Vietnamese Mail Order Brides: a Guide to Finding a Wife from Vietnam

Updated on Jun 2023
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Welcome to the fascinating journey of finding, connecting, and marrying a Vietnamese bride! Struggling with the vast world of online dating, navigating the cultural labyrinth of Vietnam, or gearing up for the big move? We hear you. This article serves as a lighthouse, guiding you safely through the sea of uncertainty to the shores of informed decisions.

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This in-depth guide is your trusted companion, ready to provide answers when you’re searching for your ideal Vietnamese woman, engaging in intriguing chats on a Vietnamese dating site, or making travel plans to meet your potential partner. We also have your back when you’re diving deep into the specifics of a Vietnamese-American marriage, planning a traditional wedding, or preparing for your bride’s journey to the U.S.

We understand the excitement of discovering new love and the trepidation that comes with the unknown. Thus, we’ll help you understand, anticipate, and effectively tackle the unique challenges that cross-cultural relationships present. Not only that, but we will also support you in fostering a nurturing environment for your Vietnamese wife as she transitions to her new life in the U.S.

We’ll cover every stage of this captivating journey. From finding the perfect Vietnamese woman, to understanding the intricacies of Vietnamese culture, to calculating the cost of a Vietnamese bride, and finally, helping your wife adjust after her relocation – all the essentials you need to make this life-changing decision confidently. So, buckle up and get ready to embark on an enriching adventure into the world of Vietnamese brides. Let’s start exploring together!

vietnamese mail order brides

Understanding a Modern Vietnamese Mail-Order Bride’s Essence

Understanding the modern Vietnamese mail-order bride is a journey that can challenge preconceived notions and stereotypes. To truly gain insight into this matter, we’ve reached out to three Vietnamese women who have either used, or continue to use, dating sites to connect with potential partners from across the globe.

We’ve asked them to share their experiences, debunk myths, and provide some guidance for men interested in this path. Here are their fascinating stories.

First, meet Phuong Dang, a 27-year-old IT specialist from Hanoi, currently single and searching for love on a reputable dating platform – LoveAsia.

“Hello there! I think the term ‘mail-order bride’ is often misunderstood. It’s not about selling or buying women. It’s simply about using digital platforms to find love overseas. It’s perfectly legal and complies with both American and Vietnamese laws. I joined LoveAsia about six months ago for two reasons: to meet interesting people outside my usual social circle, and to explore the possibility of a cross-cultural relationship. There’s a certain excitement in the unknown. But remember, scams do happen. Always verify the information, avoid sending money, and report suspicious activity.”

Phuong Dang, a Vietnamese Bride listed in an online bride catalog and seeking a potential husband.

Next up is Kim Nguyen, a 32-year-old teacher from Da Nang, married, living in Seattle, USA, and met her husband on the site LoveAsia.

“Hi! I’m a living proof that mail-order brides are real and happy! My husband and I met online three years ago, and our life is beautiful. Two stereotypes I’d like to debunk: we’re not desperate, and we’re not materialistic. Like anyone, we value security, love, and mutual respect. Vietnamese women are typically dedicated, family-oriented, and open to learning new things – that’s how I’d describe us. And why do we become mail-order brides? For many reasons. For me, it was about finding a loving partner and leading a stable life.”

— Kim Nguyen, a successfully married Vietnamese mail-order wife.

Finally, let’s hear from Le Thuy, a 35-year-old housewife, happily married with two adorable kids in San Francisco, USA, and met her husband on LoveAsia.

“Hi, I’m Le Thuy. What do Vietnamese brides look for in a man? Kindness, respect, and a willingness to understand our culture. When creating a profile, put a clear picture and write a sincere bio. It’s about showing who you are. When messaging us, start by asking about our interests or commenting on something in our profile. That’s how my husband got my attention. Remember, we’re real people with real dreams, just like you.”

— Le Thuy, a Vietnamese mail-order wife who met her husband on an online dating service.
vietnamese bride online

Finding and Establishing Connection with a Vietnamese Bride

The journey to find a Vietnamese bride entails a broad range of actions, from exploring online platforms to consulting professionals or even traveling directly to Vietnam. It’s important to note that each of these methods comes with its own intricacies, and choosing the right approach is dependent on individual preferences, circumstances, and financial means.

Traveling for Courtship to Vietnam

Traveling to Vietnam for courtship is a traditional approach that involves personally visiting the country in search of a potential bride. This method allows for a firsthand experience of the Vietnamese culture and provides an opportunity to meet and interact with local women.

