I guess I just felt somewhat betrayed to have been given false information at the uk immigration and visa department because I did try applying via online on a public computer system at the immigration department and this was when I was approached by the head manager who offered if I needed any assistance. At this time she noticed I was filling out my information and realized I was an American citizen and started saying how I did not need a clearance via etc. (even though I told her my whole case and even showed her my home office document why I was refused entry and all. She laughed and actually said applying for a clearance visa would be like throwing my money away especially since I wanted priority as well. I had to ask many times if she was sure, and she insisted.)
Oh well I guess there is no need now to cry over spilt milk (even though the cost of my tickets went down the drain plus my heart aches still to not be able to see my love...)
I'm sorry you were given bad advice
Unfortunately, the UK Embassy does not give visa advice and cannot help with visa queries or applications. They only offer services to British nationals in Lebanon, and therefore are unlikely to know the ins and outs of the visa rules. So the manager was out of line for even offering to help you with it and should have directed you to the UKVI webpages for visitor visa applications.
for the US Embassy in Beirut actually says they will not help with visa enquiries and tells you go to to the UKVI website:
Get a visa
The British embassy can’t help with visa enquiries.
If you’re not a British national, you may need a visa to travel to the UK. Check if you need a UK visa
Then, if you click on the 'Check if you need a UK visa' link and select USA as your nationality, it says:
You may want to apply for a visa if you have a criminal record or you’ve previously been refused entry into the UK.
But since the immigration officer at the airport told you you needed to apply for a visa to come back (meaning: they aren't going to let you in without one), that 'may want to' in your case is a 'you must'.
Obviously, we probably should get a lawyer though right? To help us take care of all documents and lower our risk of rejection to any spousal visa...
Do you also have any idea how long it may take to be accepted and when I would be able to move to the UK to officially be with my spouse? (obviously, after the wedding )
It's up to you whether you use a lawyer. I don't personally recommend one unless you have a very serious case (i.e. you've done jail time, or you have worked or overstayed illegally in the UK).
Since your previous refusals should not affect the application anyway (since you were refused because they thought you were going to live in the UK, and now you will actually be applying to live in the UK), and we can give you all the help and advice you need in regards to documents required to get a visa approval, I'm not sure it's worth the money to get a lawyer.
I have been helping people here on the forum apply for spousal visas for 10 years - I answer the same questions every day, I know the visa requirements and documents required off by heart, and I've helped probably over 1,000 people successfully apply for their visas in that time.
Unfortunately, very few lawyers actually know what they are talking about and often give bad advice (just like you got from the embassy) - one person recently got refused a partner visa because their lawyer told them to apply for the wrong type of visa! They applied for a visa they didn't qualify for, and instead of their lawyer telling them this, and advising them to apply for the correct visa, they let them continue with the wrong application and they were refused the visa.
If you do decide to use a lawyer, we only recommend 2 lawyers here on the forum:
-Medivisas (particularly Victoria Sharkey), based in London
- Laura Devine, based in London and New York
However, they are expensive and will set you back a lot of money, when you can find all the information you need for free on the UKVI website and here on the forum.
One thing to consider as well is that processing times for spousal visa applications made in Beirut may well be much slower than in the US and it could take a lot longer to get a visa... so, depending on your finances and situation, you might want to consider flying back to the US and applying from there (you could also marry in the US easily if you decided to - he wouldn't need a visa to do it).
Currently, it appears that the majority of spousal visa applications made in the US are being processed within 2-5 working days (based on the timelines for people applying here on the forum in the last few weeks). It does take a bit longer if you have refused entries, but usually only a week or two more.
The UKVI website hasn't been updated with new processing times for a while though, and the most recent ones we have are from November 2016, which was a busier time, at least in the US:
Beirut, Lebanon processing times for settlement visas, November 2016:
1% processed in 3 working days
1% in 5 working days
18% in 10 working days
32% in 15 working days
83% in 30 working days
93% in 60 working days
96% in 90 working days
96% in 120 working days
US processing times for settlement visas (processed in Sheffield, UK), November 2016:
1% processed in 2 working days
10% in 3 working days
17% in 5 working days
53% in 10 working days
73% in 15 working days
96% in 30 working days
98% in 60 working days
100% in 90 working days
However, EEA Family Permits are processed more quickly in both countries - generally within about 10 working days.