That is a good question and there are no simple answers, but this is the internet and you want a simple answer, so here you go…
The Average Cost:
The average cost of pursuing a mail order bride is somewhere between $5,000 and $30,000. There are essentially five types of costs associated with pursuing a mail order bride:
- Agency Fees: Fees to access the database of mail order brides that each agency maintains.
- Travel Expenses: Airfare, hotel, and taxi services can add up in a hurry if you are not careful.
- Translators/Guides/Drivers: Most men will need some of these personal services in Ukraine, Colombia, or Thailand.
- Bureaucratic Charges: Charges for visas and passports are basically fairly cheap, but if something is amiss and you have to hire an immigration lawyer it can be expensive.
- Assimilation Expenses: This is probably the most overlooked expense. It is going to take your new wife time to assimilate into your community and it is often more expensive than men expect.
Every mail order bride agency allows men to sign up to look at the profiles of ladies for free. They generate revenue by charging men fees to communicate with the women in their databases.
However, the structure and schedule of the fees they charge is usually confusing and unclear. Even our favorite agency, A Foreign Affair, offers an array of tiers, discounts, and plans to send and read emails.
The most expensive agencies are charge for credits that men can use to contact women through email or chat. For instance, Anastasia’s family of sites (Anastasiadate, Amolatina, Asiandate, and Arabiandate) charge 10 credits to send an email and 10 credits to open a woman’s response.
So, that’s twenty credits, but to understand the true cost you have to know what you paid for credits.
These sites give discounts for buying credits in bulk, but even the cheapest credits are .38 cents each. To get credits at that rate though you have to spend $1800, that means sending and receiving a letter is going to cost you at least $7.60.
More than likely you will pay $12.00 for a letter, but if you buy the smallest package you will pay $16.00.
Chat is where you can really spend money because most companies that offer chat charge by the minute. That can super expensive, especially if you are using video chat, but we highly recommend using video chat because then you can be sure that the woman you are speaking to is the woman you want to speak to.
Some agencies also support face to face communication with romance tours, but we will discuss that in the section on Translators/Guides/Drivers below.
Travel expense is probably the number one worry for most men. For a lot of men, even those not from East Tennessee and Iowa, international travel is just outside of their comfort zone.
So, they worry that they are going to get ripped off on airfare, hotel rates, restaurant bills, and taxis. For the most part, these fears are blown all out of proportion if you do a little due diligence and follow the simple suggestions below.
Today it is especially easy to shop for airfare. Check your favorite sites and then compare them to Google Flights. That will give you a good base. You might also want to compare the flight with what you can get through the airline’s official company website.
If the cheapest fare is on an airlines you do not recognize you should check the airlines review on Skytrax. They have reviews of virtually every airline in the world and they can be really helpful.
A lot of the big foreign airlines offer a much higher level of service than is common on domestic flights in the United States or European Union, but many of the smaller airlines offer a level of service below anything you have ever imagined.
That might be the only way to get to where you want to go, but you might decide to spend a few dollars more and fly on a different airline with a higher reputation for customer service.
Shopping for accommodations has never been easier or offered more choices. Besides regular hotels there you can rent apartments, guest houses, single rooms, or even just a bed in a hostel. And because of the plethora of internet travel sites it is easy to shop for the best deals.
Currently, it is possible to get a five-star hotel room in Ukraine on Booking.com for about the same price as a Motel 6 in the United States and on Airbnb, it is possible to find private rooms for LESS than $10 a night.
Right now, Ukraine is a particularly good deal, but prices in Colombia, Thailand, Philippines, Costa Rica, and Peru are just a fraction of what you would pay in Western Europe, the United States, or Australia. Find the best deals you can and compare those to what you can find on Google’s Hotel site.
Even Russia is a lot better travel deal today than it was five or ten years ago. Yes, even Moscow and St. Petersburg are a lot cheaper than just a few years ago.
Food is another item you can easily save a fortune on. If you want to eat like a native it is not hard to eat on $5.00 a day in any of the romance tourism destinations.
Now, I am not saying that you will love a daily diet of rice and boiled fish in Asia or borsch and potatoes in Eastern Europe, but you can find extremely cheap food.