Popular cities for this purpose include Hanoi, the capital known for its rich culture, and Ho Chi Minh City, a vibrant city with a modern outlook. The coastal city of Da Nang, known for its beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle, is another favored destination. The best time to travel is during the dry season, between November and April, as the pleasant weather facilitates travel and outdoor activities.

A detailed cost breakdown for a two-week trip might include:

  • Flight (round trip): $1000 – $1500
  • Lodging (budget to mid-range): $20 – $50 per night
  • Food and Drinks: $10 – $30 per day
  • Travel within Vietnam (public transportation): $10 – $20 per day
  • Entertainment and Leisure activities: $100 – $200
  • Miscellaneous expenses: $50 – $100

The total cost of the trip would range from $2000 to $3000 approximately.

The main advantages of this method include a direct, personal interaction with potential brides and a rich, immersive cultural experience. However, the disadvantages include the high cost of travel and accommodation, potential language barriers, and the time investment required.

Contacting a Marriage Agency

Marriage agencies offer professional services to help individuals find potential brides. These agencies have a wide network and deep understanding of the process, significantly simplifying the search. They provide a range of services, from matchmaking to arranging meetings and facilitating communication.

The primary advantages of using a marriage agency include a structured and efficient search process, professional support and guidance, and access to a large pool of potential brides. The downsides include the potential for scams, the impersonal nature of the process, and high service fees, which can range from $5000 to $8000.

Using Vietnamese Dating Sites

In recent years, online dating has emerged as an increasingly popular method for finding a Vietnamese bride. The availability of numerous Vietnamese dating sites has made this approach accessible and convenient for many. It’s been observed that online dating provides a broader range of potential matches compared to traditional methods.

Advantages of using Vietnamese dating sites include the convenience of browsing profiles at any time, a wide range of potential matches, and the possibility of establishing communication before meeting in person.

Potential pitfalls include the risk of encountering fake profiles, difficulty in verifying the authenticity of the information provided, and subscription fees, which could range from $10 to $30 per month.

To illustrate the growing popularity of these methods, recent surveys have shown a significant shift towards online dating. While exact numbers vary, surveys suggest that over 60% of people now use online dating sites or apps to find a partner, with marriage agencies catering to about 25%, and direct travel accounting for the remaining percentage.

Top Vietnamese Dating Sites To Meet a Wife from Vietnam in 2023


Overcoming Challenges in Cross-Cultural Relationships with a Vietnamese Bride

Finding a Vietnamese bride is only the first step in the journey of cross-cultural courtship. Beyond this, preparing for an in-person meeting and navigating the complex nuances of a cross-cultural relationship are tasks that demand understanding, communication, and adaptability.

  • Cultural Differences: Cultural differences can be one of the most significant challenges in a cross-cultural relationship. For example, Vietnamese culture places a high emphasis on family values, respect for elders, and maintaining face. A misunderstanding of these values could inadvertently lead to friction in a relationship. It’s crucial to understand these cultural norms and the significant role they play in your Vietnamese bride’s life. To navigate this, make an active effort to learn about Vietnamese culture – read about it, engage in discussions with your partner, and be open to new experiences. This understanding fosters mutual respect, an essential component for any successful relationship.
  • Language Barrier: The language barrier is another common hurdle in cross-cultural relationships. Vietnamese is the native language of your potential bride, and while many Vietnamese women might have a basic understanding of English, nuanced conversations may be challenging. This barrier could limit the depth of your interactions and lead to misunderstandings. To overcome this challenge, learn basic Vietnamese phrases and use translation tools to facilitate communication. Non-verbal communication also plays a crucial role in conveying feelings and intentions.
  • Different Lifestyle Habits: The lifestyle in Vietnam can be drastically different from what you’re accustomed to, particularly in terms of food, daily routines, and societal norms. For example, Vietnamese cuisine is diverse and unique, and might be vastly different from Western food habits. Adaptation is key to this challenge – try new foods, engage in local activities, and embrace the Vietnamese way of life. This flexibility will not only help you assimilate but also demonstrate your commitment to your partner.
  • Meeting the Family: In Vietnamese culture, family plays a central role. When the relationship becomes serious, you might be expected to meet your bride’s family, which can be a nerve-wracking experience. Cultural differences could come into play, particularly if the family doesn’t speak English. Respect their customs, be patient, and take the time to understand their expectations. Showing genuine interest in becoming part of their family is a great way to establish a positive relationship.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Lastly, maintaining a long-distance relationship with your Vietnamese bride before you’re able to live together can pose its own set of challenges. Missing major life events, dealing with different time zones, and maintaining trust can be tough. Regular and open communication is essential in these circumstances. Also, leveraging technology to schedule virtual dates or celebrate special occasions can help maintain the connection.

