What Laws Affect Mail Order Brides?

As the Internet makes the world a smaller and smaller place, unusual new ways of meeting people have become increasingly popular. While personal ads placed in the newspaper used to be a somewhat embarrassing way of meeting someone, the explosion of the Internet made online dating sites almost the norm for arranging romantic encounters. Similarly, the Internet has also opened the doors to international romance in the form of “mail order bride” services. But what laws affect mail order brides?

Whether one originates from another country or simply has an affinity for its culture and people, more and more people are turning to Internet sites that cater to international dating and marriage to meet potential partners. So-called “mail order bride” services often broker relationships by charging a fee to screen applicants and place them in contact with eligible men or women in other countries interested in emigrating to start a new life with a romantic partner.

However, making such a decision obviously involves quite a significant gamble. This is particularly true in situations where the person leaving their country is doing so, in part, because of the lack of financial opportunities available to them at home. If they arrive in the United States only to discover that they have been misled in some way, it may be financially impossible for them to return home. Moreover, such systems could easily be used to create what amounts to modern slavery, trapping them in a country they do not know among people using a language they may not speak.

In response to these concerns, the federal government passed several laws pertaining to the mail order bride industry. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) included provisions pertaining specifically to mail order brides entering the United States. Similarly, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) provides strict rules for men who wish to marry women from other countries using the services of an international marriage broker. Under these laws, men interested in marrying women from other countries who use a marriage broker must provide the broker and prospective bride with a number of pieces of highly personal information, including information on personal finances and credit, criminal arrest records, numbers of previous marriages and children, etc.

While the laws are intended to help women who would otherwise be at a very significant disadvantage, opponents say that these rules are too invasive. Opponents point out that such information would not be made available to women in America entering into a similar type of relationship with an American man. However, supporters point out that such laws protect the safety and rights of foreign women whose situation is usually very different than that of an American woman, in that an American woman could avail herself of family, friends, and other services that a foreign woman might not be able to access.

Assuming things go well, however, once the mail order bride is in the U.S., the process for obtaining citizenship would be the same as any other person. Marriage to a U.S. citizen is the most obvious means of doing this, but the government is careful to investigate the validity of such marriages. If you are considering this approach to immigration and citizenship, you should consult with an immigration attorney before your prospective spouse arrives in the United States. Your attorney can best advise you on the legal requirements for your future spouse obtaining his or her citizenship.

As mail order bride sites continue to flourish on the Internet, it is clear that this form of matchmaking will not soon fade. For both men and women considering this approach to love, the best protection is not the law, but common sense. You should learn everything you can about your prospective spouse before agreeing to marry or even help them immigrate to the U.S. You should also investigate the marriage broker who is arranging the relationship, as well, to make sure they are licensed (where applicable) and legitimate. If possible, you should arrange to meet your prospective spouse in person several times before settling on making your relationship permanent. And, of course, you should consult with immigration and family law attorneys to ensure that you are protected and that every aspect of the immigration and marriage process flows smoothly.

Provided by HG.org

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case.

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