If you want to eat “Western Food” in Asia you can probably do that for about one half of what you would pay in restaurants in the United States or Europe. And, right now, Ukraine is foodie heaven.
The quality of the high-end restaurants in Kiev, Odesa, Lviv, or the other big cities stands up very well with the best restaurants in the world and the prices are incredible, often only 20% of what you might pay in Los Angeles, New York, or Sydney.
Check out what TripAdvisor’s best restaurants in Kiev and you will realize you can eat amazingly well for what you would pay to eat at Denny’s in Oklahoma.
Beyond TripAdvisor there are not as many good restaurant rating sites. Yelp and Kayak do not even cover most of the best mail order bride countries, but Google is still a reliable source. Just Google, “Best restaurant near me,” and enjoy.
Oh, and be sure to ask for the menus with the prices on them.
In Country Travel
It used to be that in country travel was an absolute nightmare for international travelers. Haggling with foreign taxi drivers is a nightmare and something you should avoid at all costs.
No one wants to start a trip with by haggling over a few dollars, but today Uber, Lyft, or the Asian knockoff Grab are ubiquitous. That means there is no haggling and you know exactly what you owe before you step into the car.
For longer trips in country there are some very good local airlines in most of these countries. Cebu Pacific is a highly rated airline in the Philippines with very friendly cabin crew.
If you are going to stay for a month or two in Ukraine you will definitely fall in love with Ukraine Rail. The trains are generally on time, but the real attraction is the price.
Prices have gone up a little recently, but if you are not in a hurry you can travel anywhere in the country on a third class train for about $20. If you are in a rush you can take the inter-city trains to the major cities for less than $50.
Most tourists take the inter-cities, which are faster and more luxurious, but it is really educational to take the 3rd class train at least once. That is how most Ukrainians travel.
So, if you are a Western man with a middle-class income, travel expenses should not be a reason for you to not to pursue a mail order bride.
Traveling to meet a foreign woman is different from just traveling. You are journeying around the world in pursuit of a goal that might just change your life forever and there are some specialized expenses you will have to pursue that goal.
Translators are an unavoidable expense for most Western men visiting Ukraine and really for serious guys visiting Thailand or even Colombia it is probably wise to use a translator.
Yes, Google Translate is pretty amazing, but it is not as quick and easy as using a human translator.
A translator can help you make a good impression on a first date. A lot of women, particularly in Ukraine, having a translator with them for the first meeting even if they do not really need a translator.
But translators are expensive. Most of the time a girl will try to get you to use a translator hired through the agency that represents her. If you do the rate will be about $20 to $25 an hour. A lot of times that is simply a necessary expense on the first date.
Now, some men fret that the woman is getting a kickback on the translator’s fee and that undoubtedly happens sometimes, but that does not mean that the woman is not serious about a relationship. It means she is a realist. She knows most dates are not going to go anywhere, so she might as well make a little money.
If you really want a date with a super-hot Ukrainian fitness model you probably should simply consider using a translator just one of the old traditions, you have to follow on the first date. Just tell the girl it is only for the first date.
For second dates or women you meet on social media sites you can go with one of the independent translation agencies. You will probably pay $15 an hour or so. The translators at Go2UA gets great reviews.
You also might want to hire a driver, because in many of these countries street signs are optional and renting a car can be a hassle.
Now, one way you can get most or even all of your translation and transportation costs in one place is to use a romance tour by one of the dating agencies.
A Foreign Affair is the dominant company in the field because they do such an incredible job.
Check out the video below and you will understand why they are so well respected.
On a romance tour, the company will help you meet women from their database individually or in groups at parties they hold.
Romance tours also usually cover the costs of food and housing, so there are few out of pocket expenses if you stick with the group.
If you decide to go on a private date the agency can help you get a driver and translator at a competitive rate.
All in all romance tours are the best way for most Western men to meet a mail order bride. They help with all the annoying hassles of travel so you can focus on impressing a beautiful young woman.
If you have never traveled you will need a passport. Currently, the basic fee for a United States passport is $110, plus probably another $12 to get acceptable passport photos. Here is the link to the United States State Department’s Passport Office.
