Well as a followup to my question, I am pleased to say that my lady got her fiance visa approved. She lived with me for 6 months on a visitors visa (from Feb this year) and returned to the USA in August to start the application process. All UK finace visa applications now have to be done online. Once the application had been completed, she had to go to a designated office in Virginia to have her biometrics done (photo and fingerprints). Once this was completed, she was able to send all her paperwork and evidence to the New York City
cons-ular office for it to be processed. They emailed her when they had received the paperwork, and a week later wanted some more paperwork which she send to them via Fedex.
She then sent was sent an email to say that the application had been approved, and a UPS tracking number for her passport and paperwork to be returned. The cost of the fiance visa was £515, and it took approx 6 weeks from beginning to end.
We are planning on getting married in the next month or so, as soon as we find a registry office who can marry us at short (ish) notice. What I didnt realise is that not all registry offices can marry people with a finace visa. There is about a dozen or so in London
To answer Robyn's question, my girlfriend came here as a tourist, and as far as I know having a 'proper' visa means you can travel immediately, and you don't have to stay a certain time in the USA before you return to the UK.
My next question is when my girlfriend returns to the UK (in the next couple of weeks) do we have to do anything else before we approach the registry office? Is it just a case of going to the registry office and setting a date?
Also, once we are married, what is the process for turning her finace visa into a spousal one? I have read on a few sites that you can apply, but where is best to do it? Can we go to the home office and have it issued the same day?