Maryland’s International Marriage Brokers Regulation (IMBR) and IMBRA

By | November 21, 2010

The state of Maryland has brought to law in recent weeks the “International Marriage Brokers Regulation (IMBR)”. Men in Maryland now need to submit fingerprints in order to fulfil the rules if they want to seek out a foreign wife from overseas. This is an extension to the existing USA IMBRA laws that is specific to Maryland (the most affluent state in the US).  Individual US states are now taking up the charge in regulating so called “International Marriage Brokers” — and their statutes are more onerous than the federal legislation. Here is more info on the Maryland law in addition to what I posted earlier:


What is the law’s citation?

Md. Code Ann. Bus. Reg. 19-601 through 19-607

When did the law go into effect?

October 1, 2010

What kinds of businesses are regulated?

―International marriage broker   (IMB) – ―a corporation, partnership, soleproprietorship, or other legal entity that does business in the United States
and offers to Maryland residents dating, matrimonial, or social referral
services involving recruits [foreign female clients] by:
(1) exchanging names, telephone numbers, addresses, photographs,
or statistics or otherwise facilitating communication between a
client [US male client] and a recruit [foreign female client]; or
(2) providing a social environment for introducing clients [US male
clients] to recruits [foreign female clients] in person.

Are some kinds of businesses specifically excluded from regulation?

Yes. An IMB does not include ―(1) a traditional marriage broker that operates on a nonprofit basis
and otherwise operates in compliance with
the laws of the countries in which it operates, including the laws of the
United States; or (2) an entity that provides dating services if its principal
business is not to provide international dating services between Maryland
residents and foreign nationals and it charges comparable rates and offers
comparable services to all individuals it serves regardless of the individual‘s
gender or country of citizenship.

Is an official criminal background check required of the US male client?

Yes. The IMB must conduct a state and national criminal history records check of the US male client, including a search of the sex offender registry.

Must additional details on the US male client’s marital history be provided to the foreign female client?

Yes. In addition to the marital history information that IMBRA requires to be disclosed, the US male client must also disclose the number of domestic violence protective orders issued against him and whether any of his previous marriages resulted from using the services of an IMB.

Must additional “basic rights” information be provided to the foreign female client?

Yes. Basic rights information must be provided to the foreign female client, including information about human rights, immigration, and emergency assistance and resources.

Must this additional information be translated into the foreign female client’s native language?

Yes. In addition to the information that IMBRA requires to be translated into her primary language, the IMB must translate into the foreign female client‘s native language: Criminal history record information regarding the US male client. Additional marital history information regarding the US male client. Basic rights information

What limitations are placed on the IMB’s services until the additional criminal history, marital history, and/or “basic rights” information has been provided?

The IMB is not permitted to disclose the foreign female client‘s contact information to the US male client until the IMB has provided the foreign female client with the criminal history record information and marital history information from the US male client and the basic rights information, and has obtained the foreign female client‘s written consent (written in the foreign female client‘s native language) after the disclosure of the above additional background information.

When does the state have jurisdiction?

Maryland has jurisdiction when an IMB contracts for services with a Maryland resident or is considered to be doing business in Maryland under other laws of the state.

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