Most of the countries that generate large numbers of mail order brides offer free entry visas to visitors from most Western countries.
That means if you are going to Odessa, Ukraine you simply fly their and give your passport to a sleepy young guard who will stamp it and wave you along. The same thing happens in the Philippines, Thailand, and other countries. It is very relaxed.
The one notable exception is Russia. Getting a Russian visa is a huge hassle. It is going to cost you at least $300 and probably take several weeks.
Plus, Russian passport control has reverted to something straight out of a John le Carré novel with pushy guards and lots of machinegun-toting border police everywhere. So, for most guys, Russia is simply off the radar.
The biggest bureaucratic expense occurs if you actually decide to marry a mail order bride and bring her back to your home country. For a United States citizen, the experts at RapidVisa believe that…
…the typical case can range from about $1,200 to $5,000 including government fees, medical exam, assistance and miscellaneous.Rapid Visa
So, that is pretty steep, but you also have the choice to marry the woman in her home country and then bring her back to the United States. That is a little less expensive, but of course, either of these approaches only really gets expensive when you have to hire an immigration attorney.
An immigration attorney is going to start at about $300 an hour and go up, up, up. That’s where you can spend $100k before you know what happened, but that is extraordinarily rare and generally will only apply to men who have other criminal problems and lie to the State Department.
Never lie to the State Department; yes, being in violation of some rule might cost you a little time and money, but if they catch you in a lie it can make the price of a mail order bride expensive.
The last cost that guys often overlook is the cost of assimilating your mail order bride into your community.
For instance, do you have a car for your new wife? In most of the United States, she is going to need a car and a cell phone. (If you think your wife does not need a cell phone and a car, please leave this page and go back in your cave.)
You should let your wife have some real input into the decoration of your place.
This is important!
Think about the situation for a moment. This beautiful young woman trusted you with her life.
She came halfway around the world to a country that does not speak her native language, because despite what her friends and parents might have told her she believes you are a pretty amazing guy.
Now, you need to show her that she is the most important thing in the world to you and one of the easiest ways to do it is to do a little redecorating of your house.
You should be happy to buy some new furniture or do a little remodeling to make her really feel it is her house too.
In the long run, this can be the best money you have ever spent on sticks and bricks and honestly do you really need to keep that flea-bitten moose head your granddad shot in 1939 over the kitchen table?
And if you don’t have a moose head you probably have high school football trophies, Star Wars posters, or pictures of your ex-wife up that really need to go.
This is a great project for the two of you, because she probably cannot work for the first year or so she is in the country.
No matter how well educated and professionally successful your new wife is she is probably not going to be able to work for at least a year. Some of this is because she is probably going to need to work on her English, but also most professionals will need to be re-certified in their new country.
So, you need to be totally ready to completely support her for at least a year and you need to keep her busy. Taking a few extra vacations can be nice too. Show her what you love about your city or state.
There are some education costs. For instance, you might need to pay for English lessons even if her English was good enough for you during the courting process. Driving lessons are another expense for a lot of mail order brides.
Also, you will probably end up buying her clothes. More than likely she will either be living in a significantly hotter or colder climate and will need clothes to match. And more than likely you are going to want to buy your sexy mail order bride a lot of cute clothes.
The point is you want to help her assimilate and be happy. It is a struggle and oddly there is not a lot of helpful information about this subject, but the website MultlingualLiving.com is a great source on these issues.
You should give it a read before you bring your mail order bride home. It will probably save you money and it will certainly save you a lot of hassles.
All of these expenses add up, so lets try to dig into the average cost of a mail order bride from a different angle.
Average Cost of a Mail Order Bride
Determining the average cost of a mail order bride is difficult, but here we are going to consider the costs for an American man who is not willing to fly the worst airlines, stay in abysmal hotels, or eat SPAM the whole trip.
But we also assume he is not going to stay at five-star hotels, fly first class, or eat Kobe beef and caviar the entire trip.
For a normal guy the minimum costs required to find and marry a foreign lady are probably around $5000 if you quickly meet the woman of your dreams and bring her over to your country without multiple trips to visit her first.