Each of these challenges requires a distinct approach, but they all circle back to the importance of understanding, communication, and adaptability. As you navigate the process of building a relationship with your Vietnamese bride, keep these principles in mind, apply them, and your cross-cultural love story will surely thrive.

Setting Realistic Expectations for a Marriage With a Vietnamese Bride

Entering into a marriage with a Vietnamese woman brings a unique set of expectations due to the distinct characteristics and cultural traits that she carries.

Emphasizing her ability to adapt to new environments and display Vietnamese character traits, a Vietnamese bride makes a loving, resilient, and dedicated partner. Here are five specific characteristics that could define your marriage with a Vietnamese bride:

  • Family-Oriented: A Vietnamese woman is often deeply family-oriented. This trait is rooted in Vietnamese culture, where family bonds are paramount. In a marriage, this might translate into a strong desire to establish a close-knit family unit, and an intense dedication to providing a nurturing home environment for her children. Compared to a Thai woman, for instance, who may also value family, a Vietnamese woman is likely to take more active roles in household matters and child rearing.
  • Hardworking: Vietnamese women are typically hardworking, both at home and in professional spaces. They are brought up with the belief that contributing to the family’s well-being is a shared responsibility. A Vietnamese wife might be more likely to share in chores, responsibilities, and even earning an income, as compared to an Indonesian woman, who might traditionally expect roles to be more divided.
  • Respectful: Respect is a cornerstone in Vietnamese culture. A Vietnamese bride will carry this ethos into her marriage, showing respect for her partner, their family, and their collective decisions. In comparison, a Chinese woman, while also valuing respect, might display it in a more hierarchical manner, aligned with older traditional values.
  • Resilient: Life in Vietnam can sometimes be challenging, making Vietnamese women resilient and adept at handling adversity. In marriage, a Vietnamese wife will bring this strength to face challenges together, always ready to work through difficulties. This contrasts with Filipino women, who, while also resilient, may lean more heavily on their social support systems.
  • Desire for Harmony: Vietnamese women often desire harmony in their lives and relationships. They aim to avoid conflict and strive for mutual understanding and compromise. This might mean that a Vietnamese wife is more likely to be patient and willing to work things out peacefully. This trait may differentiate her from a Japanese woman, who might have a more individualistic approach to resolving disagreements.

These traits reflect a Vietnamese woman’s commitment to her cultural heritage, family values, and personal qualities. They indicate her potential to integrate successfully into a new environment while preserving her unique Vietnamese identity.

Marrying a Vietnamese Bride and Registering a Marriage in Vietnam

As you plan to marry your Vietnamese bride in her home country, it is critical to understand both the cultural practices and legal formalities involved. By learning about traditional Vietnamese weddings, participating in these customs, and successfully registering your marriage in Vietnam, you can ensure a culturally rich and legally valid matrimonial experience.

Traditional Vietnamese Wedding Process

The traditional Vietnamese wedding is a deeply cultural event with several distinct stages.

First, the groom’s family visits the bride’s family to ask for her hand in marriage, a ritual known as “Dạm Hỏi” or “Proposal Ceremony.” The groom’s family typically brings gifts like betel leaves and areca nuts, which are considered symbols of loyalty in Vietnamese culture. The bride is then invited to the groom’s house for the “Welcoming Home” ceremony, where she officially becomes a part of the groom’s family.

Next, the couple performs the “Lễ Vu Quy” or “Betrothal Ceremony.” The groom and his family walk to the bride’s home, carrying lacquered boxes known as “mâm quả” filled with gifts symbolizing prosperity and happiness. This procession is followed by a formal, ancestral worshiping ritual at the bride’s house.

Finally, the “Wedding Reception” takes place, celebrating the union with friends and family. Here, the bride and groom wear traditional Vietnamese wedding attires known as “Áo dài” and offer tea or wine to their parents and guests, expressing their gratitude.

