in the language of love.
5. It Seems To Be On The Rise
It is estimated that between the years 1999 and 2007, the number of mail order marriages doubled in the United States. Every year, around 150,000 women sign up to be a mail order bride for an American husband. However, not very many are successful. Only about 5,000 marriages result from the process each year, only about four percent of the women who sign up meet their international husband. Nevertheless, there is a great chance those numbers will be higher in years to come. With a twenty-nine percent increase in traffic to websites offering the chance to meet mail order brides between the years 2012 and 2013, there are now over 400 agencies in the United States offering men and women the chance to meet their true love.
4. It Can Be Dangerous
Aside from uprooting herself and starting an entirely new life in another country where she doesn’t know anyone, there are other concerns for women who become mail order brides. And there are dangers for the men as well. While most of these unions work out quite nicely, there have been situations where violent abuse has occurred, both toward the women and the men. Although most reputable organizations have a thorough vetting process involving background checks for violent behavior, instances have occurred when these things had been overlooked, and people involved were injured or killed. One situation even involved a mail order bride being ordered to bury her new husband’s murdered wife. Even beyond the background checks, getting involved in a mail order marriage has its challenges, and both men and women should proceed cautiously.
3. Green Card Scammers Happen
There have been instances of women using these romantic interludes to get citizenship in the United States of America, and then breaking off the marriage. While this is rare, it does happen. The majority of women signing up to be mail order brides truly are looking for someone special to share their lives with, but there are some that simply want a green card and a new start. The best way to avoid this is to merely get to know your mail order bride-to-be. There is no foolproof way to keep from getting fooled, but establishing an open and honest relationship ahead of time with a proper courtship is the best way to meet a wife you can spend the rest of your life with.
2. How To Help Your Bride Become A Citizen
If you’re going to marry your bride in the United States, you will need to get a K1 visa, or the fiance visa, which will give her ninety days in which she needs to get married. It’s a good idea to start the arrangements before she gets here. After you’re married, you can apply for your bride to have a conditional permanent resident status. This will give her a green card and a social security card, allowing her to get a job if she so chooses. After you are married for two years and three months, you can ask for the “conditional” to be removed, allowing her to become a permanent resident. After being a permanent resident for three years, she can apply for full citizenship, granting her the right to vote in elections.
1. There Is No Return Policy
Since mail order brides are not purchased, they cannot be returned. Through whichever type of international marriage agency you may meet a bride-to-be, the organizations are merely designed to help introduce the couples to one another. Once the connection is made, it is up to the suitor and his potential fiance to work out the rest of the relationship. Agencies do assist with empowering new couples with all of the information they will need to develop their relationship, and hopefully, get married without incident. Nevertheless, if the marriage does not work out, for whatever reason, the agencies take no responsibility. Again, the best way to ensure you get a mail order bride you actually want to spend the rest of your life with is to invest time and honesty up front.
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