You could do it for even less if you fly her straight to your country without a visit to meet her first, perhaps as low as $1200. This is a half-crazy approach, but every year there are couples who pull it off.
However, if you are that stressed over money you probably should not be considering a mail order bride.
But those numbers would be hard to pull off – not impossible – just a steep challenge.
Realistically, the REAL cost of pursuing a mail order bride is somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000. Those are very realistic numbers, but you don’t have to pay that all at once.
You just need to be able to budget that amount over the time of your search and most men probably spend from nine months to two years or so on their romantic quests.
One additional cost that you need to remember is the ongoing expenses related to having an extra person in your household and because she is from overseas those expenses are probably going to be higher.
She is probably not going to bring a gigantic wardrobe, so that first year she is going to buy a lot of new clothes.
The same sort of process applies to a lot of other things.
You might end up buying some new furniture, kitchen utensils, or curtains that you would have bought if you had remained a bachelor. Just keep this in mind.
Eventually, perhaps your new wife will get a job and help out with expenses, but you should probably plan to spend the same amount of time and money on the acclimation process as you did on the romance.
So, if it took you a year and $18,000 then you should assume it will take about the same amount of time and money for you and her to fully integrate into a working family.
Cheapest Mail Order Brides
In the old days, it would have been downright crazy to bring some woman you have never met straight home to live with you without so much as laying eyes on her, but today if you met her on one of the dating agencies with good video chat services.
This is particularly true in Eastern Europe where almost all women have good high-speed internet available, but taking this approach is not recommended.
You need to meet the woman in person before you really fall in love. The technology is great but it cannot take the place of the romance of a face to face meeting.
Finding a mail order bride is about romance and that requires communication, communication about the deepest and most emotional thought. You and your lady have to develop a mutual understanding of goals, hopes, and dreams.
With video chat you can hear the voice of the woman you are interested in and look into her eyes and see her reactions. It really helps to communicate a lot of those esoteric, emotional issues that you both have to communicate.
AnastasiaDate has done a particularly good job in providing their clients with a range of communication tools, but high definition video chat is still video chat. It is more expensive, but it might cut down on the number of times you needed to travel to go see a lady.
Still, it is easy to spend $500 communicating with a woman you are interested in and possible to spend much more. Guessing averages is difficult, but most men probably spend at least $1,000 to $1,500 on the communication stage of the romance.
Then it is always best to meet a woman you are considering marrying in her home country. You can try to do all of the planning on your own. In that case the airfare is probably going to be at least $1,500 for each trip you make, plus another perhaps another $1,500 to spend a week in Ukraine, Thailand, Brazil, or wherever, but of course you can spend a great deal more.
Some agencies offer individual help, but the most popular approach is probably to take a romance tour.
These tours are popular, because you can personally meet several ladies you have already contacted online and also meet other women. Loveme.com is the industry leader they do several dozen tours every year and the costs vary widely depending on where you are going and how long you are going to stay.
The best thing about the tours is that the tour companies have an infrastructure in place to help you in each country. They provide trustworthy translators and other help you will need.
Plus, they can really give you helpful personal advice to make it easier to overcome the cultural issues and get the insight you need to make the right decision for you and the lady you are considering marrying.
If things go well and a ceremony will be performed, it is necessary to file a K1 Visa. The fee for this is $450, but $250 is usually needed to pay for translation of the documents.
The main thing is to follow the proper procedures, because if you ended up needing an immigration attorney to correct problems, mistakes, or omissions the price can shoot through the roof in a hurry.
A good immigration attorney can charge $500 an hour and billable hours tend to accrue in a hurry.
Consider A Romance Tour
For most guys visiting our site mail order brides are a totally new concept that they know little or nothing about. So, they tend to spend a little here and a little there investigating different agencies, different parts of the world, and communicating with different women to educate themselves.
Initially, these “educational” expenses are small, but over time it can grow to be a significant amount of money. However, as soon as you sign up for a romance tour your educational expenses are capped and all of your money is going towards actually meeting one of these beautiful women in person.