Vietnamese Wedding Customs and Traditions

Vietnamese weddings are rich with customs that vary by region. Here are five unique traditions that you may experience:

  1. Le An Hoi (Engagement Ceremony): This is when the groom’s family visits the bride’s home with betel nuts and areca leaves, signifying a formal proposal.
  2. Gifts of “Mâm Quả”: These are the lacquered boxes filled with gifts like fruits, cakes, a roasted pig, and jewelry, carried by the groom’s family to the bride’s home.
  3. Bride’s Homecoming (Đón Dâu): This is when the bride is taken to the groom’s house, and the couple lights lanterns and worships their ancestors, marking their official union.
  4. Golden Jewelry for the Bride: It’s a custom in Northern Vietnam for the groom’s mother to present the bride with golden jewelry.
  5. Wedding Games: Traditional games, like catching a duck or finding the groom’s shoe, are often part of the festivities in the Mekong Delta region.

The Marriage Registration Process in Vietnam

To legally marry in Vietnam, certain requirements must be met. You will need to provide the following documents:

  1. Certified copies of passports.
  2. Affidavit of single status, notarized and authenticated.
  3. Divorce or death certificate of former spouse (if applicable).
  4. Vietnamese translation of all documents, notarized.

After gathering these documents, you need to submit them to the District Justice Office (Đội Kết Hôn) for approval. For example, in Hanoi, this office is located at 185 Giang Vo Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi, open from 8 am to 11:30 am and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm from Monday to Friday.

Once your application is approved, you can schedule your wedding ceremony. After the ceremony, you return to the District Justice Office to receive your marriage certificate. The process can take from one to three months and costs around 1,000,000 VND.

Engaging with Vietnamese wedding customs and completing the marriage registration process can enrich your cross-cultural matrimonial experience, help you appreciate the rich tapestry of Vietnamese culture, and ensure a legal union in your bride’s home country.

Calculating the Cost of a Vietnamese Bride in 2023

Planning your journey to meet your Vietnamese bride involves several financial aspects. While we talk about the cost of a Vietnamese bride, it is critical to clarify that this term refers to the expenditures associated with the trip and the process, and in no way implies purchasing a human being.

It’s about investing in experiences, like dating site memberships, flight tickets, accommodations, and more, to ultimately meet and possibly marry your loved one in Vietnam. Calculating these expenses and preparing a budget is essential to ensure a successful process. Below, we provide an estimate of these expenses to help you better plan your journey.

Types of ExpensesLow CostMiddle CostHigh Cost
Dating Site Membership (3-6 months)$30-$60 (Basic features)$90-$180 (More features)$200-$360 (Premium access)
Flight Tickets to Vietnam$500-$700 (Economy Class)$800-$1200 (Premium Economy)$2500-$4000 (Business Class)
Two Weeks Accommodation$200-$300 (Budget Hotels)$500-$700 (Mid-range Hotels)$1500-$2000 (Luxury Hotels)
Food Costs for Two Weeks$70-$100 (Street Food)$150-$200 (Local Restaurants)$300-$400 (Fine Dining)
Entertainment Expenses for Two Weeks$100-$150 (Local Sightseeing)$200-$300 (Tours and Experiences)$400-$600 (Premium Experiences)
Transportation Expenses for Two Weeks$20-$30 (Public Transport)$100-$150 (Cab Services)$300-$400 (Private Car Hire)
Budgeting for a trip to Vietnam to meet a potential Vietnamese bride.

Having evaluated the various aspects of the journey, let’s examine three budget options for finding a Vietnamese bride:

  • Low Cost: If you’re looking for a minimalistic budget, you can stick to basic dating site features, economy class flight, budget accommodation, indulging in street food, local sightseeing, and public transportation. This could cost you around $920-$1340.
  • Middle Cost: A moderate budget might include access to more dating site features, premium economy flight, mid-range hotels, meals at local restaurants, tours, and cab services. This could range from $1940-$3030.
  • High Cost: If you prefer a luxurious experience, you can opt for premium dating site access, business class flight, luxury hotels, fine dining, premium experiences, and private car hire. The expenses could be in the range of $4800-$6760.

Beyond these, some additional expenses might arise depending on your plans:

  • Traditional Vietnamese wedding: $5,000-$20,000 (depending on how elaborate the wedding is)
  • Paperwork and marriage registration in Vietnam: $200-$300
  • Return tickets to the U.S. for two: $1000-$8000 (depending on the class)
  • Visa processing for Vietnamese bride: $700-$900 (depends on lawyer fees and additional costs)

Relocating a Vietnamese Wife to the United States

The journey of international marriage doesn’t end with finding the right partner; it extends to the complex immigration process that follows. If you, a U.S. citizen, are planning to relocate your Vietnamese wife or bride to the U.S., the foremost step is to obtain an appropriate visa.

