Visitor: many so called non-visa nationals , including Americans, can come to the UK for up to 6 months to visit and obtain entry stamp at the airport. This status doesn’t allow working in the UK.
Marriage Visitor: a separate category under Visitors. This visa allows to get married in the UK with the view of leaving after 6 months (and not trying to apply for a settlement visa inside the UK).
This visa is required for all non-EU nationals even Americans A standard visitor status doesn’t allow to get married in the UK. For example , if Meghan arrives at Heathrow without any visa in her passport and says “I am here to marry Prince Harry”, strictly speaking, she could be denied entry and sent back. Well, the visa offices are probably used to hearing young ladies saying that and just laugh and waive them through. But with Meghan, it is for real!
Fiancée visa: this is a much better option for Meghan and we suspect she already has it! It allows to get married in the UK within 6 months. The couple are planing their ceremony in May 2018, so this would fit. Of course, Meghan would have to marry the same British "Sponsor" who was mentioned in her application, but we can't imagine her changing her mind about Harry.
It was reported the couple secretly got engaged in early November, which fits with the visa processing time from America. It usually takes up to 3 months but with an optional express service from the Home Office it can be reduced to 3 weeks: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/usa-apply-for-a-uk-visa/apply-for-a-uk-visa-in-the-usa
A Fiancée visa doesn’t allow working in the UK. (Meghan , we aren’t sure about your recent official engagement Harry and Meghan to make first official joint engagement in Nottingham but we won’t tell anyone !)
Spouse visa: Once married , Meghan can switch from a Fiancée to a Spouse status. This can be done on same-day service , such as the one at the Croydon facility we work with.
This is when Meghan can finally start counting “her” qualifying period for the purpose of permanent residency and British Citizenship!
1st 4Immigration Ltd, authorised by the OISC, ref 200800152. We operate at the highest Level 3 of expertise. Office address: 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4M 7DZ.