Our favorite romance tour company is A Foreign Affair. They are the oldest international dating site and their tours get absolutely rave reviews. Check out this video and you will understand:
If that looks pretty great you can learn more on their Romance Tour Page. Also, click around and look at some of the women profiled. Besides the public photos most ladies have private photos you can see for free if you go ahead and register which takes less than a minute.
BUT, if you spend enough time looking at photos and videos of these super-hot women from Odessa, Bogotá a, or Bangkok you will want to go visit them! Don’t say I did not warn you.
So, instead, why not use the money that you would spend to communicate with these beautiful young women to visit them in person?
A Foreign Affair gives a deep discount on communications for men who sign up for a romance tour. This can easily save you $1000 compared to other sites, but there are men that spend a whole lot more than that communicating with women before they visit.
Some slow moving guys communicate for years, spending enough money for two or three romance tours, before they ever meet a mail order bride in person.
That may seem crazy, but it is surprisingly fun to communicate with these ladies and when there is no pressure a lot of guys do not feel a sense of urgency to immediately take the trip and visit.
A romance tour starts on a given date and for some guys that deadline really helps speed up the process, because you are not just communicating with the idea that “one day” you will visit.
You know that the tour starts on a given date and once you have paid you are going to be there – no ands ifs or buts.
You will really save on your food, hotel, and in country travel if you take a romance tour instead of traveling on your own. Again, this can add up in a hurry. A fair number is that you will probably save at least $100 a day on a tour as opposed to traveling own your own.
So, on a two week tour you can save another $1400.
If you need a translator and driver for private dates the tour companies will help you get qualified professionals at a much lower rate than you will be able to get on your own. If you do four individual dates over two weeks that is another $200.
So, from a strictly financial point of view it is hard to beat A Foreign Affair’s romance tours, but, more importantly, these tours get rave reviews.
You have to go through a read them for yourselves. If that does not convince you they will actually give you the phone numbers of previous customers who will happily provide personal testimonials.
Wow! I do not know of another company in any industry that makes that offer, but that is why AFA is the best.
So, that is my first suggestion to save money. Just take an A Foreign Affair romance tour. Then you know exactly what you are spending at least to get to the point of actually meeting the woman. If you still want to do it yourself the costs are harder to figure in advance.
Is it worth it for you to consider a mail order bride?
That depends on your situation. Do you have the basic financial resources? Are you flexible enough to meet a woman, probably a younger woman, from a different culture and build a deep lasting relationship.
It does require work. You have to learn about one another’s strengths and weaknesses. You have to get at least some idea of the woman’s habits and personal deportment. Most importantly, you have to come to a general agreement about the nature of your relationship, so you both have similar expectations.
Those are all tough enough to communicate in person, but they are especially difficult to communicate over vast distances to someone you have never met who probably speaks a different language and grew up in a different culture.
But statistics show that ever year, thousands of mail order brides come to this country. Over three quarters of these marriages end happily and are long lasting.
If you end up happily married then the price of a mail order bride is a bargain. Think about the price of mail order brides like this, it is simply a matter of keeping up with changing times.
Globalization of Dating
Today’s modern era rarely includes a person meeting another face to face and spending a long time in a relationship before marriage. For many busy professionals that is tough. We all want to have an old fashioned romance, but with the constant stream of email, chat, and cell phones it is not easy.
Most men move out of their hometowns for college and keep moving following the job market, particularly in the United States and Europe. It makes marrying the girl next door a much rarer event than a hundred years ago.
And men are living longer healthier lives. At one time widowers were a rare phenomenon. Today, for better and worse that is not the case.
International brides are an option for many men, because of the ease of modern travel and communications. A great number of these women have high intelligence and cultural values. Many come with an ingrained respect for marriage and place family before a career.
All of these qualities make them excellent mates. When considering this path to marriage, it is important to understand the costs associated with pursuing a foreign bride, before you meet that stunning young Ukrainian pediatrician or the beautiful Thai college student online.
For most reasonably successful Western men from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Europe the expenses are reasonable with a little planning.
Mail Order Bride Specifications
There are NO specifications!