This effort requires careful preparation of various documents and legal requirements, and the success of the application leads to the significant milestone of visa approval. Subsequent to this, is the momentous move to the U.S., marking the beginning of a new chapter in your wife’s life. Let’s delve into the step-by-step process:

  1. Identifying the Appropriate Visa Category: The type of visa your Vietnamese wife needs depends on her status – whether she’s your fiancée or spouse.
    • Fiancée: If you’re engaged and plan to marry in the U.S., the K-1 visa, known as a Fiancé(e) visa, is the correct category.
    • Spouse: If you’re already married, the IR1 or CR1 visa, collectively known as Spouse visas, is applicable.
  2. Filing the Petition:
    • Fiancée: The U.S. citizen must file a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).
    • Spouse: The U.S. citizen must file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the USCIS.
  3. Gathering Necessary Documents: Essential documents typically include a valid passport, birth certificate, police certificates, financial documents, evidence of relationship, and passport-sized photos, among others.
  4. Visa Application: Once the petition is approved by the USCIS, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The Vietnamese wife (either fiancée or spouse) then needs to fill out the DS-160 or DS-260 form to apply for the visa.
  5. Paying the Fees: Fees typically include visa application fees and medical examination fees. As of my knowledge cutoff in 2021, the visa application fee was about $265 for a K-1 visa and $325 for an IR1 or CR1 visa. Medical examination fees vary.
  6. Attending the Interview: After submitting the visa application, the Vietnamese wife will be scheduled for a visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in Vietnam. She must bring all required documents to the interview.

Once the visa is approved, your Vietnamese wife can travel to the U.S. If she entered on a K-1 visa, she must marry you within 90 days of arrival. If she entered on an IR1 or CR1 visa, she can live and work permanently in the U.S.

After residing in the U.S. for a certain period (usually 3 years if married to and living with a U.S. citizen), she can apply for U.S. citizenship by submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, as long as she has been in compliance with U.S. law during her stay.

The cost of this process is around $725, including a biometric fee. Preparation for the naturalization process involves understanding U.S. history and government, which is tested in the naturalization test. Successful completion of these steps will enable her to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Supporting a Vietnamese Wife in Adjusting After Moving To the U.S.

The process of relocation can often lead to a cultural shock, more so in the case of a Vietnamese wife moving to the U.S. It is a significant transition that calls for a deep understanding and adaptation of American customs, history, and traditions. Husband’s support can be a major enabler in this adaptation process. Below are some common difficulties faced by Vietnamese wives in their new cultural environment and ways to help them overcome these challenges.

  1. Language Barrier: One of the primary challenges for a Vietnamese spouse might be the language barrier. English, being the primary language in the U.S., is not usually the first language for Vietnamese natives. This could hinder her ability to communicate and socialize, leading to feelings of isolation. As a husband, you can support her by providing language learning resources and practicing conversational English together. Encouragement and patience are vital in this process.
  2. Understanding Social Norms: Cultural norms in the U.S. can be quite different from Vietnam. From greetings and etiquette to social roles, your wife may struggle to grasp these unfamiliar norms. It’s crucial to explain these differences patiently, highlighting the importance of respect for both cultures. You can also introduce her to community resources and social groups that focus on helping immigrants adapt to American life.
  3. Changes in Family Dynamics: Vietnamese culture places great emphasis on family bonds and hierarchy, which may differ from the more individualistic nature of American culture. This departure from tradition can lead to a sense of loss and nostalgia. Help her navigate these changes by engaging her in family activities, fostering relationships with extended family members, and reassuring her that family values are universal.
  4. Food and Dietary Preferences: Food is deeply tied to culture and identity, and adjusting to American food can be a significant challenge. If she misses traditional Vietnamese cuisine, assist her in finding Vietnamese grocery stores or restaurants. Alternatively, cooking traditional meals together can be a comforting experience.
  5. Career and Education: Establishing a career or pursuing education can be overwhelming due to differences in systems and standards. As her partner, understanding her aspirations and helping her explore opportunities would be immensely beneficial. Encouraging her to continue her education or career pursuits can offer a sense of purpose and facilitate her integration into the new environment.

Adjustment to a new culture can be a daunting journey. It’s important to remember that each person’s experience is unique and requires different degrees of assistance. Regular communication, understanding, and patience can significantly ease this transition. In a cross-cultural marriage like a Vietnamese-American one, it’s not just about how well one can acclimate, but also about how effectively a couple can endure, adapt, and grow together.