Mail order brides come in an infinite number of shapes, sizes, and ages like all women. Human beings are complex and dynamic, especially in the context of a relationship and that is an important distinction between products and people.
Part of the problem is that in the modern English speaking cultures social status and economic eligibility are not usually overtly acknowledged as a factors worth considering in the courtship process, though they are often still unspoken factors as any Porsche salesman will tell you; covertly, almost any lady would rather date a rich guy than a poor guy assuming everything else is equal.
Other cultures are less covert and an educated professional with financial assets evident, such as the possession of a fancy car and a nice house, make a person an extremely eligible marriage prospect.
Higher echelons of western culture did subscribe to arranged marriages for centuries. No one married his daughter off to Henry VIII for anything but financial and political gain – plain and simple.
The principle of marrying for social and economic compatibility may have been downplayed in recent history as aristocracy and privilege have tended to merge with a cult of celebrity status.
In English speaking communities young people usually form their own relationships which may or may not lead to marriage. A new friend may be taken home to meet parents but their approval is not regarded as being imperative.
Even in the privileged classes where arranged marriages have been the norm there have been instances of people asserting their independent choice.
The Internet has transformed many aspects of the world in the few decades since its advent. Typewriters have been become obsolete and newspapers are showing signs of going the same way.
Newspapers and magazines were used by people who wished to advertise their availability for marriage in the past and now online dating sites are increasingly being used instead.
Online dating sites offer a compromise between traditional methods of arranging marriages and the free and independent methods of romantic marriage. From a lap top one can search the world across many cultures and thousands of interested people.
Once the initial contact is made many details have to be filled in, often with family assistance, but the element of independent choice remains strong.
Aspirant brides are told to be wary. So too should be men who contact women, some of whom could be cruel and ruthless. Or at least that is the myth that feminist professors desperate for tenure often spin out to the public.
However all marriage entail risks and some people think that online dating sites can be a great improvement on the ways that things were done in the past.
Mail Order Brides = Modern Romance
For the feminist critics the term mail order bride is applied with a touch of disparagement. But these are not arranged marriages in the traditional sense. Sometimes the man is a great deal older than bride, but not always. And the legitimate industry really focuses on the romantic aspects of the process.
In fact, in some regards the entire process is a romantic adventure ripped straight out of popular romance novels.
LoveMe.com, is one of the oldest company’s in the industry and they make it clear that they are trying very hard to encourage romance – not casual sex or quick pickups. The ADVICE they give is outstanding.
And Elena’s Models practically screams ROMANCE.
Successful marriages and long term relationships are the outcome of a romance between two people. In some cultures that actually did have a tradition of arranged marriages romance, such as it was came after marriage.
In many world cultures it is believed that marriage contracts should be arranged by families and not by individuals. This does not always preclude girls and boys from having a say in the matter that affects their lives.
In some societies a girl may reject the person who her parents select for her, and only agree to a marriage when they feel that they can grow to love their marriage partner. In different societies there are different degrees of independence permitted.
The contemporary mail order bride industry does not easily fit within the traditional notions of arranged marriage, because the romance is the key component to the process and it comes before everything else.
A Few Rules About “Mail Order Brides”
Let’s get something straight right off the bat; MAIL ORDER BRIDES ARE NOT FOR SALE.
That is called Slavery and in has been out of fashion for quite some time!
It is also the most repugnant notion imaginable and could very well lead to your incarceration.
“Mail order bride” is a title left over from the early days of International Dating. Back in the days before the internet, communication between Western men and foreign women was very cumbersome, so much so that many men would just find a girl in a catalog and bring her to the USA before really getting to know her.
Of course this created all sorts of problems, so the term “Mail Order Brides” was coined.
This unfortunate label is probably the single biggest factor in the stigma that is still attached to the International marriage industry. It leaves the practice open for ridicule from uneducated people in forums, blog comments and the media.
Two of the most common questions I am asked are:
- Do I need to pay the shipping on my mail order bride?
- Does my mail order bride come with a 30 day guarantee?
If you are one of the guys who asked this question… Get some new material!
Because there is a mountain of recent scientific evidence that proves that marrying a mail order bride is the best thing a lot of men can do for their health and happiness.